You Don’t Know Until You Go!

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Peter Macfarlane reporting from Tocumen Airport in Panama, in transit to the Caribbean…

I don’t write much in Q Bytes about my travels, but most of my clients are aware that I travel almost constantly… meeting clients and suppliers, doing research and due diligence. The last few weeks I have been in South America driving around dirt roads looking at agricultural investment properties, investigating first hand the buregoning gold business in South America, seeking elusive wifi signals in odd corners of hotel rooms (even on the roof of a hotel in one case) and enjoying some great barbeques with foreign investment managers and well-connected locals.

Although the internet is undoubtedly a vast repository of information that has changed the way of doing things beyond recognition in the offshore business, I’m still a firm believer in feet on the ground, and building long-term business through solid relationships. In other words, “you don’t know until you go.”

In fact, I believe this is more important than ever. These days there are unfortunately so many things that could go wrong, that it helps to know who you are dealing with. I only deal with people I have a good feeling about. I don’t look for the cheapest provider. Maybe not even the most successful or the best on paper. My business goes to the person I feel is trustworthy, who will be there for the long term.

I’m happy to have made a few more of those long term contacts on this recent trip – particularly in Uruguay, a very interesting option for tax-free residence and second citizenship, that I’ll be writing more about over the coming weeks. That was one of the main reasons for the trip, in fact: and it was successful. We can now make referrals to recommended experts for residence, citizenship, banking and trust services in Uruguay.

The business climate internationally is getting tougher, and believe me things will get a lot tougher yet. Especially when dealing with matters like offshore banking, asset protection, second citizenships and the like, we also need to deal with like-minded people. People who can see what is going on and who are making adequate preparations. There is no point in entrusting your asset protection planning to somebody who does not see the threats! That’s why it’s a great investment to spend time getting to know your business associates on a personal level, out of the office, to find out what REALLY makes them tick.

Geographic diversification is essential… that means you must be international both in investment terms, and in your outlook. Consider yourself a sovereign individual – because that is what you are. Nobody else is going to look out for you.

A good investment advisor (if you can find one) or perhaps a research subscription might be able to give your portfolio the international diversification you need. But to acquire an international outlook you must travel… to see and understand how things really are in the rest of the world.

Fortunately, more and more people are getting this. Years ago it was quite rare for clients to visit their offshore service providers or bankers. Now we see it all the time. Air travel is easy and cheap. Travel in general has become much ‘easier’ – some would say boring – because on the surface, everything might look so similar. But scratch under the surface by spending time with people in an informal environment, and you will learn so much more.

While I was in Buenos Aires I wrote to Q Bytes readers from an apartment kindly lent to me in Buenos Aires by an North American client who spends about six months of the year here. This place is informally known as ‘PT Southern Command.’ South America abounds with interesting opportunities for attractive returns on your investments, and opportunities for enhancing your freedom. The freedom, of course, is the most important aspect for me.

As a foreigner, nobody bothers you here provided you ‘live and let live.’ You are treated with respect. This particular client and friend, let’s call him Mike, made the leap a couple of years ago and bought his apartment in Buenos Aires. He announced the purchase to everybody at our 2008 ‘Recipes for Success’ event in Cancun and invited all the conference delegates to stay anytime. Mike has never looked back. Sooner rather than later he will qualify for citizenship here and with careful planning he has legally avoided paying a penny in income taxes. Plus, his apartment must have doubled in value judging by the prices I am seeing here now.

I’m not the only one from that 2008 conference who took up Mike on his kind invitation. I’m sure he now has a stream of interesting like-minded individuals visiting PT Southern Command, sealing new friendships, exchanging experiences and information, and providing the mental stimulation that all intelligent people need, but is often to hard to find amongst depressive talk at home fuelled by the mainstream media. I’m proud to think that this came apart from one of our conferenes. (The next one, in September, will be in Ireland – details will be posted shortly on our Events page)

In early July, I will be meeting a number of readers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, who are interested in finding out more about residency and second citizenship opportunities there. I still have a few slots available for in-person consultations, and Santo Domingo is quite easy to reach with many direct flights from both North America and Europe. By meeting a group of clients during the same few days, I am also able to reduce my normal in-person consulting fee by more than half. If you are interested, again please initially contact us to schedule appointment. Due to limited time, please note that only requests from Q Wealth members can be entertained. If you are not a member, please sign up here first.

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