The surprising reason you might qualify for citizenship in these five countries

In the year 1492, at a port city about 50 miles south of where Columbus was preparing to set sail for the New World, Spanish Jews were desperately scrambling to flee Spain.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella gave all Jewish Spaniards just four months notice to leave the country, convert to Christianity, or die.

They were called Sephardic Jews (Sephardic is Hebrew for Spanish), and they were forced to sell their properties and businesses. With such a small window of time to leave, these properties flooded the market, and the price of real estate crashed.

But it hardly mattered anyway, since the Jewish people were not allowed to take their gold or silver with them.

If you are Jewish, then it is more likely than not that your ancestors were persecuted — whether in Spain, Portugal, Russia, Germany, Poland, or elsewhere in the world.

It is a tragic history that some governments today are trying to fix by restoring citizenship to the descendants of those they persecuted.

So yes, if you’re Jewish or have Jewish ancestry, it’s possible you might qualify for a second passport and citizenship.

This is something where there is practically ZERO downside. Obtaining a second citizenship and passport is the ultimate insurance policy. It means you and your family will ALWAYS have another option.

No matter what happens (or doesn’t happen) next, you’ll have at least one more place to call home… where you can be welcomed to live and work. It means having more visa-free travel options, business options, lifestyle options, investment options.

So if you do have Jewish ancestry, here are five countries to consider where you could potentially obtain a second passport.

1. Spanish Citizenship By Descent

One of those countries trying to make amends for past wrongs is Spain, whose program we have written about before.

In general, Jews fall into two main categories – Ashkenazi (hailing from Eastern Europe) and Sephardic (hailing from Spain/Portugal). There are other groups, too, but most Jews around the world can claim one origin or another.

Normally, to claim heritage from a country, you have to show birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. And to some extent, you need to do so here. But nobody will likely have documents stretching back five centuries.

So to reasonably demonstrate Sephardic heritage, you’ll have to dig up, for example, family letters written in Ladino, the language of Spain’s Jews 500 years ago. Or genealogical records that show where your ancestor came from and went. Perhaps your family kept its Sephardic heritage and attends a Sephardic synagogue. Getting them to vouch for you can help, too.

The issue with claiming Spanish citizenship through Jewish ancestry is that the deadline to submit an application is October 1, 2019.

However if you miss the deadline, it may still be possible to qualify for a second passport based on Sephardic ancestry from Portugal…

2. Portuguese Citizenship By Descent

When Spain kicked the Jewish people out of the country, about 120,000 paid a hefty fee to settle in Portugal. But about five years later, Portugal also expelled its Jewish residents.

So Portugal is another country trying to repay the historic debt with citizenship, and their project is still going on. Again, you’ll have to do some serious genealogical digging. Jews in Portugal often changed their last names to words describing animals such as eagles (Aguia), adjectives such as thorny (Spinosa), or descriptors such as storyteller (Abecassis). Just having a Sephardic last name doesn’t qualify you for citizenship, but it can help.

3. Polish Citizenship By Descent

If you are of Ashkenazi, rather than Sephardic, origin, then another country to consider is Poland. Technically, you are confirming, not gaining, Polish citizenship if your ancestor was a bona fide Polish citizen, as many Polish citizens did not leave Poland but were murdered in the Holocaust.

Poland has some very strict rules around proving ancestry. The country is possibly the most rigorous gatekeeper of citizenship-via-ancestry in Europe.

Even if your last name is Adamowicz, and even if your great-grandfather’s town was destroyed in World War II, you’ll still have to prove that he was a bona fide Polish citizen. (There are myriad ways to do this, which we detail in our online library.)

But if successful, you’ll gain a valuable passport. Polish citizenship gives you unfettered access to the European Union: to schools, employment, and living anywhere you want in the territory.

Poland is also a highly self-sufficient country, so even if the EU falls apart, it can run its own economic engine.

4. German Citizenship By Descent

Germany is another country to look into if you are Ashkenazi and your ancestors hailed from there. Ironic, yes, considering the Holocaust, but I have a number of Jewish friends who have reclaimed German citizenship via their Jewish roots.

German immigration law states that former German citizens who between 1933 and 1945 were deprived of their German citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds may reinstate their citizenship. This also applies to their descendants.

Documents that help include any birth or marriage certificates creating the family chain back to your ancestor(s), records from concentration camps, any naturalization documents that showed your ancestor’s new citizenship (if they survived persecution), old German passports or other documents showing German citizenship, and/or any pensions or other persecution-related documents.

I have a friend who was able to nab her German passport (via a grandparent) in less than a month.

And what a passport it is — the German passport is considered one of the most powerful one in the world, outranking those of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. With a German passport, you can travel in and out of 158 nations around the world, no visas required.

5. Israeli Citizenship

Finally, one last country you might want to consider is Israel.

If you are of Jewish ancestry – any at all – and are able to relocate to Israel, you can easily obtain Israeli citizenship.

As we wrote here, the benefits are numerous, including certain tax incentives.

Should you decide to live in Israel, you could save tens of thousands of dollars in taxes each year. That’s because new citizens who move to Israel are EXEMPT from taxes for the first ten years that they live there.

Plus, the government actually pays you to have kids in Israel, giving you a monthly stipend and opening a savings account in each child’s name.

But even if you don’t qualify for citizenship in any of these countries, you could still be part of the “lucky bloodline club.”

Countries like Italy, Ireland, and many more give citizenship to anyone who can prove their ancestors came from those countries.

Check out this article to see if you are part of the lucky bloodline club.

And remember, what usually happens when you obtain citizenship from your ancestry, is that it can also pass down to your children and grandchildren.

So future generations of your family can benefit from a little bit of effort that you put in today.


from Sovereign Man

Yet another reason to slash your taxes to zero

I’ve long been vocal about my belief that if you have a problem with your government, you should vote.

But not vote in the traditional sense, i.e. stand in line at a polling station and be forced to choose between the lesser of two evils… or perhaps more appropriately, the evil of two lessers.

Traditional voting is a demeaning and pointless activity.

In most cases your vote doesn’t really matter; national elections are typically decided by a handful of voters who fit an extremely specific demographic in swing states.

Not to mention, your fellow voters can be so easily manipulated. Sometimes it seems that clear, independent thinking is the rarest substance in the world.

So instead of wasting your time with traditional voting, I’ve long argued that voting with your MONEY is a far more powerful option.

In other words, if you disagree with your government and think they’re all a bunch of crooks and buffoons, you should consider taking every legal means at your disposal to reduce the amount of money you pay them in taxes.

Restrict their resources and starve the beast.

And no matter where you are in the world, there are almost always completely legitimate ways to do that.

There’s absolutely zero downside to doing this. Slashing your taxes is free money, with ZERO risk. There’s literally no other investment you can make with that sort of risk-free return.

In the Land of the Free, there is one -very- unique way to cut your taxes that we’ve discussed a number of times. It’s called Opportunity Zones.

And at the risk of repeating myself, I think that EVERYONE ought to consider this. Because this benefit won’t be around forever if the Bolsheviks have anything to say about it.

[And EVEN if you’re not from the US… or you don’t have capital gains to invest, you can STILL benefit from this. Keep reading.]

As I’ve explained previously, Opportunity Zones are areas within the United States (including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) that meet certain qualifications as being economically underdeveloped.

And recent changes to the tax code now allow investors to roll their gains into various opportunity zone investments with some really extraordinary benefits.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’ve been investing in something simple like Apple stock. You bought 10,000 shares of Apple in late 2012 at around $80, for a total purchase price of $800,000.

The stock price is now around $200, so your shares are worth $2 million… meaning you made a $1.2 million capital gain. Congrats.

The new tax rules allow you to take that $1.2 million worth of gains and make qualifying investments in Opportunity Zones.

You won’t have to pay capital gains tax on that $1.2 million for another SEVEN years. And when you do, you’ll pay a reduced rate.

More importantly, any ADDITIONAL gains you make on that $1.2 million through your Opportunity Zone investments will be tax free FOREVER.

Plus, the types of investments that quality are far reaching: you could start a business, develop real estate… all sorts of options.

And that’s the new part I wanted to tell you about: real estate in Opportunity Zones is already doing extremely well.

A recent report by Zillow showed that real estate prices in Opportunity Zones have increased by more than 20% since the legislation was passed in late 2017.

In fairness, that 20% increase is up from a very low level– real estate prices in Opportunity Zones were already depressed and far below more economically developed areas.

But there’s a LOT more room to grow.

The Economic Innovation Group estimates that there are TRILLIONS of dollars in capital gains that could be invested in Opportunity Zones. If even a fraction of that actually gets invested, it will have a substantial effect on real estate prices in those areas.

And ANYONE can buy property in an Opportunity Zone, regardless of whether or not you’re a US citizen.

So this is definitely something to think about.

I do think there is a strong chance that the Bolsheviks shut this program down once they come to power… which could potentially be during next year’s US Presidential election.

And if they do, it will close down the flow of money into these underdeveloped neighborhoods and possibly slow the growth of real estate prices. So you should factor that risk into your decision-making.

But it’s also a great reason to get started as soon as possible.

If you do have capital gains, taking some money off the table and rolling those gains into an Opportunity Zone investment (through a fund that you set up) is a no-brainer. It’s free money.

You could start a business in an Opportunity Zone with your investment gains, sell that business for a fortune down the road, and legally never pay a dime of tax on the sale.

We’ve already detailed Opportunity Zones for our premium Sovereign Man: Confidential members.

If you are not a member yet, you can download a redacted preview of the report or join Sovereign Man: Confidential for just $995.

This report isn’t for everyone… But if you’re currently sitting on ANY capital gains and you’re looking for a strategy to help save you a fortune in taxes, $995 is a small price to pay.


from Sovereign Man

Green Revolution: Washington State to allow composting of human beings

Each Friday we highlight a number of important, and often bizarre stories from around the world that my team and I are closely following:

1. Washington State will allow human body composting

It doesn’t get much greener than this.

Staking his presidential run on climate change, the Governor of Washington is set to sign a bill legalizing composting of deceased humans.

An especially high percentage of the deceased in Washington are cremated, so this alternative will cut down on carbon emissions.

Instead, family members can pay around $5,500 to turn their loved ones into compost, and use the composted-remains to plant a tree.

Hell, why not throw it right into the vegetable garden. Then your loved ones become a part of you.

Friendly reminder though, soylent green is people.

Click here to read the full story.

2. Satanic Temple gets tax-exempt status

Surely a sign that the end times are nigh, the Satanic Temple has successfully gained tax exempt status like any other religion.

The thing is, they aren’t really all about worshipping Satan.

The church was founded as a bit of a joke. The group is meant to protest the meddling of government and religion.

For instance, if government functions start with a prayer, they want to open with a prayer to Satan. And if a courthouse lawn has a ten commandments statue, they want Lucifer spreading his wings right there beside it.

And now they have forced the government to recognize them as a religion, with all the tax exemptions that come with it.

Click here to read the full story.

3. Laying the groundwork for conscientious objection to taxes

Speaking of interesting tactics to avoid taxes…

Last year a man who refused to pay taxes since 1997 had his case dismissed by a federal court.

He refused to pay because some tax dollars fund abortions which he morally objects to.

But the reason his case got dismissed had nothing to do with that.

The government couldn’t prove he evaded taxes, because he never tried to hide it.

He was very open about why he wouldn’t pay taxes. That’s not evasion, that’s just refusal.

And when the IRS started garnishing his wages, the man simply cashed his work checks, and kept a low balance in his bank account. The court said not everything that makes collection harder is evasion, including simply cashing checks.

The man does still face misdemeanor charges for willful refusal to file tax returns.

I still prefer the legal ways of reducing my taxes, that won’t have be hauled in front of a judge.

Click here to read the full story.

4. Elizabeth Warren proposes canceling student loan debt, making college free

We said it was coming…

Desperate for attention in her 2020 bid for President, Senator Elizabeth Warren continues to roll out the most “progressive” policy proposals among the candidates.

She’s already proposed a wealth tax, jailing CEOs for civil crimes, and breaking up any large corporation she can get her hands on.

Now she wants to forgive almost all of the $1.5 TRILLION worth of student loan debt.

However you won’t be receiving any relief if you live in a household with income over $250,000 per year.

Since the United States government owns 90% of student loan debt, this just means that the taxpayers will be on the hook for all those wonderful underwater-basket-weaving and gender studies degrees.

Warren also proposed making college free. Because the government has done such a great job educating the youth in public schools…

Click here to read the full story.

5. Colorado becomes 15th state to approve gun confiscation

Beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard for criminal convictions. Only then can you be deprived of life, liberty, and property.

But all it takes under Colorado’s new red flag-laws to take your guns away is a preponderance of evidence.

And that weak standard of evidence doesn’t even have to apply to a crime.

The evidence just has to suggest that a person “poses a significant risk of causing personal risk to self or others in the near future.”

For a statute that can strip you of your rights, that’s pretty vague and arbitrary.

If a family member or former roommate testifies that you are a risk to yourself or others, the courts can confiscate your guns with an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO).

After two weeks, the “suspect” (if you can even call them that, since they aren’t suspected of a crime) has a chance to prove his innocence in court. In other words, you are presumed guilty until you spend your own money to prove your innocence. Otherwise the ERPO can be extended for a full year.

And the same standard of proof can be used by the accuser to extend the ERPO year after year.

So forget due process. The whims of the cops and judges can strip you of your right to protect yourself.

Click here to read the full story.


from Sovereign Man

Social Security will cross another dangerous milestone next year

In the year 1890, according to census records, my great-great-grandfather was spending the final years of his life living with one of his children on a farm in Choctaw County, Oklahoma.

I’ve spent most of the last twenty years doing some hardcore research into my family history– and I’ve identified records going all the way back to 1250 in England.

And one common theme that I’ve noticed: when people reached a certain age, they almost invariably moved in with their kids and grandkids.

This is what ‘retirement’ used to mean; it was simply expected that younger generations would look after older generations.

And back then, since households were quite large, there were usually 4-6 other people in the home to look after great-great-grandpa.

This arrangement might sound quaint and outdated. But it’s still the fundamental premise behind many retirement plans, including Social Security in the Land of the Free.

It’s still the younger generations taking care of the older generations. That’s the way the system functions: younger people pay taxes to fund benefits for older people who have retired.

So you can see the similarities:

Hundreds of years ago it would be your kids doing the work to take care of you in retirement. Today it’s everyone’s kids, collectively, doing the work to take care of every retiree.

Hundreds of years ago it took several other people in a household to care for the elderly. Today it takes a certain number of workers paying into the system to support each retiree receiving benefits.

They call this the ‘worker-to-retiree ratio’.

And the Social Security Administration (SSA) has said that they need a MINIMUM of 2.8 workers paying into the system for every one retiree collecting benefits.

You can probably see that maintaining this delicate balance requires steady population growth; every generation has to be large enough to support the previous generation.

If population growth trends get too far out of whack, it means there will either be too few workers, or too many retirees…

And that’s exactly what’s happening now: people are simply having fewer children.

In the Land of the Free, birth rates are the lowest levels EVER since they started keeping records decades ago.

And this has been a long-term problem: fertility rates were already in decline when the 2008 financial crisis accelerated the trend.

Researchers estimate that 4.8 million babies were never born as a result of the Great Recession.

Some of the reasons are pretty obvious– kids are expensive. And they aren’t getting any cheaper.

You used to be able to raise a family on a single income. Today, the average household can afford one, maybe two kids. And that’s with both parents working.

Unsurprisingly, as the fertility rate has fallen over the years, so has Social Security’s worker-to-retiree ratio.

It’s already dangerously low.

And next year there will be just 2.7 workers paying into Social Security for each retiree— below the minimum necessary to sustain the program. After that it will keep falling.

In 2034, when Social Security estimates its trust funds will run out of money, there will only be 2.3 workers per retiree.

And just to pile it on, technological automation is poised to radically change the workforce.

In 10-15 years, you’ll see entire professions replaced by robots and AI… neither of which pays into the Social Security system.

It’s not just the US that’s grappling with this either.

Finland’s fertility rate is below the US rate. They based their healthcare system on the same faulty assumption, that the population will continue to grow.

Yet now there aren’t enough young people paying into the system to support the older people who use more healthcare.

Most of Europe is even worse off. The combined EU fertility rate is just 1.59 babies over the course of a woman’s lifetime, well below replacement levels.

Japan is far more restrictive on immigration compared to the US and EU, and is on the cutting edge of automation. Japan’s fertility rate is just 1.4 and it has one of the oldest populations in the world.

The one-child policy that China had in place for decades is already putting a strain on the burgeoning middle class. By 2050, 44% of the population is expected to be dependent elderly.

We talk about this issue so much because it’s important to recognize that monumental change is coming. The entire way retirement is structured, since long before Social Security, is coming to an end.

You can’t rely on the next generation for retirement anymore. To be secure, you have to take matters into your own hands.

If you’re retired now, or are about to retire, you might be fine. You can probably ride it out before the entire system has to reset.

But if you’re 50 or younger, Social Security will run out of money before you’re able to start collecting.

The younger you are, the surer you can be that these retirement systems won’t be available to you. But that also means you have time to do something about it.

Several countries have options for self-directed retirement accounts. In the US, a solo-401(k) is a great option for anyone with side or self-employment income.

And in addition to the flexibility and freedom you have to invest with a solo-401(k), you get to contribute money before it’s taxed.

That’s important, because unfortunately, you are still going to be expected to pay into Social Security, even though you might never collect it.

And as the politicians try desperately to save these programs, you can expect to pay higher taxes.

Any money you can save on taxes and funnel into your private retirement account will be compounded year after year instead of flushed down the toilet.

And there is absolutely no downside in doing this. Worst case scenario: Social Security is miraculously saved, and you have extra money for your retirement. Not exactly a bad outcome.

Check out our recent podcast to see how you could use a solo-401(k) to tuck some extra money away for retirement.


from Sovereign Man

This is one of the best countries in the world to have your child

Most of us have only very few opportunities to do something that has a true lifelong impact on someone else.

One of these opportunities is to do something for your children that will pay dividends for a lifetime in the form of freedom, choices, and safety.

And that gift is a second passport.

A passport from a foreign country gives you the right to live, work, invest, bank and thrive there. And it serves as a travel document for the rest of the world.

To me, a second passport is the foundation of a solid Plan B. It’s an insurance policy, in case things go wrong in your home country and you need to escape somewhere else.

And, when done right, there’s ZERO downside. Worst case– citizenship in a thriving country opens up doors for you that you might not find back home, like unique business, travel, and lifestyle opportunities.

There are several ways to obtain a second passport. Many European countries offer citizenship through ancestry for descendants – like Luxembourg, Poland, Italy or Hungary.

Others offer Citizenship by Investment programs – like St. Lucia or Malta.

But the most common route to citizenship is by establishing residency in a foreign country and living there for a number of years.

For example, Chile will grant citizenship to people who’ve lived in the country for five years or more. And in Andorra, you will have to spend as much as 20 years before you can file for naturalization.

Other countries, however, will grant citizenship to anyone born on their soil.

This is the standard legal concept in the Western Hemisphere, including countries like Brazil, Chile, and the United States.

This means that, if you’re thinking about having children, you could choose to do so in one of these Latin American countries that grants birthright citizenship.

So from the time your child is born, s/he will have dual citizenship… for life.

And that second citizenship will pass on to future generations as well.

If you have a child in Brazil, for example, his/her children, grandchildren, etc. will also be entitled to Brazilian nationality.

So this single decision can literally create generational benefit.

Now– there is ONE country I want to tell you about that has an even better policy.

These other places I’ve discussed provide immediate citizenship to any child born on their soil. But not to the parents.

Argentina is an exception.

Like most places in Latin America, children born in Argentina are automatically Argentine citizens.

But as our lawyers in Buenos Aires have explained to us, as a parent of an Argentinean citizen, you can also apply for naturalization right away.

This is an incredibly unusual benefit.

So if you’re looking for a second passport in a fantastic country for you and your new baby, Argentina should definitely be on your radar.

(Even if you’re not planning on having children, you only need two years of residency in Argentina to qualify to apply for naturalization there.)

One strong benefit of Argentina is that it’s a great travel document. You can move freely across Latin America and travel to places visa-free that even Americans cannot go.

Our Sovereign Man passport index ranks Argentina as the second best citizenship in Latin America after Chile.

And it’s also a safe option– you’ll notice that no one ever hijacks an airplane and threatens to kill all the Argentines.

Argentina is also a fantastic place to be. Buenos Aires is vibrant and feels very European. The wine country is simply gorgeous (and right now, Argentina is ridiculously cheap).

And with a second passport, should you and your family ever need to get out of dodge, you’ll have a place to go live, work, bank and thrive.

To me, it’s a no-brainer that makes sense no matter what.

And giving your child and yourself this opportunity is an invaluable gift that will pay off for generations into the future.


from Sovereign Man

This asset class has maintained its value for thousands of years

At the peak of its power in 1350 BC, thousands of years ago, ancient Egypt was like nothing ever seen before.

The great Kingdom was thriving under an efficient system of agricultural production and trade with foreign nations.

Egyptians had learned to adapt to the natural irrigation of the Nile river to produce surpluses of food, which supported a larger population, trade specialization and social and cultural development.

Mineral exploitation in the surrounding areas gave Egyptians great resources with which to trade with foreign empires – and led to great wealth for the kingdom.

New technologies were invented at an astonishing pace: there are records of discoveries in medicine, construction, and mathematics dating from Ancient Egypt that we still use today (yes, that’s how they built the Pyramids).

Ancient Egypt also gave us the first peace treaty ever, and new forms of literature.

Nefertiti, the wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, led a religious revolution away from a common belief in several gods, to the worship of just one – the Sun god – the first instance of monotheism ever recorded.

And famously, Egypt’s art scene thrived.

Monuments, sculptures, masks, statues, amulets – you name it. Egyptians were great craftsmen, and their art was widely circulated around the world.

Today, most of the world’s major historical art museums carry some form of Egyptian art.

So it should come as no surprise that despite the more than 3,000 years that have passed, antiquities from Ancient Egypt have tremendously grown in value.

This week, a granite statue from ca. 1350 BC will be on auction sale in New York for a starting price of $4.5 million.

And a Scarab amulet will start at $80,000.

I don’t know about you, but I’m interested in anything that holds value with that kind of longevity.

That’s one of the reasons why gold is such a sensible asset to hold: it’s scarce, portable, and has been valuable since ancient times.

Egyptian art is even more scarce. No one can go back in time and create more of it.

So as a means to preserve wealth over the long-term, it makes sense to consider owning some rare, collectible assets as part of a larger strategy… rather than having 100% of your savings in fundamentally flawed paper currencies.

That is why this past weekend, I held an event for our Total Access members (our highest level of membership at Sovereign Man) to learn about some of the most compelling collectible assets.

We had some of the world’s foremost experts teaching us. It was 100% educational… there was absolutely nothing to buy and sell.

And we learned about so many different types of assets– rare coins, antique firearms, vintage cars, works of arts, Swiss watches, comic books, etc.

We even arranged for one of the most prominent museums in the country to shut down for our group, where we enjoyed cocktails and a private tour with the curator and a handful of talented artists.

Collectible assets, just like anything else, derive value from supply and demand.

And supply is all about scarcity.

Again, you can’t go back to Ancient Egypt and make another amulet. You can’t ask Leonardo da Vinci to paint another masterpiece. You can’t go back in time to 1952 and print another Mickey Mantle rookie card.

In addition to scarcity, quality is another important factor: collectibles in better condition will typically be stronger stores of value.

For example, a ‘mint condition’ Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card is worth millions of dollars, whereas one with just a bit of wear and tear is worth around $800,000.

Similarly, rare coins in flawless condition will hold value better than the same coin with scratches and scuffs.

Demand with collectible assets tends to be strongest with brands, or historical events, that have the widest following.

Beatles and Elvis memorabilia, for instance, has far greater appeal than, say, Roy Orbison, simply because their worldwide fan bases are so much larger.

There are far more World War II or American Civil War aficionados than there are for the War of 1812. So there is far more demand for World War II and Civil War artifacts.

Historical documents (another category of collectible assets) signed by Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, or Winston Churchill have far greater demand than those from Grover Cleveland or Arthur Balfour.

They’re more expensive, but the extra premium you pay will most likely hold its value (and grow) in the years and decades to come.

Collectibles are also quite interesting because they’re so portable. You could walk across a border with a single rare coin in your pocket that’s worth over $1 million… which also makes collectibles a very private way to store wealth.

Another benefit is estate planning. At some point, each of us is going to pass away. And a collection of coins or artwork is a LOT easier to pass along to your heirs than traditional financial assets (like bank accounts and stocks).

Most of all, collectibles can really be fantastic assets. We discussed this weekend that, for the past several decades, a number of different collectible categories ranging from vintage Ferraris to Andy Warhol paintings have vastly outperformed the stock market over the past few decades.

It’s not to say you should run out and by an $80,000+ Egyptian artifact. It’s important to first find something that appeals to you, and learn as much as you can about it.

And a lot of highly desired collectibles can be had for just a few thousand dollars, so the entry point can be quite low.

But at a time when central banks continue to debase their currencies and western governments are drowning in debt, it makes sense to consider ‘forever assets’ that can hold their value for generations to come.


from Sovereign Man

How to buy a gorgeous property in Europe for 50% off

When Hugh Hefner finally sold one of the most famous homes in the world back in 2016– the Playboy Mansion– the market was a bit slow. And Hefner had to settle for about half of his original $200 million asking price.

But in exchange, the then-90-year-old got a sweet deal: He didn’t have to move out. The buyer would only take possession of the property once Hefner passed away.

A similar deal took place between Hollywood socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor and the buyer of her $11 million Bel-Air estate. For three years after the sale, until her death at age 99, Gabor remained in her 28-room, French Regency-style mansion, which had been her home since 1973.

Buying a property and allowing its previous owner to live there until his or her passing is not just another quirky Hollywood arrangement. Although rare in the US, it has a long legal tradition in Europe.

And if you find the right property, at the right price, you could nab an Italian Villa for a HUGE discount, even more than 50% off.

Before I explain this legal construct, let’s first establish why it makes sense to consider diversifying part of your savings into foreign real estate.

As I wrote in a recent Notes article, the US government just released its annual fiscal bill of health. Conclusion? Uncle Sam’s net worth is now NEGATIVE $75 TRILLION… almost exactly the size of the global economy as a whole.

To say this is disastrous is a colossal understatement. There will be a reckoning. I don’t know when it will occur, but there’s not a single nation in the recorded history of the planet that has proved immune to the basic financial laws of the universe. Not one.

Diversifying a portion of your savings makes sense when you realize what might be coming down the pipeline. At worst, it will help hedge against the risk. At best, it might actually save your assets.

What kind of diversification makes the most sense to look into? I’d say those that are portable, like gold and silver… and those that are international, like foreign real estate.

And if you can get that foreign real estate for a song, then of course, that’s even more attractive.

That’s where this legal structure comes in. It allows you to buy Italian, French, and Spanish property (to name a few) for anywhere from a 30-to-60-percent discount.

The legal concept is called “Bare Ownership”, and it has been used for centuries in Europe.

The framework is simple: under Bare Ownership, an owner sells his/her property rights to a buyer, and the two parties each become part owners. Once the original owner passes, the rest of the title is conveyed to the buyer.

You could say it’s called “bare” ownership because the buyer “barely” owns the property upon the initial sale: the seller is the one who is legally entitled to live there. But again, once the seller passes away, bare ownership becomes full ownership, and the buyer receives clean title and no transition or estate issues.

The arrangement provides both parties with benefits: an older person with property can receive a much-needed cash infusion without having to deal with the immense stress and grief of moving and finding a new place to live.

And a patient buyer is able to eventually acquire a nice property at well-below market value. If you pick the right real estate, it might even increase in value between the time you buy it and the time you take possession.

This type of sale is becoming more and more common between foreigners and Europe’s elderly: fewer than ten percent of retirees in Spain and Italy, for example, have private retirement savings. So upwards of 90% are counting on the government to take care of them.

That’s a problem. These governments are flat broke and rapidly running out of cash. Italy’s banking system is on a knife’s edge and in substantial need of a bailout. So these retirees really need cash.

Rather than selling, however, and having to find somewhere else to live, many pensioners are starting to turn to Bare Ownership.

Just like Hugh Hefner.

And for the buyer, Bare Ownership can be a solid structure to consider if you’re looking to internationally diversify your portfolio via a medium-term investment. You might sell it someday at a higher value. In the meantime, your money is in a hard asset, not fiat currency.

And just like the Playboy Mansion’s buyer, you could end up with a great property… for half the price. If you’re working on your Plan B, then Bare Ownership is something to consider.

If you are already a member of our flagship international diversification service, Sovereign Man: Confidential, you can read our full report for more details, legal contacts, and information.

Click here to learn more about Sovereign Man: Confidential and become a member for just $995.


from Sovereign Man

This is a rare win-win offer from the government that won’t last long

I’m not used to seeing the government offer taxpayers a win/win.

But a little known provision snuck into Trump’s 2017 tax reform law is possibly the best tax-advantaged investment strategy offered in decades. And it will help some of the poorest areas of the US too.

It’s the brainchild of Sean Parker, the founder of Napster and the first major investor in Facebook.

Traveling in Tanzania, he realized none of the $2 billion worth of aid flowing into the country each year reached certain poor areas.

And he noticed something similar about the US, in the poor neighborhoods of San Francisco.

Here all his Silicon Valley buddies were sitting on record high gains in almost every asset class after a decade bull run. But they had no incentive to collect their gains, and invest them in the areas that needed it most.

The solution was Opportunity Zones.

It’s a win-win scenario. You get an amazing tax deal, while helping to solve the income disparity in the US.

The legislation allowed states to designate “Opportunity Zones” in almost 9,000 distressed communities across the USA. These are areas with high poverty and unemployment.

Here’s how this opportunity works…

1. You sell your asset, and realize an initial capital gain (from stocks, bonds, crypto, real estate, gold, art or most anything else).

2. Within 180 days, you invest some or all of your gains into an Opportunity Zone Fund.

3. You defer paying tax on the initial capital gain until Dec 31, 2026. If you’ve held it for seven years, you get a 15% discount on that tax.

(Tax deferral allows you to delay paying taxes so your money can compound at a substantially higher rate.)

4. The Opportunity Zone Fund invests in an Opportunity Zone (it can buy an existing business, start a new business or even buy real estate).

5. If you hold that investment for 10 years, any capital gains you earn from the Opportunity Zone Fund are TAX FREE.

The rules are simple, and the funds are flexible.

But there will never be a better time than now to take advantage of Opportunity Zones.

The first reason is the simple math. You can only defer the capital gains tax until December 31, 2026.

That’s just seven years away, and you need to hold the Opportunity Zone investment for seven years to get the full 15% discount on your original capital gains tax. That means you need to realize and re-invest your gains by the end of 2019.

You’ll still get a 10% discount on your original capital gains tax if you hold the new investment for five years. So, in theory, you could take advantage of that up until the end of 2021…

But by then it might be too late…

That’s because the Bolsheviks are coming. And they hate this.

A few months ago, Amazon backed out of a plan to locate it’s second headquarters in New York City. The spot they picked to build HQ2, inject billions of dollars, and provide thousands of jobs, was inside an Opportunity Zone.

But all the benefits to NYC wasn’t enough for the Bolsheviks led by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Amazon was still going to get some benefit from the deal.

It was a win-win, and the Bolsheviks are only interested in winning when the other guy loses. So they contented themselves with a lose-lose deal. And that’s what they have in store for all of America if they rise to power.

All the major 2020 Presidential candidates are clamoring to promise the highest taxes, the biggest wealth redistribution, the most assets confiscated.

But Bolsheviks threaten more than just Opportunity Zones.

People that chase away investments, demonize wealth, and raise taxes do not inspire confidence in the markets.

More likely they’ll crash the market, as everyone tries to sell before the tax rates are jacked up.

But even if the Bolsheviks don’t take power, market cycles only last for so long. Right now, we’re in an everything bubble, the longest bull market in history, with stock prices just about at all time highs.

No one has a crystal ball, but it can’t last forever.

Why not lock in these gains while asset prices are at all time highs?

It’s hard to imagine you’ll be worse off parking those gains in this extraordinary tax-advantaged vehicle. Gains that you can continue to invest tax-free.

But if you fast forward two years from now, you might be kicking yourself if the Bolsheviks come to power, collapse the market, and eliminate this tax opportunity.

There’s not really much downside here. It is definitely worth talking to your tax advisor or financial manager about.

We’ve already detailed Opportunity Zones for our premium Sovereign Man: Confidential members.

But because this is such an incredible opportunity, we’re releasing a redacted preview to all of our readers.

You can download it here.


from Sovereign Man

Here’s an easy way to tell if your bank is actually safe

March 15, 2013 was a pretty normal day in Cyprus. It was a Friday, and most people were looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

The next morning the entire nation woke up in horror. Their politicians had been up all night, negotiating with international lenders to provide an emergency loan to the country, and its banks.

It turned out that the banks in Cyprus were all insolvent; just like banks in the United States during the 2008 sub-prime crisis, banks in Cyprus had been making idiotic decisions with their customers’ hard-earned savings.

And by 2013, the banks’ losses were too great to ignore.

Unfortunately for depositors, the government of Cyprus was also broke, and they were unable to bail out the banks.

So they came up with a new idea. Instead of a bail-out, they had a bail-IN.

First, they closed all the banks. ATM machines quickly ran dry and ceased functioning altogether. Then they just started confiscating deposits. They called it a ‘tax’, but it was theft, plain and simple.

The government just came in and grabbed money from people’s bank accounts… then gave it right back to the banks to bail them out.

It was an incredibly important lesson about banking: most people simply assume that their bank is in good financial condition… that, since the bank is regulated and insured by the government, our money must be safe.

Sometimes that’s an incredibly dangerous assumption to make.

Even in the US, we’ve seen how quickly banks’ idiotic decisions can unravel. Back in September 2008, the entire US financial system came crashing down, practically overnight, just like in Cyprus.

A big part of the reason is that banks have very little incentive to act conservatively and responsibly with your money.

Think about it– you walk into a bank and hand them your paycheck, and in exchange they offer you a ‘free checking account’.

Really? Free? If it’s free, then how does the bank pay for all of those fancy buildings and huge bonuses?

Simple. By taking RISKS with your money. They make loans and other investments– bonds, auto loans, home mortgages, etc. And each of those carries some kind of risk.

To pretend otherwise is foolish. There’s risk in everything you can possibly do with money… whether buying a government bond, stuffing cash under your mattress, or owning Apple stock. There’s always risk.

And they take these risks with with upwards of 97% of their deposits.

Current US banking regulations, in fact, require as little as ZERO PERCENT of customer deposits to be held on reserve, meaning almost all of your money can be gambled away on whatever investment fad makes the bank the most money.

And that’s the problem: the incentives are all wrong.

Banks make money by putting YOUR money at risk. But they don’t share the reward. They pay you some pitiful interest rate like 0.02%. And then keep all the rest for themselves.

Don’t get me wrong– I obviously have no issues with any business making money. That’s how capitalism works.

But incentives between businesses and their customers should be aligned.

Customers benefit when their money is safe, or at least when they are compensated for risks. Yet banks only make money when they take risks with customers’ money without compensating them.

This model is deeply, deeply flawed.

Now, in fairness, not all banks are created equal. Some are in much better shape than others. And some jurisdictions are FAR safer than others.

You can actually figure this out for yourself by taking a look at your bank’s balance sheet. Most big banks are public and have to post their financial statements online.

If you hold your deposits at a smaller bank, you should ask them for their financials. (And if they refuse to provide them, take your money out immediately!)

A strong bank has a substantial ‘net equity’ or ‘capital’ position as a percentage of its assets. This is known as a bank’s ‘solvency ratio’, and it should be -well- into the double digits.

A lot of banks have solvency ratios of 5% or less. This means that if the bank’s investments lose more than 5% of their value, the bank will be wiped out.

That’s not exactly a big margin of safety.

An example of a better bank in the Land of the Free is USAA Federal Savings Bank, which has a solvency ratio of about 20%. That’s a solid margin of safey.

But this is one of the big reasons why I tend to keep most of my money overseas– international banks are often far better capitalized and more liquid.

(Liquidity is another important concept– it means that the bank keeps a MUCH higher percentage of reserves on hand, relative to customer deposits. A liquid bank is typically a safer bank.)

And in addition to safer banks, many jurisdictions abroad also have safer central banks, stronger insurance funds, and more stable government finances.

In the US, for example, the Federal Reserve is on very shaky financial footing. Last September the Fed actually reported unrealized losses of $66.5 billion, completely wiping out the bank’s $39.1 billion in capital.

In other words, the central bank which regulates and backstops the largest and most important banking system in the world, is effectively insolvent.

On top of that, the FDIC (which is supposed to insure trillions upon trillions of dollars in deposits in the US banking system) admits in its own annual report that its deposit insurance fund is currently insufficient to withstand a major banking crisis.

And finally there’s the US federal government, with its $75 trillion in NEGATIVE net worth.

So in the US we have dishonest banks with questionable balance sheets, an insolvent central bank, an undercapitalized deposit insurance fund, and a bankrupt government.

Seems like the perfect place to keep 100% of your savings!

Fortunately the world is a big place, and there are better options out there.

It’s 2019. Geography should no longer factor into your mental calculus when it comes to making decisions about where to keep your money.

Most people just open an account at the bank across the street. And that might be convenient to be able to withdraw some cash from time to time.

But the bulk of your money should be located wherever in the world it’s treated best– where the banks are safe, liquid, backed by a well-capitalized insurance fund in a jurisdiction with no net debt.

My team recently spent a few hundred hours analyzing dozens of traditional and online banks from more than twenty countries around the world– like Singapore, Hong Kong and Liechtenstein– to determine where the safest places are to deposit savings.

The 150-page report is only available to our premium Sovereign Man: Confidential members. But because this is so important, we’re releasing a redacted preview to all of our readers.

You can download it here.


from Sovereign Man

Just released: Social Security earned a pitiful 2.8% on your money last year

Hot off the presses: The Board of Trustees for the Social Security and Medicare programs in the United States just released their annual report a few minutes ago.

And if you want to read all of its gory detail, check it out for yourself here.

Both of these programs are massively and terminally underfunded. And not by a little bit.

The Board of Trustees itself calculates Social Security’s long-term shortfall at a mind boggling $43+ TRILLION.

Simply put, the trust funds don’t have enough money to keep the programs going, at least under the current promises.

They admit right at the beginning of their report that, starting in 2020, Social Security’s cost will exceed the money it earns in from interest and taxes.

That’s not some far out date decades into the future. That’s next year. And every year after that.

By the 2034, just 15 years from now, Social Security’s primary trust fund will be fully depleted. And one of Medicare’s trust funds will run out of money in 2026.

In case you’re wondering, by the way, the Board of Trustees consists of the United States Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Health and Human Services, etc.

This isn’t a bunch of conspiracy theorists. They’re some of the top executives in government.

So I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say this is a complete disaster. Millions of people depend on Social Security for their livelihood… people who have been promised for their entire working lives that the program would be solvent.

When the funds run out of money, countless people’s lives will be turned upside down.

You’d think this would be considered some kind of national emergency… that politicians would be doing everything they can to fix this.

But hardly a word is uttered about it. 15 years is far enough out that most of these people don’t expect to be in office anymore… so it will be someone else’s problem to deal with.

Not to mention, their options are extremely limited.

On one hand, they could try to actually generate more investment income for the program. To me this is an obvious choice.

Right now the Social Security trust funds have $2.9 trillion in assets. Yet they only earned a pitiful $83 billion in investment income last year, a return of roughly 2.8%.

That’s barely enough to keep up with inflation.

Seriously– is this the best these people can do? 2.8%? The United States is home to some of the most brilliant investment minds in history who could easily double that investment return.

This is what other countries do– Japan, Singapore, Norway, etc. Fund mangers for public pensions have the discretion to invest in assets all over the world in an effort to derive higher returns.

But that’s not going to happen in the Land of the Free.

It’s actually ILLEGAL for Social Security to invest in anything EXCEPT for US government debt. I’m serious. Social Security’s ONLY assets are Treasury Bonds, and under current federal law, that’s all it will ever be.

Thing is- the US government really needs that money. They’re already $22 trillion in debt and going deeper into debt each year.

They can’t afford to allow Social Security to invest in anything else other that US debt. They’re already over-reliant on Social Security as a lender, and allowing the trust funds to invest in anything else would be financial suicide.

So that option is off the table… leading to option #2: Cutting benefits.

And you can absolutely count on that happening. The Trustees themselves even say this– that after the fund is fully depleted in 2034, they will have to make deep cuts to the monthly benefit.

Again– tens of millions of people are depending on that money. Tens of millions more will be depending on it when they retire in the future.

Slashing benefits is going to have a massive impact on their lives.

The last option is to raise taxes. And just like cutting benefits, you can count on this happening.

Just wait for the Bolsheviks to rise to power. They have limitless agenda and no qualms about jacking tax rates up to 70% or more.

I really don’t want to sound alarmist. But there are obvious realities here that any rational person should take very seriously.

At some point, most of us probably expect to retire. And retirement will take very careful consideration  in full view of all the facts.

These are facts… and it’s important to start planning with these basic truths in mind: the longer you have until retirement, the less likely that you’ll ever see a penny in benefits.


from Sovereign Man