The Best of 2010: A Multiple Flags Overview

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As we’re
quickly approaching the end of December, I thought it would be appropriate
to republish a few letters from earlier this year. 2010 brought
substantial growth for this community– our numbers swelled,
and I know that many readers probably missed some important letters
from earlier days.

Today I want
to repost a letter that I originally sent to you in early January,
just after the 2009 holidays. In it, I defined what planting multiple
flags is, and why everyone should be thinking about it. As the events
of 2010 have unfolded, I think those reasons have only become stronger.

From January
4, 2010 in Malaga, Spain:

Welcome back;
I hope you had a relaxing holiday.

I spent 10-days
with my family combing through the Italian countryside and drinking
some unbelievable wine from a local grape called “Primitivo.”
It’s a distant cousin of the California Zinfandel, and is only
found in this region. A bottle from the best vineyard will set you
back about 9 euro.

For New Year’s
Eve, I saw a fireworks show that was simultaneously the most disorganized
and explosive I have ever witnessed… so literally for me, the
new year began with a bang.

I’m optimistic
about 2010. I know a lot of people in the financial community who
think that “this is it,” that 2010 shall bear the worst
economic cataclysm in history, causing widespread doom and agony.

Sure the conditions
are ripe for stock/bond market crashes, a currency crisis, and multiple
sovereign debt defaults. But these are a far cry from a gloomy end
of human civilization.

It’s not
that I have tremendous faith in world “leaders” (as ridiculous
a moniker as that is to use); last month’s debacle in Copenhagen
only further underscored how perverse and ineffective the existing
political process is, and everyone is really starting to see it.

The Social
Contract is deteriorating rapidly, and in the end, the one thing
that you can count on is that people will ultimately do what they
perceive to be in their self-interest. This is what drives markets
and trends.

As the protracted
effects of government stupidity become more apparent, one such trend
that I see emerging this year is the rise of the sovereign individual–
the rebirth of the multiple flags approach.

I’ve talked
about this before and I wanted to start off the year with a quick
primer since it is a recurring theme of this letter. To be more
specific, I absolutely implore you to plant multiple flags as part
of your New Year resolutions.

The idea, originally
conceived by international finance guru Harry Schultz, suggests
diversifying different aspects of your identity across multiple
“flags,” or geographic jurisdictions.

As an example,
Schultz coined the term “three-flags” in the 1960s, suggesting
that an individual should have citizenship in one country, residence
in another, and businesses in another.

Later authors
expanded on this idea by adding other “flags,” including
places to bank, places to “play,” places to house electronic
assets, etc.

Many writers
today talk about “five flags” or “six flags,”
but frankly I don’t see a limit on the number of things we
can diversify geographically: email, citizenship, residence, banking,
brokerages, gold/silver deposits, business registration, e-commerce,
customer base, phone/fax, postal mail, etc.

So what’s
the point? Why should you do this?

Diversifying
geographically increases your freedom, your privacy, your sovereignty,
and potentially reduces your tax burden. It protects you against
bank failures, market changes, litigation, divorce, overzealous
governments, and “NGC’s” (non-government criminals).

Perhaps even
more importantly, planting multiple flags expands your existing
contact base and opens a lot of doors to new opportunities.

Read
the rest of the article

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