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Questions: renouncing US citizenship, postal mail for PTs

June 18, 2010
Madrid, Spain

Long haul flights from South America generally tend to leave in the evening, usually between 7pm and 1am. The airlines do this so that you arrive first thing in the morning and can catch any connecting flight you may need… which is nice for travelers.

The flight schedule does make things a bit inconvenient prior to departure, though.  Even with a late hotel check-out, you’ll have about 5 hours to kill before heading to the airport.

This happened to me yesterday in Rio, so I took the opportunity to work on my tan a little bit on Ipanema beach. Even though it was just a normal winter weekday afternoon yesterday, you would think they were having a supermodel convention at the beach given the abundance of bronzed beauties.

It’s no wonder why Brazilians are so carefree about life… how can you feel despondent when you’re immersed in warm weather, sunshine, mountains, the ocean, and gorgeous, friendly people?

After the 11-hour Iberia flight (average business class, in my opinion), I now find myself in Madrid, where I’ll spend the day before heading to London to meet up with some friends and Atlas 400 colleagues.

I’ll have more to follow on my plans next week; you may be interested in what I have in store regarding passports later this month. For now, let’s move on to this week’s questions.

Starting off, I got a chuckle from a comment by Garth this week when he said “the rose colored classes are on,” in response to an article about Rio. I thought I should take a moment and explain something about myself.

Here’s my confession: I am an unabashed optimist. I tend to see the good in everything– people, situations, and countries.  Even in the midst of chaos, my natural instinct is to see opportunities. There’s too much negativity in the world, and I’m weary of cynics who dwell on it.

You can always count on me to be candid about my thoughts, but don’t expect me to obsess over the negative aspects about a country. I will acknowledge them, and then move on… if a country’s issues are so serious that I don’t think you should consider planting a flag there, then I won’t even bother writing about it.

I recognize that people potentially base major life decisions on the information provided in this letter; this is a responsibility that I take very seriously, and I have a few simple rules that I follow which guide me as I write.

First, I won’t ever suggest a country that I wouldn’t recommend to my own mother. Second, I only discuss multiple flag tactics (banks, passport programs, corporations, etc.) that I have first-hand experience with and can vouch for.

Third, I won’t negatively bias someone’s opinion about a country simply because I don’t personally like it… I realize that not everyone shares my taste. As such, I tend to focus on the good points. If there’s not enough good points to consider, then it won’t be on my list. Simple.

Moving on, JT writes, “Simon, what are your thoughts on renouncing US citizenship?”

Renunciation is a decision that more and more people are making each year. The movement is still embryonic, but I expect the coming years that there will be great waves of Americans taking this step.

For most people, the chief reasons are generally financial– they no longer feel comfortable making Uncle Sam a 40% partner in everything they do around the world.

One thing’s for sure– no one should make this decision for emotional reasons because they hated Bush or hate Obama. These guys are as ephemeral as last night’s meat loaf. The decision should be made pratically with a well-reasoned financial analysis.

It is absolutely possible to mitigate or defer tax liability by properly planting multiple flags (i.e. business structured in one location, consumers in another, banking in another), but the ultimate tax break will come only when you renounce.

If you take this step, you have to pay a one-time tax to Uncle Sam as if you had liquidated all of your assets and taken the capital gains. Sammy gives you a $600,000 tax-free allowance and taxes you on the rest.  I’ll have more on this in a future letter; it’s definitely a topic worth discussing.

Next, Deiter asks, “If one were to disclose the existence of a foreign bank account, wouldn’t that make it accessible to frivolous lawsuits?”

Great question. One of main benefits of planting multiple flags is diversifying your sovereign risk so that your assets are no longer exposed to government agencies, tax authorities, and the court system.

Just because you disclose your assets, either due to government regulation or in a court-ordered discovery process, doesn’t mean that your assets are exposed. Let’s say you own property, for example, and you lose a court case… the judge decides that your property should be awarded to the Plaintiff.

Well, if that property is located within the court’s jurisdiction, then the judge can simply have the title conveyed to the other party. If the property is located overseas, far away from the court’s jurisdiction, then they have no power or authority to forcibly convey the title.

The same thing goes for bank accounts, gold stored overseas, etc. When you move assets overseas, you are effectively removing those assets from the jurisdictional authority of your home country.  Disclosing those assets as required by law does not eliminate that benefit.

Lastly, Dave asks, “Simon I’m curious. As a PT, what do you do for postal mail?”

Does anyone still use postal mail? My banking/credit card statements are all email, and if I need a parcel sent to me, I usually just give the hotel address where I expect to be staying by the time it arrives.

If you get a lot of postal mail, you could try the Swiss Post Box service. They’ll receive your mail, scan the envelope, then forward/shred/scan the contents upon your instructions.

That’s all for this week, have a great weekend.

Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.

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About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Richard

    As always, thanks for the great info.

    The question and comment around the mail begs my question: do you carry a cell phone or is it impractical to find one that operates in such varied locals?

    • Guest

      you need a cell phone that works with the several transmit-receive systems available throughout the world (tri-band 4-band etc)
      then in each country you buy a SIM card which is a postage-stamp-size chip that you replace in your phone and comes with a local number. You can have prepaid service, it’s simpler.
      this only makes sense if you stay in a country for a while
      there’s international roaming too but it’s quite expensive

      • Coniuzelac

        hi – the problem with a sim card for each country is a phone number for each country and if one does not coninuously use the sim the number will expire (let’s say in three to six months of non-usage) – google “international prepaid sim card” – there are several English companies which (for a price) will provide a permanent English phone number and an American phone number – their roaming charges are high, but you can combine this advantage of a permanent number with using local sim cards in each country – very good for business to have a permanent number

      • http://biosphericresonance.com Nicole

        If having a permanent phone number is important to you, there are also plenty of internet voice mail services available. For just a few bucks a month they give you a US phone number. People can call in and leave a voice message, and the service sends you an email with mp3 recording of the message attached. Or, you can have calls forwarded to any other phone at quite reasonable rates. Do a web search for “internet voice mail” or “voice mail to email” and many different ones will show up.

  • Chris

    On the subject of receiving and forwarding mail, JJ Luna has a mail forwarding/scanning service available out of the Canary Islands. I believe some here may be interested in his service as well as his books. canaryislandspress.com

  • Netsamir

    SWISS Post was exactly what I needed. Thank you a lot. you are the best.

  • mitre

    Simon, since the US has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world. The patroit act making it almost impossible for regular people doing banking in other countries. If you did happen to run into trouble in the past, what options does a person have that would not past a background check for citizenship in another country? Are there any countries that will allow you to start a new life?

    • Guest

      “If you did happen to run into trouble in the past, what options does a person have that would not past a background check for citizenship in another country? Are there any countries that will allow you to start a new life?”

      Answer: Cuba, North Korea, P.R. of China, Sudan, Iran, etc. etc. etc.

      Attn: American WHITE man

      If you are a WHITE MAN from the USA, (the key word is WHITE), lucky you. You can make U$1000 a week in China easily, doing almost nothing. No skills and experience required as long as you are a WHITE MAN from the USA!!!!!!! Not to mention many mainland Chinese women will PAY you to marry to take them to America and get them American green cards!

      Sounds too good to be true? This is TRUE China.

      “Job Ad In China: White Man. No Experience Needed”


      “Rent a White Guy – Confessions of a fake businessman from Beijing”


    • Greg344

      if you’re lucky enough to qualify for citizenship by ancestry then any “trouble” in your past doesn’t matter since you are not becoming a citizen, just proving that you have been a citizen of that country all along

    • Rob

      If you received an answer to this, please let me know

  • JT

    http://www.earthclassmail.com/ is the US based equivalent of swissmail. In fact I think swissmail uses earth class mail’s software by license. FYI for those looking for a US solution.

  • Joe

    What about Earth Class Mail? Anybody have experience with this service? I am interested in ghost mail address to protect my privacy.

  • Linval

    Welcome to the UK Simon.
    Be warned, if using public transport, there is talk of strike action by the public sector post-emergency budget per Osborne.

  • Worldlygirl

    In a previous email I believe you made mention of a secure email that is VERY encrypted. I have tried fastmail but has problems without being able to get answers to problems quickly. Last night all my emails in the inbox just disappeared! Can you discuss the best email servers to use. Is raysservers one you would recommend? Thanks.

  • Worldlgirl

    You can purchase a skype phone for $200. , prepay and use it almost anywhere in the world for pennies and in any hotspot email for free..

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