Technology has robbed the world of a lot freedom… just as it has added great freedom in other ways.
Technology allowed me to live in Hong Kong in the 1970s.
Technology has brought us the freedom to see the world in an instant… to speak to the world in an instant… to message the world in an instant… to travel the world… to buy and sell with those who offer the best deal… plus ever so much more.
Yet the same technology has allowed governments everywhere to restrict privacy and in many instances lifestyle.
For example… US legislation has slowly created such a burden on overseas banks that to serve US citizens most overseas banks will no longer accept Americans as customers.
Technology allowed me to live in London and …
work in the Isle of Man in the 19080s.
Our newsletters and later this website have warned about this problem for nearly 4o years as we have observed the gradual erosion of American access to global banking.
The first clues of our restricted freedom came clear back in the early 1980s when overseas mutual funds started dropping American investors. I saw the results of this myself. The 2nd book I wrote about global investing “Three Confidential Reports About Making Money Abroad” recommended several overseas mutual funds including Action Suisse (A Swiss fund that invested in Swiss shares) and Deutscher Investment-Trust (a German fund investing in German shares). These were great funds for that time as the Swiss franc, German mark and these stock markets were exploding.
I invested in these funds and was making triple digit returns when my Swiss banker at that time, Credit Suisse wrote and said…”Sorry we have to sell these funds for you because you are an American. Thank you very much.”
Since that time Swiss bankers and banks globally have been fighting a rear guard action against more and more legislation that does not make it illegal for Americas to bank overseas…. just financially impractical. The cost of complying with all the legislation is so high that overseas banks can’t charge enough.
The beginning of the end came in in 1996, when the USA concluded a new double taxation agreement with Switzerland, which, among other things, regulated the conditions for administrative assistance in matters of taxation. Switzerland agreed to provide assistance with regard to “tax fraud and the like”.
“And the like.” Three infamous words.
This extension of the concept of “tax fraud” was like a ticking time bomb. US authorities simply had to wait for some bank and in this case it was UBS to act in a way so the US authorities could expand their control over non US banks. Thus banking secrecy was well and truly dead not in 2009, but already in 1996.
UBS activity allowed the US government to pile so much additional paperwork on overseas banks that other banks in other countries began closing down American accounts as well.
A Daily Telegraph article “Lloyds Bank hit by Obama tax purge” shows what happened to Americans (even those who had lived in England for decades) says: Lloyds Banking Group is ditching American customers based in Britain pending a crackdown on international tax evasion planned by President Barack Obama.
This week American private client account-holders at Lloyds’s received letters informing them of an “important change in policy regarding clients who are resident, domiciled or linked to the United States by property or asset holdings”. They were told the bank had “no choice” but to “cease acting as your investment manager. One letter sent to Bank of Scotland’s portfolio management division, which is now part of Lloyds, said: “The USA has a mature regulatory environment governed by its Securities and Exchange Commission. These regulations mean that we are not licensed to manage portfolios for US clients”.
The letter added: “Unfortunately we cannot offer an equivalent service from within Lloyds Banking Group.” Clients have been advised to transfer their assets.
One recipient, who has lived in the UK for over 25 years, said: “After all this time, I’ve suddenly been told I must take my money elsewhere and I don’t understand why. Now I’m scared that other banks won’t take me on either.”
There you have it. Americans are totally free to bank abroad… yet many cannot because the cost of compliance is so high. This is true in many other fields. There are some great natural health products available that aren’t offered because of the high cost of FDA approval. The list could go on.
This is not a unique American phenomenon by the way. European food supplements are even more restricted than in the US.
What can we do to maintain freedom?
Freedom is an attitude and lifestyle we choose… not something legislated so we can use technology to help us be free as citizens of the world which I recommended in my first book (written in the 1970s) “Passport to International Profit”.
Here is an excerpt from that book.
Don’t be a Shooting Duck
This is the first story in the second chapter of a book, Passport to Profit, I wrote in 1979. Does this now apply to you?
Having a Harbor
Doesn’t everyone dream of having some safe harbor for the ultimate escape? A completely dependable last line of defense, so that when everything else falls to pieces, one can drop back inside this cozy little shelter and enjoy a safe snug comfortable life. Certainly it is sensible to have one. In fact, to my way of thinking, anyone who doesn’t have quite a few safe harbors is not only playing a dangerous game he doesn’t have to play, he is missing one of the greatest contentment’s of life..confidence.
Duck in the Pond Theory
We would all have our own little partnership with our own little pond if we were ducks. The pond gives us water, food, shelter and peace. We, in turn, give it ducks. For what is a pond without ducks? We clean it, eat up unnecessary plants and in general keep everything in tiptop condition. However, every once in a while the hunters arrive. Very quickly the rules of the partnership change. You see, the pond as your partner has a limited range of powers. Whether it likes it or not, a new partnership is about to be imposed upon the pond. It will be forced to join in a hunter/pond partnership and part of the rules of that relationship is that the hunters can shoot at the ducks on the pond. This not only throws you, the duck, into an unrequested, unwanted hunter/hunted partnership but threatens to terminate quickly your duck/pond partnership.
It’s possible if you are not careful that you will become a diner/dinner partner on the wrong end of the fork. Logic dictates what to do in a situation like this. Since your pond partner is no longer dependable because the rules are about to be changed, you should take the initiative. Rule #1 of the Duck in the Pond Theory is in fact “Don’t be a sitting duck when the shooting starts”, so you’ve go to decide what to do.
All too often in real life, people get too upset with change to use logic. Their first reaction instead is dismay. They sit there wallowing in disappointment, shock and anger because their pond has let them down. Or even worse, they sit there looking at the gun barrels and choose to blind themselves to the reality of the situation, saying this is some sort of joke or the hunters are really looking for rabbits or the pond won’t let this happen.
Rule #2 in this theory is “be realistic”. If you don’t accept partnerships change daily or ignore the limitations of your partner; you are not capable of deciding when to run for your harbor. You’ll lie to yourself and probably to your partner. This gums up the whole works. You’ll mess up a fairly clean machine by adding unwanted, useless nuts and bolts which do nothing but clog everything up.
The human mind/body partnership has an almost unlimited capacity to ignore its eyeballs, to adjust reality to match its desires. This inbred flaw causes humans to ignore reality and expect the world to revolve around them. Being realistic is accepting that no person, thing or partnership is indispensable or permanent. Realism is recognizing change and accepting it when no one is able to stop it.
If, by being realistic, you recognize that as much as you love your pond and as much as the gun barrels look harmless, that the shooting is not far away, you must act. You must get off the pond. Where do you go?
Rule #3 of the theory is to be sure you have another pond to go to. I call it having a positive pond factor. The more places you have to go, the more positive your pond factor.
Technology allows Merri and me to live on a remote Blue Ridge farm…
and Ecuador now.
Until next message, where we learn how to find other ponds, may your pond be a good one.
One bank that still welcomes Americans is Jyske Bank. They spent years (and probably millions in legal fees I might add) figuring out all the ways to make it possible for them to serve Americans. This is why I am pleased to be speaking at their 9th Global Wealth seminar.
See details on how to join Merri and me at Jyske’s bi annual Copenhagen seminar here Global Wealth Management Seminar.
Join us on the waterfront restaurants and coffee shops along Nyhavn as we learn about global investing in Copenhagen.
How We Can Serve You
How to Have Real Safety
Regain Real Security
There is a path to true security.
I was reminded of this once when I made a horrible mistake. Almost!
The supposed error? Letting my mind wander six decades back to an hour I spent with a girl.
Learn from this near disaster, seven most powerful sources of wealth, health, security and fulfillment in this era.
The girl was pretty and blond. Terry was her name. My imagination spanned decades returning to my Oregon roots seeing her as if she were there.
We were 11 or 12 and had known each other since we started Rockwood grade school. Just buddies, our non-romantic friendship lasted 12 years, from first grade till high school’s end. Then she went off to Pepperdine College in California. I started traveling the world. Never saw her again. I hope her life has gone well. But until that reflection I’d never thought much of Terry in so many years.
What could have been the tragic error was letting that memory touch my heart. Two kids, walking on a crisp, Pacific Northwest autumnal afternoon.
We walked down a sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt path. Huge, fat, green Douglas firs lined the road. Traffic was no problem, not many cars. Crossing Stark Street we turned left, hiking three blocks to 182nd. There we passed an old clapboard candy store. I can still hear the wooden sidewalk of that store slap beneath my feet, felt the soggy planks sag and smelled astringent pitch from the fir trees. Then we turned right, up 182nd for about a mile. There was Terry’s house.
I carried on, walking through a big field, waist high grass turned straw brown by an early frost. There were dozens of paths made by who knows what. Animals perhaps or countless generations of other kids walking home alone from school. I chose one following it to another wood of tall, rough-barked fir. Crossing one more field, I climbed a rock wall, struggled through a barbed wire fence (my Mom hated that fence ripping my jeans). I was home!
Sweet simplicity, that dream. Two kids holding hands, walking on a dirt trail under a crisp, but blue, sunny sky. Pure innocence.
My tragic error was looking back. I returned to Rockwood, Oregon with Merri and my kids to show them this part of their roots. Following the route, Terry and I had walked were the candy store, grange hall, old wooden buildings and their home spun honesty and charm.
Instead we found six lanes of fast, frantic traffic and road rage. McDonalds, KFC, strip shopping centers. The car radio blared warnings of local gangs and drive-by-shootings. Beauty, innocence, sweet simplicity, replaced by drive ins and drive bys. Gangs and drive-by shootings replacing a tender walk in the sun. Good bye memories, good bye.
How can our kids walk in places like this? How can we return to those old feeling of security and comfort?
How can any of us possibly keep pace in this world that’s moving so fast? Then something inside snapped. “There has to be an answer for honest, hard working folks to enjoy the wonderful opportunities of today and regain what we’ve lost over the past forty years”, I swore to myself.
How can we keep up, without having such a fast paced life we turn into machines? Where do we find time for God, family, charity, and our friends? How can we rediscover those sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt paths we want to walk?
“There has to be places that are still innocent and pure”, I thought. “There has to be a way of life that does not pound us with stress”.
This thinking led me to begin reviewing the thousands of economic and business experiences I have shared with readers over the decades. This started a search for a simpler way of life and a better place to earn and protect our wealth.
By digging, asking and observing, traveling and talking to investors and investment managers all over the world I found that there are true paths to real security in the here and now. That knowledge helped me develop courses on how to have natural health, everlasting wealth and purposeful investments.
This knowledge helped Merri and me invest in stocks and real estate all over the world. It helped us find and develop Merrily Farms into a sanctuary here on Little Horse Creek.
That almost error led us to create an entire portfolio of information on how to keep pace, get ahead, enjoy our modern society but, to enjoy life wherever you choose without having to move too fast.
I want to share this information with a special few in our summer course in the Blue Ridge Mountains where the air is dry, crisp, with a bright sparkling sun. Our North Carolina woods is a place where we can once again walk down sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt paths beneath huge, fat, green fir and hemlock.
We start the course with this question that can help us get our lives back.
“What would you think in the last 30 seconds of your life if you were the richest man in the world but were unhappy?”
This quote is from the opening slide of our Value Investing Seminar, “How to Secure Your Future With a Value Breakout Plan”. This a vital question because few investors think about the value of comfort and happiness. Yet the truth is, those who are comfortable and happy with their investments are likely to make good investment decisions. If not, no matter how much money an investors has, changes are, they’ll lose.
Bring Value and Purposeful Investing Together
Join us to learn how to make safety and profit easier and less time consuming so we can focus on our individual purposes in life.
Become an International Club member and join like-minded souls, who take a positive view and think outside the box for better health, greater income and safer, more profitable investments. Share ideas on how to add value to everything and make 2016 -2017 your best years yet.
In 2016 Merri’s, David’s and my mission is to share our 50 years of experience in international business, investing and living to make ourselves happier, healthier and wealthier.
To reach a wider audience we have shifted our seminars online including the seminar “How to Secure Your Future With a Value Breakout Plan”.
Here is a partial syllabus of this seminar.
- Three common sense ideas: Avoid lines. Go where you are a name not a number. Decide who you are and what matters to you.
- Why three economic trends that have make smart investors rich every 30 years are ready for cashing in now.
- How to look for short term problems that create long term value.
- Update on the best ten markets for safety and profit.
- How to diversify in value with Country ETFs.
- The value of time in investing and life.
- The economics in cyber wars. How to look back at the economics of war to see ahead.
- Great new innovations that will ignite a 16 year bull market from 2016 to 2032.
- The next great fuel.
- Timing long cycles, economic cycles and seasonality.
- Investing in Demographics.
- Trading Down, the biggest global trend ahead.
- Hidden Inflation .
- How to protect against pension loss.
- The Silver Dip 2016. When and how to invest in gold and silver . How to double your position with loans.
- How to spot currency distortions and borrow low to deposit high.
- How, Why When & Where to bank abroad.
Club membership is for an entire year and the recorded seminar is just one high point.
In 2016 and 2017 we are conducting online seminars about value investing, natural health and how to write to sell.
International Club members receive all the online seminars free.
In addition club membership includes:
- Personal investing Course (Pi), normally $297, FREE
- Self Fulfilled How to be a Self Publisher, normally $299, FREE
- Eventful Business, normally $349, FREE
- International Business Made EZ, normally $299, FREE
- Report “Three Economic Conditions for 50% or More Profit,” normally $29.95, FREE
- Report “Silver Dip 2015” normally $27, FREE
- Three online Value Investing Seminars, normally $477, FREE
- One online Natural Health Seminar, normally $119, FREE
- One online Writers Camp, normally $299, FREE
Merri and I have been organizing courses, seminars and newsletters about international and Super Thinking lifestyles for over 30 years. The importance of this sharing… by like minded souls… was reinforced when a delegate from a course sent an email that said:
My Dearest Merri and Gary, Thank you for your most gracious hospitality last weekend. I am just thrilled at being a part of your group. You and Gary were exactly as I imagined you to be, warm friendly, kind, considerate, genuine, helpful, fun, sincere, what else can I say……I felt so comfortable in your presence and learned so much in your course. I was sad to leave the farm that Sunday afternoon. You made us all feel so welcome and cared about. You were so kind to make arrangements for a ride with the other delegates from the Charlotte Airport. They were so nice to me and so helpful, by the time the weekend was over I felt like they were my long lost brothers. Monday morning we all had breakfast at the airport together and I was so sad to see them go, I was sad the weekend was over, perhaps sad is not the right word for how I was feeling perhaps Gratitude is a better way to describe it. Grateful for having the opportunity to share the weekend with such wonderful, like minded Human Beings, in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Thank you Merri and Gary. Thanks to you I now have new hope and a new direction to move forward in my life. I know by attending your classes and conferences that through education and due diligence I will make the right choices.
I invite you to be a member of the International Club.
Let’s prosper in these times of change. Won’t you join us in this exciting club and share Merri’s and my lifestyle for the next year? Join us online.
Club members receive everything we offer in 2016 and 2017.