According to the World Bank, it takes 2 days to start up a business in Australia, 6 in the U.S., 60 in Costa Rica, and 694 in Suriname.
Benningfield warns that many countries have a "layer of bureaucracy you don't really know about until you're there." Getting anything done--from obtaining a driver's license to renovating a home--can be a slog.
Leong says an easygoing attitude helps him handle Thailand, a country with turbulent politics and which bans foreigners from owning property, working or volunteering, and requires they check in with authorities every 90 days. "I don't get involved in local politics," he says. "It's their country, not mine. They make the laws and I obey them."
Photograph by Sergio Dionisio/Bloomberg