Financial pirates are stealing from you.
In the early days of 1522, the deafening boom of large-bore cannons could be heard echoing off cerulean seas, somewhere southwest of Portugal’s coast.
The barrage of fire was meant as a warning. But a warning that very soon, could be directed much more accurately at the trio of vessels it was intended for.
The three ships that were the target of this harassment were returning home to Spain, heavily laden with riches and treasures that had been stolen from the Aztec empire of the New World. Their cargo was made up of exquisite pearls, exotic furs, fine jade masks, and thousands of gold coins, that were intended to be delivered as a tribute to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
In pursuit were five smaller, faster, and much more agile vessels. Vessels that in a short span of time, closed the gap between themselves and the larger ships.
It wasn’t long until the larger ships were overtaken. And after a brief bout of saber-rattling, two of the three were captured, with one barely making its escape.
The Spanish treasure ships had been captured by pirates. And the leader of this seaborne group of plunderers was a man named Jean Fleury.
A former French naval officer who hailed from Normandy, Fleury was originally a privateer-for-hire who had previously fought against the might of the Pope’s army in the Four Years War. However, he eventually turned his ships to a more lucrative business, in the form of tormenting the Atlantic seaways through piracy.
And like the cannons that adorned his ships, Fleury’s business was booming.
During his reign in the Caribbean, as well as on more open oceanic waters, it’s estimated that Fleury looted over thirty vessels in total. But it was the two Spanish freighters described earlier that would net him his largest haul ever, after he seized valuables worth an estimated $45 million-plus in today’s terms.
But this most significant prize would also lead to his downfall, as it attracted the ire of the emperor whose property he’d stolen. This would lead to him becoming one of the empire’s most wanted, with a hefty reward promised to anyone who could capture the pirate.
His career would continue for another five years in total, but eventually, his luck was destined to run out. Fleury would be captured by the Spanish in the year 1527, with Charles V soon after ordering that he meet his ultimate end by being hung at the neck.
It was a clear message to all pirates who would plunder the wealth of the empire: steal from us, and face the harshest of punishments.
Today, in the year 2022, piracy is still alive and well. However these days, we live in a world where those who pillage the wealth of the people, seem to face no such dire consequences for their actions.
We also no longer always call these offenders pirates. Instead, they sometimes carry titles like senator, minister, or governor.
In the United States, congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s family has earned an estimated $62 million over the past three years alone, solely via stock trading. And while a 2012 law prohibits members of congress from using their position or insider knowledge for personal financial gain, that hasn’t stopped Pelosi or her husband from cashing in big.
In Australia, former water resources minister Barnaby Joyce paid $80 million of taxpayer’s funds for water rights valued at barely $1.4 million. It’s an event that allegedly lined the pockets of one of his friends, that was being diverted through a company in the Cayman Islands.
Also in the Land Down Under, defense minister Peter Dutton’s office paid $523 million of taxpayer funds to an almost unknown company called Paladin—a contract that one expert claimed should have been worth no more than $1 million. Even more suspicious is the fact the company had no real office, was operating out of a beach shack, and didn’t even have a phone number or means of receiving mail.
And recently here in Iceland, the nation’s finance minister Bjarni Benediktsson just oversaw the sell-off of Íslandsbanki, the largest bank in the country. And it just so happened that his father became one of the largest buyers of the bank’s shares, after being able to acquire them at a discounted rate—something Benediktsson says he had no idea about.
Now considering the stories I’ve just mentioned come from three of the nations considered some of the least corrupt on the world stage, maybe I’m just misinterpreting things. Maybe there’s nothing sinister going on at all.
Or maybe, it’s easy to draw some parallels between the pirates of old, and today’s government officials who seem to be hell-bent on plundering our nation’s assets for their own financial gain.
When you think about it like that, an argument could be made that your leaders don’t care about you at all.
But even if we turn our eye away from the apparent machinations of blatant corruption, it’s easy to spot examples of how little care many of our governments take when it comes to our overall economic security.
Just recently, I was talking to one of the students in our private membership about her retirement plans for the future. And she was worried about the economic situation in her home country of Poland, and whether her pension would still even be there when it came time for her to retire.
She has good reason to be concerned.
I’ve spoken about this in a previous newsletter, but just a few years ago Poland’s government seized almost $40 billion from pension funds, in an attempt to make up for some of its budget deficits. In other words, taking from people who have worked diligently their entire lives, to cover up the shortfalls of the terrible economic managers running the country.
And Poland isn’t alone in this. Just in Europe alone, Ireland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and France have all seized pension funds from deserving retirees, just over the past few years.
So, whether based on the pure incompetence of our leaders, or the blatant theft by politicians of a nation’s coffers, it’s obvious your government can’t be trusted to take care of your economic safety.
Add that to the fact that most nations in the developed world are becoming more indebted by the day, and that inflation is at its highest level in around half a century, it means you’ve got the recipe for a putrid financial cesspool that you’re being forced to tread water in every single day of your life.
The entire system is brimming with a level of rot that would rival that of a gangrenous wound.
Despite all this malign mismanagement, we’re all still expected to be good taxpaying citizens, who should just accept the status quo. And to continue allowing our leaders to treat their positions as nothing more than a way to enrich themselves, and their associates.
To that, I say no thank you.
Whenever I discuss global structures with any of our students, the first thing I always recommend is to consider your options as to where in the world you can potentially move, in order to legally lower your tax liability.
By moving to Georgia, you can potentially lower your global tax liability to just 1%. Or even better, by calling a place like Bermuda, Bahamas, or the UAE home, you can bring that number down to zero.
If you’re a digital nomad, nations like Croatia and Barbados will allow you to live there for up to a year while legally paying no tax. Indonesia will soon open its five-year digital nomad visa as well, allowing foreigners to pay nothing on all foreign-sourced earnings while living there.
Do you run a company, or a small online business? There are many options for you as well.
By incorporating in Hong Kong or via an LLP in the United Kingdom, you can lower your tax to as little as zero, providing you take your personal tax residency into account. And for Europeans, Malta and Hungary are popular nations to incorporate, due to their potential respective corporate tax rates of 5% and 9%.
Long story short, if the system of your nation isn’t serving you, and neither are the people whose job it is to do so, it’s time you started looking for better options.
You’ll never find a nation completely without corruption. That’s a pipedream that likely hasn’t existed since humans first gathered together in rudimentary settlement groups.
But by not paying more than you have to in taxes, whatever corruption you do come into contact with will likely become just a little more palatable.
Economic pirates are everywhere. It’s up to you to decide which ones you allow to rob you of your treasure.
P.S. — If you’re interested in building your own horde of gold and silver in Europe, Sorelle and I personally use Gold Avenue to store precious metals in secure Swiss vaults. In our opinion, it’s one of the best ways to protect yourself from the current staggering levels of inflation, and as a hedge against future crises.
Thank you for your thoughtful article. Definitely food for thought.
Well written! Thank you! I look forward to these every time.