Joel Nagel is a world-renowned lawyer specializing in immigration law and international asset protection, including trusts, banking, IBCs, and global commercial transactions. He and his firm, Nagel & Associates, have assisted countless individuals, families, and corporations realize their international goals.
We cannot choose which country we are born into. While many of us from North America and Europe may feel fortunate to have been birth citizens of such free, ethical, and prosperous nations, there are still many drawbacks to living and doing business in one country alone. Some countries have more oppressive tax burdens, others make it more difficult to incorporate a business, while others still may be on the precipice of political instability.
As the cliche goes, “Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.” While this mantra applies to many facets of life, it’s especially prudent in the world of international investing and living. No worthy advisor would be bearish on diversification, but oftentimes this only extends to domestic borders. Protecting your wealth by taking advantage of global markets, freedoms, and legal tax havens can help to give you a stronger sense of security – giving you the peace of mind that the bounty of your hard work remains yours and only yours.
Recently, Joel sat down for an exclusive interview with Mikkel Thorup of The Expat Money Show, a podcast-turned-global-community that connects like-minded entrepreneurs and expats and helps make sense of the exciting landscape of international living, investing, and asset protection.
In this latest sit-down with Attorney Nagel, “How to Protect Your Assets So No One Would Dare to Sue You,” Mikkel Thorup gets to the bottom of what it means when we say “offshore” and “international asset protection,” particularly in regards to ethics, legality, and the upside of diversifying your protection across borders and oceans.
The entire interview spans over 90 minutes of invaluable information regarding global markets and asset protection. To listen to the full interview or to download the file, click here! And don’t forget to subscribe to The Expat Money Show on Apple Podcasts, Android, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher for up-to-the-minute insight into the world of expat living and international investing.
Interview with Attorney Joel Nagel by Mikkel Thorup of The Expat Money Show
Transcribed and posted with author’s permission:
What is Asset Protection? What is the core of what you do with your law firm?
If you want to think of asset protection, think of it in a sports analogy as the defense. It’s really about protecting what’s yours….for some people that can be a very simple thing.
But don’t forget, even for people who have $5,000, $10,000, $20,000, that is the most important money in the world to them. And that’s the way I view asset protection, we try and keep things proportionate. So if you have a teacher with less than $50,000, we’ll talk about a couple simple options. [In one case, we determined that the best option] was to take the money and invest in gold. Gold is outside the banking system…once you buy it and stick it under your mattress, it doesn’t show up on any radars. And it can be immediately turned into liquid cash anywhere in the world at any time. That’s one end of the spectrum.
Then you get the other end of the spectrum, people with 8,9, and 10-figure balances of assets with property, limited partnerships, stocks, bonds, etc. So then you have to think, how can you title these assets so that if the unthinkable happens, you have a much more complex strategy in place? It could be multiple things, it could be an asset protection trust in another jurisdiction, corporate trusts, LLCs, IBCs, foundations.
The point is, for everyone, the solution is very different. What are the challenges, what is the problem, what are the potential risks?
Why Do We Need Asset Protection?
There’s no doubt that the U.S. leads the way in lawsuits. Every 7 seconds, a new lawsuit is filed and someone is sued. Who are the defendants? Generally, they’re people with money, because you’re not going to spend time and money suing someone who’s indigent. That’s why the more assets you have, the better the asset protection you need. You’ve got this huge bullseye on your back, because anyone who has assets in America, unfortunately, is a target. So if you ask, how is America different? Well, it leads the way, but plenty of other countries are catching up.
That’s why you really have to look at other jurisdictions to protect your assets. So when the lawsuits come, they can’t get after your assets.
Can You Explain What is Meant by the Term “Offshore”?
Sometimes the word “offshore” is used in a pejorative way, but it really just means any jurisdiction that isn’t the jurisdiction that you’re from. What a lot of Americans don’t realize is that the largest tax haven in the world is the United States…just not for Americans.
Offshore simply means you’re utilizing a jurisdiction other than your own, generally for some benefit, whether it’s a tax benefit, litigation benefit, etc.
There are countries in the world that can never compete with the U.S. capital market. There’s a little country that I’m very fond of, Belize – how are they ever going to compete with the U.S. when it comes to capital formation? So, one way they can do that is to have very protective legislation when it comes to certain things. Trusts are a good example. If I create a trust for you today and tomorrow somebody sues you, they’re not going to be able to get at that asset. And by creating a protective legal system, that’s how they can compete.
When you care about protecting your assets…and your chances of keeping what you have greatly improved by moving [to another jurisdiction], then you’re going to consider moving your money there.
Our thanks to Attorney Joel Nagel and Mikkel Thorup of The Expat Money Show for providing Escape Artist readers with this insightful and important information about living as a global citizen. If the information here piqued your interest, and you’d like to hear the exposition on these ideas, make sure to download the entire interview and subscribe to the podcast for even more useful tips on how to succeed as an expat.
To further supplement your understanding of global asset protection, download the free infographic: 15 Global Strategies to Protect Your Wealth!