Dateline: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
People interested in living overseas often request one make comparisons of a certain location to where to live now.
To them, I reply that Malaysia – and Kuala Lumpur in particular – offers some of the better elements of the United States.
To be sure, the Malaysian government isn’t chasing its citizens working overseas down to collect ten cents from them, nor are they racking up trillions of dollars in debt to bomb countries they don’t like.
However, the level of diversity here in Kuala Lumpur is practically unparalleled in Asia. I’m talking real diversity, not just a glut of white people brought in to do the bidding of some multinational bank.
Malays, Chinese, Indians, Iranians, Africans, Brits… they’re all here.
In a sense, Malaysia is a haven for people escaping their own countries. One Iranian girl I spoke to yesterday says she came here because she was tired of the “nonsense” from Tehran. (Having an Iranian ask, “why do you dislike the United States so much” is certainly an eye-opener.)
The diversity was on full display today as I walked through Kuala Lumpur’s Brickfields district.
For many expats in Kuala Lumpur, the Brickfields is just the terminus point for trains to and from the international airport, where you connect with the Monorail to head towards the shopping district and the Petronas Towers.
However, the Brickfields are home to a thriving Indian and south Asian community.
As I was walking to the Thean Hou Temple for a little evening sightseeing, I passed by one attraction in KL’s “Sentral” district you can’t miss: gold dealers.
Frequent readers of this site know I have a very specific gold and silver buying strategy: one ounce bullion coins from a sovereign mint.
As a global traveler and one who distrusts governments, I want the ability to liquidate my well-known coins anywhere in the world, whether I’m in Hong Kong, Zurich, or Panama.
Coins like Canadian Maple Leafs allow me to that in a way that coins with skulls on them, large bars from John’s Mom’s Basement Mint, and crazy looking jewelry don’t.
Experts like Peter Schiff agree with me that these coins are the best and most cost-effective way to buy gold.
But imagine for a moment that protecting your money from currency collapse and bankrupt governments wasn’t the only issue. Imagine that same bankrupt government was actively trying to engage in gold confiscation.
That’s exactly what’s happening in India right now, and it partially explains the types of gold that are sold here in one of Malaysia’s Little Indias.
Earlier this month, the so-called Directorate of Revenue Intelligence reported that they had seized 128 kilograms – more than 250 POUNDS – of “smuggled” gold in the single state of Gujarat alone.
In northern India’s fabled city of Delhi, officials estimate they stolen more than 350 kilograms of gold last year… a 5,000% increase over the previous year.
Of course, like all government security that is thrust upon travelers to keep us “safe”, the Indian government believes it is only detecting one out of every twelve ounces of gold entering the country through its airports.
If they could, they would be confiscating a lot more. One report suggests that nearly one ton of gold is smuggled into India every. Single. Day.
Why is this?
Well, the Reserve Bank of India, desperate to reduce a high current account deficit and prop up the free-falling rupee – a currency so badly mangled I believe it actually has potential – has placed severe restrictions on gold imports and purchases to try and help their cause.
Of course, we’ve seen this happen in places like Vietnam, where I reported last year that gold ownership was as robust as ever.
These types of restrictions don’t work, but the Indian government and others are all too happy to try their best to take as much gold from average citizens as they can before their party comes to an end.
And that brings us back to the gold dealers here in Kuala Lumpur.
Gold shops in Indian neighborhoods are selling through their gold jewelry fast. Exotic pieces featuring a variety of art designs adorn shop windows.
Unlike my preferred gold bullion coins, gold jewelry commands a high premium over the spot price. But that is a price many Indians and others worried about gold confiscation have been willing to pay.
Of course, importing gold jewelry into India comes with its own issues, but it also comes with more built-in plausible deniability than bringing in a tube of gold coins.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not just happening in India. One of my contacts in the retail gold business in Canada claims they are selling a lot of gold jewelry to customers around the world who are worried they will have to smuggle their own gold OUT of where they currently live.
Such risks should not be taken lightly.
While it is an easy cop-out to point and say that India is some outlier, the reality is that even financial mavens like Bloomberg have suggested that more countries should follow India’s lead and shore up their messy books with huge tariffs and outright confiscation of precious metals.
If you believe the US dollar – and other fiat currencies – will continue to decline, then you already know the value of gold and silver as safe havens to protect your wealth.
Where many people fall short is believing that the same morally and fiscally bankrupt politicians that grind the value of your money into the ground will throw their hands up in the air and cry “Uncle!” once they’ve done so.
Looking at hyperinflation episodes throughout history, the politicians seldom just buckle under pressure. They merely continue their megalomaniacal wealth grabbing and extend the reach to cover more people.
Gold smuggling in India is just the latest harbinger of things to come in the western world. As European Union countries criminalize the use of even petty amounts of cash, there is no reason to believe their madness won’t extend to any other assets they can get their hands on.
That means retirement accounts and gold: the two biggest untapped stores of wealth left to plunder.
Storing some gold and silver in audited vaults offshore is not only a highly cost effective way to sidestep the need to escape with your gold when times get tough, but is a legal way to hold non-reportable assets outside of your own country.
As you know, we don’t believe in keeping everything in one country here.
The folks at Bullionstar in Singapore provide one of the simplest ways to buy and store gold, silver, platinum, and palladium in their vault. You can even buy one single silver coin for $24 and they’ll store it for free for the first two years.
If you have a larger sum of gold and silver, there are ways to ship your current metals from an unfree country like the United States to Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland, or elsewhere. I report on these opportunities for Members of The Nomad Society, including how I bought gold over the counter at a bank in Hong Kong last week – all cash, no ID.
If you are interested and would like to know more about storing gold safely offshore, you can apply for a Strategy Call so we can determine your best options as part of a personalized and completely legal offshore plan.