Nick Giambruno’s Note: Longtime readers know I live part of the year in South America. Frankly, I think the benefits of owning foreign real estate are unparalleled.
In today’s article, Jeff Thomas highlights a commonly overlooked advantage to owning property abroad—peace of mind.
Like most antiquated sayings, the one above contains sound advice.
When I was a boy, I was privileged to be exposed on a regular basis to the American Warner Brothers cartoons that lasted from the forties to the mid-sixties.
A favourite was Bugs Bunny, who delighted in outsmarting the bumbling hunter, Elmer Fudd. Elmer would threaten to shoot Bugs, who would then proceed to try to talk him out of it. Eventually, Elmer would decide that, as he was the one with the shotgun, he would cease the discussion and kill the rabbit.
He would fire his shotgun just as Bugs dived into his rabbit hole. Elmer would then fire again, directly into the hole, and assume Bugs was no more.
However, the wily Bugs had a tunnel leading to another rabbit hole that was just a few feet behind Elmer. He would calmly come out of the second hole, chewing a carrot, and ask Elmer what he was shooting at. Elmer would advise him that he’d just shot a “wabbit,” and Bugs would wait patiently for Elmer to figure out that he was very much alive.
Bugs could afford to be calm, since, as he had more than one hole, Elmer was no match for him.
As adults, we may no longer watch such clever cartoons, but Bugs still has a lesson to teach us today.
If we have only one hole and a hunter comes after us, we have no means of escape.
But life back then was very different. There were no rapacious governments hunting “tax cheats” and “deserters” – those who had chosen to expatriate their wealth, and very possibly themselves, in order to keep governments from stealing what they had earned.
At one time, this “hunt” by governments seemed not to be terribly unreasonable, but in recent decades, the mask has been withdrawn and it’s becoming increasingly clear that they’re not pillaging their citizens “for the common good.”
In fact, far from seeking to protect their citizens, many governments of the former “free world” countries clearly regard their people as milk cows.
Those who remain in such countries are like rabbits with only one hole. They’re at the mercy of their governments. And as conditions worsen, an increasing number of people are coming to realise that they’re actually trapped in their holes. Should their governments increase taxes and create capital and/or migration controls, they’ll have no choice but to comply.
This condition is borne out by the fact that so many people now fear their governments… and rightly so.
But, of course, there’s Bugs Bunny, who has the luxury of remaining calm, and even having fun, since he has multiple holes. If one is under attack, he can easily escape to another.
Bugs was, in fact, a pioneer of internationalisation, which can be defined as, “the practice of spreading one’s self both physically and economically over several jurisdictions in order to avoid being controlled or victimised by any one jurisdiction.”
For those who possess the wherewithal, a home in one or more alternate jurisdictions provides the freedom to simply move to another location if the home jurisdiction is proving oppressive. This may range from a luxury home in a resort to a simple apartment in a country where real estate is inexpensive.
Another form of internationalisation is the pursuit of legal residency in other jurisdictions. This is particularly valuable at a time when an economic crisis is on the horizon, as countries tend to pull in the welcome mat when a flood of people begins to exit a troubled country. However, those same countries tend to continue to honour their existing agreements with those who have already gained permission.
Multiple passports are also extremely useful, although most either take a few years to qualify for, or, if available immediately, tend to cost $100,000 or more.
To be sure, internationalisation takes time to put together and, even in its simplest form, carries a cost.
As a result, the great majority of people choose to do nothing. They tend to say, “Maybe it won’t get that bad.”
And, some may possibly get lucky and experience a lower degree of damage than others. The trouble is, when a government decides to shoot fish in a barrel, it’s unwise to be in that particular barrel.
Bugs Bunny retained not only his skin by having multiple holes; he also retained his sense of calm, as Elmer spent his ammunition fruitlessly.
This is an important point for us to remember. When chaos grips the world, there comes a point at which the holder of the shotgun decides to end the discussion and pull the trigger. At that time, those who have had the presence of mind to place themselves far from the epicenter of the crisis not only save themselves, they continue to enjoy peace and freedom in their alternate location.
This alone makes the effort and expense of internationalisation eminently worthwhile.
Editor’s Note: Learn how to set up your personal bolt-hole in Getting Out of Dodge, Doug Casey’s practical guide to internationalizing your life. Click here to download your free PDF copy.
Editor’s Note: Whenever there’s a crisis anywhere in the world, Bitcoin’s price spikes. That’s because regular people can use it to bypass unsound banks, worthless currencies, and government confiscation schemes. It’s become an escape hatch for people living in crisis-stricken countries—like Venezuela—where it’s hugely popular right now.
The endless stream of international crises is just one reason why Bitcoin mania is far from over. Click here to find out how you can profit.