The Five Flags Explained
Nov. 15, 2012, Panama City, Panama: Five key considerations when formulating a strategy for diversifying your investments and your life offshore are residency and citizenship, taxes, banking, structures, and business opportunities.
Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,
As promised, at 8 a.m. this morning, Lief Simon took center stage in the meeting rooms of Panama City's Veneto Hotel to begin leading discussions that will continue over the coming three days. The topic?
Options and opportunities for diversifying your life, your assets, and your future.
"You understand the realities we're facing right now," Lief began, "thanks to the so-called Patriot Act, the HIRE Act, FATCA, and the coming 30% withholding that's going to be imposed on any U.S. person trying to transfer money to what the IRS deems a 'non-compliant bank.'
"There was even, recently, legislation proposed that would have made it possible for the IRS to take away the passport of any U.S. person it accused of owing US$50,000 or more in back taxes. The IRS wouldn't have to prove the accusation...just make it. And the American in question would find himself without a passport.
"This legislation was shot down, but I believe you can expect to see it put forward again.
"More recently, the IRS has been allowed to raid the IRA account of one American with a disputed tax debt.
"This is the climate we're all navigating," Lief continued. "What can you do?
"You can moan, groan, and complain. Woe is me...
"You can wait, watch, and hope for someone to come along to help...to show you what to do from here. But who would that someone be? Some government? It's government that has gotten us where we are today.
"Your only sensible option is to take control yourself."
Analyze. Monitor. Adjust. Adapt. Overcome.
That's the starting point for this week's discussions here in Panama City at this Offshore Summit.
Lief began the day by walking attendees through the basic strategy.
"Diversification," Lief said. "That's fundamentally what we're talking about. Three flags...five flags...seven flags...call it what you like. The point is to spread your assets, your investments, your business interests, and your life around.
"If you're diversified among different asset classes or investment types but all in the United States...you're not diversified," Lief pointed out.
"If you've got several bank accounts but all Stateside, you're not diversified.
"How many of you have more than one credit card in your wallet right now?"
Everyone in the room raised his hand.
"Good," Lief continued. "That's a start. You need more than one credit card, more than one bank account, more than one residency, and, I strongly recommend, more than one citizenship.
"You need options. That's the key to surviving and thriving in the face of what's to come...whatever's to come."
This isn't about hiding money. This isn't about avoiding taxes. This isn't about getting away with anything or breaking any law. Years ago, that could have been the case. Years ago, these ideas and agendas were more cloak and dagger, more suspect, and pursued by what was generally recognized as a fringe element.
Today these objectives are a necessity of the world we're living in.
"Diversify or die broke," as Lief put it.
Lief was followed by Mark Nestmann, the world's top residency and second citizenship expert, who continued in the same theme.
"Here are the three steps to taking back control of your life, your money, and your future," Mark began.
"First, establish an offshore economic base. Move your assets, your investments, and your business interests offshore.
"Second, find a suitable new country for establishing residency. Note that it's possible to be a legal resident of a foreign country without being physically resident there. Foreign residency can be a back-up plan, a waiting option.
"Third, obtain a second citizenship. This can follow from your foreign residency...or, depending on your circumstances and the jurisdiction, it can be the result of genealogy or a direct investment.
"Follow these three steps," Mark explained, "and you're in control. You, not any government anywhere, are in the driver's seat of your life and your future."
P.S. We're recording every speaker and every presentation, every question and every expert response over the three days of this final Offshore Summit of this year. While the conference continues, you can purchase the complete collection of recordings, which will be bundled to create our all-new Offshore Self-Preservation Kit, for a specially discounted pre-publication price.
When the final speaker leaves the stage Friday evening, this discount (of more than 70%) will be off the table. Meantime, you can take advantage of it here now.
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