Is Offshore the Answer?

Brandon has spent his entire life saving, investing, and being frugal. He sees an entitlement society today and wonders if he should go offshore for asset protection.

QUESTION: Brandon in Oklahoma has spent his entire life saving, investing, and being frugal. He sees an entitlement society today and wonders if he should go offshore for asset protection. He and Dave talk about that philosophy, as well as whether moving investments offshore will help any.

ANSWER: There has been a tremendous move in the past 10 years. It’s beyond entitlement, where a tremendous segment of the population really feels like they have the right to take other people’s property away through taxation or any other means, like Robin Hood. He wasn’t a saint—he was a thief. I get the nobility of helping poor people and I agree with that, but when you have to steal to feed poor people, then you’ve got a problem. That makes you, by definition, a thief.

We’ve got a spirit of envy, which is different than jealousy. Jealousy is “I want what you have.” Envy is “I don’t think I can have what you have, so I don’t want you to have it either.” That has spread to a disturbing degree.

Now, what is the practical thing to do about that? My contention is that moving offshore doesn’t fix that because as long as you are an American citizen, then wherever your assets are in the world, they’re subject to our laws, such as the legalized thievery that is taxation. Your moving it offshore doesn’t help, because it’s still taxable. If someone sues you, it is still accessible, unless you are willing to lie and hide things illegally offshore.

But a regular offshore account is still an asset of yours and it still subject to federal law and taxes. The only option you have, and I’m not willing to go here because I think we can philosophically turn this around, is to expatriate, which means you give up your citizenship and you become the citizen of another country. There are people who have done that all over the Caribbean, who have expatriated to get away from all this because they have this weird idea that it’s their money and it shouldn’t be up for grabs. But I’m not willing to give up on this country yet.

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