5 Reasons NOT to buy US real estate

http://nomadcapitalist.com/2014/04/01/five-reasons-buy-us-real-estate/

Five reasons not to buy US real estate
by Andrew Henderson | Apr 1, 2014 |

The future of US real estate investments?
Dateline: Tallinn, Estonia

I frequently talk about my five magic words for enhancing your freedom and prosperity: “go where you’re treated best”.
This is based around my idea that no one place is perfect for everything. For instance, the country with the world’s safest banks… but that charges you $80,000 to register your car if you dare live there.
In my mind, the US real estate market has been propped up by a bunch of people who don’t follow that rule. How many Americans do you see buying foreign real estate? The insular nature of American culture means that, unlike wealthy Russians or Chinese who gobble up overseas properties at lightning speed, few Americans look beyond their own borders for opportunities.
Worse, the US government’s fascination with thrusting homeownership on the public – complete with unsustainable tax deductions that makes every homeowner a crony capitalist – distorts the marketplace.
Back in 2005, I was just starting my business in the broadcast infomercial industry. I was living in Phoenix, Arizona at the time and real estate was hot as a pistol. People were camping out in front of new developments to pay insane prices for plots of land with little cookie cutter homes on the edges of the desert.
For me, this was good business. The real estate industry in California, Arizona and beyond was spending money like water. Everyone with a pulse wanted to produce radio infomercials for ego and profit. But as much as I enjoyed the success, I knew one thing: buying some tract house at an inflated price was a recipe for disaster.
Back then, my clients were shouting at radio listeners that “mortgage rates would never get any lower!” The idea that you could finance a house for 6% interest was unheard of at the time, and every bartender-turned-mortgage guru was making sure you knew all about it.
Of course, they were merely salesmen, not economic prognosticators. I later purchased a house not only at a fire sale price, but a 3.75% interest rates.

The point of this is simple: I benefitted from the mortgage frenzy in a way that benefitted me, without having to deal with the bad parts (such as buying a home that would plummet in value).
When I decided to travel full-time rather than just six months a year, I made the long-term decision to sell that house. And when the real estate agent told me I would earn a 60% return on a short-term holding, I knew something was wrong.
Yes, my conscious decision to wait until the bottom fell out of an obviously exuberant market paid off handsomely. But it paid off handsomely in large part because prices got so low that every hedge fund was buying up properties to rent out, drive up prices, and eventually dump. I believe that the nice price drops are well on their way in places like Arizona as cash buyers exit the market.
Five reasons not to buy US real estate
All of this got me to thinking about all of the reasons not to buy US real estate. I came up with five reasons not to buy, and I’m open to your comments below.
Poor rental yields
The average gross rental yield in the United States is a measly 4.2%, narrowly beating yields in Canada. Of course, Americans and even some foreign investors can get mortgages with as little as 10-20% down, making leveraged yields higher. Of course, the amount of leverage in the US real estate market is a large part of the problem.
Anyone with $25,000 lying around can become a landlord, often having no clue what’s involved. When he or she realizes they should actually have a few bucks stashed away to fix a leaking roof, they could lose the property and effect the entire market.
I saw this firsthand during my regrettable seven months living in California, where a guy earning $80,000 a year (in Los Angeles, mind you) not only had a highly-leveraged primary residence valued at $1 million, but owned four new construction condos in the suburbs that he paid $400,000 each for.
I can’t say I was surprised when I started getting foreclosure notices in my mailbox one day.
If you have no money and want to gamble in the US real estate market, go ahead. What do you have to lose when not putting up your own money? If you actually have some money, though, you shouldn’t settle for a 4.2% yield – nor the likely possibility that your fellow investors will crash the market.
Many of the places I’ve been in Asia offer yields of 8-9%. In Nicaragua, I saw a few properties with gross yields as high as 13%! (That’s why I’m offering anyone who joins The Nomad Society this month gets a free ticket to a three-day investment tour in Nicaragua.)
As a lifelong investor, I understand the power of leverage. However, the fundamentals of the US market are weak and don’t allow for much growth without leverage. This forces a bunch of ill-advised investors into the market who may ultimately increase your yield merely by causing the value of your property to plummet.
If you don’t have a lot of money to invest, there are plenty of properties in frontier markets like Cambodia for around $30,000 – the same as an investor’s down payment on a starter home. And because fast-growing markets like that actually have fundamentals for their price increases, you can actually do fix-and-flips that are based on real value, not bubbles.
Speaking of fundamentals..
The US real estate market has weak fundamentals.
What will drive US real estate going forward? One of the world’s lowest birth rates? The country’s declining status as a “wealthy” country? Most Americans would be surprised to learn that Singapore, not their homeland, is the richest country on earth. Next up: Luxembourg, Qatar, and Liechtenstein.
Americans who understand how bankrupt the western world is likely wouldn’t want to invest in Italy. The average salary in Italy is only about 18,000 euros. However, salaries in the United States are declining, as well.
On top of that, while there is a trend on “onshore” some jobs back from places like the Philippines, I believe further anti-business government policy will cause a long-term elimination of jobs due to further offshoring, companies moving their operations overseas, and technology replacing positions.
If real wages are decreasing, who will buy your real estate for a future appreciation gain, or rent it for a good rental yield?
Very little growth in the US is truly organic. It’s all on paper. In Southeast Asia, growth is very simple. People are getting better educations and higher paying jobs as their countries experience more entrepreneurship, more tourism, and more of other things that allow wealth in the country to increase.
The US, on the other hand, has just about hit a brick wall. Compare the number of people getting MBAs who would have dropped out of high school thirty years ago to sell gum on the street. In the US, the number is very low. In Cambodia, it’s very high. That is good for emerging markets real estate, but not so good for US real estate.
On top of that, governments can vote to keep investors out on a dime. Canada recently torched its Immigrant Investor Program, which attracted thousands of Chinese millionaires to buy high-end real estate in Toronto and Vancouver. Now that the government cancelled the program, real estate experts in Canada are bracing for the worst.
A single act of jingoism could send the value of your real estate tumbling.
Governments can (selectively) increase taxes on a dime.
Sure, this is true of any jurisdiction. It’s the same reason I wouldn’t be in a rush to buy real estate in Spain even with their offer of second residency.
But among “gotcha” tax jurisdictions, The Land of the Free must take the cake. This is a country whose President claimed his Obamacare wasn’t a tax… only for the Supreme Court to later rule it was to avoid having it overturned. The US government is the master of playing both sides of the coin.
Let’s say you’re doing well and you buy a nice home in the US. Your local or state government, which is likely drowning in red ink from decades of fiscal imprudence, realizes it needs more revenue and decides to append a “luxury property” assessment to your home. After all, you’re not living in a trailer park with the 99%, so you ought to be the one to bear the burden, you greedy fat cat.
While there are laws in states like California that purport to cap property taxes, there’s nothing stop almost any government from imposing “special fees” or something similar to wring more money out of you. In jurisdictions with no caps on property taxes, governments can simply raise rates. If you think they won’t, remember that “it’s for the children” is the easiest way to get voters to approve a new tax on you, and property taxes are part of what funds schools.
American voters will gladly raise your cost of property ownership in two seconds.
If you’re buying US real estate as an investment, you could be equally vulnerable. In a country where success is demonized and the rich are viewed as being deserving of punishment, it’s not inconceivable that local governments could impose special taxes on rental property. After all, owning a house you live in is one thing. Renting it is another.
The US government has proposed taxes and fees on investors from Wall Street to Main Street, and they’d be all too happy to curb your already mediocre rental yields by making you pay for their fiscal waste.
US real estate is denominated in US dollars.
An obvious but an important point. As the value of the US dollar declines and countries like Russia seek to wean themselves off of the global reserve currency, the global value of your real estate assets in the United States will decline. Sure, you’ll be able to buy locally made products (how ironic, right?), but imports will cost a fortune.
Remember what happened when Iceland’s economy totally collapsed several years ago? It cost a fortune just to go to McDonald’s. I suppose some American investors don’t ever intend to leave the United States to begin with, lessening the blow of a US dollar collapse on their lifestyle, but everyone will feel the pain.
Courts can seize US real estate, even if it’s held in an offshore trust.
We talk here about the benefits of using an offshore trust to protect your assets, not only from creditors and angry ex-spouses, but from future government confiscation. However, the entire point of an offshore trust is to be offshore.
If the government where an asset is located wants that asset badly enough, it will get it. Governments have repeatedly shown they don’t respect even their own rule of law.
One recent example of this involves infomercial king Kevin Trudeau, who is currently serving a ten-year sentence for “contempt of court”. While Kevin rented his primary residence in Chicago to avoid asset confiscation by a government that was constantly at odds with him, he did own a property in California through an Isle of Man corporation.
When the government imposed a $37 million fine on him, it eventually got around to forcing the sale of the house. Had it not been encumbered by a mortgage, the government would have sold it and pocketed all of the profits. That’s because some nut job on a California court could easily circumvent any provision of an offshore trust he likes. It may not be “legal” according to the laws of the trust, but what does a bankrupt nation care about other countries’ laws?
After all, the United States has been busy enforcing FATCA on as many other countries as possible, forcing banks in other countries to PAY for the privilege of tattling on Americans who bank with them. The United States doesn’t respect other countries’ laws, and if they ever claim you owe them money, no amount of asset protection will save you from the wrong court.
Of course, some of these reasons to avoid real estate investments in the US could be applying to other bankrupt western countries that have a kleptomaniac streak. When it comes to investing in real estate, “go where you’re treated best”.
http://nomadcapitalist.com/2014/04/01/five-reasons-buy-us-real-estate/

Sarah Palin’s keynote address to Alaska’s secessionist movement

I have some mixed messages and feelings when I watch this 2008 video of the former governer. It’s part pep-talk, it’s part campaign speech, party chummy condescension. If you love Sarah Palin, this video won’t bother you. If you don’t like her, this will make you hate her more.

But for those who live here, this is just another reason we are different here:

We had a sitting governor addressing the convention of the largest third party in Alaska, a secessionist party at that. While she clearly didn’t see them as a threat, she obviously feels they are legitimate enough to warrant comparison to her own viewpoint. She had during her time in office appointed and dismissed party members from her administration.

The AIP, while supposedly not wanting to secede but just vote on if we should… Remains the party that no one in Alaska has heard of but that everyone wants to join when they hear about it.

Why is this? What keeps the largest third party of capturing a single school board seat?

Anyhow, enjoy the show. Enjoy talking about peaceful secession and voluntaryism with people.

 

 

Sarah Palin speaks to the AIP

Charity vs. Coercion

Another article from txfatherofseven.wordpress.com.

txfatherofseven


When we oppose subsidies, we are charged with opposing the very thing that it was proposed to subsidize and of being the enemies of all kinds of activity, because we want these activities to be voluntary and to seek their proper reward in themselves. Thus, if we ask that the state not intervene, by taxation, in religious matters, we are atheists. If we ask that the state not intervene, by taxation, in education, then we hate enlightenment. If we say that the state should not give, by taxation, an artificial value to land or to some branch of industry, then we are the enemies of property and of labor. If we think that the state should not subsidize artists, we are barbarians who judge the arts useless. — Frederic Bastiat



I’ve posted this quote onFacebookonce but never got to dig into it more. One of the things about the…

View original post 495 more words

Common Core creates new wave of home schoolers!

A new out-break of freedom as GenX parents reject statist monopolized education!

The department of education is barely older than most of these parents, yet it continually speaks to them as if they were the children.

Children are people- not mechanical property of parents or the state. Children deserve to have choice in their educations, not statist-mandated   tests and programs.

Adults enjoy free choice. When you go to lunch , you have dozens choices- Asian, Mexican, home-style, Italian, smoking and non-smoking.

As an adult, you typically enjoy your lunch due to the CHOICES you have. No one forces you to eat the same lunch day after day, much less a lunch mandated by an-ever shifting cadre of statist nincompoops.

Homeschool is a great way to introduce freedom and enjoyment into the educational life of the children in our families. Let them develop curriculum that enhance their talents, and challenge them.

We love them, we want them to grow into thinking individuals and not robots.

Homeschool offers the best chance.

 


 

MORE PARENTS CHOOSE HOMESCHOOLING DUE TO COMMON CORE
by DR. SUSAN BERRY 27 Mar 2014 241 POST A COMMENT

As Common Core champions like Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continue to attack parents, teachers, and taxpayers for what they claim are “myths” spread about the centralized standards initiative, many parents across the nation are not convinced.
They are refusing to subject their children to the stress, pressure, and confusion associated with the Common Core by opting out of the assessments aligned with the standards, or by withdrawing them from school and choosing homeschooling instead.
WHNT 19 News in Alabama reports a growing number of families making the decision to withdraw their children from school in order to homeschool because of “confusion,” “chaos,” and stress related to the Common Core standards.
“It [Common Core] has caused chaos in our house, and it’s not worth it,” said Lori Peden, who has withdrawn two of her children from McBride Elementary in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. “The teachers are not comfortable teaching it. They’re frustrated. Parents are upset, kids are not making good grades. That’s what I’ve seen.”
Peden said she never had plans to homeschool her children, but did so after she observed her son struggling with Common Core math assignments in which he was required to find and learn up to half a dozen different pathways to the same final answer, an endeavor that created confusion and constant stress.
“In math, they take a very long road to go a short distance,” said Peden. “You’re fighting over which method to use and how to figure out how he needs to do it. It’s a lot of time wasted, a lot of effort wasted.”

Megan King, a parent from Kansans Against Common Core, is also homeschooling two of her children because she is unhappy with the Common Core standards.
“My oldest is in middle school, and is on an advance track that I felt comfortable leaving him where he is at, but even with him I am seeing problems in the area of English,” King told Breitbart News.
King said she pulled her kids from public school as Common Core was being implemented.
“I noticed the dumb and confusing way math was beginning to be taught, and as I looked more and more into Common Core, I didn’t like what I was seeing on so many levels,” she explained. “My 4th grader had only read one literature book through the year. I asked his teacher about their reading and she said they had been reading small non fiction books (informational text).”
“I just felt my kids were not going to learn at a level I know they can and should be learning at,” King said.
Though homeschooling has been an adjustment for the entire family, King said the results have been worth it.
“I do recommend homeschooling,” she said. “It’s very rewarding, but I had to quit my job as a preschool teacher in order to homeschool, so we have had to really tighten our belt financially. But, even if a state finds its way out of Common Core, it will be years before things are what they were before No Child Left Behind and Common Core, so we, as parents, have to get creative and find new ways to educate our kids.”
Justin and Jennifer Dahlmann of Kansas also have decided to homeschool their children in response to the implementation of the Common Core standards.
KAKE.com reports that the Dahlmanns, who have four daughters from ages two to nine, said Common Core had been implemented at their children’s private school.
“Our own kids were taking these standards that are driving the curriculum and we didn’t know anything about it,” Justin said. “That’s when we started doing the research on it and realized how overbearing it was.”
The parents asserted that the Common Core standards are making education more confusing, as opposed to encouraging more rigorous critical thinking, as the standards’ supporters tout.
Homeschooling, for the Dahlmanns, is, in some ways, a form of protest of the “top down” Common Core standards.
“If this does nothing more than wake people up to becoming more involved with their children, that’s great,” Justin said. “But absolutely parents need to become more involved in this.”
William Estrada, Director of Federal Relations of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) wrote in December of 2012, that he believes “children – whether homeschooled, private schooled, or public schooled – do best when parents are fully engaged.”
Estrada said that centralized education policies do not encourage parents to be engaged in what and how their children are being taught.
“The CCSS [Common Core State Standards] moves education standards from the purview of state and local control to being controlled by unaccountable education policy experts sitting in a board room far removed from the parents, students, and teachers who are most critical to a child’s educational success,” Estrada wrote.

 

1000’s sign White House.gov petition- for Alaska to join Russia

Today for my WTF moment I found this Fox News article. I can understand wanting to secede and I recognize the right to do so- whether from your ex-girlfriend, your boss, your state, or country. But come on, Alaska! You don’t secede to join Russia!
Thousands sign WhiteHouse.gov petition for Alaska to secede — to Russia
Published March 27, 2014

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/27/thousands-sign-official-white-house-petition-to-return-alaska-to-russia/?intcmp=trending

Mar. 10, 2014: A frozen beach on the Bering Sea coast is seen near the last stretch mushers must pass before the finish line of the Iditarod dog sled race in Nome, Alaska.REUTERS
Moscow’s annexation of Crimea was condemned worldwide, but some people in Alaska apparently are yearning for the days when they, too, were part of Mother Russia.

A petition on the White House website created by “S.V.” of Anchorage is calling on Alaskans and others to “vote” for Alaska to secede from the U.S. and become a part of Russia.

In less than a week, the petition, titled “Alaska Back to Russia,” has garnered nearly 30,000 signatures, though it’s unclear where they are from.

“Vote for secession of Alaska from the United States and joining Russia,” the petition says.

The petition, though strangely worded and difficult to understand, describes how Alaska was originally settled and populated by native Russians.

Secretary of State William Seward purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million, in a decision decried at the time as “Seward’s Folly.” The territory officially became the 49th state on Jan. 3, 1959.

Even if the White House responds to the Alaska petition, it is almost certainly going nowhere. The Alaska petition offers no specifics for how the proposed secession would even be executed, whether by referendum or some other process. Further, the Supreme Court ruled, in the wake of the Civil War, that unilateral secession is unconstitutional.

The White House typically issues an official response to petitions on the official website if they receive 100,000 signatures in 30 days — in this case, the deadline would be April 20. A similar petition in 2012 calling for Texas to secede from the U.S. reached this goal, and the White House responded by saying “our states remain united.”

“Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States ‘in order to form a more perfect union’ through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government,” the official response to the Texas petition said. “They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot — a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it.”

Has America gone over to the collectivists completely?

What follows is a recent article by Nick Giambruno, one of the excellent writers over at internationalman.com. I suggest that you subscribe to their excellent updates and learn about internationalization, asset and privacy protection, and how to enjoy what freedom remains in the world. It’s time to start thinking here, people. Can you really stomach what is happening to the land of your birth? Is it time to ask yourself if staying in the US is the intelligent thing to do?

 


 

 

You’d Have Better Luck Converting Them to Become Jehovah’s Witnesses

By Nick Giambruno

internationalman.com

 

I’d bet that many of you have thought about or discussed the following question: “What are the chances that the political situation might improve in the US?”

I know I have.

Unfortunately, I have long concluded that the chances are slim to none… and slim is out of town.

The reason for this is simple: a growing majority of voters in the US has deeply ingrained collectivist impulses in some fashion or another. In other words, they’re addicted to the heroin of the failed policies of the welfare, warfare, and nanny state.

Speaking of the nanny state, New York City is perhaps one of the most infamous incarnations of it. The bureaucrats in the Big Apple have a particularly strong affinity for regulating every aspect of the personal lives and businesses of its residents. It’s all done “for your own good,” of course—the standard catch-all justification for big government.

The latest example of which is Mayor Bill de Blasio’s absolutely ridiculous “Vision Zero” plan. This plan seeks to reduce traffic deaths to zero by drastically increasing police enforcement.

It’s delusional to think that fatal accidents could ever be fully eliminated, no matter how many police officers or enforcement cameras there are on the streets. It’s not unlike trying to totally eliminate bathtub falls by putting a police officer or a camera in every bathroom.

Jaywalkers in particular have been singled out for extra attention by the police in “Vision Zero.”

Consider the story of Kang Wong, an 84-year-old man who was recently stopped for jaywalking near Broadway and 96th Street at around 5 in the evening. Wong, who apparently didn’t understand what was happening or why he was being stopped, tried to walk away from the police. The situation escalated, and the police ended up arresting and bloodying him.

Few New Yorkers question why the money extracted from them via taxation—to pay for the police—didn’t instead go towards dealing with real crimes (aggressions against people and property). Nor did many question the disturbing absurdity of the bloodying of an 84-year-old man spurred by the increased enforcement of jaywalking in the name of the “Vision Zero” fantasy.

This whole ordeal underscores why I’m not particularly optimistic that a significant number of Americans will change their views on collectivism and personal freedom anytime soon.

Many have been force-fed since a young age the notion that democracy is the most sublime form of government. I believe the reality, however, is quite different—especially once a society loses respect for the rights of individual. In other words, when the majority or the collective trumps all.

Then it only takes 51% of the people to agree to restrict the rights of the rest of the 49%—which amounts to nothing more than mob rule dressed up in a suit and tie.

If 51% of the people vote to elect a guy who wants to turn their city into a police state in pursuit of the delusion of totally eliminating traffic deaths, they can. (Note: NYC mayor Bill de Blasio won in a landslide, with 73% of the vote.)

If 51% of the people vote to elect a guy who wants, in the name of the greater good, to force you to buy health insurance you don’t need or want, they can.

If 51% of the people deem it “fair” that the top income tax bracket to be 75%, then so be it. It’s already happened in France.

Or suppose that gold explodes to the upside (another way of saying the currency crashes) and 51% of the people demand, in the name of fairness, a precious metals windfall profits tax.

These are the kinds of possibilities that can occur in a democratic society with collectivist leanings.

It brings to mind the words of H.L. Mencken: “Democracy, too, is a religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.”

Granted, the US has not arrived at some of these destinations yet… though I believe we are on the path toward it—and there’s no turning back.

The reason is simple: a growing majority of Americans are financially dependent on the government.

It’s estimated that around 47% of Americans are already receiving government benefits in some way.

But I believe 47% is not an accurate reflection of the situation.

We also need to consider all government employees as well as those in the nominally private sector who make a living off of the warfare state—like defense and other government contractors who win huge no-bid contracts.

Those involved in the military industrial complex are living off slops at the government trough just as much, if not more than those who collect food stamps and other traditional forms of welfare. Yet they aren’t counted in the statistics. So we need to include them to get a more complete picture of who is financially dependent on the government.

Anyone who exists off of political dollars instead of free-market dollars should be counted.

When these people are included, we’re well north of 50% of the American population (a solid majority and growing) that’s financially dependent on the government in some form.

This means the US has crossed the Rubicon.

It’s not good news for those opposed to collectivism.

This built-in majority of welfare recipients and government employees guarantees that there will be a solid voting block to continue—and accelerate—these policies. It would be foolish to assume that a meaningful number of these people would vote to stop the government from giving them benefits or otherwise vote to break their own rice bowls.

The notion that a significant number of people living off of government largesse will be brought around to an individualist or libertarian way of thinking is a pipe dream.

You’d have better luck converting them to become Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In other words, there is no hope for positive change to come from the political system.

Therefore, I believe your time and energy are best spent preparing for and protecting yourself from the effects of a collectivist system that eventually collapses under its own weight… like all of them eventually do.

Once you’ve realized that it is futile to stop this collectivist tsunami, the next logical question becomes “How do I protect myself and my savings?”

The answer is: the same way you would with a regular tsunami… get out of the way!

The good news is that thanks to internationalization, you don’t have to be a passive victim.

Moving some of your savings abroad in the form of offshore bank and brokerage accounts, foreign real estate, and physical gold held in safe jurisdictions, will go a long way toward protecting yourself. Obtaining a second passport is an important part of the mix as well.

It’s not all doom and gloom; the world is your oyster, and there are very attractive jurisdictions that are cause for optimism. And that’s what International Man is all about—making the most of your personal freedom and financial opportunity around the world.

If you are not already a member, you can click here to join here for free to get all the latest news and information about internationalization. You’ll also get access to other stuff like our very popular free special reports. Be sure to pass this on to your friends and family so they have access to this crucial information too.

IRS sets itself up as the premier spy agency

IRS seized 1.7 million GB of data last year

Digital Privacy

March 26, 2014
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

Every organization has a unique way of measuring its own success.

Apple tracks very closely, for example, how many iPhones and iPads they sell. Facebook monitors how many total users they have.

And for the brand new Cyber Crime Unit (CCU) of the IRS Criminal Investigative Division, one of their key metrics for success apparently is the volume of data that they ‘seize’ in any given year.

In its recently released annual report detailing their operations and results during fiscal year 2013, the IRS Criminal Investigative Division (CID) announced that they had seized 1.7 MILLION gigabytes of data last year.

This equates to about 729 billion pages of text, or 24.3 BILLION email messages– roughly 78 email messages for every man, woman, and child in the Land of the Free.

More importantly, this constitutes a 100% increase over the amount of data seized in fiscal year 2012. And to be clear, “seized” means that you no longer have access to, or control of, the data.

I’m sure we can all acknowledge that there are bad people out there who commit crimes. And this is precisely who the CID is trying to go after.

Their report lists dozens of examples of nefarious criminals they caught last year, ranging from identity thieves to bank fraudsters to corrupt public officials.

But they don’t get it right all the time. They barely get it right half the time.

According to their own data, 43.1% of the people they’ve investigated over the last two years are either never indicted, or they’re acquitted at trial.

This means that 43.1% of people being investigated have not committed a crime. Yet many of them have had their data confiscated (and probably their assets frozen) while the investigation is pending.

Each business day, the CID opens an average of 40 new investigations. While 23 of them will end up serving time, 17 of them are wrongfully deprived of their assets.

Imagine if you’re an entrepreneur– watching a team of gun-toting investigators walk out of your office with all of your computers, even though you’ve done nothing wrong.

A simple misunderstanding or administrative error can bring your business to its knees.

If you use a service like Dropbox, it makes things even easier for the government to seize your digital assets and freeze you out of your own data.

In terms of asset protection, though, our digital assets are some of the easiest (and quickest) to protect.

Instead of using Dropbox, you can opt for a service like Wuala.

Wuala is quite similar to dropbox in that it synchs and backs up data securely in the cloud. The key difference, however, is that Wuala is based in Switzerland… so the company is not obliged to immediately follow law enforcement requests from North America (or anywhere else) without a great deal of diplomatic bureaucracy.

What’s more, Wuala ensures that your files are encrypted before they even leave your computer.

And since only you know your password, the most that Wuala employees would be able to hand over to any government agency is a bunch of encrypted gibberish.

Best of all, making the move to a service like Wuala costs nothing. Dropbox offers the first 2 GB of storage for free. Wuala offers 2.5x that– 5 GB for free. So it makes sense… no matter what.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

Welcome to FPFM!

People who know me say I’m a person with strong opinions- let’s say that’s true. I have opinions about all kinds of things. But let’s start out by saying I think most folks DO, so how how does that make me different?

It’s what I do with my opinions, and just as importantly-
What I DON’T do with my opinions.

What I don’t do is go around thinking that my awesome opinion ought to be a rule.

I don’t go around thinking that my opinion ought to be crammed down anyone’s throat (but let’s face it- you’re reading this on MY blog so this is different).

And I never, never, never go around thinking that just because I might find a magic number of other people who, along with myself of course, constitute a “majority”….

and that said majority ought to take said opinion and make it into some kind of “law”.

“Law” in quotes? Why?

Because “laws” are just strong opinions someone else thought up, talked the majority of people sheep (assume you live a a so-called democracy here) into petitioning their friendly neighborhood tax-farmer who then goes about forcing the rest of them to follow along.

That’s it. Nothing more.

The basis of all just law is compensation for damages to person or property.
So if you need a law to keep lesbians from getting married, or a law to force a Christian to bake a cake against his will, or a law that requires all 18 year olds of the male gender sign up for possible future involuntary military service…. Than what you have is an OPINION, and that should be kept to yourself.

What does that mean? It means have opinions, voice them, try to convince folks that you have the facts. But never forget-

Good ideas don’t require force.