Dateline: Belgrade, Serbia
There’s been a lot of talk in the media in recent months about so-called apocalypse insurance, something that Silicon Valley and Wall Street billionaires have been silently accumulating over the years to protect themselves from whatever crazy events may happen in the world.
While a lot of us look at the billionaires behind this “apocalypse insurance” and think that it’s not something we could ever need, there’s actually a way for any successful entrepreneur or investor to apply these same principles to their life and benefit. Six, seven, and eight-figure entrepreneurs can learn from this apocalypse insurance and come up with a plan that will protect them and their assets for any possible future crisis.
With the coronavirus pandemic, that’s increasingly come into focus. While we are not focused on doom and gloom here at Nomad Capitalist, 2020 has shown us that some crazy apocalypse type crisis could be a reality. And we hope we can be prepared.
In this article, I’m going to discuss what I like about these apocalypse insurance policies and what I think could be improved, as well as what you can do to create your own apocalypse insurance that could not only benefit you in a future crisis but right now.
BILLIONAIRES AND BUNKERS
The idea of apocalypse insurance has been talked about in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times. I’ve read multiple articles over the past few months, including this article in Vanity Fair.
The article by Adam Popescu says, “While most of us scroll through social media and stay glued to cable news, Peter Thiel has a New Zealand hideaway and Jeff Bezos reportedly rules over 300,000 acres in West Texas. We’ve probably all heard about them, but did we ever really think we’d see them put to use? In 2017, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman told The New Yorker that he estimated over 50% of Silicon Valley billionaires already had purchased some kind of apocalypse insurance, like a safe room, bunker, or overseas escape.”
The article continues on, mentioning other buildings people have prepared in case of an emergency, such as an underground condo with nine-foot-thick concrete walls, built to possibly withstand a nuclear strike. This may seem crazy to some of us, but they might have the right idea.
I’m not saying we should all have a safe haven underground, or that we should go on about our lives with a doom and gloom attitude, but there are still ways you can make sure you are insured and provide a security net for yourself in case of hard times.
BUILDING YOUR OWN APOCALYPSE INSURANCE PLAN
If you are a multimillionaire, you’ll have a different strategy than some multibillionaire. What’s good for the 10-figure entrepreneur isn’t always the exact same strategy that should be used for six, seven, or eight-figure entrepreneurs.
For instance, certain changes the government makes can actually benefit people like Jeff Bezos but not be so good for startups. Like when Amazon rallied to have sales tax charged on their orders; that was good for Amazon because people were still going to shop on Amazon.
For years, billionaires have used New Zealand as their safe haven. I don’t want you to think that because New Zealand is a place where a lot of these guys go to, that it is where you have to go. There are other places that are much more affordable, much easier to get into, have much lower rejection rates, and where you can get a lot more value for your money.
Apocalypse insurance is more than a trend for wealthy billionaires to follow and magazines to write about. Your apocalypse insurance can be practical and it needs to be your own.
There are many different countries where you can invest, bank, or obtain a second citizenship. Each country has its own culture and laws, and you can find one that will match your lifestyle and needs. Look for places with emerging economies and low tax rates. Find a place to invest that is open to entrepreneurs and new businesses. These are some of the first steps in creating an apocalypse plan that is going to work for you.
APOCALYPSE INSURANCE: HAVE A PLAN B
Let’s discuss Plan A versus Plan B.
Plan A in the offshore world is an offensive strategy and includes going overseas and saving a lot of money by choosing a country with lower taxes, hiring a lower cost workforce, and having a lower cost of living. That’s an active plan A.
Plan B is a defensive strategy that centers around the question: “How am I protecting myself?”
You’ve heard of people buying apartments and decommissioned nuclear silos where they can go deep underneath the ground and withstand anything that could happen. This kind of doomsday prepping has been going on for years.
What’s more important than that is the idea of financial prepping.
In case of natural disasters or revolutions – things we’ve already seen throughout the course of history and may possibly repeat in the future – you want to make sure that you have a safe place to go with money waiting for you there.
Thinking that your government’s going to save you is not the answer.
You want to make sure that you’re protected financially. If you want to have money and freedom you want to be able to go somewhere where you’re going to continue to earn your income.
You can protect yourself financially with an insurance policy where not all of your money is in one country’s banking system where they could freeze the banks, shut off the ATM, or decide to take part of your money. Protect yourself by not putting all of your eggs in the basket of your country’s retirement program.
If you are a successful person, it’s reasonable to take a piece of your net worth or a piece of your income every year and put that into building this insurance policy. This could mean storing gold, buying raw land or farmland in the country, buying homes in different countries, getting a second residence, or getting a second passport.
Certainly, take some of the money that’s sitting in liquid cash right now and put it in a bank somewhere else so that no one country controls your liquid cash.
When I was growing up in the United States, I would hear people say put five or ten or even 25% of your net worth in precious metals. That still may be a good thing to do, but you want to consider moving that outside of the country.
WORLDWIDE APOCALYPSE VS. COUNTRIES IN CRISIS
Having an income that derives from one country or having a business that is stuck on the ground in one country is not apocalypse proof. You can be further protected by diversifying your assets.
If I’m insuring against the United States, my insurance plan is not going to be investing more in the United States. If you’re not from the United States, having a 300,000-acre ranch in Texas could be a good thing. That may give you access to the US and an E-2 visa. For someone outside of the United States, US investment would count as diversification.
But if you’re from the US, it’s probably not the best use of your diversification efforts.
One of the biggest risks is having all your eggs in the basket of one country. If you are trying to protect against what may be coming up, you should consider that some of these things are only going to impact certain countries. If you’re hedging against your own country, don’t dig deeper into your own country. Going to a global level gives you different systems to protect you.
Throughout the coronavirus, even for months after the peak, certain countries would not allow you to enter if you were a citizen of one of the other countries they deemed to be a problem – like the US, France, or Italy. A lot of people were being turned away. That wasn’t a global pandemic issue, it was a country-specific issue.
Only certain countries are going to have certain problems. The apocalypse may not be worldwide. In the case of the pandemic, it started in one part of the world, then expanded all over the world, but there were still places where you could go and be safe.
Serbia, for instance, had better travel privileges at the peak of the lockdown than US citizens.
Have different jurisdictions where you can arbitrage risk. This means you should go where you’re treated best so that you have the assurance of knowing that even if the ATMs are shut off in the US, even if they want to bail out the banks in Cyprus, you have different homes, you have different bank accounts, you have different citizenships that welcome you in different places and access to good hospitals and medical care around the world.
MORE THAN JUST FINANCIAL PROTECTION
‘Apocalypse’ could be many different things. It could be the pandemic that we’ve seen, it could be some kind of riots or chaos, it could be financial chaos where the stock market goes down by 80% and there is massive unemployment. But it could also mean a situation in which you find yourself cut off from the resources you regularly use to obtain life necessities such as food and fresh water.
That’s why you may want to take precautions beyond the typical financial measures.
Think about where you are going to have access to fresh water. Where are you going to have access to fresh food? It may not be a place like the United States where a lot of stuff isn’t organic and there are issues with water in some parts of the country.
Apocalypse insurance could take any number of different forms. Potentially, you want to have a home or farm in a different country where you can grow your own food. Over the last couple of years, I’ve bought some small pieces of land in countries that have great freshwater and good food. Organic kind of places. Those can be insurance policies. This way you will not only have the financial means to protect yourself but the physical means as well.
APOCALYPSE INSURANCE CAN BENEFIT YOU NOW
Now, you may have already been doing or considering some of these strategies – strategies we regularly talk about at Nomad Capitalist such as lowering taxes by going overseas, getting a second passport, and diversifying in a new market – because it’s not necessarily apocalypse insurance.
You can actually benefit from doing this long before the apocalypse hits.
You can protect yourself from your own personal apocalypses. When the government comes in and takes part of your retirement account to help fund this or that, that’s not going to be deemed an apocalypse. When taxes go up, no one’s going to call it an apocalypse. When gold is seized or whatever happens, that isn’t some global apocalypse, but it’s still a crisis that you can prepare for ahead of time.
There are a lot of things that are going to be short of being called an apocalypse that can hurt you and your assets. As a six, seven, or eight-figure entrepreneur you are already more at risk of being attacked. Your wealth makes you a target to blackmail, threats, and lawsuits. The government is more likely to raise your taxes, place a wealth tax on you, or take away your assets. Any of these personal apocalypses could happen at any time.
While you may not be able to stop these attacks, the strategies we’ve discussed can protect you from these attacks as well as much larger ones. So, let’s come up with the insurance plan that is going to protect your wealth, lifestyle, and assets. That way, if the apocalypse strikes today, tomorrow, or years down the road, you’ll be ready.