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Simon Black's "Best Of 2010": Explains Why Planting "Mutiple Flags" Is Crucial For Our Insolvent Age

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Simon Black, who for the past few months was frolicking in middle earth has reemerged again, this time from Buenos Aires, and shares a "Best of 2010" compilation with readers. "

Date: December 28, 2010
Reporting From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

As we're quickly approaching the end of December, I thought it would be appropriate to republish a few letters from earlier this year. 2010 brought substantial growth for this community-- our numbers swelled, and I know that many readers probably missed some important letters from earlier days.

Today I want to repost a letter that I originally sent to you in early January, just after the 2009 holidays. In it, I defined what planting multiple flags is, and why everyone should be thinking about it.  As the events of 2010 have unfolded, I think those reasons have only become stronger.

From January 4, 2010 in Malaga, Spain:

Welcome back; I hope you had a relaxing holiday. 

I spent 10-days with my family combing through the Italian countryside and drinking some unbelievable wine from a local grape called "Primitivo." It's a distant cousin of the California Zinfandel, and is only found in this region. A bottle from the best vineyard will set you back about 9 euro.

For New Year's Eve, I saw a fireworks show that was simultaneously the most disorganized and explosive I have ever witnessed... so literally for me, the new year began with a bang.

I'm optimistic about 2010. I know a lot of people in the financial community who think that 'this is it,' that 2010 shall bear the worst economic cataclysm in history, causing widespread doom and agony.

Sure the conditions are ripe for stock/bond market crashes, a currency crisis, and multiple sovereign debt defaults.  But these are a far cry from a gloomy end of human civilization.

It's not that I have tremendous faith in world 'leaders' (as ridiculous a moniker as that is to use); last month's debacle in Copenhagen only further underscored how perverse and ineffective the existing political process is, and everyone is really starting to see it.

The Social Contract is deteriorating rapidly, and in the end, the one thing that you can count on is that people will ultimately do what they perceive to be in their self-interest.  This is what drives markets and trends.

As the protracted effects of government stupidity become more apparent, one such trend that I see emerging this year is the rise of the sovereign individual-- the rebirth of the multiple flags approach.

I've talked about this before and I wanted to start off the year with a quick primer since it is a recurring theme of this letter. To be more specific, I absolutely implore you to plant multiple flags as part of your New Year resolutions.

The idea, originally conceived by international finance guru Harry Schultz, suggests diversifying different aspects of your identity across multiple 'flags,' or geographic jurisdictions.

As an example, Schultz coined the term 'three-flags' in the 1960s, suggesting that an individual should have citizenship in one country, residence in another, and businesses in another.

Later authors expanded on this idea by adding other 'flags,' including places to bank, places to 'play,' places to house electronic assets, etc.

Many writers today talk about 'five flags' or 'six flags,' but frankly I don't see a limit on the number of things we can diversify geographically: email, citizenship, residence, banking, brokerages, gold/silver deposits, business registration, e-commerce, customer base, phone/fax, postal mail, etc.

So what's the point? Why should you do this?

Diversifying geographically increases your freedom, your privacy, your sovereignty, and potentially reduces your tax burden. It protects you against bank failures, market changes, litigation, divorce, overzealous governments, and "NGC's" (non-government criminals).

Perhaps even more importantly, planting multiple flags expands your existing contact base and opens a lot of doors to new opportunities.

Think of it like a life insurance policy-- even if the worst never happens, it gives you great peace of mind and in many cases can rank as a significant asset.

While everyone recognizes these benefits of life insurance, no one actually expects to die anytime soon... so they put shopping for a policy on the back burner, sometimes until it's too late.

In this case, the time to start diversifying internationally and planting multiple flags is now... before it's too late-- before currency controls are imposed, before tax codes change, before the last remaining foreign banks close their doors to foreigners.

I could cite you examples all day long, but I will list just a few hypothetical cases--

Imagine getting sued, losing the case, and having your financial assets commandeered by the court. Now imagine if your assets were safely offshore in another country.

Imagine being investigated by the government and having your email archives turned over to the authorities. Now imagine if your email server were in another country.

Imagine being robbed (taxed) by the government because your business is structured within its jurisdiction. Now imagine if your business were registered in another country.

Imagine having everything in your home country taken from theft, coercion, and litigation. Now imagine having cash and gold locked away in a secure, private vault overseas.

Imagine the social decay in your city getting so bad that riots and violent crime are a common occurrence. Now imagine having property overseas.

I'm sure you get the idea. Putting your assets, your business, your citizenship, your residency, your family's livelihood under one flag, one government, is putting all of your eggs in one very frail, weak basket.

Technology makes it incredibly easy to diversify, and I see more and more people waking up to that reality each day. It takes only moments to set up an offshore email account, a few minutes to lease a private vault, and just a couple of hours to set up a company in Singapore.

The possibilities are truly endless, you just need to find the right tools and the right flags that work for you. Yes, even if you are a US citizen who is taxed on worldwide income, there are still several options available to live a multiple flags lifestyle.

I will be discussing the options in future letters, as well as individual case studies.


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Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:55 | 833911 redrob25
redrob25's picture

This is great and all but most people don't have the money to plant multiple flags. I have talked to multiple lawyers and barristers and the cheapest cost of an economic citizenship is $130k. You can give everything up in the US and move to New Zealand or Chile and wait 5 years for citizenship, but you have to do little things first like selling your assets here in a terrible market, find a job there that will support you, and saying goodbye to family and friends.

On opening a bank account somewhere else I agree, though that is literally getting harder by the day as many banks close to Americans.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:02 | 833925 Fat Ass
Fat Ass's picture

What you say is true - ACTUALLY opening companies, etc, is considerably harder than writing newsletters about it.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:37 | 834192 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

I emigrated as a student with 0$ in my pocket, I studied and worked in that country than I moved to another having my money stashed away in a 4th country, no you dont have to be rich just have the balls to do it

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:58 | 834253 redrob25
redrob25's picture

My wife's family emigrated from Cambodia after escaping the communist camps. But the only way they did it was being sponsored by an American family so they could earn their citizenship.

I don't have a 'balls' problem, but I do have 3 dependents and I need to make sure I can feed them. So there is no way I am going to just hop a plane and hope for the best. There has to be a strategy in place, and it takes years and $$ to make happen.

Not impossible, but not practcal for many with families.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:15 | 834301 Renfield
Renfield's picture

One idea for people with children, who are sort of 'rooted' and can't make major shifts, is to encourage their children to think of other countries as places to live, do business, become educated, and have investment accounts. Parents could get their kids interested in setting up futures for themselves here, there, there, in small ways; making internet connections (pen-friends, etc) in other countries, etc.

Who knows? Maybe one day your kids will bring you over somewhere. Or, less drastically, you could use your children's experience of, say, their Swiss bank account to open up your own investment account in Switzerland. For example.

Obviously, as you point out, 'multiple flags' for most of us would take at least a few years of careful research and getting to know the people and culture of other countries. It's not exactly a great plan for emergency, I-need-out-this-year situations.

But for the longer term, not such a bad plan for a family to be trained toward, I would guess.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:21 | 834331 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

The only problem is that you no longer have years to do it, the sky is falling (in slow-motion) and the more you wait the more you loose untill a point when running away will be either impossible or pointless

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:28 | 834531 francismarion
francismarion's picture

For sure, redrob25. Who is this guy anyhow, pedalling Cadillacs to a bunch Schwinn-riding weiner-heads like most of us?

He reminds me of 'The Continental' with his oo-la-la wine, (pardon, vino), eagerly pawing everything he can reach. Or maybe 'The Ladies' Man' with his cognac and Euro-trash scank in tow.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:59 | 833921 Fat Ass
Fat Ass's picture

This joker is just regurgitating the normal "P.T." ("perpetual traveller" -- as well as other expansions) newslatter material from the 1980s.

What a chump.

And the "best" bottle of "Primitivo" costs much more than "9 euros". A pointless and Wrong opening anecdote always sets the tone.  And for the record, "Primitivo" is generally thought to be the same grape as "Zinfandel" - not a "distant cousin".

Any Italian - the land of stunning Barolos, Brunellos, etc. - would be shocked to hear anyone talking up lame zinf table wine.

Australians who finally see other parts of the planet are often so naive - sorry if you are from Australia and don't fall in this category.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:00 | 833924 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture

"Paging Julian Assange... Mr. Julian Assange..."

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:13 | 833956 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

+1 snarky shark

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:08 | 833944 Ragnarok
Ragnarok's picture

I believe Mr. Black is American and once served in the armed forces in Iraq.  He also still maintains his American citizenship for personal reasons (family lives in Dallas).

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:10 | 833951 Mad Max
Mad Max's picture

This is more of that "nice idea on paper" type stuff.

If you have enough money to actually do the international citizen stuff he proposes, you (1) probably have some political influence that would protect you at home anyway, and (2) very likely have assets in your existing domicile that can't readily be pulled up and relocated - either at all for physical businesses, or just without an enormous tax hit if all you own is paper wealth.

If you have a personal background that gives you the personal freedom to do what he proposes, chances are you don't have nearly enough money to do it in a way that will actually give you more freedom instead of more worry and risk.

It only really works if you have a bunch of paper wealth and no real personal or business ties to your existing domicile.  And any minor children makes it at least ten times more difficult.  So I guess if you're a single trust fund kid of some robber baron, it may work for you.

I say this as a regular international traveler who knows hundreds of expats from various countries living in various other countries.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:15 | 833975 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

"single trust fund kid of some robber baron, it may work for you"

isn't all financial advise targeted to this demographic?

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:19 | 833986 Internet Tough Guy
Internet Tough Guy's picture

What? You mean all those unemployed real estate agents with 0 retirement accounts can't globetrot to a brighter future? You mean China doesn't need any expat American lawyers? India doesn't need any American engineers?

Maybe Simon travels so much because he is a drug mule and is currently getting 'packed' in South America. Now there's a career opportunity for people with US passports.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:34 | 834034 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

What I like about this article is the idea of the "sovereign individual". I like the idea that in a sense we are all our own country which is to say that we each own ourselves. If we own ourselves then no one can use us to serve their purposes without our consent. This is the antithesis of all governments for the last 5,000 years. The fundamental proposition of all governments is that we are ruled by divinely appointed people (most monarchs), by the strongest (Somalia, Zimbabwe, most of Africa), or even by collectivist ideals (democratic or autocratic). In all cases, we are subjects and serve the state and the purposes of those in the state. America was the first and best (arguably maybe the Greeks) reversal of this trend. America has failed miserably in sustaining this during the last century but it was an excellent idea that still won't die.

Free people are strong, decent and ultimately happier and more prosperous than others. However, you have to be brave, self reliant and fairly well educated in the necessities and virtues of liberty versus the foibles of statism. Those are not taught in government controlled education.

So, the author may be wrong in the details of wine but he is onto something in terms of liberty and self reliance. I enjoy his thinking even though it is impractical for 99% of us. Someday, we "sheeple" as some her term us may take up our liberty again, but not until the current system fails and unveils its lies and shortcomings to the general public.

Let's hope for a surviveable if not happy new year in 2011.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:27 | 834156 Renfield
Renfield's picture

I like that too. The sovereign individual. We don't think often enough about the trust involved, choosing which country we live in.

Osric: "The borders of my country run around the soles of my feet." One of my favourite saws.

And, this is indeed difficult but needs must. It is probably a lot harder for people with children; but more than one citizenship/perm-res is certainly desirable. Just having some business dealings (e.g., trading or investment accounts) in other countries isn't impractical at all. Not even all that hard for Americans who share a border with Canada. Many are the comments I've seen on this blog wondering if now's the time to pick up, pack up, and move somewhere else. I hear now of heaps of Americans moving to Aus, the country we just left for its high inflation and bad prospects (in the short term anyway). It does require a fair bit of research and very careful planning.

(PS: New Years Resolution for ZH: Fix the damn 3-figure captcha...)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:40 | 834198 Financial_Guard...
Financial_Guardian_Angel's picture

It takes guts to pick up and move to another country, maybe except Canada. I give credit to those who doit. At least they don't whine about America and do nothing to fix it. Some of these foreigners (that are our guests here) have the nerve to complain about their rights when back in their own country they would be taken off the street to never be seen again if they said the same thing they say here. America is still the best, but we are unfortunately lowering ourselves to the rest of the runners-up.

And YES, fix the damned captcha!!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:04 | 834275 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

In  10 years America won't be better than today's Mexico, and Mexico might be better than today's America, so I would not be moving to the States now it's too late 

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:11 | 834295 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

That is so true, most people I talk to would not even have the idea that their needs might come before the nations/societies/country needs, they have a total slave mentality they can demonstrate before their masters for more food but never would they demonstrate for freedom

It is not the government I find my self constantly running away from it's the people on the street who knowingly and willingly enslave them selves and would even give MY freedom away without asking, they take it for granted that if you live in the same country as they and that country is a democracy than they can force you to do things you are with your body and mind opposed to

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:01 | 834462 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

I think you are exactly right, Azzannotth! That is an observation very few people seem to make. I have observed that if you ask people about liberty and rules they will tell you they personally don't need more laws and rules. They are of course presumably good honest citizens. It's that "other guy" who needs another 2000 pages of rules and regulations. They unwittingly sell not only you but themselves into servitude as that "other guy" also has rules for them. Presumably there is some point where there are enough rules to make life perfect. 

To be free we have to limit or even reject rules for our neighbor and ourselves. To be free this has become my motto,

"Believe in yourself.

Trust you neighbor.

Vote for liberty."

Here is another unsolvable problem you can throw at the rules-people, too. When they advocate more regulation of any sort, ask them how many pages, paragraphs, pounds, etc. of regulation do we need before society is perfect? Next, ask them how many rules and regulations before we are all thoroughly miserable and dominated by government in every important aspect of our lives. Which number is lower?

You can also ask the same thing about tax rates, too. What percentage of total personal and even national income is required until there is absolute "fairness" and all social ills are cured? If you have a typical hardcore modern liberal (not classical liberal)-statist-collectivist he/she will abandon all pretense of intellectual debate and begin calling you names or saying you don't care enough.

I prefer the real benefits of liberty to the theoretical benefits of collectivism and statism.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:10 | 834486 francismarion
francismarion's picture


You are mistaken. No man can be free of himself. He is subject to all the forces of nature and all the depredations of other men. You can delude yourself that you are free because others have fought and died and are vigilant up to and including this moment for that freedom; that freedom, that you think is in the air you breath and yours because you are you. No, it is there because of America and what it stands for and how it got to where it is, warts and all.

You stand in a room alone and imagine that you are a god. Outside that room massive forces, natural and artificial, roil and pound, and men contend and struggle and bend those forces to keep the walls of that room of yours in place, so that you can continue to manufacture your fiction and strut and fret and preen and crow.

But you are mistaken. Because what you really are is merely the kept thing, the prized possession of a anxious loving parent that does not know that his child is an ungrateful monster that only loves himself.

The founding fathers believed that knowledgable men would form the sinews of a people that would be a shining city on the hill, a free nation. They reasoned that a free people would cherish their nation, and love it IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD. 

They could not have foreseen that that people would someday exalt themselves to godhood (the 'sovereign individual' an oxymoron and a profound idiocy), turn away from their own roots and denounce the common good; that the freedom long ago discovered and enshrined in law would become an end in itself and not the hallmark of enlightened man.

And here we have in the disgusting drivel excreted on this website the idea that the nation of one's birth, the source of every citizen's identity and the fountain of each being's endowment of freedom; is a place to be abandoned for wealth and 'individual freedom'.

Well, rave on, but you are dead. You cease to live the moment you cut yourself off from the source of your life, and that is your land.

"Be there a man with soul so dead,

That never to himself has said,

 This is my home, my native land."

       -Sir Walter Scott

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:43 | 834562 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

I cannot speak for Azzanoth but I suspect you take the wrong meaning. Our forefathers created a government to protect our rights and liberties, not consume them. In fact, in the Declaration of Independence it states that if the government fail to do this they should be dissolved and a better one formed to that end. Now, I have not yet seen the government that is willing to dissolve itself. We all should fight the good fight so to speak in terms of making our country better. However, "the common good" is not to be confused with collectivism or even an all powerful state of any sort. King George could have and did make arguments as to the greater good of the empire. Second, the sovereign individual is absolutely and completely a concept in the founding of our country. It underlies the idea that the governing derive their power from the governed. We come together as individuals to form governments not serve governments.

It may surprise you, but all the original settlers came here to create something better than they had back at home, whether escaping religious persecutions or to enhance their lives, fortunes and personal treasuries. It was the idea of making their own individual situations better in a land where you could be the captain of your own ship leaving the lands they called "home" that drew them. There was no America, yet. It was dangerous and uncertain here, yet they came. They in fact abandoned home and family for a chance here...not to be subjects of some new state, but to chart their own path. That is profoundly individualistic and yet appeals to many worldwide for the last four centuries.

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 05:19 | 835266 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

Sorry I could not read your comment to the end because the 1st paragraph made me nauseous

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 12:49 | 837843 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Because what you really are is merely the kept thing, the prized possession of a anxious loving parent that does not know that his child is an ungrateful monster that only loves himself.

The 'anxious loving parent' here would be the government, correct? The same government that will take away my freedom if I choose to smoke one weed rather than another, that will tell me lies to get me to kill foreigners so that my 'leaders' will get bigger bribes from the companies that make the munitions? That will sell my children's future to keep bankers rich?

And then I realised you were being satirical!

What a sigh of relief I breathed, when I realised you weren't just some slavemaster's troll.


Wed, 12/29/2010 - 04:25 | 835251 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

Actually America only failed in the last 35 years or so, when money finally poisoned politics to the extent that now very little can be done to change course.  I agree, many of these ideas are very hard to pull off for the average person.  I have some modest resources, but I'm at the age where most countries wouldn't want me, nor do I care to abandon parents and grown children by moving 1000s of miles away when the shit hits the fan.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:35 | 834041 velobabe
velobabe's picture

needing foreign language skills, stands in my way. or i would be some place else for sure.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:41 | 834201 Renfield
Renfield's picture

Canada actually isn't anywhere near as French as it likes to claim... ;-)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:12 | 834089 Pegasus Muse
Pegasus Muse's picture

Actually, you can do much of what he talks about cheaply.  Just join the military.  Request an overseas assignment.  Meet a nice local gal.  She'll be more than happy to help you get set up "on the economy".  Rest assured, it happens all the time and is not that daunting a task. Even the language barrier is not that big an obstacle.  You would be surprised how many people speak a little English.  It is the international language.       

You've got many locations to choose from -- Far East, Middle East, South America (to a limited extent), Europe.  Some places more exciting than others.  Go for it!  

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 04:26 | 835252 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

The military is not really much of an option for most people.

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 13:31 | 837972 BigJim
BigJim's picture

The big downside to joining the military is that you might have to go around killing people for the very same government that f*cked up your own country so badly that you want to emigrate from it.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 19:22 | 834636 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

How does a owning a foreign corporation figure one?  owning an internet biz hosted and incorporated offshore, accumulating profits offshore just repatriating enough for a living in the US (paying taxes on it) to eventually get a dual passport etc??   or would you have to relinquish citizenship fully?

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:27 | 834020 antidisestablis...
antidisestablishmentarianismishness's picture

Imagine an asteroid demolishing the Earth along with all your scattered assets.  Now imagine that you are lounging at your summer house on the moon when the asteroid hits.....sweeet.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:49 | 834425 zero-g
zero-g's picture

Best comment ever!


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:37 | 834047 pazmaker
pazmaker's picture

A reoccuring suggestion in all his post is an "overseas private vault for your gold"  and it only takes a few MINUTES to lease it.  and just a COUPLE of hours to open a business in many hours does it take to fly from Buenos Aires to Singapore?

 I think he can arrange that for you for a price....  This guy is always trying to sell something.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:44 | 834213 InExile
InExile's picture

Absolutely.  WTF.  For a small consulting fee and your time and effort to go to Panama you can meet with his netwrok of advisors.  Perhaps the advice will be to fork over more money to get set up.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:42 | 834054 b_thunder
b_thunder's picture

Imagine getting sued, losing the case, and having your financial assets commandeered by the court.

Imagine.... your email archives turned over to the authorities. N

Imagine being robbed (taxed) by the government

Imagine having everything in your home country taken from theft, coercion, and litigation.

Imagine the social decay in your city getting so bad that riots and violent crime are a common occurrence. Now imagine having property overseas.


All discussed things are certainly possible, but unless you're one of the wealthiest people in the country (like Mr. Khodorkovskiy in Russia),  you will not be alone with your problems:  there will be thousands, if not millions of people in the "same boat" as you.  Some will be armed with the law degrees, others with AR-15s...

Now, tell me why the same calamities cannot happen in a foreing country?  They can, they are, and they will.  Except over there you will be a "gaijin", or "el gringo extranjero" and there will be nobody on your side.  Your property will be taken away and there will be no court that would care to listen your case.  And most countries are much further down the  "social decay"  path than most think.  It's not uncommon to get a bullet in the back of the head during an all-too-common robbery in any of the "famous" Caribbean tax havens than anywhere in the USA outside of the Chicago's South Side. 

Yeah, having a backup/escape plan is nice....  Just don't think that foreign countries will be any safer.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:38 | 834193 Renfield
Renfield's picture

They won't be safer. They will be different. Years of research and getting to know people in other countries helps...

I think that the concept of having a base of some kind in more than one country is very sound. You can't escape all danger but you're confining the risk of any one country to less than 100% of your [assets]. And, if you have to fly from one place, this gives you a "To".

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:41 | 834205 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

1500 people died on the Titanic, a few survived, which group do you want to belong to ?

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 02:50 | 835207 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

They're all dead, Dave.

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 12:09 | 835724 Dismal Scientist
Dismal Scientist's picture


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:57 | 834247 ronin12
ronin12's picture

Have you ever been sued?


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:04 | 834109 antidisestablis...
antidisestablishmentarianismishness's picture

Imagine spending your entire life waiting for a Doomsday that never comes and then one day when you're 75 years old you have a massive stroke and can only speak gibberish and watch helplessly as your children ridicule you for being a dumbass who spent his life hoarding ammo and gold (gold now back at $250, S&P at 10k) while everyone else was out having fun.


Now imagine that Doomsday actually does arrive and you are proven to be a prescient genius, but your equally paranoid neighbor gets in a lucky shot and sends you to the morgue before you have a chance to do any bartering with your huge supply of gold.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:54 | 834242 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

And your alternative would be .. ?

Stashing away 1$ bills under the mattress or partying like there is no tomorrow ?

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 13:40 | 837991 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Why would you be dumb enough to advertise the fact you're hoarding a 'huge supply of gold' to your paranoid neighbour in the first place?

And if by 'equally paranoid', you mean someone who also saw the storm clouds gathering, then he's more likely to be an ally... an ally against the hoards of wasters and dumbf*cks who believed their 'leaders'' lies and took no precautions.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:10 | 834128 wsdave
wsdave's picture

For the various naysayers: This is the first I've heard of this concept, but my family has been working toward this for about 3 years. It's good to see that I'm not the first to think of it.


We already own a house out of the US, and are in the process (easier than you’d imagine) of setting up a series of corporations to contain our assets. Corporations can be set up for just a few thousand each, and are a great way to get your foot in the door to be able to bank in that country.


Employment can be an issue, obviously, but in our case my wife works on the internet and can be located anywhere.


We are doing this, while living in the US, on an income of about $65,000/year. Not exactly trust fund.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:23 | 834168 redrob25
redrob25's picture

Ok so you own a house in another country. How did you carry the second mortgage? Most people will not be able to afford it without some serious financial restructuring. While that is their fault, it does not change the reality. Land is not cheap in many places unless they are fraught with risk.

Second, did you setup a second citizenship? If not, then you have to deal with renewing visas and therefore will have to have a strong business relationship or job in the other country to keep you there until you own full citizenship.

Thirdly, most people here would have to setup an Internet business that is actually successful, and that is no easy task. Businesses take years to setup and run successfully.

Not saying it cannot be done, but it is certainly not something you can make happen in 2011 unless you pay for an economic citizenship outright.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:45 | 834217 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

" MicrosoftInternetExplorer4" .. are you using MSIE4 ???

What cave are you writing this from ?

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:12 | 834134 ronin12
ronin12's picture

I certainly appreciate many of the commenters reticence to these ideas - at first blush the idea of planting multiple flags can seem quite overwhelming. There are certainly many obstacles. However as the old saying goes, nothing worthwhile is easy.

I am attending Mr. Black's seminar in Panama in February (I convinced the wife to turn it into a vacation). So I will know a lot more then about whether or not to continue down this path. Right now though, maximizing economic and political freedom, protecting one's assets, diversifying risk - just makes too much sense to me.



Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:20 | 834160 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Post a summary of what you find out for the rest of us, lol! Have a great trip!

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:54 | 834241 ronin12
ronin12's picture

Thanks - I definitely will post a summary when I get back.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:28 | 834176 pazmaker
pazmaker's picture

How much did you pay for the seminar?      Sorry if I'm skeptical... but I call a spade a spade.   If this man is making so much money in all his international businesses and has gold deposited in private vaults around the world then why is he peddling his newsletter and seminars?   Or is it the newsletter and seminars that are his cash cow?

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:50 | 834229 ronin12
ronin12's picture


Truthfully, I'm skeptical too. But, I've been considering planting multiple flags for some time now, and just haven't made any progress. The day-to-day grind moves along and nothing gets done.

My hope is that immersing myself in it for a couple of days, I'll not only learn if it's right for me, but if I decide it is, I will actually get something accomplished.

As for his peddling newsletters and seminars, etc - frankly that's what good entrepreneurs do:

1) They identify a need and fill that need.

2) They find ways to profit from their skills / expertise.

I recently (along with a few partners) launched a small supplement company geared toward anti-aging and natural ways to stop hair loss. It was started by me and a few guys on an internet forum who had been reseraching and taking supplements and sharing our experiences for several years.

Finally we decided to source the ingredients ourselves and produce the products better and cheaper than what was out there and offer them to the members of the forum who are interested.

Occassionally we get a new lurker who knows little of the history of the forum or its members who accuses us of "pitching" supplements only so we can turn around and sell them.

So again, skepticism is certainly warranted and understood, however sometimes there are just folks who have expertise in an area and have identified a need and are attempting to satisfy that need.



Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:56 | 834244 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

I just did it , without giving any1 1250$, by the time you think your ready you will be nearly bankrupt from all the advisers

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:05 | 834281 ronin12
ronin12's picture

Perhaps you could write an eBook on how you did it and sell it online for $19.95 :).

Well, we are turning this into a Panamanian vacation (we usually escape to some place warm from the frozen tundra that is Upstate New York in February anyway).

I don't plan on going broke paying advisors. The allure of the seminar to me, is having all of the resources there in one spot. Should cut down on a lot of manhours of research, etc on my end.

We'll see - I will definitely give a frank critique of the seminar when it's over. If it sucks, I will say so. :)


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:12 | 834302 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

I am not a writer, I could fill maybe 3 pages :)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:03 | 834268 pazmaker
pazmaker's picture

Fair enough,  I guess I'm skeptical because you can learn and do most of this without having to pay him to tell you how.  It takes some research and leg work. 

We own a home in Ecuador and have some land that hasn't yet be exapropriated by Chavez in Venezuela.  I really would like to explore Chile.... but I'm sorry this guy comes across as a peddler and pusher to me because all his articles come back to using his services for that private vault ..... or opening your business.   Also if you follow all his contributions to ZH, he said he visits 50 countries a year and if you do the math including travel time that is less than 7 days per country.... tell me how can you establish any type of profit and revenue producing business unless it is virtual in less than 7 days on the ground?   I truely hope the $1295 is worth it, but I have my doubts.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:14 | 834311 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

Once I paid 1500$ for an Investment newsletter, never used 1 single recommendation and better for cuz they all lost money, all in all I lost about 10,000 on my 'stupidity' over the last 5 years, I guess maybe we all need to make our mistakes

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 21:25 | 834846 russki standart
russki standart's picture

Relax, I know Simon personally and you will get your monies worth and more out of this seminar.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:01 | 834267 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

A similar question is, Why do people post on Zero Hedge, both commenters and major posters (Bruce Krasting etc.), given some don't make money doing it? Some guys like may be selling their wares on this site, but some are not. Yet both types provide interesting content.

Why do some smart guys share what they know, even when they're not pitching a product or talking their book? We who read ZH have benefited from many such people.

Even if they make money from the newsletter etc., there is a basic human impulse that many have, to share the truth. And nothing wrong with making money from journalism and information. Scepticism is certainly good when people are selling something ... but the desire to help others and share the truth, can co-exist with the desire to market an information product.

A guy like Simon Black does plenty of good with his free information he publicises, even if he makes money selling more detailed or personal info.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:19 | 834148 AchtungAffen
AchtungAffen's picture

I live in Buenos Aires, and diversification has always been kinda normal. Everybody holds cash in foreign money, a lot of people open bank accounts in Uruguay (and until some years ago, they also did in the US). Buy property in Brasil and Uruguay, and many work or have companies (or interests) closer to the equator. Or nowadays, China. Perhaps it was time the US people realized there's a world outside their borders.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:33 | 834181 Renfield
Renfield's picture

"diversification has always been kinda normal. Everybody holds cash in foreign money, a lot of people open bank accounts in..."

Big +1

The American era of the US being all we need to live and all we need to know, is over. Being American no longer entails stability any more than anywhere else....

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:42 | 834212 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

It doesn't take that much money. Even some thousands in fiatscos or similar, are enough to get you started somewhere else. A few tens of thousands and you really have a basis to roll, on your own.

Family deepens the issue, of course, that can take a little more to carry spouse and children along.

And the fact is, the grass really is greener in many other locations. Living in Continental Europe, despite ECB issues etc., is much, much better than in the US, though most Americans wouldn't know it or realise it, because they are buried in propaganda. People's assets are actually much safer under European 'socialism', though that is a strange thought for most Americanos. We have hugely better legal systems, not to mention healthcare and government in general. And we still know how to demonstrate and riot.

For example, an easy practical step for you Americans living in banksta-land, you have a 'Dutch-American friendship treaty' (see on web), lets you be a legal resident in the Netherlands if you 'start a business' in Holland with about €6000 you can put in a Dutch bank account. After four years you can be an EU citizen.

Have known of some Chinese people of modest means who have arrived in Europe, went to the old Communist Countries in Eastern Europe, now in the EU, met a 'friendly' immigration lawyer ... and with a *little* cash were soon en route to being EU citizens. In short, lots of things you can work out in person in various countries, if you go there, make friends and are not arrogant.

And many people are doing things in Asia or Latin America ... Simon Black is right.

Languages are fun, easier to learn when you are there. Just have a flexible state of mind. Most conversation is from 2000 words. So learn 50 words a day ....


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:59 | 834227 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

"though that is a strange thought for most Americanos. We have hugely better legal systems, not to mention healthcare and government in general. And we still know how to demonstrate and riot."


So getting taxed at 50%+ is your idea of protecting assets ?

Basic healthcare is free but try doing something serious and you'll end up on a 5 year waiting list

People in Europe constantly demonstrate for more socilisim "eat the rich" crowd, and I dont feel confident keeping my money here(that is why I am not), + I don't have to pay 50% tax on my no.existing capital gains

I live in Germany ATM but that might change on a dime if I feel to pressured here 

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:19 | 834326 Mad Max
Mad Max's picture

No, I think he has a point on this.  People in most european countries don't face financial ruin nearly as closely or as often as people in the US do - even fairly well-off US residents.  And you would have to try really, really hard to go hungry in many of those european countries, even if you don't want to work.

Sure, you don't get to keep as much of your income... but if you add up all the standard US taxes (federal, state, and city income taxes, FICA/FUTA, 5-11% sales taxes, property taxes) you may be unpleasantly surprised at your real tax burden in the US.  I argue this all the time with Canadian friends who think that Canada's tax rates are orders of magnitude greater than the US, and they just can't seem to grasp that some Canadians pay less tax on a given amount of income than americans.  (Hint: Alberta vs. NY or CA.)

The big open question for europe is how they go when the welfare state is 100% bankrupt, oil is back over $120 a barrel, the euro currency has imploded, and the unassimilated muslim minorities are rioting.  Things could get just as ugly as in the US, perhaps worse.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:24 | 834353 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

The Choice between USA and Europe is like choosing between the Titanic and Lucitania

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:05 | 834476 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

This may be the best comment of the day, lol! It makes sense in that we both heading to the same destination albeit by slightly different paths. The end will be the same.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:37 | 834374 Renfield
Renfield's picture

A propos of this comment, I've pimped Dmitry Orlov's "Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US" about a brazillian times here on ZH:

From 2006, but Orlov (ex-Soviet) makes the point that socialist systems, while terrible for actual *prosperity*, are much much better to collapse into if your society is collapsing. (And we are.)

For example:


-owned by the state
-free rent
-accessible by public transit

Result: everyone stays put

-owned by banks/corps
-largely inaccessible but by car

Result: flood of refugees from suburbia

His "Closing the Gap" recommendations of what to do make him sound like a ZH regular.

And he says, in Soviet Russia, "Don't believe them, don't fear them, don't ask anything of them." (This, concerning the government.) In the west, he recommends this same advice.

We "believe in" our governments far, far too much. And credit them far too much. The Soviets had long learned to ignore and avoid theirs...

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:42 | 834412 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture


My perspective from here, is that certainly the EU welfare states need to get re-structured, too much fat and incentive for laziness currently, and that will happen shortly. Despite some riots (perhaps because of the riots) it will work out in a reasonably shared way.

In general we don't need to drive so much, our petrol is already, in US terms, $10 per gallon here, we have local agriculture, electrified train systems; we're better set for fuel shortages.

We're more used to currency changes here. Has happened a lot since 1914. One more is not devastating.

Brussels is 20% Muslim, many are my friends, and Muslims generally are quite wonderful and hard-working people. The propaganda image painted by English-language media is much misleading in its focus, when the daily reality across Europe is much more neighbourly and positive.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 17:24 | 834346 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

For me, I like the life here, and the taxes don't seem burdensome ... I feel I get a lot for the money, living in what feels a quasi-paradise, relatively speaking.

When I lived in the US, it didn't seem lower-tax, it seemed 'more complicated tax', fed tax, state tax, city tax, property tax, sales tax not in the prices, needing to drive everywhere ... plus everyone was afraid of lawyers stealing everything, which doesn't happen here on the Continent like that ... though Britain has a fraction of that US 'legal disease'.

And it just feels the good things in life are cheap here ... decent French bordeaux at €2,39 per bottle ... feels as if a working man here on minimum wage, lives better than many Americans do ... hardly any crime, a gracious life with a thousand welcoming cafés and taverns nearby ...

Monaco and Andorra both have zero income tax, for the Europeans who are more intensively concerned with that.

And if younger I certainly might be tempted by opportunity in South America ... but like many Europeans, I am okay with some tax to pay for a sweet place to live.

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 04:37 | 835256 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

Being taxed is one thing, actually getting benefits for paying taxes is another.

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 11:21 | 834363 4xaddict
4xaddict's picture

+10 AchtungAffen This has been common sense for people the world over for many years. Yes it does cost money but it's just people in the US are only now realizing their trust in their government's propaganda was misplaced. Fat Ass - I think he's a kiwi actually. I know the type of person you mean though re: the Aussie with eyes recently opened. If anyone wants help setting something up in an affordable manner I can help you out. I have legal entities in HK, UK and Aus. There are legal ways to hold alternative currencies in other jurisdictions, in trust and without having a domestic tax liability at home or abroad. Holding physical PMs is a more difficult situation but paper gold is pretty simple also (but we all know paper is no substitute)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:07 | 834481 Rogerwilco
Rogerwilco's picture

Where does the notion come from that other countries want or even tolerate foreigners when they show up to "plant a flag"? Sure, they will allow you to spend those Yankee dollars or Euros as a tourist, but most have immigration laws and the authorities get rather testy if Americans try to abuse them. Chile was popular with Americans and Europeans because they allowed easy renewal of the 90 day tourist visa. Just hop across the border to Argentina or Peru and get another three months as a "tourist". Some expats played this game for years. Apparently too many took advantage, because now the immigration offices are warning people heading out on "border runs" and canceling visas after the second renewal.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:15 | 834496 Rogue Economist
Rogue Economist's picture

What I want to know is how much Simon Black is paying to promote himself here on Zero Hedge?

Every single Simon Black post so far presupposes you are just SWIMMING in money. Multiple passports and making venture capital investments all over the world while prancing around the world spending more time on Airplanes then the typical NYC commuter spends on the Subway? Gimmee a break.

This stuff is just absurd and so far out of the reach of 99% of the population its pathetic. Zero Hedge is looking like a Piglet's version of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" publishing this stuff. I sure wish *I* was like Simon! This dude purports to speak to Presidents and at least Finance Ministers in every damn country he visits.

How is he financing this stuff? Apparently by charging "consulting fees" to terrified middle level millionaires who buy into investment ideas he promotes (did you read that Chilean Life Insurance scheme promoted by one of his "correspondents" on the Sovereign Man blog?), which he no doubt gets a kick back from.

Good luck for you average millionaires out there in Belize and Costa Rica when the Fiat crashes. The local Polizia will give a rat's ass about protecting your Chalet.


Tue, 12/28/2010 - 21:32 | 834856 russki standart
russki standart's picture

Rogue Economist, I would not assume that what Simon offers is out of reach of 99% of the population. I am familiar with his services and for those of us who have some cash, say $100,000, the opportunity to move somewhere else may be the best financial decision that you will ever make. Remember, the USA was founded by immigrants facing far more challenging situations than faced by most americans today. If you have a sense of adventure and are resiliant, I would certainly look at options other than spending the rest of your life in the USA

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 07:10 | 835307 Rogue Economist
Rogue Economist's picture

Russki, my guess would be that if you are not a plant for Simon then you are a few cans short of a sixpack.  $100K isn't going to get you into NZ, you have to show a good deal more assets than that if you want a Kiwi passport.  Maybe it will get you a Somali passport though, if you are adventurous and resilient.  In order to secure this $100K, what are you going to do?  Sprinkle it out in $10K investments in Kuwaiti Bonds and emerging growth funds in the Hong Kong stock market and venture capital for a subsistence farmer in Angola to buy a mule and a plow?  $100K might get you started in Chile or Bolivia, but when TSHTF I wouldn't count on any SA Goobermint to hold up to well, the likelihood they will be any less onerous than the FSofA Goobermint is pretty small.

On the other hand, $100K in cash will set you up on a pretty nice little Doomstead in the Ozarks.  You speak the same language as everybody in the neighborhood and you can blend in with the locals easily as long as you put a couple of rusty pickups in the front yard, chug Jaegermeister and have an intimate relationship with your sister.  LOL.

$100K will also buy you a very nice Blue Water sailboat on the used market down in the GOM these days, where broke former RE Agents and mortgage brokers are practically giving them away as they sell off their assets.  Actually, half that will buy the boat, and you can use the other half to stock it with enough provisions to take you on a 2 year round-the-world cruise and not bother to get a new passport anywhere, staying only a few weeks in any one location.  Find a nice spot, marry a local girl, and poof you get yourself a new passport that way.

I don't know where Simon has advised you to plop your resiliant and adventurous spirit, but no place is going to be all that great as this shitstorm winds itself up.  Where exactly has he advised you to go with your $100K anyhow?


Wed, 12/29/2010 - 09:33 | 835414 pazmaker
pazmaker's picture

Hey rogue,   Relax!  Ruski is simon.. I mean knows Simon... so everything is ok.

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 18:43 | 834561 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Generally, I find having international options a good idea. Steve Wynn just got dual citizenship with Macao. But lets get real about a coiuple of things. 

Problem is capital controls by the USA. The US IRS has stealthily been clamping down on foreign corporations and people like Simon. The penalties are severe and draconian for even the slightest honest mistake.

Even wiring money out of the USA, of a certain issue, requires 30% witholding by the originating facility --- until you prove you don't owe the IRS. The IRS has greatly expanded physical facilities in places like Central America to go after expatriates and are using foreign banks to act as the collection agents by freezing accounts for no reason until individuals can show they don't owe the IRS.

Imagine, having your account frozen until you show a Costa Rican banker your last three IRS USA tax returns. And another elderly woman had to do the same to prove her monthly Social Security checks of $600/mo were IRS approved.  

Seems the TSA pat downs and scanners also work perfectly well for keeping people from packing cash and gold out of the country. Coincidence?





Tue, 12/28/2010 - 19:11 | 834610 Renfield
Renfield's picture

"Seems the TSA pat downs and scanners also work perfectly well for keeping people from packing cash and gold out of the country. Coincidence?"

At the risk of sounding like a fleeing-von-trapp, what about driving across the border and taking your gold out via a Canadian airport?

Maybe not cash, but gold is not considered "money" (or securities, or any kind of financial asset) by the government and so the government cannot give you a big hassle transporting it. (Unless you have one bar of gold that's more than $10,000 in value by itself.) Admitting it is money is going to cause any government big problems, so they just treat it as a normal collectible.

We brought our bullion from Aus to Canada in our carry-ons with no problems, declared it, the whole shebang. We did of course get in touch with Customs in both countries ahead of time and get an email OKing us to bring it (just as a precaution), we rang the airline ahead of time, and when we went through airport security the officers certainly raised their eyebrows and went through it in our bags pretty thoroughly (in a private room), but generally speaking it wasn't a problem. We made sure we had our receipts together, and on the declaration forms we made sure we evaluated each piece separately. (Made for a several-page list.) The total was quite a lot, but since no one piece was over the $10,000 limit, we did not have to pay duty or taxes or anything like that.

Anyone wanting to relocate their bullion, should remember that to the government, bullion is a collectible; it isn't money!

Just allow a little time if you do this; Customs agents aren't used to seeing travellers traipsing through with heaps of bullion in their carry-ons.

Best question en route from a Customs officer: "But WHY do you have it? What do you USE it for?"

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:49 | 834960 essence
essence's picture

How many Americans have any experience with relocating to foreign lands.

Reading Simon Black... one would think it rather straightforward...
just muster the requisite nerve and voila... you've transplanted yourself.

Hard to reconcile this when Zerohedge on this very same day posts an
article about how 50% of Americans have under $2k  as reserves/retirement

Sorry Simon, your articles make for entertaining reading, however I'm afraid
that your prospective audience is melting away faster than an ice cube on a hot
summer sidewalk.

Just about all countries have immigration requirements, (and custom too).
They just don't welcome the middle class masses. What countries want
are those with significant funds to invest.. or (2nd choice) ... certain esoteric skills. Then the gates are opened.

About a decade ago I spend a year each in Australia and New Zealand
exploring the possibilities. Based on that and other travels I have to say
that - good reading that your posts may be... you're basically a snake oil salesman.

Americans with the wherewithall to qualify for your suggestions are a diminishing breed. Perhaps you should be posting on the Goldman/JPM intranet pages.




Wed, 12/29/2010 - 05:28 | 835273 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

All you need to crash a system is to get the top 10% of the productive citizens to boycott it, no1 is saying people on Social Security should pack their bags and go(unless to the Moon ofc)

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