Hi! John Lee Dumas here, founder and host of Entrepreneurs on Fire, a top-ranked business podcast where I interview the worlds most successful entrepreneurs.
This post is coming at you from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, and throughout I’ll be sharing why we chose to move here in 2016, and are still here in 2023, and will likely never leave :-).
Interested in learning more about Entrepreneurs On Fire?
On to Puerto Rico!
Updated March 2023
Since the age of 18, I’ve never lived in the same place for more than 2 years – until now.
From Providence College, to the Army, to Boston – New York – San Diego – and Maine, I seem to get that itch every couple years to ‘relocate’. (Spoiler alert, Kate and I have been in Palmas Del Mar, Puerto Rico for nearly 7 years now and I can’t picture a scenario where we’d ever leave!)
In 2016, Kate and I had been in San Diego for a couple of years, and that itch had me looking for options (not to mention the BRUTAL Cali taxes).
I found out about the AMAZING Act 60 tax benefits (previously known as Act 20 and 22) offered by Puerto Rico (more on this below), and immediately knew I was Caribbean-bound.
Before I go any further, just a note that I’m not a lawyer, so nothing here is legal advice. I’m not a professional when it comes to advising businesses or individuals on Act20/22 or Act 60. I’m sharing my personal experience as it relates to moving to Puerto Rico. You should talk to a legal professional if you’re considering Act 60 (recommendation below).
I just had to convince my born-and-bred-Pacific-Beach-native wife (girlfriend at the time), Kate, to move with me.
After promising a quick return to SD if PR turned out to be a bust, Kate and I moved our business and life from sunny San Diego to sunnier (and rainier) Puerto Rico on May 1st, 2016.
Puerto Rico is a US territory, so it was an easy move; you don’t even need a passport if you’re a US citizen.
A Couple Quick Links
- A fantastic Act 60 Resource Guide created and updated regularly by fellow Palmas Del Mar Resident, entrepreneur, and humanitarian, Heidi DeCoux
- Palmas Del Mar commercial
- John Lee Dumas crib tour
- Follow us on Instagram for daily Puerto Rico vibes! John’s Instagram | Kate’s Instagram
Act 20/22, now Act 60
The main reason we chose Puerto Rico was because of Act 60 and the tax benefits.
This is the BEST tax saving opportunity for entrepreneurs that I believe will be available in our lifetime, and as I update this post, Kate and I have been enjoying the benefits of 4% tax for almost 7 years!
I’ll repeat my previous note: I’m not a lawyer, so nothing here is legal advice. I’m not a professional when it comes to advising businesses or individuals on Act20/22 or Act 60. I’m sharing my personal experience as it relates to moving to Puerto Rico. You should talk to a legal professional if you’re considering Act 60 (recommendation below).
What is Act 60 (income) in a nutshell?
If you move your business and yourself to Puerto Rico, do export services, and spend more than half the year here, your business pays a flat 4% corporate tax rate – total.
No state tax, no federal tax.
For those interested in learning more, Google ‘Act 60 Puerto Rico’ for the latest and greatest. This is also a great video to watch on the topic.
You do have to pay yourself a ‘reasonable’ salary, which will be taxed at 33%. There are some other boxes that need to be checked, but they’re smaller things.
Plus, it’s worth mentioning that the laws are constantly changing, so for the most up to date info on Act 60, it’s always best to speak with a legal professional who specializes in the topic.
What is Act 60 (investments) in a nutshell?
If you move your business and yourself to Puerto Rico and spend more than half the year here, you will pay 0% capital gains on EVERYTHING that is established after you’re in Puerto Rico.
For those interested in learning more, Google ‘Act 60 Puerto Rico’. There are plenty of up-to-date articles about the Act and how it works.
And if you’re interested in learning more from an actual Puerto Rican attorney who specializes in Act 60, you can email our attorney, Alexis.
What’s it like to move to Puerto Rico?
Our first two months on the island were spent on the West side in a town called Quebradillas.
It was an enjoyable two months and allowed us to explore the West side of Puerto Rico (absolutely gorgeous!)
But when it came to finding a place to settle down, we were looking for more of a community-vibe, and after a lot of searching, we didn’t find what we were looking for on the West side.
So we headed East to check out Old San Juan, which is also gorgeous!
The conveniences in the San Juan area are great, but city living wasn’t what we were looking for, either.
So we headed South down the East coast, and that’s when we found ‘Palmas Del Mar’, a gated community in the town of Humacao.
Instantly, we knew we had found home.
After a day exploring Palmas, we found our dream home (‘crib tour’ below!)
In Palmas Del Mar we found the community we were looking for.
It’s not only full of successful and adventurous entrepreneurs who have become some of our closest friends, it also has several great amenities that I’ll get into a bit later.
We’ve also met many neighbors and community members who grew up in Palmas and have called this home for their entire lives!
If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I would move to Puerto Rico in a HEARTBEAT.
Palmas Del Mar has truly become home, and I can’t picture myself living anywhere else in the foreseeable future.
(View from our Kitchen Terrace)
Is Palmas Del Mar a great place to raise a family?
Kate and I don’t have kids – yet ;) – but more than half of our friends here in the community do. If you were to ask any one of them, in one word, they’d say YES!
Just watch the Palmas Del Mar Commercial below and you’ll hear from actual families who have made their home here in Palmas Del Mar.
Investment Properties in Puerto Rico – Are they a good idea?
Our most recent adventure here in Puerto Rico?
We recently invested in a condo in a gated community inside of Palmas Del Mar (yes, a gated community within a gated community!) called Marbella.
We have several friends who have invested in rental properties here over the years – across the entire island – and the feedback has been very positive.
Puerto Rico is such a big destination for East Coasters looking for a warm, quick getaway, and so we thought if we ever came up on an opportunity to invest, we’d definitely want to try it out.
We were incredibly lucky to purchase a property from my parents, who bought right before the pandemic in January 2020.
Because we’re taking it over and they know they can stay there anytime, they were willing to part with it (and not have to worry about managing a property from Maine).
We have the 2bd, 2.5ba pool AND beachfront property listed on AirBNB, so if you ever find yourself wanting to visit Palmas Del Mar, check it out!
Pros and Cons of living in Puerto Rico
Like anywhere, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and there are some cons that anyone moving to Puerto Rico should be aware of.
Again, I’m simply sharing my personal experience here.
Cons of living in Puerto Rico
- The roads are in rough shape in many places around the island. Potholes are common & driving is poor. This does seem to be improving, as 2021 has seen a lot of positive roadwork, including one of the biggest single highway projects in Puerto Rico’s history: the San Juan to Caguas Corridor.
- Power outages happen a few times a month, sometimes more often. We have a whole house generator, so there is very little disruption for us, but it can still be frustrating.
- English is a distant second language. This could also be considered a pro – perhaps you’ve been meaning to learn Spanish for a long time! For us, Palmas Del Mar was also attractive because English is the primary language spoken in most places in the community.
- Hurricanes are always a possibility, and we learned first-hand what that’s like in 2017. Hurricane Maria devastated the island that year. At the time you are reading this Palmas Del Mar is 100% back to pre-hurricane status, but some parts of the island (especially inland) have years of struggle ahead.
- Health Care is ‘to be desired’ in terms of efficiency and convenience. The appointment system does not work the same as in the States, and you might have to drive to San Juan or further to visit certain doctors. There are rumors of a state of the art hospital being built right outside of Palmas in 2021 – 2022, but time will tell…
Of course, there are also many pros to living in Puerto Rico!
Pros to living in Puerto Rico
- It’s an adventure to live on a tropical island, and it’s truly beautiful here! There is so much to explore.
- The tax benefits under Act 60 are amazing.
- The people who make the move to Puerto Rico are incredible. Adventurous, successful, and fun are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind.
- The feeling of community in Palmas Del Mar is strong. We are on the dark side of the moon in some ways, and that gives residents the sense of a tribal family. The support is incredible.
- We are 45 minutes southeast of San Juan, so we are close enough to a major city and airport, but at the same time far enough away.
- Because PR is a US territory, you don’t need a passport to get here, and we have the major stores we have come to know and love in the States like Costco, Home Depot, Marshalls, etc.
- Palmas Del Mar is very kid friendly, with a K – 12 academy right in the community and TONS of activities for kids.
- Palmas Del Mar also boasts a golf club with 2 great golf courses (designed by Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player), a tennis club with 20 tennis courts and pickleball courts, a beach club, 17 restaurants, and a Plaza with a bank, barber, mail facility, market, and other nice to haves.
- Getting to know the culture and the people of Puerto Rico has been truly special. On one of our first trips to see homes for sale we were continuously invited into peoples’ homes, and then asked to stay for dinner and drinks!
If you are interested in checking out real estate in Palmas Del Mar, you can’t beat Ricky and Liz, an amazing husband and wife real estate team.
Tell them JLD sent you and they’ll be extra nice ;-)
Overall, if you are adventurous, willing to put up with a few frustrations and inconveniences, and are in a situation where Act 60 would be financially game-changing for you (as it is for us), then it’s time to call Puerto Rico home, sweet home!
Also, this PDF Resource Guide created by one of our great friends, Heidi DeCoux, who is a Palmas Del Mar resident, will be incredible helpful if you’re considering the move.
Places to visit in Puerto Rico
Here are just a few of the places around Puerto Rico we’ve had the opportunity to visit – and that we love going back to! And if you’re planning a visit to Puerto Rico, this Travel PR page is always up-to-date with all the travel information for coming intro Puerto Rico you need (Covid-19 guidelines included).
Flamenco Beach, Culebra: Both neighboring island of Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra are awesome to visit – especially when there’s a top-10 rated beach to experience!
El Morrow Fort, Old San Juan: One of our favorite places to visit when we’re in Old San Juan. Tons of history and so much beauty all around you.
El Yunque Rain Forest: Awesome hiking and views of Puerto Rico!
Beaches at Rio Mar: A community just outside of El Yunque rain forest with beautiful beaches and Wyndham Hotel.
We recommend parking and setting up in the private beach area, then walking down to the kiosks from there. Revolution Pizza is amazing for lunch, and there are so many other fun kiosks to check out! Plus, the beach in Luqillo is spectacular and sits in a bay, so there aren’t big waves.
Camuy Caves: An incredible and intricate network of caves in the town of Camuy. Take guided tours and go inside of the caves for an experience like no other!
Guajataca Tunnel: History and beauty combined! Walk along the beach, through the original tunnel, and into a wide open field in the beautiful town of Quebradillas.
Salty Dog Catamaran & Snorkel Tour: A half-day adventure to beautiful island beaches with lunch and drinks included – so fun!
Charco Frio: An awesome hike (fairly easy) down to a waterfall, river, rope swing, rock slide, and cliff jump! You can also just hike down and hang out.