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Why “Offshore” Shouldn’t be a Dirty Word

Why “Offshore” Shouldn’t be a Dirty Word

Let me begin by saying that if you believe everybody with an interest “offshore” is a crook… or that it’s immoral to maximize your legal tax deductions… then you might as well stop reading right now. What I have to say here is likely to offend you.

But if, by contrast, you’re interested in ways you can go abroad and not only increase your quality of life by living better for less… but perhaps also protect your savings, grow your nest egg, and build a legacy for your children and their children… then read on.

There are benefits of having a foothold abroad—advantages beyond the obvious ones like lower costs, a higher quality of life, and the prospect of real adventure.

For instance, you may be intrigued by the idea of owning a home overseas because it could give you a place to live full-time in retirement where your expenses would be less than they are now… or it could give you a vacation home to enjoy part of the year and rent out for income the rest. Fair enough.

But what you may not have considered is that owning property overseas can deliver additional benefits as well. With such an investment, you can gain real diversity in your portfolio… and a hedge against an uncertain economy at home.

After all, when you invest wisely beyond our border, even if the U.S. economy takes a dive, you could watch the value of your property increase. And an investment outside the U.S. dollar provides you protection against currency devaluation, too.

By investing in property overseas, you effectively move some of your eggs out of the “U.S. basket.” You “go offshore”—and in so doing, you gain a measure of protection against the volatility of the U.S. markets and economy.

You can gain tax advantages abroad as well. You might base a business overseas in a jurisdiction with foreigner-friendly tax laws—like Panama. Or retire overseas to a place where taxes are relatively low. Take IL editors Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher, for instance, who own a condo in Ecuador on which they pay less than $40 in taxes per year. In some nations we recommend, you can arrange your affairs so you owe zero tax on any foreign-earned income.

But “going offshore” isn’t only about money. It can also expand your opportunities for living, employment, and travel abroad. A second passport opens doors that can be difficult to unlock otherwise.

Say, for example, you have one from a European Union country, like Ireland. It would give you the freedom to live in, earn in, and move about the E.U., just as native-born citizens do. It’s perfectly legal for Americans to hold dual citizenship, and with it you can see how you might gain flexibility abroad.

What’s more, a second passport offers privacy to anybody concerned about traveling as an American. (In some parts of the world, carriers of a U.S. passport aren’t thought of too kindly these days…) But with a second passport, you can gain the protection of another flag.

Now my aim here isn’t to itemize all the benefits of the offshore world. I simply want to make the point that “going offshore” isn’t just about banking and secrecy… which is what I think most people think of when they hear those words.

It’s really about internationalizing your life. It’s about arranging your affairs—in perfectly legal ways—so you’re taking best advantage of opportunities and structures available to you. In all sorts of communities—and in all sorts of ways—you can live better for less overseas. If you can minimize your taxes, maximize your privacy, grow your nest egg, and protect your portfolio from uncertainty at the same time… why wouldn’t you?

 

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