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Diversification–Peace of Mind in Uncertain Times

The United States, in its upcoming elections, is in a period of uncertainty. Large groups of people are crying out for change, sometimes, at the expense of their fellow citizens. This upheaval has caused the rise of extremist candidates who have convinced citizens some that the way to progress is built off the backs of their fellow citizens. Do you feel concerned about the way the country may turn after the election? Are you worried that you and your family may become the victim of extremist political policies?

There are groups of people within the U.S. who desire to use the government in ways that will restrict your freedom, whether it is by taking more of your income to redistribute, restricting your right to engage in free trade, or inhibiting your ability to move freely.  To help mitigate the risks of domestic extremism, you should put into place a plan of international diversification for yourself and your loved ones, that will help provide you peace of mind in these uncertain times. Diversifying yourself and your assets internationally means that you’re no longer completely beholden to one country. To the extent you have diversified yourself and your assets internationally, you have reduced the control that some extremist politician or his followers can levy against you. This blog will provide you some very basic points to get yourself started on the road to international diversification.
1. Get that passport.  If you read through my blog posts, you’ll see a recurring theme about obtaining a second citizenship, which sometimes is referred to in laymen’s terms as a “second passport.” Before you can get a second passport, you’ve got to get your first.  Let’s envision a worst case scenario whereby things get so bad that you’d like to consider leaving the United States. Like it or not, you can’t leave if you don’t have a government-issued passport.  According to U.S. State Department statistics, roughly one-third of U.S. citizens have a passport.  In other words, at this very moment, the majority of U.S. citizens could not legally leave their country for even a day–even if they wanted to.
2. Travel.  Simply getting a passport is not enough, because you need to use it to travel and explore the world or at least those parts of it where you might have an interest. In some blog posts I mention places that might be good to obtain a second residency or citizenship, but you can’t really decide anything unless you get outside of the country and travel to see what’s out there. Travel to foreign countries can help you open your eyes to the possibilities that exist for living, playing, working or investing in other areas of the world. Often, in the first world (and especially the United States), so many of us believe that there’s nothing beyond our borders.  But travel demonstrates that outside of our borders exists almost unlimited opportunities: places to visit and even live, investment opportunities to make, and people to befriend.
3. Invest.  One of the simplest ways of diversifying internationally is to invest outside of your home country. Contrary to implications by pandering politicians, overseas investing is a very good thing for you. It allows you opportunities that you may not find in your home country.  It can help you diversify your investment portfolio in terms of risk, subject matter and even currencies. Why stick all of your earnings in a low-interest bank, stock portfolios for public companies you can’t control, or generic retirement funds, when you can buy farms, vacation properties or agricultural ventures, put your money in banks outside the U.S., or invest in stocks that are not available for trade in the U.S.?  By investing abroad, you are reducing the risk of being ruined economically at home.
4. Second residency and citizenship.  Finally, something to explore in your travels is obtaining second or alternate residency and citizenship options. Numerous countries offer you the option to become a citizen or resident there without giving up your home country’s citizenship. Dual citizenship is legal in the United States as well.  There are numerous residency and citizenship programs worldwide that you can complete by numerous methods, including simply staying the requisite period of time in-country, obtaining automatically through ancestry (such as Ireland’s and Hungary’s citizenship by descent programs), and programs which allow immediate residency and/or citizenship by making economic investments (such as the citizenship by investment programs within the Caribbean).  As I’ve mentioned on this blog numerous times, obtaining an alternate citizenship or resident gives you more freedom in the event your home country becomes a dangerous or undesirable place to maintain.  And having it—even if never needing it—can reduce your risk and give you greater peace of mind.
International diversification does not have to be difficult or even expensive, and the process of diversifying can actually be quite fun.  Traveling to different countries, meeting new people, seeing new things and learning about different cultures is enjoyable.  Starting your international diversification can give you more freedom and more peace of mind in these politically uncertain times.

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