Offshore Asset Protection

Why Owning Foreign Real Estate Makes More Sense Than Ever

Putting your money into foreign real estate is becoming a more appealing strategy all the time. Thanks to a crazy piece of pork in the U.S. HIRE Act passed earlier this year, currency controls in that country have been seriously tightened.

If you’re an American, I’m sure you realize that you have to report any financial accounts you hold outside the United States with a value of more than US$10,000. Now, though, foreign financial institutions are required to report on the investment activities of U.S. citizens.

It’s been increasingly difficult for some time for an American to open an international account abroad, and Switzerland this year has taken the position that it doesn’t want to do business with Americans, period. Not worth the hassle, thanks to HIRE Act requirements.

Options for Americans to protect their assets abroad are going to continue to disappear.

And, of course, we Americans aren’t the only ones who should be concerned about protecting our assets and preserving our privacy. If you aren’t already holding a sizeable portion of your assets outside your home country, I strongly recommend that you make this a priority agenda–no matter what passport you hold.

A portfolio of international real estate holdings should be an important part of your strategy. First, if you’re an American, it is one of two assets you can hold offshore without triggering a reporting requirement to Uncle Sam (the other is gold and other precious metals). The real estate you hold in another country is your own business.

Plus, it’s unseizable. The IRS might be able to take your foreign bank accounts (the new legislation makes this easier than ever). But how are they going to take your condo in the Philippines?

When Lief and I left the States more than 13 years ago, we made the conscious decision that we would remain fully compliant from a U.S. reporting and tax point of view. We did not and do not want to do anything we shouldn’t do, certainly nothing outside the law.

And that’s not what I’m suggesting to you. What I am suggesting is that it just makes sense to do everything you can to protect the money you’ve earned and the assets you’ve accumulated. And holding some of your wealth in international real estate is an excellent way to do that.

You don’t have to be super rich to take up the idea of buying real estate overseas to protect your wealth. Opportunities to buy land, houses, and apartments, for both investment and personal use, exist at all price levels.

This will be one important and timely topic of discussion at our upcoming Emergency Offshore Summit, taking place in about two weeks’ time here in Panama City.

Kathleen Peddicord