You need to make the right investment decisions, of course. What to buy and what to sell. But there's so much more to making your wealth grow and protecting what you already have.
Let's start with taxes. There’s a lot at stake.
Almost no one likes paying them, and today few people are shy about admitting it. Yet nearly everyone you know pays far more tax on their investments than they need to. They're leaving money on the table, lots of it... and letting the tax collector scoop it up. You may be doing the same.
The most common blunder? Underusing the tax-saving power of your IRA, 401(k), or other retirement plan. I've helped hundreds of clients learn how to stop leaving money on the table, and I keep encountering the same problem: almost no one comes close to squeezing the full tax benefit out of his retirement plan because almost no one knows what an IRA or 401(k) really is.
Hint: The real power of IRAs and other "retirement" plans has little to do with retirement. In most cases, they're the last source you should tap for spendable cash, even if you live to be 100. To get the maximum advantage from your IRA, throw away any notions that involve a rocking chair.
Capital gains tax is another trouble area. I see investors all but hand their wallets to the IRS. With a little planning, you can slow down, postpone, and reduce the bite of capital gains tax. With the overall rate as high as 35% in many states, that planning can mean the difference between accumulating a little bag of money from your investments or a big bag of money.
Think of it this way: you're the one who decides when and how to take a profit. If your decision leads to a big tax bill, you've suffered a self-inflicted wound. So stop shooting yourself in the foot.
Helping investors avoid unnecessary taxes while following the rules is just one of the reasons I wrote Keep What You Earn - a get-it-done manual for comprehensive financial planning that can make you richer and safer.
There's an entire industry of highly intelligent and well-educated people who spend their days thinking up big-dollar grievances for a lawsuit. They don't need a target who's done anything you or I would consider wrong. They just need someone with enough assets to be worth going after. Someone like... you.
Don't think that minding your manners, keeping your promises, and owning up to whatever mistakes you make will protect you from being targeted for an aggressive lawsuit. Don't kid yourself. Nice has nothing to do with it. Being a nice deer won't keep you out of the hunter's sights.
It's not what you do that gets you sued - it's what you have.
Liability insurance may actually add to your vulnerability. The insurance salesman probably didn't mention this, but your liability policy increases your risk of being attacked, since it promises an easy, guaranteed way for an attacker to collect if he does win in court. And no matter how big the policy is, someone can always sue for more. It costs the attacker nothing to tack on another zero to his demand.
The litigation professional who sues you may be a greater menace than any tax collector, because he'd like to take every dollar you have. When litigation knocks on the door, all your money is on the table.
It's the fear of being wiped out that drives targets to write big checks to settle ridiculous claims. But that doesn't have to happen to you. You don't have to live with your wealth in the crosshairs.
Right now your assets are probably easy pickings for a lawsuit entrepreneur, but they needn't be. There are simple strategies for turning those assets into wealth that would be unattractive and unappetizing to a would-be litigant; and with a little more effort, you can place your assets absolutely beyond the reach of any attacker.
In the new, updated edition of Keep What You Earn, I'll show you how to use something as simple and inexpensive as a properly structured limited liability company to make your assets worthless to anyone but you and your family. As a lawsuit prize, those assets would be virtual trash, so no one will ever go to the trouble of suing you.
For almost everyone, getting control of risk is the first step toward better investment results. Doing it is easy to talk about - but not so easy to execute without the right method. Here it is...
Split your wealth into two pots: the money you want to keep as safe as possible, and the money you're willing to take chances with when you see an opportunity for high return. It sounds so simple - but where do you actually draw the line? That's the hard part.
It's an entirely personal matter. Telling anyone to make 5% or 50% or some other share of his wealth available for risk-taking would be terrible advice, and it would be pointless. What's needed is a procedure you can use to discover for yourself the right amount to allocate for risk-taking and the right amount to guard as much as possible.
Make a clear, explicit split and you'll sleep better knowing that every dollar that should be sequestered for safekeeping in fact is. And the confidence of knowing you won't be risking too much on any speculation frees you to be aggressive and coolheaded whenever you decide it's smart to place a bet - a disposition that's essential for risk-taking that pays off.
I've helped hundreds of clients find the boundary between safety and opportunity that they really want. In the new edition of Keep What You Earn (published just in time for the start of 2015), I'll show you how to draw the line for yourself, so that you'll never risk too much and so that you'll never leave opportunity on the table.
Investing is always about looking down the road. Look far enough down the road and what you see is... no, look further... look all the way down the road. What you find is that you're not there! Other people have inherited whatever you didn't spend during your own lifetime. Guess who wants to be first in line. It's the estate tax collector.
That's not a comforting thought, but it happens every day. Someone lived, worked, and saved, and then a government employee elbows that person's children and grandchildren out of the way and picks up the fruits of a lifetime of effort and prudence.
More money left on the table and taken from your family.
Here's some good news: it doesn’t have to happen. "Estate tax" isn't really a tax on estates. It's a tax on not planning. It is 100% avoidable, and it is 100% unnecessary, even if you're a multibillionaire. It's just a matter of playing by the rules and going where the rules say "No tax."
Serious planning can do something for your family that too few estate advisers ever think about: you can package up the wealth you leave for your heirs so that it completely and permanently exits the US tax system. It'll be gone. It will be as safe as any money can be... and it will be free to grow indefinitely in a tax-free environment, where growth won't be retarded by annual taxation.
That's the best kind of wealth you can give your heirs: a perpetual, tax-free family bank.
And you can give it to them with a wonderful bonus. The wealth your intelligent planning eventually removes from the US tax system can become lawfully silent and lawfully invisible. Take the right steps now to make it happen, and your heirs can have the uncompromised financial privacy that you probably wish you had for yourself. And they can have it without dancing around the rules.
The great-grandchildren you'll never see in this world will think you were a genius. Will they know you learned all the strategies for making it happen by reading Keep What You Earn? Only if you leave them a note.
What I've discussed so far may look like just a checklist of important tasks. You need to: keep the tax collector's hand out of your pocket; get risk under control; build a barrier against lawsuit adventurers; and protect your estate from last-chance pillaging by the IRS. You might think dealing with these matters one by one would bring an end to your days of leaving money on the table.
A one-by-one approach would certainly be better than doing nothing, but it wouldn't come close to getting you the best result. You'd fall short because each task is entangled with all the others. They're pieces of a single puzzle. It's a mistake to try to deal with them one by one. What's needed is a single, coordinated plan that serves all your goals together.
That may sound like a tall order, but it doesn't need to be complicated if you know the right way to build your single solution. There is a right way - a step-by-step method for pulling together a single, comprehensive plan for all your goals, so that you're never at cross purposes, and you're never missing an opportunity. But before I tell you about it, there's one more layer to consider - internationalization.
For most of the world, it's old news. For Americans, it started as a new and discomforting idea that gradually became obvious: keeping everything in a single country makes you the low-hanging fruit.
Neither true safety for your wealth nor full opportunity for making it grow is available to you in any one country. To avoid leaving money on the table, you need to look across borders. Diversifying among multiple countries reduces risk, just as diversifying among multiple industries and multiple stocks does. And it can improve your returns, because it puts you in touch with investments you'd never hear about with a purely stay-at-home approach.
There are so many ways to make yourself richer and safer by internationalizing:
In Keep What You Earn, you'll learn all about the options for internationalizing, and you'll learn to identify and use the ones that are right for you.
Then you can move on to the essential business of weaving those international options together with all the other good things you'll be doing.
Putting it all together in a way that is just right for you is the biggest payoff from reading Keep What You Earn. I'll show you a straightforward method for building a coherent, wealth-enhancing plan... the method I developed during 40 years of helping clients who want safety and better after-tax returns.
It starts with "the view from 100,000 feet." You'll learn what risk really means, you'll understand and measure the real power source of your IRA or other retirement plan, and you'll see why, even though the government gets to make the rules, there will always be rich opportunities for you to control your tax bill. When you've viewed the financial landscape from 100,000 feet, the litigation explosion will no longer seem so crazy. It won't be lovely, but it will make sense to you, so that you'll know how to stay out of its way.
Then Keep What You Earn unlocks a financial armory, 101 practical strategies for lowering your tax bill, moving your assets out of the litigation free-fire zone, making sure your heirs collect 100%, and getting the extra layer of protection (and the extra profit opportunities) of internationalizing your financial life.
Here's just a sample of what's waiting for you:
You won't be reading a sales message about any of the 101 strategies. Instead, you'll get an even-handed presentation of each of them, so that you can weigh all the advantages and all the disadvantages for yourself.
Putting them all together so that everything works smoothly is the special mission of Keep What You Earn. I'll guide you step by step through the process for sorting out all the alternatives, identifying the techniques that are right for you, and building a single, comprehensive plan that coordinates all your objectives. It's the method I've used for 40 years to help clients make sure they never leave a nickel on the table. (No exotic tax theories needed, thank you.)
The cost of the book is trivial next to what it can help you capture... and what it can save you from needlessly losing.
Yes, to get those benefits you'll have to spend a few hours with a book on your lap, but you'll probably find that Keep What You Earn is a pleasure to read. I wrote it with the same directness as this message, because I don't like to waste anyone's time, not mine and not yours.
I'm so committed to that standard that I offer Keep What You Earn with this extraordinary guarantee: if you have to read even one sentence twice, just return the book and I'll send you a refund for the price of the book. (Guaranteed - no arguments if you take me up on the refund, but I may ask you to tell me where I went wrong, so I can fix it for the next edition. Thanks for the help.)
It's been a lot of work, but I wanted to do it. I poured myself into preparing Keep What You Earn because I just don't like the idea that people who work and produce can lose so much to people who simply want to take. No explanation; I just don't like it. If you feel the same way...
...Let's get better acquainted.
Senior Economist, CASEY RESEARCH
Here's what Doug Casey, Adrian Day, Robert B. Martin, Nick Giambruno, Addison Wiggin and Simon Black have to say about the importance to you of reading Keep What You Earn.
Terry Coxon’s strategies are insightful, powerful and effective. Assuming you want to keep more of what's yours, you must read this book."
Terry Coxon is a knowledge - and wisdom - bin for anything offshore. When I have a question, he's the man I go to. You'll find Keep What You Earn chock-full of valuable answers."
Terry Coxon has breathed life into a complex subject, bringing it within reach of millions of ordinary Americans. Keep What You Earn is an essential book for anyone concerned about his family's financial well-being."
Terry Coxon has performed the extraordinary feat of navigating the swamp that is the Internal Revenue Code. In so doing, he has made highly sophisticated tax-planning concepts understandable and accessible to those willing to take the time to keep what they've earned."
Terry Coxon has an exceptional ability to take a complex topic and make it not only understandable, but also enjoyable. Keep What You Earn is an essential resource for taking control of your financial destiny—permanently. "
Keep What You Earn is an artfully prepared road map for anyone seeking true financial sovereignty. Tax planning, asset protection, portfolio design, internationalization - you'll learn how to pull them all together in a single plan for your own safety and independence"