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To Simon Letter—Here’s A Special Welcome
From Lief Simon
Dear New Simon Letter Subscriber,
In the 70s and 80s, only the absurdly wealthy or the ridiculously criminal went “offshore.” Typically, they went in search of tax loopholes or places to sanitize ill-gotten gains.
This explains why, even today, if you tell someone you’re opening a bank account in another country or incorporating your business in another jurisdiction, he’s likely to assume that you’re hiding something. At one time, that was a safe assumption, because, at one time, most people “going offshore” were, in fact, hiding something… from the government… from a soon-to-be ex-wife…
Today, this is a dangerous misconception, because, in the current global climate, the reality is that even the average guy on the street can benefit from opportunities for taking his money and maybe his life offshore. The trouble is, the average guy on the street still doesn’t have any idea, really, what that means.
But you’re not the average guy on the street.
Here’s where I’d like to begin the conversation that we’re going to continue over the coming months: It isn’t illegal to go offshore because all “going offshore” means is doing something outside your home country. If you’re an American, this can mean opening a bank account in Belize, for example, or incorporating your business in Panama. If you’re a Brit, it can mean taking advantage of tax advantages in the United States (which is one of the world’s biggest tax havens… only for the rest of the world, not for Americans).
Here’s the second important thing to understand about all this: In today’s screwed-up global economy, “going offshore” is something you should consider if you have any assets at all. It’s a different world than in the 70s and 80s, and, in today’s world, you need to do whatever you can to take control of whatever you’ve got.
If you’re an American, you aren’t going to be able to do this in the United States. That’s the simple evolving reality. You’re going to have to look at options in other countries. Options offshore.
You understand this reality. That’s why you subscribed to this service.
Your strategy for surviving in the current climate does not have to be complicated, but it must be based on diversification.
It can be as simple as opening a bank account in another country. This could be your first step, and maybe it’s the only step you’ll ever need. Or maybe it’ll lead to the development of a strategy that will eventually have your assets, your investments, your business interests, and your life well diversified around the world.
Finance 101 used to teach us that diversification had to do with spreading your investment capital among stocks, mutual funds, maybe some bonds, and cash in the bank. Today’s definition of diversification–my definition of diversification–includes stock, bond, metal, real estate, and commodities holdings, but spread over several countries and several currencies.
It includes holding residency in more than one country, so that, should you find yourself in a place where things become no longer bearable, you have an option for where to move next.
It includes holding your assets in structures that protect them while also (very important) minimizing the global tax effects.
Diversified in this way, you can minimize the effects of any single or localized crisis you may encounter.
You aren’t going to go from wherever you are right now to a fully diversified strategy overnight, but you do need to move sooner rather than later. I’ve been working at this for more than two decades. Unfortunately, you don’t have that kind of time. World events, triggered by massive national debt in the United States and elsewhere, are making it harder and harder to do the kinds of things I’m talking about, especially if you’re an American.
Again, you understand this. You recognize that going offshore is not illegal or “wrong.” In the current climate, it’s pragmatic and sensible. It’s survival.
Because of how it has evolved, the offshore world is full of a lot of cloak-and-dagger stuff. Privacy is important, and that’s one reason much of the offshore world is a mystery. However, because the attorneys and other service providers operating in this arena want to be able to charge you big fees for their services, they do whatever they can to keep the mystery up and the issues complicated.
This doesn’t have to be complicated, and it should never be cloak-and-dagger.
Lief Simon is my real name. I’m a real person with real experiences. Over the last 20 years, I’ve done most anything one could do “offshore.” My first job out of graduate school took me to Chad, Kazakhstan, and Argentina. Since then I’ve also lived in Ireland, Nicaragua (briefly), Paris, and Panama. I’ve invested in real estate in 21 countries (most recently Colombia). I’ve operated businesses in a half-dozen countries and opened bank accounts in more than a dozen. I acquired a second passport from Ireland and am a dual national.
I don’t put all this out there to boast, and, once you get to know me, you’ll come to understand that I’m all for privacy… especially my own. However, because the offshore world is populated by people who use pseudonyms rather than their real names and who seem to enjoy all the cloaks and daggers that can surround these ideas, I want to show you that I’m not an amalgam of several people’s experience rolled in one. I’m one guy, a guy who has done everything I write about. If I haven’t, you’ll know because I’ll tell you. I don’t like games or dishonesty, and I find the cloak-and-dagger aspects of this world a waste of time and energy.
Certainly I don’t know everything about everything offshore, and, again, when I don’t know something from personal experience, I’ll tell you. Then I’ll introduce you to someone I trust who does speak on that topic or that opportunity from personal experience.
Ours is a transparent world. Hide and seek doesn’t work. Instead, you want to show and tell. Disclose fully, confident that you’ve organized your life and your assets so that they’re protected.
When you subscribed to Simon Letter, I promised you access to my special Get-Up-To-Speed-Quick Package, which consists of five special reports. These reports will get you up-to-speed quickly, and they contain essential information to get you started down the road of offshore investing.
Please make time to read through these reports as soon as possible. This will help to jumpstart your knowledge base for the conversations we’re going to be having.
Whether you’re looking to do a few simple things to protect what you’ve got or contemplating legacy planning related to significant assets, you’re now on the right track.
I look forward to speaking with you in the pages of Simon Letter each month. In the meantime, you can access the most recent issue here.
P.S. As promised, when you subscribed to my Simon Letter service, I also signed you up to receive my free twice-weekly e-dispatch called Offshore Living Letter. This will allow me to stay in touch more regularly. Starting next week, you’ll hear from me on these topics every Monday and Thursday. These dispatches will support and complement my much more in-depth monthly advisories.