May 30, 2012
New York City
After a ridiculous 6-hour delay that bordered on the surreal, I finally arrived to New York’s Laguardia Airport last night at nearly midnight. Miraculously, my checked bag arrived quickly… and without the usual trappings of physical abuse from airport ground crews.
The taxi line was long… but I eventually settled myself into the adorning vinyl seats of a New York yellow cab and directed the driver to my location near Central Park South. Time to relax.
The LCD screen in front of me popped on and began playing the day’s news, leading off with a story about how some guy got stabbed to death and Mitt Romney was out raising money with Donald Trump.
Wondering to myself if the two were perhaps related, I started to move my hand towards the LCD screen’s on/off button, thinking I might take a snooze as we approached the Queensborough Bridge. But then something caught my eye on the news ticker:
“The Mass Migration of the Super-Rich (CNBC)”
‘OK, I’ll bite,’ I thought, as I poked at the screen with my index finger trying to call up the story.
The article went on to explain how “there is a sudden awakening among the wealthy that they’re no longer bound to a certain country,” and that “millionaires and billionaires are migrating like never before.”
Duh. Wealthy people have been migrating their capital and their families for centuries. That’s one of the reasons that they’re wealthy– because they don’t allow themselves to become victims of governments gone crazy, what I call ‘sovereign risk’.
From the run-up to World War II to the Russian Revolution to the economic decline of Venice in the 14th century (formerly the wealthiest place in Europe), history is full of examples that when the writing is on the wall, wealthy people liquidate and head to greener pastures.
Moreover, the prospect of diversifying abroad with foreign property, foreign accounts, foreign trusts, precious metals, etc. is a very old idea for the world’s wealthy.
This time is not different. Recognizing how cannibalistic their governments have become, the wealthy are on the move once again. French wealth is heading to Switzerland and Monaco, Chinese and Indian wealth is heading to Singapore, Russian wealth is heading to London, etc.
There is one major change, however, from historical tradition… and the CNBC article completely missed this point:
For the first time ever, it’s not just the wealthy who can take advantage of international diversification. Given the breadth of technology and low-cost transportation options, anyone can follow the same path of ensuring they don’t become victims to government theft.
There are a myriad of options available to open a foreign bank account where the minimum deposit is quite low. This includes places that are favored by the wealthy like Turks & Caicos, Andorra, and Hong Kong.
(We’ve discussed many times before, in fact, how you can open a Hong Kong bank account at HSBC without having to leave town…)
Offshore gold storage is another option that’s available to just about everyone… whether it’s fractional ownership like GoldMoney.com, or whole bar and coin storage like Global Gold in Switzerland, or Perth Mint certificates.
There are even options to own foreign property and acquire dual nationality for regular, everyday folks. You don’t need to be one of the world’s elite to pick up some gorgeous, inexpensive land in Ecuador or the Philippines… or to become a citizen of Chile or Brazil.
These options are available to almost everyone. Yet ironically, most people don’t realize it. Even if they do see the writing on the wall, they haven’t made the connection that the same tricks that have helped the wealthy stay wealthy for centuries are now wide open for everyone.
This means that, if you’re reading this missive and thinking about these ideas, you are light years ahead of everyone else.
And as governments turn up the volume on their extractive, cannibalistic approach to dealing with their terminal fiscal wounds, you too can be one of the few who watches it from the sidelines.