What if? How to live with instability

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Ignorance is bliss – until problems occur…

The first reports of shooting came just before midnight. Within minutes, heavy explosions, muffled by the distance, echoed through the steel and glass canyons of the capital. Then the noise died down.

At the second-floor window of a room in the Marriott Hotel, this reporter and two others were listening for more sounds of fighting when they saw a man wearing a black ski mask and camouflage pants and carrying an automatic assault rifle running across a patio area outside.

The reporters crouched to the floor, but the gunman spotted them. ‘Out! Out!’ He Shouted

”Out! Out!” he shouted, aiming his AK-47 assault rifle.

Which Marriott Hotel is the New York Times talking about here? Kabul? Baghdad? No, Panama, just a little over twenty years ago. You can read the full article here.

In the gilded lobby of the luxury hotel, Panama City’s finest, seven other gunmen had herded together about 80 guests and staff members. They were forced to lie face down with their arms outstretched.

”Who’s American?” several of the gunmen shouted at once. ”Americans over there.” The gunmen pushed a group of 11 into an adjacent section of the lobby.

You know we at Q Wealth are pretty positive on Panama. Many times I’ve been in that lobby for meetings with clients. But the point is, you have to be prepared. Recent geopolitical events over relatively insignificant territories have highlighted the risk and instability of the world we live in.

Who would have thought just a month or two ago of territorial disputes involving the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Argentina having a major effect on the global economy and politics? Surely, these are relatively stable countries, not be compared with Afghanistan or Iraq?

Yet our memories are short. Back in 1982 nearly 1000 lives were lost in the Falklands War. And, seemingly all of a sudden, tensions are heating up again in the region. Unsurprisingly, it has something to do with oil.

Venezuela, meanwhile, has had territorial ambitions over the Netherlands Antilles off its coast for years. And, as money launderer turned bank compliance officer Kenneth Rijock points out in this article, Hugo Chavez has just recently directly threatened the status of the Dutch Caribbean possessions of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, as well as the United States Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Netherlands is in no position to defend these islands and there is the added potential flashpoint that comes from the fact that US military aircraft are based in these islands.

The Libyan government, meanwhile, has recently banned entry into their country of all nationals of Schengen countries (most of the European Union, excluding UK and Ireland). Just like that. I didn’t even see it on the mainstream news. It’s something Canada does from time to time as well. Most recently with just 48 hours’ notice they suddenly started demanding visas from Mexicans and Czechs. Those who already had flights booked were left to solve the problem themselves.

The fact is that disputes like these, that can only really be described as silly, can pop up almost anywhere at any time. They could turn out to be just what politicians on all sides need to rally popular support and distract the slumbering masses from the real serious problems.

The most important lesson is the need for geographic diversification. This kind of thing happens all the time and it could affect you or your assets. You shouldn’t keep all your assets in one place. You should get a second passport. You also need to keep your finger on the pulse and follow serious news sources that cover geopolitical matters. Stratfor is good, or for quick reading check out Sovereign Man.

Lots of Americans are buying land in Argentina at the moment. Now I’m not saying the following is likely, but neither is it so far-fetched…. What if a new Falklands War breaks out and the US steps in on the British side? How will the US and Britain being at war with Argentina affect investments, freedom to travel, and most importantly security of those expats?

“What if” is something people need to be asking themselves a lot these days. We live in a very unstable world. There is no 100% security. Little, insignificant disputes between politicians can spill over into making life hell for ordinary people. And then there are the relationships between China, the USA, and Russia…

In real estate, people talk about the three factors: location, location, and location. In offshore and asset protection planning, I talk about the same three factors. Diversification, diversification and diversification. Never keep all your assets in the same place, the same currencies or the same asset form.

Things change fast. Back in 1989, Miami was a safe place for Latin Americans to keep money. Now it isn’t. Panama has taken over that role and is stable.

Once again, the lesson is: be prepared. There is no 100% security anywhere. If you and your assets are mobile and ready with flags of convenience like offshore IBCs/corporations, foreign multi currency bank accounts, and second passports, you will be safer if severe crisis hits. And be sure to subscribe to Q Wealth Report where we write about such matters and – even more importantly – solutions, detailed plans and strategies. If you are not yet a subscriber and want to see the package of benefits you are missing out on, click here.

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