As I’ve frequently stated, the problem with conventional asset protection is that it frequently focuses on preserving the numbers in your offshore bank account. What I mean by this, is that if you have a million dollars, your traditional asset protection lawyer will seek to protect it against unjust lawsuits, greedy ex-spouses, and government seizure – maybe even taxation!
That’s fine as far as it goes… but it completely ignores what is perhaps the most important risk – currency devaluation, specifically devaluation of the dollar. No matter what complicated and convoluted theories economists might come up with, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you print a lot more dollars, each one will be worth less. Every time Bernanke fires up the printing presses, he is devaluing the dollar. If you want to see statistics to back this up, see my earlier post: USA Bankrupt? Here’s the Evidence.
So if you have a million dollars in any of the best offshore banks at the beginning of 2010, and a million dollars plus today’s measly interest in your account at the end of 2010, you will really have made a big loss. So much for asset protection!
The solution, of course, is diversification. You’ve heard the story about the eggs and the basket. Physical gold bullion is one excellent hedge, and has the advantage of being non-reportable on the FBAR form (for US taxpayers) since it’s a physical thing, not a financial account. If you are interested in finding out more about How to Buy and Store Physical Gold Bullion Offshore, click here.
Another good solution is holding a multi-currency bank account. This is a financial service that is simple to use and understand, yet essential for protection against the devaluing dollar. A multi currency account, as its name suggests, is simply one bank account in which you can hold a variety of foreign currencies.
For example, you will log in to your internet banking and see you have X amount of US dollars, Y amount of Swiss Francs, Z amount of Aussie Dollars, etc.If you wire in an amount in a certain currency, the bank will simply hold it in that currency. Of course if you want to switch part or all of your balance to another currency within the account, you can do so with a few clicks of the mouse or a simple phone call.
Multi currency accounts are standard in some of the best offshore banking countries where I typically assist clients in opening their accounts. Despite the government’s propoganda, it is completely legal for most nationalities to hold offshore bank accounts – for the moment!
A question I am often asked is “is it possible to open a multi currency account in the USA?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. There are a few US banks that open foreign currency accounts, the pioneer being EverBank. Even EverBank, however, does not open multi-currency accounts – they simply open separate accounts for each currency you want to hold. This is not bad, but is less convenient.
Another problem with Everbank is this statement on their application form: Please note: Date of Birth, employment information and Social Security Number will be required from all account holders, including trustees and signers on the account. So no accounts for non-US residents, either.
To me, opening a multi-currency bank account in the USA seems like an oxymoron anyway. The whole idea is to diversify out of not just the US dollar, but the US banking system in general. According to bankimplode.com, 208 banks have ‘imploded’ since the beginning of the financial crisis – most of them in the USA.
That is why I have always recommended clients seeking multi-currency accounts to go offshore. For added security and privacy, it’s also wise to use an offshore entity like a Panama Foundation or Corporation to serve as the owner of your bank account. (If you haven’t read our free report yet on the advantages and disadvantages of Panama as an offshore centre, visit our Panama Foundations, Corporations and Offshore Banking page)
So how best do you go about opening a multi currency bank account? Which are the best offshore banks and the best offshore banking countries? Switzerland, Austria, or elsewhere? Where were the best places to open such accounts in 2009, and what will be the best offshore accounts in 2010?
For that information I suggest you download our Practical Offshore Banking Guide which is free for our paid-up members. If you are not a paid-up member yet, you can either subscribe online right now (it only costs $87 and takes a few minutes), or you can test our services with no obligation with our Free Five Part introductory course on Offshore Banking, Asset Protection and Wealth Creation that we would be delighted to send you starting today. Simply enter your e-mail address in the box above to receive yours.
Prefer a personal meeting? Then why not come along and meet me and the team in Cancun, Mexico in March 2010? Details from [email protected]