June 23, 2010
Yesterday in the UK, something happened that has significant implications for us all.
Old western economies are clearly losing their dominance. Particularly in Europe, the costs of broken pension plans and entitlement programs are bankrupting entire economies.
Yet, national governments continue to perversely borrow and consume; politicians have been acting like degenerate gamblers, borrowing money from anyone they could, blowing it all on terrible bets, borrowing more money to make even worse bets, and actually expecting different results.
Something needs to change… and it appears that Britain is the first major western government to face the music. As such, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne unveiled yesterday what has been touted as ‘emergency’ budget austerity.
Osborne’s budget cuts deep. It hits the elderly, it hits low income workers, it hits single mothers, it hits business owners and investors… it even hits the Queen, who will see her multimillion pound salary frozen for several years.
To give credit where credit is due, Osborne should be commended for looking his nation in the face, speaking about a very grim reality, and being candid about the tough sacrifices that everyone will have to make.
But here’s the scary part, and what we need to learn from:
While there was significant talk in Osborne’s speech about spending cuts, most line items have yet to be fully determined. What they are absolutely clear about, though, are the tax changes.
Britain’s VAT, for example, will increase from 17.5% to 20%. Many personal income tax rates will rise as well, particularly for high income earners. These changes will be phased in gradually… except for one.
Osborne announced that Britain’s capital gains tax will increase from 18% to 28% for higher income earners. Yet unlike the other changes which are phased in over time, capital gains tax change occurs IMMEDIATELY.
There is a serious lesson here: governments have the power and willingness to make major changes overnight. With the stroke of a pen, they can impose capital controls, higher taxes, gold forfeiture, confiscation of retirement savings, or anything else they can dream up.
Britain’s emergency budget underscores this point even more, and reminds those of us who aren’t in the UK that we need to prepare NOW. Why? Because other countries won’t be far behind, including the United States.
At a certain point, President Obama will be forced by circumstance to look the American people in the eye and ask them to sacrifice… and pay higher taxes effective immediately.
Also, it’s likely that the US government will get its hands on private retirement savings some day soon… there’s about $5 trillion out there, and at some point that they’ll mandate a portion of all managed retirement accounts to be held in the ‘safety’ of US Treasuries.
I can’t stress this enough– proper financial planning should be an integral part of your multiple flag strategy.
To protect yourself from overnight tax hikes, this means using existing, legitimate tax shelters. US tax code, for example, provides a means for people to set aside tax-deferred savings for retirement through an IRA or 401(k).
Most of these entities, though, are unfortunately engineered to generate profits for the financial institution who manages the account, rather than the individual who is busting his butt every day to save for retirement.
The best solution that protects your savings from rising tax rates and government confiscation is to hold your investments in an Open Opportunity IRA structure.
Similar to a regular IRA, an Open Opportunity IRA allows you to generate tax-deferred (or tax-free) returns on your savings. Unlike a regular IRA, this structure gives you complete control and flexibility to do what you want with your retirement savings– like planting multiple flags overseas.
With an Open Opportunity IRA structure, you can buy foreign property, store gold overseas, establish an offshore bank account… as well as invest in all the other instruments that you might already be investing in right now with your retirements savings.
The big difference? It’s nearly impossible for the government to get their hands on it. And if you start investing through this tax deferred structure, you won’t wake up one morning to higher tax rates that will pummel your investment returns… which is exactly what happened in the UK this morning.
This is one of the biggest no-brainers for US taxpayers… even if you’re just starting out, establishing one of these structures provides a long-term solution to generate tax-deferred or tax-free savings as you make contributions over time.
Terry Coxon is a leading expert in this industry; he’s authored numerous books on tax and personal finance issues, and his latest e-book is one that you should absolutely own.
In Unleash Your IRA, Terry explains the real magic behind these structures– how to set one up, how to protect yourself and your assets, and all the amazing things you can do while still following the tax rules.
I strongly urge you to take action now… continuing to kick the can down the road is a very dangerous course of action given all the warning signs around us.