Be Prepared: Wake Up Calls and Snooze Alarms

If the US having entered into a new war this weekend is not enough to push Americans into action to protect their financial future, I don’t know what is.

Are You Prepared?

So much is going on. There was so much to write about in this weekend’s free Q Bytes newsletter that we decided to post some of it on the blog is well. It’s important that this information gets as widely circulated as possible. First we covered some very important new practical guidelines on Foreign Bank Account Reporting requirements (FBAR) for Americans – US reporting requirements just became a bit clearer. The FBAR requirements are also a wake-up call for non-Americans who have been using the USA as a tax haven – urgent action is required there.

Talking of wake-up calls…  following a major and horrific natural disaster, a nuclear disaster closely averted, and a new attack by Allied Forces in Libya, definitely the worst seen since the invasion of Iraq, wake-up calls are very much at the forefront of our minds. According to the New York Times, Qaddafi has pledged a long war, saying: “We will not leave our land and we will liberate it … Those who are on the land will win the battle,” he declared, warning that “oil will not be left to the United States, France and Britain.”

It seems like yesterday that we saw TV footage of Tony Blair in Libya, proudly welcoming Libya back to the international community, as British troops started training their Libyan counterparts.

But if that’s not an indication of how things can change overnight, consider the case of Japan. A highly developed and prosperous nation, issuer of the world’s third reserve currency after the dollar and the euro, brought to its knees, just like that. Our thoughts, of course, go out to the millions of people affected.

Could the same happen in the US? In Europe? I don’t know, but Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University says that Americans are grossly unprepared for the next disaster. He says horrific events such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina have served less as wake-up calls than snooze alarms—before Americans are pulled back into complacency. Meanwhile, renewed attacks in the Arab world raise the ugly prospect of more terrorist attacks in the US, Britain, France and the rest of Europe.

Amazingly, during this time, the Japanese currency has been appreciating on the markets and the G-7 have intervened to keep it lower. Exciting times for short term currency speculators, but yet more intervention in the free market that I think has a much deeper long-term significance. Once things calm down I will try to address this topic in a future article in Q Wealth, and without doubt it will be on the agenda for our Q Wealth Symposium in Hong Kong later this year (please use our contact form if you are not yet on the list to receive advance details of this event but you would like to be.)

My intention with this letter is certainly not to spoil your weekend, however. I don’t know about you, but I sleep sounder being well prepared. As Simon Black says, there are two ways to sleep well at night: be ignorant or be prepared.

I don’t necessarily mean you should run out and buy flashlights and iodine tablets, prepper style. Though it may not be a bad idea. France, where the public are generally very happy with nuclear power, distributes free iodine tablets regularly to those who live near its many nuclear power plants.

Disaster preparedness, in my view, involves being prepared for anything – even the most unpredictable. If and when disaster strikes, it’s not very likely to be in the form of the obvious threat you have already prepared for. What I am thinking more about is just having a general ‘Plan B’ in place – perhaps a second home in a far way country, assets secured offshore, a second life that you and your family could step into… a second passport?

Remember, disasters also don’t have to be of enormous magnitude to have a disastrous effect on you. Just something like being sued or accused wrongly of something could turn into your private disaster.

The catastrophe I would concentrate most on preparing for, though, is a financial crisis… because I’m convinced that this will not only happen, it actually is happening now. If you look beyond the mainstream headlines, you can see it happening all around. So it’s really important to secure your financial future and independence. How? For example by holding physical precious metals, foreign assets, or by internationalizing your retirement account. These are all things that we at Q Wealth Report can help you achieve and you’ll find further information browsing this site. Where, for example are the best offshore banking countries? The best places to obtain a second passport, either through residence or economic citizenship? What should you know about tax havens like Panama? What is the best way to buy physical precious metals offshore? What is the best asset protection jurisdiction?

So, don’t panic, but don’t hit the snooze button on recent wake-up calls either. If the US having entered into a new war this weekend is not enough to push Americans into action to protect their financial future, I don’t know what is. Commit to action. If you are looking for the practical nuts-and-bolts information, you’ll find it in the Q Wealth Report and at our events. But you are the only one who can make the first move. It’s in your hands. Nobody else is going to do it for you.

You can start here, with our free five part course on offshore wealth creation: Secrets of the Super Rich

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