April 6, 2012
Pattaya, ThailandAfter an exhausting series of meetings in Bangkok, my partners and I are going to spend a long weekend relaxing on the beach in Pattaya before heading out to Laos, Malaysia, and Singapore next week.
I’ve always liked this place; it’s easily the most internationally diverse city in the world on a per-capita basis. Even though the population is only about 300,000, people from all over the world live here– Brits, Europeans, Russians, Arabs, Africans, North Americans, Chinese, etc.
If you walk down the street, you’ll see store front signs in German, Russian, Chinese, English, Thai, Arabic, even Norwegian. The diversity is astonishing… and given how peaceful and laid back the city is, it’s quite refreshing.
Let’s move on to this week’s questions:
First, Ed asks, “Simon- You recently mentioned your annual Liberty and Entrepreneurship youth camp coming up this summer. My 21-year old son is really bright, and I’d like for him to learn from you guys; can you write more about the curriculum and what sort of student you’re looking for?”
Sure. As I mentioned, each year my partners and I hold a 4-day camp devoted to teaching free market economics, libertarian philosophy, and hands on lessons about investing and entrepreneurship to a select group of about 50 students.
Our goal is simple. We aim to change lives by helping students build the appropriate foundations to create value in the world, and hopefully inspire them to break away from a conventional career path.
The students come from all over the world– China, Ukraine, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, India, United States, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Switzerland, etc., and are between the ages of 18 and 25.
The camp is designed to be actionable and practical; my fellow instructors and I lead a number of classroom and small group sessions teaching critical skills that will help them take a quantum leap in their personal and professional growth.
In the past, we’ve covered topics like starting online businesses, direct marketing techniques, raising capital, network infiltration, etc. More examples are on the camp’s website.
There is no prequalification to attend other than having energy and enthusiasm; we have had students with a variety of experience, and some without any experience at all other than a deep desire to learn.
There is NO COST to attend the camp; students only need to cover their travel expenses to get there… though in extreme circumstances, we will award scholarships to defray travel expenses.
This is easily one of the most rewarding things that I’m involved with, and every year it’s the best part of my summer. In some cases, a few of the students have even become part of our team, and we always leave the door open for bright, talented young people to join us.
You can find out more about what we’re doing at www.BlacksmithCamp.com. The application process is simple– but space is limited. If you’re interested in attending (or know a family member who could benefit from this), I really want to encourage you to submit a video application right away.
Next, Kathy asks, “Simon, I read somewhere that Singapore recently eliminated its residency programs for foreigners who want to live in the country. Is this true?”
No. Singapore eliminated a fast track program for high net worth investors. But unless you have at least $10 million, it doesn’t apply. There are still a number of ways to obtain residency in Singapore.
Perhaps the most straightforward are the Employee Pass programs whereby you register a local company, and then apply for residency as the director of your company. Spouse and dependents are allowed to apply as well.
While there is no set legal timeframe, in practice, applicants who have been living in Singapore for six-months under one of the Employee Pass options can apply for permanent residency. Subsequently, after two years of permanent residency, you can apply for citizenship.
A Singaporean passport is, by far, the best travel document in the world. But citizenship does come at a cost– Singapore still has a draft, and it’s possible you could be obligating yourself and/or your children for military service if you don’t plan carefully.
Also, Singapore does not allow dual nationality.
Last, Adi asks, “Simon, can you highlight countries or other financial jurisdictions which still offer a banking secrecy and political stability at reasonable costs?”
In large part, ‘banking secrecy’ doesn’t really exist anymore. The OECD witch-hunt led by France and the United States has managed to stamp out just about every semblance of privacy that remained in the financial system.
There are still some places like Andorra that have stable, well-capitalised banking systems and continue to offer numbered accounts; these are accounts in which your identity is known only to the banker, and the name on your account is just a number.
Any capital within the conventional banking system, however, is susceptible of being monitored by governments. That’s why real financial privacy lies with anonymously deposited precious metals– gold coins locked in an anonymous vault in a place like Vienna’s Das Safe facility. Totally off the radar.
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