Is it Safe to Move Wealth Offshore?

Recently, in talking with an associate at Casey Research, a discussion ensued regarding the risk that occurs when creating distance between yourself and your wealth.

He mentioned that, even though he is presently working on internationalising his liquid assets, he instinctively feels more comfortable with them as near to him as possible.

Coincidentally, a reader of this publication responded to a recent article,

I do worry about keeping the bulk of my assets overseas, as it runs the risk of falling prey to another government and me not having the time to get to those assets.”

The concept of “Internationalising” can be most briefly described as to “plant flags” in a variety of jurisdictions – i.e., to live in one country, hold a passport for a second country, do your banking in a third, have in investments in a fourth, etc.

This concept not only allows you to spread your potential for loss to multiple jurisdictions, it also assures that you are not “owned” by any one country.

Nearly every country around the globe tends to be more accommodating to its visitors and part-time residents than to its own citizens. This means that you have an advantage in those countries that you would not have at home.

For those of us who have lived an internationalised life for many years, it is easy to forget that our position is not by any means the norm and that our comfort level with having our assets in multiple countries is uncommon to most people.

This is particularly true for the literally millions of people who are just beginning to question their lifelong habit of operating entirely, or predominantly, locally. Their reluctance is understandable. They are just beginning to realise that their options are narrowing and that a major re-think will be necessary.

Internationalisation Advice

Now for the unfortunate truth: It’s a bit late in the game to begin to learn the ropes; it’s now time to play catch-up – rather quickly. Those who have waited until the wolf is coming up the walkway and have just now decided to prepare the house against wolf intrusion would be best advised to do two things:

First, take a long, hard look in the mirror and accept that the person who is staring back is in fact the one who must actually take action if he is to save himself.

Second, take a crash-course in self-preservation now.

This advice has been available for years for those who sought it. There are those individuals and publications that have been consistently providing it since well before the initial crashes in 2007 and 2008. There is a wealth of information in existence at this point.

If the reader is one of those who had not begun his preparation back when there was still plenty of time to do so, he would be advised to note that, before the year is out, there is great likelihood that the wolf will be rapping at his door. However, it could occur as soon as this month, even this week.

What, then, to do? Get to work, and do it now.

Time is unquestionably running out, and there is no time left for a full education. A crash-course is in order.

  • Does the most recent article you have read disappoint you because it does not directly answer all your problems? Make more effort – consult the wealth of information contained in the archive of this publication. Years of articles add up to a broader view.
  • Do you need advice on specific investments? At a minimum, a subscription to Casey Research’s International Speculator would be advised.
  • Do you fear making a less-than-perfect decision? There is no perfect decision. Weigh the options and make the best choice you can muster.

If the reader follows these suggestions, he may find investments that, although not necessarily ideal in the traditional sense, are safer than to simply allow his wealth to languish in his bank account, waiting for it to be “contributed” to his bank, to assure that it does not fail.

However, even if this crash course is undertaken, so close to final exam time, there will potentially be two points of extreme resistance on the part of the reader.

  1. No one wants to give up his bank account

No one, this writer included, wishes to give up his bank account. To do so is a major inconvenience. However, if faced with the possibility of the confiscation of our hard-earned paper notes, we would be foolish in the extreme to simply whine about the fact and wait until the confiscation takes place.

The world has reached the stage that, at least in many countries, the risk of loss may soon be so great that no more than a few months' spending money in a chequeing account is advisable. (Indeed, even this is likely to be lost, at least in part.)

If the amount withdrawn is too much to stuff in a mattress, it must be invested in things that are unlikely to deteriorate in real value. A further fact to get used to is that, yes, your country is slowly tightening the noose and your government are, more and more, limiting the safe havens that you may use.

Real estate, easily saleable commodities, and, especially, precious metals are good choices.

  1. No one wants to venture abroad

We all feel safest when our assets are nearby. Preferably in an account in the bank downtown. Or in a safe deposit box. However, the bottom may soon fall out of the traditionally “safe” havens.

There are some countries overseas where the likelihood of confiscation is less – countries that are not so tyrannical as in the present-day First World. Do these countries offer any guarantees? No, of course not. But the likelihood of loss is far less than in some other countries that we like to think of as being more “advanced” or more “sophisticated.”

Again, all of the above concerns have been thoroughly addressed in articles in recent years, many of which can be found by searching the International Man website.

One last suggestion: Do not look to anyone to provide the one magic article that will have all the answers to your exact personal situation. You are embarking upon the foremost economic event that has occurred in your lifetime. Get to work. The wolf is nearing your door and will soon be knocking.

Tags: offshore banking,