I remember walking into Credit Suisse in downtown Chicago back in 1986 to open my first international account. It was as simple as filling in a one-page form, showing my driver’s license, and giving my opening deposit.
Gold has tangible value. Unlike the money in your bank or the cash in your pocket, gold is an asset with intrinsic worth. It has been valued for thousands of years—and that’s not about to change. In a banking crisis, U.S. banks may confiscate your money. This happened in Cyprus with the infamous “bail-in” of defenseless depositors.
We all want to save taxes, make ourselves less of a target to sue-happy lawyers, and generally enjoy more freedom to live as we want to. You’ll be happy to hear, there are some well-established ways that you can preserve and protect your assets right now.
Until about 100 years ago, you didn’t need a passport for international travel. If you were traveling for some official purpose, or needed a way to identify yourself, you often had the option of carrying one. But you didn’t need permission from anyone to cross international borders. For better or worse, that’s not how things are today. Your passport doesn't belong to you. It belongs to whatever government issues you a passport and it can be taken away, for any reason.
An international bank account is always a good idea, particularly if you live, work, invest, or own property abroad. It allows you to control your money wherever you are on the globe, and it is your key to international investment opportunities. Even if you put a few thousand dollars in a non-U.S. bank, you still have the opportunity to take advantage of several key benefits of offshore banking.
If you’ve been keeping up with the stories about the Panama Papers in the mainstream media recently, you’d be forgiven for equating the word “offshore” with tax evasion, money laundering, and other criminal behavior. But there’s one small detail the media isn’t disclosing: The vast majority of the individuals whose confidential financial data was stolen weren’t doing anything illegal. According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which coordinated the review of the documents, more than 320,000 offshore entities appear in the leak.
Despite all the rhetoric out of Washington these days, you can bet we will see tax hikes this year. They might not be overt. Instead, we could see stealth taxes go up first…parking fees, garbage collection, vehicle registrations and the like.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to have bags of cash to open an offshore bank account. Even if you invest a few thousand dollars in a non-U.S. bank, you can still avail of several key benefits of offshore banking. Benefits like...
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.