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Brokerage outside of the US

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:58 pm
by td80
So as the famous saying goes "Just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get me".

I don't mean to start some crazy conspiracy theory thread, what I'm curious about is if any U.S. Citizens are (legally) trading from a broker in say, HK or Singapore, with funds in HKD or SGD or some-such while primary residence is still here in the U.S. I feel in particular that Singapore may be the new Switzerland of Asia as time progresses, while European and Carribean/Central American hubs may be more negatively impacted by an implied U.S. default, hyperinflation, etc.

I ask because I feel there is a possibility in the next few years that we will actually see more aggressive capital controls here in the states. It has already sort of occurred, in what I call "Capital Controls - Lite Version" with regards to taxing (30% withholding) outflows.

It was cleverly buried in the HIRE act: ... 10-066.pdf

Thank you "Dear Leader" for this most wise piece of legislation...

At any rate, I've never trusted government, but I REALLY don't trust government when they are bankrupt, 40% of the populace is on the take, and they are all trying to save their hides from a pitchfork and torch type of scenario.

I'm guessing perhaps, as in most things in business, money talks and a private banking setup could be a legal and workable solution. I would be concerned about the types of fees/commissions, and platform (rotary phone anyone?) this approach may yield.

Is there anything else out there?

Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:07 am
by AFJ Garner
I am currently visiting the Channel Islands just off the coast of France and yesterday spent the day on Alderney:

The income tax rate is 20% (with a cap I believe on the maximum amount you pay). There is no other form of tax. The island has a population of 2,500 and they seem to care for each other in a way that has become impossible on the aggressive, rapacious, busy, driven mainland. There is a real sense of community: I had lunch with the delightful special constable and her husband who was for many years a member of the Island's parliament. The is a wonderful church designed by the architect Gilbert Scott in 1850 and it is genuinely ecumenical without the need for draconian and ill thought out laws on race or religion.

Perhaps this is how man was designed to live. There are doubtless the same inescapable human problems on the Island that we have the world over: death, disease, disharmony to some degree, and no doubt the locals have their anxieties.

But it is an Island lost in time: it is like revisiting the Britain of my early childhood in the 1950s: hardly any traffic, no seat belts, no sense of rush or time, cobbled streets, people greeting each other in the streets.

What a contrast to the way most of us lead our lives. Its a pity really that we have to have Big Government (if only George Orwell could have seen us now), monstrous taxes spawned by monstrous waste and ill conceived military adventures, ever more regulation, government spying and intervention, ever decreasing civil liberties.

Does modern society HAVE to be like this?

Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:33 am
by Moto moto
does modern society have to be like this.....
Ideally no - but with 6 billion other people all wanting more and more (and can you blame them) unfortunately this is going to get tougher.

If you want a land that time forgot yet with modernity (and I say this as a compliment)
New Zealand - (only issue is that its so far away from everywhere - probably a good thing) The other thing is that its taxes are not great either if that is your main concern. There is always the Seychelles ?

Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:03 am
by Turtle40
Anthony are you visiting Guernsey on your travels? Perhaps you would like to meet if you are coming this way, PM me if this fits in with your travel plans.


Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:39 pm
by td80
I would indeed have to think our friends in the U.K. are in similar (if not more dire) straits. However you have one advantage in that you can still get your liquid assets out of your home country/currency without preventing you from trading U.S markets / dealing on exchanges.

I'm less concerned about tax (for now), because I have no existing intention of yielding my birthright (U.S. Citizenship). I am (unfortunately) on the hook for Federal Tax wherever I live. It might as well be a nice place (hence the horrifically expensive Southern California location).

My thinking is I'd rather keep my options open, and be a good law abiding citizen. Should things get really, really bad, then if my assets are in another country(ies), in another currency(ies), using non-U.S. clearing companies and custodian accounts, I might have a better chance to avoid a black-swan complete personal meltdown of asset valuations (through inflation, or outright default).

I realize every country on earth (even North Korea) is somehow connected to the U.S. government and or financial system, and thus bears risks of a major financial problem in the western world. I'm just thinking along the lines of minimizing the damage.

I guess I want a banking system that doesn't keep me up at night, where I can still speculate in U,S. instruments. I can go to cash in a stable currency if things go toward the abyss. Perhaps I want to have my cake and eat it too. Perhaps I am too small a fry to escape Uncle Sam's incredible reach!

Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:23 am
by AFJ Garner
td80 wrote: Perhaps I am too small a fry to escape Uncle Sam's incredible reach!
All empires come and go and I have no doubt that the might of the USA will prove no exception in the fullness of time. We British have long since had our day - your Iraq is perhaps not dissimilar to our Opium Wars or the many other escapades which "covered the map in red". Sigh. I used to view the US as a sort of benign global policeman sorting out the lesser civilizations of the world in a benign and kindly way. Rather like the fictional and Utopian "Culture" from the Ian Banks novels. What naivety - your last administration put paid to that notion. I have every wish that your current president lives up to the wonderful rhetoric which marked his election campaign. I hope that you do not face the same sort of disappointment we British suffered with Tony Blair.

Read Ozymandias if you want a take on the sheer vanity of human ambition.

The once-great king’s proud boast has been ironically disproved; Ozymandias’s works have crumbled and disappeared, his civilization is gone, all has been turned to dust by the impersonal, indiscriminate, destructive power of history.

Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:24 pm
by td80
The problem we American's have is the same as any great empire throughout history.

We confuse good fortune (positive personal/sovereign outcomes) with a natural mandate (whether it be religious, ethnic, cultural, or other apparent superiority) and decide we are infallible because of it.

Momentum carries for awhile and then it is almost inevitable that we make a string of horrible decisions in what is almost a dare to our apparent infallibility.

Momentum then swings the other way, and down the ladder we'll go.

Cyclical, as is most of the universe I suppose.

I still love (my) stereotype of American's though: Brash, privateer(pirate)-like, hard working, and (used to be) crazy independent spirits. Now it seems like we're all a bunch of polarized idiotic sheeple looking for a handout.