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How can I get medical insurance as a digital nomad?

I often write on Quora.com, where I am the most viewed writer on financial matters, with over 438.2 million views in recent years.

In the answers below I focused on the following topics and issues:

  • How can I get medical insurance as a digital nomad?
  • Is not taking a risk, the biggest risk?
  • Is it possible for an economy to be in recession while the Dow Jones is up almost 7% in the month and unemployment is as low as 3.6%?
  • Which cities are great to live in, but not to visit, and vice versa?
  • Does cryptocurrency make it easier or harder for money laundering criminals?

If you want me to answer any questions on Quora or YouTube, or you are looking to invest, don’t hesitate to contact me, email (advice@adamfayed.com) or use the WhatsApp function below.

Some of the links and videos referred to might only be available on the original answers. 

Source for all answers – Adam Fayed’s Quora page.

How can I get medical insurance as a digital nomad?

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The firm I run does medical insurance as a side service. We have helped nomads and expat retirees, so I know about this area pretty well.

Unlike financial/investing services, there aren’t usually anti-money laundering (AML) requirements for medical insurance.

Likewise, unlike for life insurance, you don’t usually have to prove your income, and don’t always need to go through underwriting.

All you need to do is

  • Go online
  • Get a quote
  • Compare
  • Buy
  • Renew every year

You won’t have a problem buying medical insurance unless you are over 70, can’t get onto the local medical care or have a serious pre-existing condition.

If you have a pre-existing condition, you can get covered in most situations, but those conditions aren’t usually covered by the insurance.

The issue isn’t getting the insurance, more making sure you avoid certain things.

The major things to avoid are

  • Travel insurance. This is fine for when you are going overseas for small periods of time. If you think you can get away with being on a travel policy forever, it is likely that you will have issues, as embedded in the terms and conditions are provisions to stop habitual travellers taking advantage. You need medical insurance, either through the national/state scheme, or through a private company.
  • Obviously lying on the application form about your medical history or pre-existing conditions.
  • Getting over-insured.

Ideally you want insurance to

  • Be easy and quick to set up, and renew
  • Cover you for serious conditions, and not things which cost small amounts to pay directly yourself.
  • Cover you globally, or at least globally excluding the US, if you can’t get complete global cover.
  • Be portable if you move from country to country.

Insurance isn’t an investment, it is protection, so you want to get the basics covered, more than the most covered.

Which cities are great to live in, but not to visit, and vice versa?

Shanghai and Beijing.

Great for visiting or short trips, such as university exchange students.

In Beijing you have great cultural sites like the Summer Palace:

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Not far away is the Great Wall:

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In Shanghai, you have many futuristic things to do. A bit like a “mini Dubai” in Asia.

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Both places aren’t great to live in anymore.

You have the pollution, even if it is getting better:

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And increasingly high cost of living:

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Increased nationalism:

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More expat taxes, even if that policy has been delayed until 2023 or beyond.

It is for this reason that it is no surprise that expat groups, such as InterNations, rank these places near the bottom of expat satisfaction surveys, and many high-end (and other) expats are leaving.

In terms of other places, places like Tokyo and Seoul aren’t as extreme, but are best for those earning well. The smaller, cheaper, places, like Osaka, are best for mid-earning expats.

In Europe, Paris and London would probably fit into this category as well. Great if you can afford to live in the nice parts of town, not so nice otherwise.

Good cities to live in, but not visit, tend to be understatement and good value places.

Many smaller European capital cities would fit into that category.

Is it possible for an economy to be in recession while the Dow Jones is up almost 7% in the month and unemployment is as low as 3.6%?

The stock market and the economy aren’t always linked. Quite often they are not.

There have been countless years when the economy has done well, and the stock market badly, and vice versa.

Unemployment is an interesting one. The labour market in many countries is tight, and corporate profits are fairly good.

If there is a recession, it will be to control the increasing inflation and commodity prices we are seeing.

Most economies aren’t in a formal recession yet, but there is a chance that will change in the next few months.

Either way, that doesn’t mean that the stock markets will be up or down. Stocks have risen in the last few weeks, despite the fact that a recession seems more likely.

Is not taking a risk, the biggest risk?

Absolutely. It is one of the biggest issues I see – everybody wants the upside without taking risk, and people underestimate hidden risks.

Every time we approach somebody in business, investing, emotionally or romantically, we risk rejection, but to do nothing is to miss out on the highs.

To forgive and forget is to risk looking like a fool, but it is better for our mental health.

To emigrate and to travel is to risk being alien and discriminated against. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

And to risk nothing in business and investing is a guaranteed way to store up hidden risks.

To leave money in the bank is a guaranteed risk to inflation.

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That isn’t to mention the risk of currency depreciation. It isn’t just emerging market currencies either. Look at how the GBP has performed against the USD in the last fifteen years.

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What is riskier for somebody who has 500k? Investing 200k into a diversified portfolio for the long-term, or leaving all 500k in one currency and asset class (cash).

Nobody has lost money being invested into a diversified index like the S&P500 for decades. Countless have lost in cash:

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Likewise, if you have ten-years of experience and an awful boss, it might be less risky to start your own venture, depending on the variables.

Almost all the best results come from taking yourself out of your comfort zone. The comfort zone just makes you feel a false sense of safety and being in control.

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And most of all, you will regret not taking risk in old day.

We don’t usually regret what we do do. We do regret what we don’t do.

Does cryptocurrency make it easier or harder for money laundering criminals?

As long time readers know, I am not a huge fan of crypto. I am not saying it is 100% guaranteed to fail, but my arguments about why I don’t particular like it have been stated on many occasions.

I might be proved right, or wrong. Let’s wait ten or twenty years. Only then are we likely to know for sure.

The fact I am skeptical about it, should make the following arguments more powerful, as I am not a natural defender of crypto.

I wrote this on LinkedIn today.

It was a wider post about the hypocrisy associated with many financial regulations – including the false idea that crypto is “dodgy” as it isn’t regulated.

“The hypocrisy of a lot of financial regulations.

Almost for sure, the Taliban (or somebody high up in the organisation) sold Ayman al-Zawahiri to the US for hundreds of millions or maybe even a few billion, whatever they are saying in public.

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The hypocrisy of a lot of financial regulations.

Almost for sure, the Taliban (or somebody high up in the organisation) sold Ayman al-Zawahiri to the US for hundreds of millions or maybe even a few billion, whatever they are saying in public.

Nobody in the US, or any country, will care about whether that money is paid in cash, money laundered or whatever.

Some bounties and ransoms paid, therefore, indirectly get money laundered and go to terrorist financing (TR).

Bounties are paid all the time for high level people, with an official $10million bounty placed on his head for years.

Usually no questions are asked about the person giving up the individual, to ascertain how legit they are.

In comparison, if an average clean upper-middle class Afghan person (say somebody who works for a Western NGO) wants to invest $500 a month for retirement, that would be rejected by most investment companies.

This is even if they can prove they are legit, with proper supporting documents.

That is said to be due to “financial regulations against money laundering and high-risk countries”.

Often these rules are made by the same people who think it is OK to pay bounties in cash, with few questions asked.

This hypocrisy is obvious. Likewise, the EU blacklist puts countries on there which are cleaner than the City of London, Spain, Portugal and many other jurisdictions.

Ditto crypto. I have not always been a huge fan of crypto, but one thing I do agree with the crypto bulls about, is that a lot of financial regulation is purely political.

To criticize it as being used for money laundering is hypocritical when most studies show that physical cash is laundered to a much greater degree.

I am delighted, even though I am a sceptic, that many consumers have ignored the warnings of regulators in numerous countries, the Bank of England and other members of the “financial establishment” who banged on about regulations.

People who did that showed some ability to think for themselves, regardless of whether crypto goes to $0 or not.

There does need to be sensible (basic) regulations about money laundering and terrorist financing which aren’t purely hypocritical and political, and financial firms need to be abide by those rules as best they can, regardless of whether they agree with the regulations or not.

It is also probably better, for what it is worth, that this man is dead, even if the person receiving the (unsaid) bounty is dodgy.

But anybody who takes regulation at face value is being naive, and must think that politicians and regulators (who are influenced by politicians directly and indirectly) have no agenda whatsoever”.

So, it is unfair to say criminals will use crypto more on average. The smarter ones know it leaves a trace, unlike cash.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 735.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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