Thursday, July 29, 2010

Free Land! But bad news for nonprofits...

Free land y'all!

This article by the NY Times says they are giving away free land in Beatrice, Nebraska in order to get it back onto the tax rolls and so the city can quit having to pay someone to mow it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/us/26revenue.html

Beatrice, Nebraska is the town where the Federal homesteading began, back in the day.  Well, they're at it again it seems, but this time it's local instead of federal. 

This isn't just happening in Nebraska.  They're also doing it in Dayton, OH and Grafton, IL.  Dayton's a nice size city, but there have been orange barrels on I-75 there for the last ten years straight at least.  It's annoying, and I suspect it's some kind of pork for the highway workers.  But I digress.

It also says that some communities in New England are considering making non-profit organizations pay property taxes, or reviewing them to see if they should be taxed.  Bad news for non-profits, if this practice starts to spread.

I've heard a saying that someone can be "land rich and cash poor".  Used to be said of impoverished gentry or farmers.  Seems that local governments are finding themselves in this position now.

Anyway, I think you have to put a house on the land, but that would be less expensive than usual if you get either a used trailer for cash, or a tiny house (see previous post on tiny houses), and just truck it in.  You can often get a used trailer for under $3,000 - if you have the cash, take out an ad saying you buy trailers for cash and people will call you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why capitalism works in the US but not some other places

I've been looking around on this website 999 Ideas and it had a neat article which was a book review on a book by a guy in Peru, Hernando De Soto, called The Mystery of Capital on why capitalism seems to work here in the US but not some other places.  http://www.999ideas.com/united-states-wealth.html

Basically it's not due to free markets so much, but instead because of our property laws.  We can do more with our property, like leave it to a person who is not a son, or take out loans against it.  On the downside we can be more easily foreclosed on, but this is why banks are willing to lend against real estate here.  Many small businesses get their startup capital from the owner's home equity or from credit cards which are then refinanced into a home loan.

I'll put the complete opposite attitude, Das Kapital, also in the books on offer below.  Just to rile people up.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No Fail Whole Wheat Bread, EASY RECIPE


Here is my no-fail 100% Whole wheat bread recipe. Comes out real fluffy.  You don't have to wait for it to rise, either, it's a soda bread.
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 egg (optional, but if you don't add it, use a full 1/4 oil)
A little less than 1/4 c cooking oil (unless you put an egg)
Maybe a pinch of salt unless you're on a no salt diet (well, then there's the baking soda to worry about)
Herbs and spices to taste if you want them (or cooked onion and garlic, or raisins, or whatever)
Mix flour and baking soda and then add wet ingredients. Put dough in an appropriately sized pan (I think mine is like 6 or 7 inches diameter and 3 or 4 inches high ceramic?) in the oven at 350 F for about 30 minutes.  I do it for 35 minutes in a gas oven but I don't preheat the oven.  You will want to grease the pan even though the dough has oil in it.  I haven't got it not to stick to the bottom yet. The sides are doing OK, I'm experimenting with different methods - maybe cornmeal or flour on top of the oil in the pan. It comes out a bit crumbly, i.e. not good for sandwiches, but good as a side with dinner with butter or neufchatel cheese on it.  If you want it less crumbly, use part white flour instead.
The dough is wetter than yeast bread dough.  But it's not as wet as batter either.  If all you can get is big things of buttermilk you can freeze some for later.
I recommend buying whole wheat flour in bulk.  I bought 50 lbs. for something like $16 from a restaurant supply store.  This is so cheap compared to buying 5 lbs. for like $2.50 or $3.00 at the grocery store. I mean, 32 cents a pound compared to 50 or 60.  You will want to invest in some kind of container(s) for your flour, but you can re-use them, plus with the savings you got on the flour you can afford them.  Even simple rectangular plastic tubs, like you get at Wal-mart would work.  Just something to keep the moths and weevils out.  I can go through 50 lbs. of flour in a year or two, no problem.

If you don't have buttermilk, put a little vinegar in regular milk and use that.  But it's better to have real buttermilk.  I believe there's powdered buttermilk out there somewhere, but I've never used it so I can't speak to whether it would activate baking soda or not.  Happy baking!

 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Do you qualify for the HARP or the HAMP Program? I don't...

The HARP program is the Home Affordable Refinance Program.
The HAMP program is the Home Affordable Modification Program.
Both are a product of Obamanomics.

Here is the link:
http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/borrower-faqs.html
For the HARP program, you first have to find out if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (mine's not, which I didn't know before).  If you click on that link above, it has links to their pages where you can find out.

For the HAMP program, your mortgage payment has to exceed 31% of your gross monthly income. (Mine doesn't, by mere pennies) and you have to have an economic problem (like being unemployed or unable to work) (I finally don't, having recently found more work).

Am I mad?  Naw.  I'm glad my situation is good enough that I don't qualify.  It beats the alternative.  Also it keeps me from the temptation to use public assistance.

Oddly enough, there was nothing in the program guidelines about whether people would qualify if they had had a bankruptcy.  You'd think they at least would want to address that issue in their FAQ.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hidey Holes! Secret hiding places!

Welcome to Part 3 of Hiding Money: Hidey Holes! Secret hiding places!

This is my favorite part of this series.

If you don't want to take a chance with possible deadbeat roommates, or if you have a financial second life, have your financial docs sent to a PO box. Don't worry about getting a bill for the PO box.  The bill for the PO box is sent to the PO box itself.

The best place to hide cash money and small items from roommates, nosy guests, burglars etc. if you are a little handy, is somewhere that looks like part of the house, like a fake outlet, a place a little ways down a heat register (tape envelope to wall of vent), under a loose stair tread (or vertical board on stairs), or the window or door trim. On wood windows, there are these guides on the sides. If you take the trim off that holds the window in (usually only held on by 2 or 3 thin finish nails) you can get at the guides and sometimes you can take them apart to get at the weights, for instance. You might be able to hide things in there if they don’t interfere with the weights.

You could hollow out a 2 or 3 inch deep trench in the top of your bedroom (or any other) door, and (maybe) put a strip of wood across it to hold stuff in. Use a paddle bit or router.

The back of a closet could be re-framed in and a second wall installed over top of the first one, leaving a semi-permanent storage space between the two walls.  Or you could put cedar paneling, which if you're clever about it could be removable, hinged with a hidden hinge and maybe a magnetic latch, etc.

If you can’t or don't want to get any piece of house trim off, then use or alter a piece of furniture into a hidey hole. Not under a mattress or cushion or your drawers. Those are the first place a burglar would look.  You need to get more creative than that. You could remove the lining from under an upholstered chair and stash something in the springs and replace the lining with Velcro dots or staples (get a staple hammer for $12 it’s easier than a staple gun). Often, though, this lining is semi-transparent. You could take apart a framed picture and hide documents or small amounts of cash inside it. If your curtains have a lining you can pin a small baggie between the layers high up near the rod. This is a good quickie hidey hole in a hotel room where you don’t want the cleaning staff stealing your stuff.

If you sew, you could make or alter a teddy bear or a pillow and put stuff in it in the middle of the stuffing. Sew it completely shut. You don’t want people looking at it and seeing a gap, and you want it to look professional. The more permanent it is the better. You also don’t want whatever it is you are hiding to rustle or make a really hard lump. The exception might be one of those talking stuffed animals, where maybe you could hide something hard next to or in place of the voice box. Your danger here is if in your absence your cat barfs on it and someone throws it out or washes it, or if your small child decides to take your toy and play with it outside.

A good place might be a piece of furniture that has tubes, like a futon frame or plastic shelves.

If you have questionable visitors or roommates it’s best to not put your money in anything that is pawnable like computer equipment or that they might nick like cigarette boxes. Instead, hide it in worthless looking things. Maybe under your Odor-Eaters, or if you are good with a needle and thread, make pockets inside your hat or coat sleeves or lining. Attach them only to seams so there is no pocket-shaped area of stitches.

I heard of someone hiding cash under the shreddings in their shredder bin. I dunno, if you have a neatnik spouse you could find it thrown out. (Then there was that stupid politician who was caught shredding his dirty money. Don't be him.)

If you are extremely handy and you need a semi-permanent hiding place for something small and nonperishable (gold perhaps), you can take up your toilet. There is dead space inside under the base of the toilet between the outside and the part that goes into the sewer line. The annoying part is you will have to reseat it afterwards with a new wax ring and maybe caulk, and this may be noticeable if you’re not reasonably good at it. The biggest danger is your toilet will leak or get clogged one day. Then perhaps your unsuspecting roommate or spouse while you're at work will call the plumber who will find your gold stash...

There is always dead space under your bathtub if it is the kind that goes all the way to the floor. If you are lucky you will have a trap door that attaches with screws instead of finished drywall; however, any kind of trap door is accessible by other people as well as by you.

There are many dead-space places inside appliances like the bases of lamps, the vacuum cleaner, clothes washer, etc. but you might need to get time to disassemble them unobserved. Any time you do this you have to take into account the possibility that your spouse or roommate might break the appliance and throw it out or have the serviceman come out, or that you might break it and have to account for its humpty dumpty condition, so be careful.

Plates over switches and outlets might also work in places like a public bathroom with one seat, where you can lock the door and remove the outlet or light switch plate with a screwdriver. So you could even hide stuff at a gas station bathroom or something, unless you think they might renovate it.

Also speaking of tubes, if you can find a chain-link fence with posts, the tops of those posts sometimes come off and you can hide things down those tubes if you can get away with doing so unnoticed. This is also a good place to leave messages for someone else, and such a message-leaving place is called a “dead drop”.

Another use for a metal fence is this: Take a PVC pipe. Fill it with silver coins, or whatever metal. Put caps on the ends. I would glue it shut with that PVC plumbing glue to make it airtight, but the advice I saw also said to heat it up a bit first, to drive out moisture so your silver doesn't corrode. Bury it about 3 feet deep next to a metal fence and plant a bush over it so you remember where it is. The metal fence will foil any metal detectors. In addition, you could bury hunks of scrap metal (old car parts?) here and there in your yard. That would keep any jerk with a metal detector busy for a while finding worthless scrap.

If you can get the trim off the baseboards of your kitchen cabinets, there is a lot of space under there. You could hide large amounts of money, guns, jewels, or coins; or just an overnight bag for the quick getaway. Be careful though: do not store paper money where mice might go. More people have lost their nest egg to a mouse nest. A best bet to keep the mice away from your stash is to store it in metal boxes. You could use a metal briefcase or any sort of other metal tin or box. Or maybe a PVC pipe like I described above.

If you can get the sheet metal of your heat vent detached so you can get into the space of the wall or floor outside the vent and then reattach the vent, that would make a great place to hide stuff you don’t need to get at often. Sometimes they are just screwed or nailed in.

Sometimes old houses have dead space in them, especially in the attic. You have to pay attention to the layout of rooms and walls.


hiding/protecting valuables from the maid and guests

I got this idea from writer and astrologer Anita Sands. If you have a maid, give the maid her own closet to lock, both of you have the key. Maybe a hallway closet?  The maid is to put anything she finds lying out (forgotten cameras, etc.) into her closet for storage until it's claimed. Then you put the stuff you don’t want her to get in your bedroom closet. Lock both the bedroom and the closet whenever you aren’t in them and don’t give her a key. Alternatively use a different room, like a spare bedroom in the same way.

hiding valuables from burglars

don’t put it in any obvious place in the bedroom, don’t put it in your mattress or dresser, don’t tape it to the bottom of drawers either. Hide it in an old piece of junk, broken toy, old decrepit TV or something like that. (if taking apart a CRT (the old kind) TV unplug it and avoid touching the flyback transformer which looks like a suction cup on the top of the back of the tube. You can use a plastic handled screwdriver to discharge it if you want though. It stores a big static shock but it won’t kill you.).

If you think you may be kicked out of the house, then don't stash your cash in the house.  You can hide quite a bit of cash inside your spare tire.  Deflate it, put the cash in, and re-inflate it.  If you don't want it banging around inside the tire, then duct tape it in a baggie to the rim.   I imagine this might make the tire not work quite right as a spare if you got a flat, unless it was just a few pieces of paper in there.  So you are taking the risk of getting a flat while hiding money in the donut.

I always liked the idea of taking something really valuable and encasing it in something that looked much less valuable that could be worn.  For example, baking diamonds into large Fimo beads, or sewing them into a tube like a choker band, and having the visible jewel for the choker be some obviously plastic thing.

Some people suggest that one should stash gold against the end of the world.  If I were going to do that, I would not buy gold bars.  I would buy simple gold jewelry like rings and necklaces, from pawn shops, where the price would be cheaper because the jewelry is used.  The reason for jewelry form is that these things are easier to sell or barter with, and since they are smaller than gold bars, their value is smaller.  Easier to buy as you go, and if the world as we knew it did end and mob rule was the only rule, I wouldn't be flashing a bunch of gold bars around.  Also unless you thought you might be mugged, you could wear your stash. Maybe under your clothes mostly.

A quick search of other people's ideas on the internet revealed these goodies as well:

Inside the toilet paper holder (I'm guessing they mean the spool part, which usually has a spring inside it)
In the kids' room - burglars don't usually bother with there unless perhaps they are looking for an X-Box?
In a locked file cabinet - a burglar is looking for things he can steal in 10 minutes or less.  File cabinets are heavy.  I like this one because it would deter casual thieves but if I died unexpectedly the money would eventually be found, unlike if I'd hidden it in some seemingly worthless object.
In a tampon box (great unless you want your teenage daughter or a female guest who is on the rag to find it)
In an empty toothpaste or better, a hemorrhoid cream tube (cut off the bottom, roll it up)
In a spice jar where it's empty but there is a layer of spices glued to the inside of the jar to make it look full
In the bottom of the kitty litter box
In a block of ice surrounded by fish fillets in a container in the freezer
Inside clothes hung in the closet (not in regular pockets, but glue extra pockets inside pants legs for example, which would make the clothes unwearable)
Inside a mostly used-up Chap Stick tube, under the little cup that holds the product.  I also like this one because if your date rifles your purse for cash while you're in the john they'll miss it.

Happy hiding!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Asset Protection in a Divorce

Welcome to Part 2 of this little series on hiding money.

The usual disclaimer: I do not condone stealing.  This information is for protecting yourself from getting taken to the cleaners by a mean ex.  You should always try to be fair, but other people sometimes don't play fair.

Hiding money from a spouse: Say you are fixing to get divorced. Or you just want some mad money for just in case. Actually your spouse might also be trying to hide money. If the judge figures out one of you is hiding a bunch of money in a divorce, they will award the other one more money in the divorce. It is better in the end to try and be fair really. But here is how spouses try to hide money, for your education:

First, do not be lulled into the idea that this person is going to be your be-all and end-all for the rest of your life. Half of marriages end in divorce, usually about money. Second and third marriages have even worse statistics. Keep some mad money around in case you end up getting sideswiped. Many spouses hide a couple thousand bucks anyway. This comes out in estate planning sometimes, where both spouses get the lawyer alone and each bashfully confesses to him that they have been hoarding some money.  A couple thousand bucks one way or the other is not going to break anyone, but if you get thrown out of the house, or even if the next Katrina hits, you will be glad you have it.

It is better if you are a money hider by nature, that you hide money from the git-go than that you start in the middle of your marriage, because it is easier to see a change in a pattern than an ongoing one.

Likewise, if there is a change in your spouse, then you may suspect an affair or impending divorce. Common changes indicating an affair are the spouse comes home late a lot, goes to shower immediately upon coming home when they didn’t used to, starts wearing fragrance or more makeup, starts to turn their cell phone off around you, buys new underwear, starts working out, starts criticizing you more, becomes withdrawn, or becomes more cheerful suddenly. If you start to get a suspicion, trust your spidey senses and don't make a scene, but instead quietly start to protect yourself. Most times if they plan to leave you, the spouse will wait to tell you until they have the upper hand. You don’t want to be taken by surprise. On the other hand, if you are the one having an affair and want to hide it from your spouse, then don’t do the above things, or do them all along so they don’t make any kind of change in your routine if you end up in an affair.

Very important: make copies of your financial records and store them out of the house, because your spouse might steal them and deny you access to your own records. It is actually a good idea to do this regularly anyway, in case of a house fire. If you think your spouse may imminently steal marital assets or retitle them then go out now and get a restraining order against it.

If you think your spouse is about to divorce you, you can pre-empt him or her. Call all the good divorce lawyers in town and do a consultation. Then when your spouse finally gets around to getting a lawyer they'll have to use a less good attorney because the good ones will all have a conflict of interest.

Also, if you are ready to file now, take all the money (or just your half) out of any joint accounts and put it in a separate bank account in your name. You will eventually probably have to divide the assets in half in the divorce, but in the meantime your spouse won't be able to use that money. Do it before they do it to you, leaving you with no money for your lawyer. (Taking half the money is probably ok but I would check with a lawyer before taking all the money though - it might be a no-no.  Also I'm not saying to take and spend it, instead think of it as you are holding it in escrow to protect it from the spouse stealing it from you).

How money is hid by wives from their husbands

Please forgive me if I don’t seem very feminist or fair or whatever in presenting the wife as the underdog, but I think for simplicity sake I will just do it that way. Just take whatever situation is like you and read it as if it’s for you. Thanks.

If you are a housewife whose husband is overbearing and controlling and you have not had a bank account or any kind of credit or job for several years, then you need to educate yourself how these things work and get yourself at least a secret PO box and checking or savings account, and look into cottage industries. The bank accounts are for the purpose of establishing some kind of credit with the local bank. You may not want to put all your cash in them, in case your husband discovers them and bullies you into giving him the account money. You could hide the rest of your cash somewhere else. If you think you may be cast out with no notice, or if your husband is always searching everything then store your cash somewhere else besides home. You could also use an online bank like ING, if you can get to another computer besides his (so you don’t leave tracks).

Typical divorce discovery documents ask about bank accounts.  You will eventually have to disclose the existence of any bank accounts, if you want to tell them the truth.  In cases where it is suspected that someone is hiding a lot of money, the opposing attorney may issue a blanket subpoena.  This is a fishing expedition where they ask every bank in town if the person has an account with them.  However, if you are the housewife who isn't thought of as having any money in the first place, they probably won't bother to do a blanket subpoena on you.

If you are stuck not being able to work a job:  You may, if you are clever, be able to carry on a cottage industry under the color of housekeeping and gardening. You can sell cakes or cookies, or plants you grew, or take in babysitting or laundry, or make soap, or gift baskets, or go to the library to get online and sell things on Ebay and take payment with Paypal. You can be a writer and sell ebooks or blog if you can’t get away with taking your wares from the house to the market or post office. Since you might get a 1099 tax form, you can just make sure that you make less than $600 from any one customer, since that is the threshold for getting a 1099 form. Or you can do it under a friend’s name, just make sure you pay the taxes and a little extra for your friend so they will be inclined to continue. I have heard of teenagers making money online too. I assume they may have been using a parent’s identity, but maybe not.

If you are afraid of the kind of paperwork having a cottage business might entail, don’t worry too much. Call it a hobby, and fly under the radar, until it makes enough money to bother with taxes. Then you can hire someone to do them for you unless you want to learn how to do it yourself. It’s not that hard.

Unisex Advice

How money is hid outside banks (besides being in a stash of cash): Prepayment of bills, with a credit balance on utilities etc. If you are already separated you could prepay your utilities. In a divorce, debts are disclosed, like credit card balances, mortgage balances, etc., but I have never seen an attorney ask for utility bill statements.

In Europe, India and Africa there are cell phones that store money. You can use your cell phone account to store money and pay bills with your cell phone. This new development has actually helped people who live in villages without much electricity and no land line phones to rise out of poverty.  In America you could prepay your cell phone bill, if your spouse doesn't see it.  Or get a different cell phone and prepay that.  You could use a prepaid cell phone for that matter.

You can also use Paypal as a bank. If you earn money online you can leave it in Paypal until you're ready to get it, then have them send you a check. Or just buy things online using Paypal.

Prepaid credit cards. Nice way to hold some money and not have it take up much room at all. You can buy them at Western Union.

Get him to buy you jewelry, then if you have to leave, make sure you take it with you.

How money is hid or protected from wives by men

Through employment – this is a venerable way to do it. Here are some kinds of secret employment income:

Secret arrangement with boss for deferred pay, raises or bonuses till after the divorce

extra nights in hotels after business on business trip

meal allowances not eaten but pocketed instead, i.e. get $15 for meal and eat at Burger King.

company car provided for personal use but claimed all for business

paid parking, uniforms, etc. Also look for secret deals with parking attendant for extra receipts

unused paid sick days if employee is paid anyway when he doesn’t use them

vacation or business trip, wives can look for did he get paid to take a 2nd person i.e. his mistress etc

stock options not exercised yet

profit sharing (or, does he actually own part of the company)

country club membership paid by employer


Out of state or old LLC or corporation

An LLC can own real property and since it’s a company the spouse of the owner doesn’t need to sign off on dower interest when the property is sold. I’d say this is a less-than-one-year solution if taxes are going to be looked at. I say an LLC because it’s a little easier than a corp. to form. Out of state because then you can use better states with no state taxes, and better corporate veils, like Nevada or Delaware or the new hot place is Utah. Also if your spouse is looking in your state for filings she might miss an out of state one. If you have an old, defunct corporation or LLC you might be able to get a bank account in the name of that entity. Divorce lawyers often look for new corporation filings but they might not send out a blanket subpoena on that dead old one.

Living trust

You can be the trustee, trustor and beneficiary of your own trust. This will thwart creditors to some extent, but a spouse can pierce it. This isn’t so much a hiding place as it is a pocket protector from creditors.

Foundations

A spouse can’t pierce a foundation the way they can a trust. This would be a great way to shelter a lot of money from a spouse. You’d want to form it early on before marital problems arise, or before you marry. The money stays in your control even if it’s not your money anymore but the foundation’s.

Next: Hidey Holes!

 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hiding Money Part 1: Garden Variety Asset Protection

I like to read about schemes. Over the years I have collected many schemes. Some of the following ways to hide money are legal and some are not. I trust your conscience will be your guide. I do not condone stealing, but sometimes people steal and then hide the money. Perhaps you may be able to prevent someone stealing from you or be able to recover the money by knowing how these things work.
    1. Garden Variety Asset Protection
So, you think you might get sued, divorced, or whatever. What do you do?

First the bad news: If something happens and you know you’re going to get sued, or if you’re being sued, it is too late to start hiding or restructuring your money. You will create a paper trail, they will subpoena your records, and if they figure out you did it they will call it “fraudulent transfer” and force the reversal of your transactions. It is better to do asset protection before getting into trouble, in fact do it all the time and never talk about it. Practicing asset protection is perfectly fine before a misfortune.

Don’t brag or be flashy: People get jealous of rich people. If you have good fortune, don’t flaunt it. If someone asks you how business is, say “it could be better” because of course it could always be better. This way you aren’t giving any information away. Who knows, they might be looking for weaknesses to exploit or a jackpot to steal. Don’t drive a fancy car, at least not around your tenants. Don’t live in a fancy zip code, instead live in a “regular joe” neighborhood and save your money. The exception would be if you are a sales person or corporate exec who has to look successful and entertain people. I don’t envy those people, they have to spend more money just to keep their jobs. If you have to do that then at least buy a foreclosure and get a steal on your house. Besides, the top of our social pyramid is “old money” who actually are pretty stingy, they buy foreclosed houses or inherit a house, wear their clothes for many seasons till they wear out, use very minimal makeup, get haircuts that can grow out without looking dumb, and drive stodgy cars, so you can easily imitate them for cheap and the people who think the rich have a lot of flash won’t recognize what you are doing.

hiding money offshore. This assumes you have a lot of money, and you aren’t trying to hide it from Uncle Sam.
danger: Actually trying to hide it off shore means you disclaim you own this money. Disclaiming your money offshore may encourage the people you trusted it with to steal it or even extort more from you, if your hiding it is a tax dodge, since tax evasion is a crime.
solution: do not hide it from the IRS (just give unto Caesar ok?) but do form an offshore limited partnership to insulate it from professional lawsuit filers. You’ll have protection from creditors and people who want to get nosy about your money. The partnership can be out in the open, and it will still protect you.

Offshore debit card: You can get a debit card on this money but that doesn’t make you not have to pay taxes. If you do get an offshore account you must file form TD F 90-22.1 or you will probably trigger an audit and your money will get stuck in Customs.
Swiss numbered bank account: Need at least 25,000 CHF to open one, it costs from 900 to 1300 CHF in fees. (Switzerland is not part of the EU, they still use Swiss francs) Doesn’t necessarily protect you from a judgment or allegations of fraud, but the plaintiff must actually identify that you have a Swiss bank account. So if they don’t know of your account you might get away with it. Several US entertainment stars have moved to Switzerland and I would assume they also have Swiss bank accounts to go with their residency. Again, this isn’t for the poor.

The Caymans: This is less of a minimum deposit to put your money there, but be VERY careful what bank you put the money with.

Canada: This is a good bet. If you live near a border, just put some money in the other country in a bank account. You don’t have to cross water to be “offshore”.

Working abroad: You can discount the first $80,000 of your Federal income on your taxes if you live and work abroad. You might still have to pay your resident country’s taxes though. This isn’t so much hiding it as getting a tax break.

Hiding money in a safe deposit box: This is what mobsters do with cash. They spread it among a number of safe deposit boxes in different cities. Their big problem is figuring out how to spend or invest it without drawing attention. Also if you have to hide the keys to the boxes, maybe see my post which will come later about hiding stuff from roommates. (I hope my roommate isn't reading this) (hehe)

Next post: Protecting your money in a divorce

 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Don't lose your pension when your company goes bankrupt!

I found this nice article about what happens to a pension when a company goes bankrupt.  The good news is pensions are insured sort of like checking accounts are insured.  The bad news is they are insured only up to a point.  The article urges people to roll their pensions into IRA's if they think their company might go belly-up.
http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/company-is-going-bankrupt-what-about-my-pension/

If you're going to get an IRA why not get a self-directed one.  There are only a few companies in the US that administer self-directed IRA's. One is http://www.trustetc.com/ Equity Trust Company.  Wikipedia has a decent article about self directed IRA's.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-Directed_IRA