Being a long time prepper, one of my favorite books has been Neil Strauss’ “Emergency” which came out in 2009. It is a story of how he goes down the rabbit hole of the prepper movement. Neil literally becomes “Batman” as I tell most of my friends when I recommend it to them. I re-read this book every year, it’s that much fun. The real point of this is it’s a guide for how someone to truly become independent and free.
It’s a guide to the power of Diversification & being Un-Cancellable. Of not being dependent on one country and having all your eggs in one basket. This is something that many of us who grew up in the very prosperous western world of the United States, Canada and Western Europe do not really understand because we have had a long period of prosperity and stability for the last 5 decades. But for those folks who grew up in China, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Russia, Cyprus or South Africa for example , or the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, all understand or have experienced how things can quickly fall apart.
One of the concepts Strauss learned from the mysterious “Sovereign Society” is the 5 Flag Strategy. Literally having your bank, residence, business entity, citizenship and businesses in 5 completely different countries or jurisdictions. For me, it would not be about evading taxes and just being more diversified & prudent. As an American citizen, you have to pay the federal tax wherever you live. But in general the tax treaties they have with most countries are for the most part reasonable. I’m dead serious here. Pay your rightful taxes, the scariest arm of any government are the tax authorities, people you do not want to mess with. It’s REALLY not worth the trouble however much you think you will save. The goal is to have an interesting life, not a complicated one. Plus the US has a very long arm in the world of Pax Americana.
There is another concept I love from “Nomad Capitalist” Andrew Hendersen called the Global Citizen Sandwich which is detailed here.
In sum, a very similar concept. The bread at the top is where you bank. So for example, a safe, trusted international jurisdiction like Singapore, Switzerland, Austria or Uruguay if you are in Latin America. Haven’t figured out what makes sense for me here.
The meat is where you spend most of your time, relatively low local taxes, safe, low cost, high quality & pleasant place to live. For Andrew it’s Malaysia. For me personally, it would be Taiwan, Portugal, Ukraine, Mexico or Japan.
The bottom of the sandwich is an emerging market that is growing quickly & where there are crazy good business opportunities. At the same time they have a lower quality of life as it is emerging. A place for example, like Cambodia where there is a fast growing middle class, lots of Chinese money and tourists flowing in, all leading to great investment opportunities. Yet not necessarily a nice place to live. YET. Ironically, I’ve come to include both the United States & my beloved Central & Eastern Europe region as whole ie. former Soviet Bloc countries in this category. The quality of life in the USA has declined precipitously in the last 21 years i’ve lived here sadly, yet it is still the best place in the world for my industry of technology.
Being stuck in the Plague States of America these last 8+ months due to the gross mishandling of the Covid, I have had a lot of time to think about these concepts more.
A point of consideration, the US passport went from being one of the most valued visa less door openers to most countries in the world to less than 49 countries as of October 27th. Americans are literally not welcome in the UK, the European Union, Canada, Japan & Thailand among many other popular destinations.
I think anyone who lives in the United States these days should think very carefully about this. I would never bet against the USA and am literally putting my money where my mouth is. But it is prudent to diversify a little. A good business person should always consider both the upside and the downside. This will help you prepare and take action in either scenario that happens.
“Forewarned is Forearmed” is apt here.
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