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SOVEREIGN MAN

Six “Must Do’s” to Maximize Your Freedom

I’ll tell you why Honduras is really starting to trouble me… I have a few friends left at Joint Task Force- Bravo stationed at Soto Cano Air Base about 50 miles from the capital city of Tegucigalpa, and the situation appears quite tense.

Officially the 500+ US military forces on the ground have been ordered back onto the base and to stay out of sight for the time being… SOUTHCOM, the military command that oversees troops in Honduras, is concerned that the slightest hint of US aggression or influence could result in yet another prolonged conflict.

But while the generals understand that US military forces are sapped and strained, politicians can see a silver lining in the political chaos: finding a reason to invade is a great excuse to raise taxes, dump money into the private sector to support the war, and create another US-friendly state beacon in the region to buffer against Chavez, Ortega, and Correa.

It sounds too perverted for reality, but this is the mindset of policy wonks who are itching to take their PhD dissertations for a test spin in the real world. I’m watching very carefully for signs of a troop buildup at Soto Cano in the hopes that Honduras doesn’t turn into the next Cuba.

(as an aside, I do not expect the situation in Honduras to have any adverse affect on Panama; in fact, it probably makes Panama’s stock rise as the country continues to be a beacon of stability in an otherwise nuttier region.)

My guess is that there’s probably a lot of Hondurans right now who wish they had a lifeboat strategy… remorse is a terrible emotion. There were probably a lot of Rwandans in 1994 and Japanese-Americans in 1942 who thought the same thing.  Being prepared is never about pessimism of fear-mongering, but rather the rejection of the blissfully ignorant notion that ‘it could never happen here.’

It can. And it just might.

I’m not of the camp that geopolitical and economic calamity will get so bad that the entire world will look like a sequel to Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome… perhaps I have more faith in my species and the free market.  But I am open to a variety of possibilities, and more conspicuously the ‘unknown unknowns,’ to quote the potentially-soon-to-be-late Donald Rumsfeld.  Consequently, I structure my life in a way that allows for maximum freedom and flexibility.

Based on my own experiences, I would suggest the following:

  • Find at least one (and preferably several) places outside of your home country to escape to. Strongly consider buying property there.
  • Consider a second citizenship program; at a minimum, set up residency in another country.
  • Store physical and paper assets outside of your home country, and outside of the electronic banking system.
  • Demand privacy.
  • Keep some investment capital at the ready so that you can jump on phenomenal deals as they arise
  • Look for opportunities for additional income that are not constrained by your geography

More on all of these topics in future issues; after all, that’s what this letter is all about– achieving freedom, and I sincerely hope that this content can help.  On that note, I was really overwhelmed at the responses and positive feedback from Friday’s suggestion to buy Mark Nestmann’s book ‘The Lifeboat Strategy’.  Again, I highly recommend that everyone read it, it’s one of the best ‘starter guides’ to internationalization that I have read.

You can find it at MarkNestmann.com; based on popular demand, I’ve contacted Mark to request a short interview and to answer some of your questions in a public forum. More to follow.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Thomas

    You’re spot on with the direction of the newsletter IMO. I’m interested in on-the-ground intel on how to execute the the international man strategy. The colorful insights into various cultures from a first hand perspective are invaluable. Here’s a specific question: can one set up online brokerage/trading accounts outside the US that are as effective and price competitive as say for example TradeStation or Fidelity Active Trader? Thanks for all the excellent info.

    • Annette Appelby

      You can open both of the mentioned accounts from abroad, I’ve done it from Europe.

  • Mike Lenker

    Curious that you worry about the US intervening to “create another US-friendly state” against Chavez etc., when the sounds from Obama are all supportive of Zelaya, Chavez’ pal. Why would the US do that, after having elected its own version of Chavez? Also, what is your take on who the Hondurans think is legitimate? Accounts published in Investors Business Daily say that Zelaya was deposed on orders from the Supreme Court and legislature, and that the anti-Zelaya crowds are bigger than the pro-Zelaya ones. Other accounts, such as the AP’s, suggest the opposite.

  • Travis

    Simon,
    The letter is great. Perfect length, very informative and useful to me. I appreciate it.

    “Look for opportunities for additional income that are not constrained by your geography” is what I have began to do over the last few months more heavily – I all but dissolved my local business. Though I have lived and worked in a few places, this is a level of freedom I have not yet enjoyed. I could really use more information on this topic. Currently I am working on a few ideas for information services on the internet. I’d eat up any further information you can offer on this topic – financial freedom from geography. I still love the work I have been doing, but I want to earn money everyday without having to be in any particular place – the tools to do it seem quite cheap.

    I have sold off most of my “stuff” online – people still want to shop for shit – thus avoiding giving things away and I have sold some ridiculous household items. Retail and Hospitality are in the toilet in Victoria BC this summer and I sold a used rubber maid garbage can for $5! The Life Boat is half built!

    ’til next time,
    Travis

  • RA

    I’d have to say the accounts from Investors Business Daily are clearer. Besides being the Latinamerican President with the worst approval rating (25% according to “Consulta Mitovsky” Oct. ’08) Zelaya’s selfish and careless attitude had pinned civil, legal, public, and even religous institutions against him, but most importantly the majority of the population. Unfortunately, the pro-Zelaya coalition (including powerful friends in nearby countries) has done a larger campaigning job internationally. Here’s a link of an interesting article that came out as the situation first developed: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124623220955866301.html

    My question is if it is likely the U.S. would get militarily involved if say Nicaraguan or Venezuelan troops invaded Honduran territory? Thanks for bringing the subject about. It’s very interesting.

  • http://realdealfinancial.blogspot.com/ John

    Thomas,

    Check out Saxo Bank in Denmark.

    • milka

      hi – have any idea what’s in austria?

  • Victor Rodriguez

    Great newsletter. Thanks!

    What is your take about putting money in property in Iceland at this moment?

  • Nick

    Do you have any recommendations for private safe deposit boxes and/or safe storage facilities in Central/South America?
    Thanks!

  • andrew

    good informative letter keep upthe good work

  • Anthony

    Simon:
    I would appreciate your take on Switzerland. They are not fully integrated into the EU and have historically been economically/fiscally conservative and politically neutral. I believe that the cost of living is high, but I think that it has come down lately, on a relative basis.

    I know this isn’t “off the beaten path” but because of employment constraints, I don’t have the ability to relocate to some of the more exotic locales that you typically review.

    It seems like it might be a good place to ride out the storm.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Anthony

  • Mike Lenker

    Here is a great article on Honduras, which I cribbed from the Campaign fo Liberty website, http://www.campaignforliberty.com

  • I.T. Francis

    I’m a big fan of this report, and I agree with everything I see on it. Although I in no way think I’m anywhere on Simon’s level, might I suggest a seventh suggestion? As the six from above are large scale, there are situations where they won’t help much straight away. In my case, I have been in the situation where I don’t have time to organise anything. If you’re like me, a great thing to have is a bag with some important items that will make any situation easier to handle. I have a black eastpak backpack containing: my several passports, £1000+ (depending), a phone charged but battery taken out, a fresh sim, a set of clothes, and a dell mini 10. Certain people will need other items, change to suit but keep it light. This will allow you to move and make the necessary plans and connections needed. Keep this away from your home, just in case. Many of my friends have wished they had one.

    I.T.F

    • http://www.boat-led.com Cameron Benz

      I might suggest something a touch more durable than the eastpak (IIRC, it’s like Jansport and I’ve destroyed my share). It would suck to be using it and have it come apart at the seams.

  • Robert Gillies

    Having lived in Panama for 10 years I can offer the following advice. If you need to make a living here think in terms of a small business. Wages are terrible so you don’t want employment. The Chinese have been very successful with small businesses in Panama simply because they are very tight with their money. Almost all of their profits get put back into the business and they live on very little at least initially. The advantage is that it requires less capital to start a small business in Panama or most other places in latin america than it does in the USA. The other thing is that it is not fair to compare Obama to Chavez because Chavez is totally crazy whereas Obama is not. I didn’t come to Panama to escape the USA and it is possible I will return some day. There are advantages and disadvantages to anyplace. If you are young and just starting out there are normally better opportunities in the USA than in most of latin america. If you are retired or older with a few bucks and some business experience then there are good places in latin america to consider. The USA unlike Australia for example will pay you your social security if you live here and will also pay some additional social security for your child if you have one to a local girl. Uncle Sam does not treat us expats so bad as some people would like to think. Our new president here in Panama (Martineli) is a good businessman (he owns a large supermarket chain called Super 99) but he also tries to help the poor. He is older and had made all the money he needs so he doesn’t need to steal from the government. He is pro-business and against corruption. I am optimistic that he will be a good president. I am also optimistic about Columbia. I think Columbia has come a long way and the worst of the drug problems are behind them. Just my two cents. Volcan, Chiriqui, Panama.

    • lrm

      Thanks for your two cents,Robert. Really helpful to have different ‘on the ground’ reports to add experience and breadth to people’s research on areas! I agree, USA is not as bad as people often make it out to be. And leaving a place on ‘good terms’ as opposed to ‘oh no,i better get out b/c of x,y and z’,generally yields more fruit. ie,focusing on the future and what you want to create,not on ‘i want the opposite of what i don’t like’.
      Mindset and perspective are key. Thanks again.

    • Rococo Revival

      Hi Robert:

      I know I’m a bit late, but what does the climate look like for physicians? I am finishing my training in internal medicine in June and looking to work in Panama? Do you think this is a good option? I’m Nigerian-American, but I can speak Spanish fluently. Thanks for your input.

  • Javier

    This newsletter is really practical and absolute helpful specially for me – I’m living in one of the three countries that were mention in the memo.
    I’m planning to have my emergency plan (get out of here) but so far I have found that is more complicated that what I thought. Any good advice will be appreciated

  • Norm

    I’d like to suggest to anyone retiring to follow a few guidelines.
    [1] Don’t buy anything you can’t pay cash for. Use credit cards for emergencies only.
    [2] Save 10% of your earnings and add them to your principal. It may start out a bit difficult but it get’s easier as time goes on.
    [3] Minimize your taxes.
    [4] Have your money in at least three countries. Preferable ones that pay reasonable interest rates and have a good rating. Australia and New Zealand usually fit into that category.

    My wife and I have been following those guidelines for about 35 years now and retired 26 years ago. We have considerable more money now than we did when we retired. Interest we have paid since we retired wouldn’t be enough to buy a good meal for two.

    Hope you all enjoy retirement as much as we have. It has been and continues to be great fun and interesting.

    Norm

    • Genghis82

      Did you have a lot of upfront capital before you retired? I’m 29, trying to earn some money for now as well as setting up myself for later. I can’t permanently leave the UK due to family reasons so I’m thinking it may be difficult to set up anything abroad. Help!

  • Gary

    Simon: Could you write about anonomyous and virtual cred/debit cards?

    Thanks for great letter.

    Gary

  • http://www.the-amazing-alexander-technique.com Forrest

    Simon,
    My wife and I have tentative plans to move to Panama. We will spend a month beginning in September. I would be more comfortable wherever I live if I have tools for self defense should that become necessary. I understand gun ownership is legal for expats as long as registration procedures are followed. I gather that it is a serious matter to be found with an unregistered weapon (jail time). I read that bad guys are inclined to seek out those who own weapons because they want to steal them. Knowing there is a bit of corruption in bureaucracies, I would think there might be a possibility that registering my weapon would put me on two lists: One might put us in more danger rather than provide protection.
    Is that a silly concern? I am not inclined to worry. I do want to be prudent. A 12 gauge seems prudent, but only if it doesn’t make us a target.
    Thanks.
    Forrest

    • Michael

      Forrest: Learn Krav Maga and you won’t need a weapon to feel and stay safe. With 12 months of diligent study you can learn to deal with mildly armed attackers. Another 12 months and you will feel confident in most situations. Supplement with 1:1 training from a high level instructor and you will be extremely well prepared. I have studied with Krav Maga Worldwide (http://www.kravmaga.com/) and highly recommend them.

      • StandFast

        While I don’t deny the utility of hand to hand training, you can’t karate chop a bullet. This is neither The Matrix nor Remo Williams, and how tragic would it be to feel a fool when your close quarter skills fail against an attacker 20 paces away?

      • tnjazzgal

        Hmmm…. kinda like planting an orange seed & waiting 2 yrs for it to grow into a tree & bear fruit so you can pick one, instead of just going to the store & buying oranges…. not to mention that in 2 yrs, the frog will most likely be quite “well done”

  • stilo

    What do you think of Ireland as a place to plant a flag, in light of the fact of my being eligible for dual citizenship there and the US?

    • Dag

      The economy of Ireland is dead. 6 banks nationalised by the Government and no sympathy by anyone (regulators, etc) for shareholders. When they collapse, they fall in hours.

    • Eshoptodrop

      I would get my Irish citizenship immediately. Whether you want to live there, or own property there are entirely different subjects. At least you would have a 2nd citizenship, and the EU would be open to you.

  • http://www.future-of-anti-aging.com Matthew

    I love the idea of becoming a global citizen to maximize your personal freedoms. Can you consider some articles on medical travel?

    It seems that having access to cutting edge medical treatments around the world would be one of the most important benefits of traveling or living abroad.

  • Captain Ron

    Always look forward to your “notes from the field” I’ve been a follower of yours for years. Although I am active duty military (18 years) , I’ve been able to take some of your advice. I currently have two passports and working on a third. I also own foreign property.

    Rome is burning and I refuse to be the frog left in the proverbial boiling pot. I am slowly preparing to become an expat once I retire from the military. Since I will be drawing a retirement from the Federal Gov’t (assuming it’s not raided to pay off the national debt) is there any way to live abroad while drawing a retirement and remaining off the radar sort of speak ? I’m afraid since the gov’t will always have leverage on me; similar to a parent holding the purse strings on a kids allowance. Hard to maximize my freedom and maintain privacy with the gov’t wanting a mailing address or bank account to send my retirement check.

    Any advice ?

    Thank you for all you do.

    • Dhannok1

      Rule #1 Never work for a bankrupt entity like Government. Why someone would expect a pension from a bankrupt entity is beyond me.

  • Dboy

    It would be a good idea to datastamp these articles so we don’t have to guess when they were written.

    Is there an update on the situation in Honduras? I have always been of the opinion than relocation to south america is only a PARTIAL solution, due to the history of US attacks against countries in south america.

  • coreys4

    If you would like to understand the history of the U.S. in Central and South America, read “The Shock Doctrine”. It will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up!!

    • http://twitter.com/pdtrading Peter Davis

      corey – my issue with “The Shock Doctrine” is that Naomi Klein doesn’t understand what a free market is, which doesn’t make her all that much different than most. What she describes in her books is totally real, but she blames the free market, not understanding that, in a truly free market, that crap would never happen. The cause is whatever hydra monster combination between oligarchy, dictatorship and the free market we have right now in the U.S.

      • Pat

        Mr. Davis I appreciate what you have written.  I currently live in Spain.  Let me tell you European Facism / Socialism sucks.

  • Southernman

    Panama has become the MLM of Latin America.  If you seek true economic opportunities, almost any country in South America is better than Panama.  The only decent thing of substance in Panama are its banking laws.  Ecuador is quickly falling into the same MLM type environment.  I have lived in South America for 15 years and have been blessed that I have only had to travel to Panama three times.  Americans love it there because such a large portion of the population speaks English but I could never live there.  You can live better and cheaper in Florida right now and real estate is certainly cheaper in Florida.  Panama was a decent investment about ten years ago but now is the most over priced in all of Latin America.  If you want to retire on a budget you need to travel further south and be willing to expand your vocabulary and horizons.  Rent a car and drive around Panama.  It is the armpit of Central America.  Regardless of how many guns you own, you are a sitting duck if you chose to live in a highrise or out in the country.  Opportunity is in South America.  Avoid Ecuador, Chile and Panama and you will find more opportunities in every country.  100K will not get you very far anywhere in Latin America unless you are willing to make a major lifestyle change and live like the average national.  Few Americans can do this.  Do not buy into the lies of the MLMs who are pushing Panama and Ecuador.  It is already too late to make any real money.  You have to travel throughout South America before you decide upon a place to retire if you believe that the US will become a worse place to live.  I won’t tell you where to go other than to go and spend a year traveling before you set permanent roots in a country but I can tell you that it is not Panama.  Land and quality of life are much cheaper in the US than in Panama.  I know so many people that are stuck there and unable to even sell for half of what they paid for apartments, houses and land just a few years ago.  There are very few buyers and once you travel the interior you will understand why.  Never accept anyone’s word, travel and see with your own eyes how much better the quality of life is outside of these two MLM countries.  The guys at the top of the pyramid have done well but the new immigrants are not getting any deals.  I am self supporting and own my own farm and paid less than 10K and am a 15 minute walk from the Caribbean.  You can not do that in Panama or Ecuador.  Do not believe a word.  Venture out and seek out places where there are no Gringos and you will do well.  Opportunity is everywhere but you need to travel further south to find it.  Price condos and highrises in Miami and then do the same in Panama.  It is much cheaper in Miami and with more opportunity.  Stay off of the internet and get your butts into some busses or cars and travel.  The internet is the snake oils salesman’s dream of the 21st century.  Beer at ny beach is 35 cents.  What do you pay in the great Republic of Panama?

    • RelocateFromUSA

      Hey thanks for the very informative post. I have kinda been picking up on what you said about Panama in the LITTLE bit of reading I have done over the last yr or so. I got the sense that it has become a little like Costa Rica.

      “I am self supporting and own my own farm and paid less than 10K and am a 15 minute walk from the Caribbean.” 

      Do you mind sharing with my where this is? This is exactly my dream. I have decided to make it happen.

    • Davesbox1

      i can buy a lot in panama for 10,000 dollars wthin 5 minutes walk  of the beach, beer is 30 cents when you buy a case. i am an american with 30 years going to panama and my construction costs are 12 dollars a square ft- its really pretty ice IF you stay out of the capitol- a 6 br house sold last month near las tablas for 85k- i couldnt get there fast enough, but its really still a great place if you avoid the realtors, and You speak spanish…

    • Kyle

      Pardon, what is MLM?  thanks. 

  • souldefender

    So you didn’t want to post my comments about “Aztlan”, the previous Fast n Furious gun running supplying the drug cartels and Hamas in Mexico and the planned attack on our nation from those groups in Mexico. Now, two days later they trot out Bruer as the sacrificial lamb in Fast n Furious and what is the first thing the lame idiot tries to excuse the administration with, “Bush did it first with another program and I didn’t notice the parallels?” Oh, you mean you lost an unaccountable number of automatic weapons and anti-tank missiles already? (More like gave away). So when I sent my scary post and you wouldn’t post it did you think I was crackpot? How do you like me now? I can’t reveal much info to you about how I know what I know, myself and others would die if I exposed that information. It will suffice to say I have been long aquainted with people close to the top in Mexico and this country, both politically and militarily. If this website is what you say it is, you better get to soliciting the spooks and the in the know out here who really know what is happening. I will say this, it is time to move out of here for at least five years. Have a nice day. Sorry I ruined the happy picture.

  • Aussie Mick

    Observations from Aussie Mick. Worst long term survival locations are…anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere…radiation levels will get you…anywhere that requires heating in winter…the cost of power will ‘get you’ long term…be at least 600′ above sea level…with a reliable water supply..at least 2 hours away from high density populations…anyone on their own is easy pickings…there is strength in numbers…minimum 3-4 families..lastly….beans / bullets / bandaids / seeds /PM’s

  • Friend

    Hey there.  I contacted that bank in Belize you recommended.  I emailed them several times and never heard back.  What gives/?

  • Lee

    Can anybody tell me if there is an equivalent to Sovereignman based in Australia? Many things are different here compared to the US, including our tax laws. So makes sense to look for somebody who is more than familiar. Thanks for any help. Lee.

  • Hiday_happy

    sorry but i wont go there

  • YankeeZulu

    “Consider a second citizenship program; at a minimum, set up residency in another country.”

    This can subject US citizens to dual taxation.

  • savagecolombia

    When i first discovered this site i was thinking…… oh boy , more regurgitated BS.  But i have since read most of the info. here.  Simon Black knows what he is talking about.  I will place my order now as well.  I have already done much of what he talks about………but i did it on my own.  I wish i had discovered this site earlier as it would have saved me a chunk of change.   I still believe that i can get guidence in the future to continue to improve my Bon Vivant Lifestyle…….  Thanks Simon, Vincent

  • Ron Lennex

    Honestly… “buying land outside of the country” is way out of the range of most people who will read this site.

  • Davesbox1

    guys hes right on many accounts, of course one shoe does not fit all, the easiest of us to win over are ex-military vets, we travelled all over and made friends…how hard would it be to put someone in charge of your little lemonade store business off shore?, on land YOU own,  but first have them sign a lease and legal POA giving you 100% control when you want it- company  bank accounts are in thier name BUT with withdrawal limits- you pay no tax until you touch the money- this is ABC basic’s and works- your trips to your off shore business are 100% deductable. you can even set up a way to pay your business off shore with your credit card, then pay off the card balance  each month and you have developed  a cheaper faster more secure  way than western union to invest savings  off shore!  its so easy…. 

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