The property market drives the stock market in Hong Kong… When property booms, Hong Kong booms. This is important because Hong Kong residential sales just hit a 25-year low. And based on history, this could lead to a huge rally in Hong Kong’s stock market. Gains of 53% in two years are possible, starting now. Hong Kong residential property sales have been down…big.
In 2002, there were only 1,300 movie theaters in all of China. Think about that: 1,300 theaters to serve more than a billion people. To put that in perspective, the U.S. had a whopping 35,688 theaters in 2002, or roughly one movie screen for every 8,000 people. China’s paltry 1,300 screens meant there was only one screen for every 1.04 million people. That’s like going to the drive-in with half the population of Houston, Texas.
Owning an investment property overseas can be a smart—and lucrative—way to truly diversify your portfolio. In the right markets, overseas real estate can generate excellent rental returns and increase handsomely in value over time, giving you a generous profit when you choose to sell. But you often need cash on hand to make this kind of purchase. And for many folks, that can prove a hurdle.
As a U.S. citizen, no matter where in the world you live, the IRS requires you to report your income, file your tax return, and pay your taxes.
There are many common misconceptions about Americans living overseas, a common one being that once you move overseas, you are no longer required to file a tax return.
Cybercrime is booming. Which means the business of providing cybersecurity is booming, too. Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated all the time. In the last year, the number of records exposed in data breaches soared nearly 100%, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Did you know there is a little-known and legal strategy that can let you make tens of thousands more dollars in Social Security? This strategy, which most U.S. citizens don’t know about, can dramatically increase your retirement income, letting you live a far more comfortable retirement at home or abroad. But it’s about to disappear… possibly forever.
Living and working overseas provides opportunities for new vistas, new cultures, great food, more sunshine, and a much lower cost of living. But did you know that it can also provide you with a huge tax beneﬁt? Maybe you are overseas as an employee for a corporation, a local B&B, or even a tour company. Perhaps you operate abroad as an independent consultant, freelancer, or business owner. If you are a U.S. citizen living and working outside the U.S. for most of a year, you may qualify for what’s known as the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE). With this, you could completely eliminate your U.S. tax liability.
Because my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I have been living and working abroad for 15 years, we’re sometimes interviewed by other writers and reporters about being expats. I spoke with a reporter from Canada a few days ago, and I was reminded of one of the most powerful economic principles of expat life.
When emerging markets get going, they can really soar.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index climbed 526% from September 2001 to October 2007. The problem is that these incredible highs are often followed by incredible lows. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing today, as emerging markets hit their lowest level since 2009.
So you’ve moved overseas to start a new life. Maybe you’ve left an old job and started a new business—and it’s thriving. Perhaps you are finally living the overseas retirement you always dreamed of. But wherever you go, and whatever you do, if you’re a U.S. citizen, you cannot escape your annual U.S. income tax responsibilities. Luckily, filing your taxes from overseas is as easy now as it’s ever been. And you may even qualify for some great benefits by doing it.
Genevieve from Atlanta married a prince from Monaco. She moved all her belongings to her new home to live there with him. As a U.S. citizen abroad, she files her annual tax return with a status of Married Filing Separate. All assets are in her husband’s name and nothing is titled jointly.
The chart shows the price returns on Japan’s TOPIX Stock Price Index for each month of the year (in Japan’s currency, the yen)… Two other trends quickly pop out at you when you look at the chart: How poorly Japanese stocks do in the summer and fall, and how well they do early in the year. The returns from May to November look pretty darn bad. And the returns from January through April look pretty darn good.
Where should you stash your rare coins, precious metals, or other long-term investments you want to keep safe and secure? You could hold them in the U.S., in a bank safe deposit box (if it’s big enough) or a private vault. But if you really want to keep them safe, you’ll want to consider storing them internationally, to diversify where you keep your wealth. There are some other great reasons for doing this.
The mood on copper has tarnished lately. The industrial metal was down 17% in late 2015. It hit a six-year low in August.But the situation for copper is not as dire as it seems. In fact, we could be in for an upside surprise this year.
If someone could secretly monitor everything you’ve done on your computer, what could they find? Photos of your family? Your bank details? The truth is that data you entered into your computer months or years ago can be retrieved long after you think it’s gone. And old files you deleted can still be found, even years after you removed them. All computers are vulnerable to this. And in the wrong hands, this information can easily come back to haunt you.
Every once in a while, an investor with fresh money to invest should pause and ask an important question: “What asset class can I buy that is unquestionably cheap?” The asset class on the bargain-basement table today is emerging markets. Hard to believe, but you can buy most emerging-market stocks today at valuations that are nearly as low as what they reached during the 2008 financial crisis.
I call it the worst law most Americans have never heard of…but you may have heard it called FATCA—the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. FATCA demands that every foreign ﬁnancial institution (FFI) in the world turn over account information from its U.S. clients to the Internal Revenue Service. As you can imagine, this can make it difﬁcult for U.S. citizens to offshore their money and keep it safe from the prying hands of the U.S. government.
FATCA, officially known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, is probably the worst law that most Americans don’t know about…especially if you’re a U.S. citizen thinking of investing outside the U.S. It basically requires you to tell the U.S. government a yearly breakdown of all financial accounts you hold outside the country—from bank accounts to companies to rent-producing real estate.
Not that long ago, you could buy a CD in a U.S. bank and get a decent rate of return…4% or 5% annually was typical. Sure, you wouldn’t get rich this way. But it was a safe and affordable way to build a nest egg. Today of course, times are very different. For nearly a decade, the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates at zero. And instead of paying 4% to 5% annually on CDs, now you’re lucky to get 1%.
Here comes the sun…for consumers as well as investors.The solar power industry has had its ups and downs during the past few years, but it seems to have turned a corner. Indeed, you could say that solar is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In June, United States solar facilities smashed their record for power generation. Utility-scale solar power plants—those with a capacity of one megawatt or more—produced 2,765 gigawatt-hours of electricity.
Despite the U.S. stock market’s high profile, its long-term performance has seriously lagged behind some really surprising foreign stock markets. This fact is an important reminder that the most obvious investment choices are not necessarily the best ones. Every year, Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse produces the Global Investment Returns Yearbook in association with the London Business School.
I had heard the stories. About a country where U.S. citizens could secure easy residence, a second passport, and open a safe bank account without even acquiring residence. Well, the stories are true. Based on my travels across the world and my visits to Uruguay, I place this country near the top of my list of livable countries. That is mostly because of its friendly people, but also because it accords everyone the freedom to live in peace as they wish. In addition to having no restrictions on foreigners’ individual ownership of land, it’s one of the only countries on the planet whose constitution guarantees foreigners the right to live there, and to become citizens.
Have you ever thought of offshoring to protect your wealth? If so, you are among the growing number of U.S. citizens looking to do this. And I’m going to let you in on one of the best offshore strategies out there—one that can do what no other offshore strategy can.
Everyone likes to complain about inﬂation, right? But I have news for you: There are big changes afoot that are going to make many of the things you buy not more expensive, but less. Crude oil now threatens to test its price low of 2009. But oil isn’t the only commodity under pressure. Coffee is down more than 40% since its recent peak in October of last year. You know what’s doing nearly as badly as coffee? Copper. Copper has broken not one, but two important lines of support. In July, Goldman Sachs slashed its price target for copper in 2016 by 44%. In fact, all industrial metals are doing poorly. I’m talking copper, aluminum, tin, nickel, iron.
The debt-ridden U.S. government is desperate to keep your money inside the country. That’s why the government will always be spreading misinformation…such as the lie that offshore asset protection is dead. The truth is that, for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, the offshore option is alive and kicking. It’s never been a more necessary part of your personal wealth preservation plan than right now. It’s also never been easier.
First, let’s set the scene: Common legal grounds enabling someone to acquire a second passport include marriage to a foreign citizen or birth in a foreign nation. In some countries like Ireland and Greece blood ancestry is a basis. Then there’s formal naturalization, meaning you apply and qualify for citizenship status.
Scandinavia is one of the most expensive regions in the world… and Norway is usually the most expensive country within Scandinavia. But thanks to a falling oil price coinciding with a rising U.S. dollar, Norway is on the bargain counter. The Norwegian krone recently touched a 13-year low against the dollar, while the shares of Statoil, Norway’s largest oil company, recently bounced off a six-year low (in dollar terms). These multi-year lows offer enticing buying opportunities for the forward-looking investor.
If you were to make your way far below the icy North Pole to the seabed at a certain spot, you would ﬁnd an unusual titanium ﬂag. It’s Russian, and it was stuck there in 2007 by the crew of two mini-submarines as a symbolic land-grab that rivals anything in history. Though it’s not a “New World” that Russia and other Arctic countries are seeking. It’s new oil. And now, with the scramble for Arctic oil heating up, the abundant black gold buried beneath the ice could constitute a fantastic investment opportunity.
When it comes to taking your life and assets offshore, few tools are more valuable than a second passport. I have one, and it makes my life easier in many ways. For example, I am able to enter Brazil and several other countries on my second passport (South African) visa-free, since Brazil requires visas for U.S. passport holders. And when I go to certain countries—ones that aren’t big fans of the U.S.—using my second passport helps me avoid attention.
There are many countries around the world that offer you the right to residence without having to be physically there. The biggest benefit of having residence in another country is the ability to avail of offshore and financial protection strategies that would otherwise be unavailable to you as an America citizen.
One of my favorite scam stories is of the German lady living in Paraguay. Claudia Bettina Muller was arrested last year for printing fake passports in her basement. Police found printing and engraving machines, along with boxes of blank passports and counterfeit government forms. But before I had ever heard of Claudia Bettina Muller or the Paraguayan police caught up with her, I had heard of this scam. I had come across a speaker at an event in Nevada who claimed he could get anyone in the attentive audience a Paraguayan passport in as little as a month. This was possible he maintained, because he had high-level government contacts. The cost was only $45,000. (That’s half of what any of the second citizenship programs I work with charge.) Right then, as he spoke, I knew it was a scam.
Why take your assets offshore with an international structure? Simple. It can make your assets virtually invulnerable to civil judgments. It can also protect you from risks such as civil forfeiture, exchange controls, repressive legislation, or political instability. It’s more difficult for creditors to collect against international assets. No country automatically enforces U.S. civil judgments. Many countries don’t enforce them at all. If you live in the States, a U.S. court can order you to repatriate your international assets. But if you’ve set up your structure properly, you won’t have the power to bring the funds back. And that’s a fantastic incentive for a creditor to settle the lawsuit.
In 1986, I walked into the main Credit Suisse branch in Chicago and told the doorman I wanted to open a Swiss bank account. I was led to a private office overlooking the Chicago skyline and was asked for my minimum deposit. Being just 31 at the time, I played it conservative and started with just $2,000 (about $4,300 in today’s dollars). I was asked to fill out a one-page form and provide a copy of my driver’s license. I gave him a check and away I went. It took all of 20 minutes. In 1986, “offshore” was still exotic. It was something regular people didn’t really do. How things have changed in 29 years.
For U.S. citizens looking to retire overseas, one of the main concerns is their tax obligations. How will the big move affect the taxes they have to pay? And will they still be able to access their retirement income overseas without difficulty? By and large, these issues are more straightforward than you might expect.
Conventional Western views of Africa are of a poverty-stricken continent devoid of modern technology and economic opportunity. But over the past few years, indicators have emerged to challenge this dated and misplaced narrative. The combined GDP growth of Africa makes it the second-fastest-growing economy in the world. Clearly, there are investments on this continent worthy of anyone’s portfolio.
The United States was founded on the principles of personal freedom and individual liberty. Unfortunately, we seem to have wandered far from these standards. In 2013, U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden told us just how far: The government can look into our personal lives via phone records, emails, and our internet histories. The NSA has the capacity to reach nearly 75% of all U.S. internet traffic. It can read the written content of emails and access the information of phone calls made via the internet.
Individual investors in China and India are buying physical gold in ever-growing quantities…and yet the price of gold isn’t rising. What gives? The short answer would appear to be that Western investors remain fairly persistent sellers of gold, thereby suppressing the gold price. The longer answer is that no one really knows. During Asian trading hours, gold has gained a cumulative $738 an ounce since September 2011. But during New York and London trading hours, gold has racked up a loss of $1,177 per ounce. The bigger point here is that the “Asian bid” for gold is large and growing.
In October of last year, China and Russia signed a landmark currency-swap deal allowing Russia to tap into $24.4 billion in liquidity. This was followed by an announcement that the People’s Bank of China would permit trading of renminbi-ruble derivatives and China’s Import-Export Bank extended credit to two sanctioned Russian banks. In other words, China’s doing what it can to help Russia keep its head above water. This is one of the greatest economic chess moves in recent history. And could be one of the greatest investment opportunities in our lifetime.
At the beginning of 2015, the crazy market barber was chasing down every solar stock in town with a pair of shears. But against all odds (and the charts) solar stocks are quickly re-growing these days—and setting up a hell of a trading opportunity for you, too. And you’re looking at a 20% gain in just a few months if you have the stones to pull the trigger today. I backed off solar at the beginning of 2015 because every finance article that wasn’t about the oil crash was about solar power. But in February, solar started looking a little less awful. It started slinking higher, while the major averages had a brownout. That was our clue that something big was brewing. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE:TAN) is now up 20% since bottoming out in January. That’s a new bull market, baby!
Back in November 2013, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) floated the idea of a “one-off wealth tax” to help pay off the debts of heavily-indebted developed countries, like the U.S., Japan, and much of Europe. Such a tax had been used earlier that year in Cyprus. It wasn’t just the IMF, either: The European Union, the German Bundesbank, and the Bank of England had all been dropping hints that a wealth tax could be coming soon. Ideally (for government, anyway), a “wealth tax” would be imposed on households’ net worth —including their shareholdings and fixed assets such as real estate—but this would pose difficult logistical and enforcement problems. So the most likely scenario is a levy on bank balances, as in Cyprus. Banks would simply be instructed to deduct a certain percentage of the balance—say, 10%—of each savings, checking, or deposit account and transfer it to the government or central bank.