My country used to reward everyday people who saved money. That’s not the case so much anymore, because our economy is more one of consumption than production. Savings and self-sufficiency really only factor in to long-term valuations, and rarely lead to short-term gains.
Sometimes it feels like we’re being told ”Savings options are for the rich, you don’t have much so you’d better go spend it.”
Crazy times, right?
Fortunately, there are still vestigial remnants of our thrifty roots that do exist in the tax code for the everyman, such as the IRA or 401k. Although when we try to veer outside of the USA with these everyman investments, we quickly hit the guard rails.
”Nope, can’t do that! Gotta keep it mainstream there, everyman. Go find something to trade on one of the US exchanges, or at least a US-based brokerage firm to trade the more suspect asset classes and de-advantaged jurisdictions.”
I hate that shit. So I found a way outside of the guard rails, and still perfectly within the law and tax code. It was a beast to do in terms of effort, but it didn’t really cost much in dollars. If you’d like to capitalize on opportunities outside the mainstream, or decrease some of the risk of keeping all your eggs in one basket, there is a way to do it. You can roll your own IRA or 401k.
Because I have my own company, the 401k option made more sense for me. My company started Optimistic Holdings PSP for its employees, of which I am designated as Trustee. The not-nearly-enough-but-boy-I’m-lucky-to-have-any-at-all bit of money I had set aside in an existing 401k & IRA with Ameriprise has since been rolled over to my company’s 401k. So while the 401k funds are being held for me, not by me (a critical distinction), I get to say what happens to them prior to their distribution to me. In other words, I make all the investment decisions for money that’s not mine yet but will be someday. Make sense?
Now don’t get me wrong, there are still rules. Plenty of rules. But they’re structured very differently, allowing more manual control and potentially more automation advantages as well. Your mileage may vary depending on what you set up and how you set it up, so get a professional to help you figure it all out and structure things in a way that makes sense for you & your needs. “Here’s who I used”: https://completeira.com/, but there are others you might want to check out who offer similar services.
Speaking for what I’ve got going, let’s say I wanted invest in a property with the money being held for me in my 401k. That can happen, the property itself can be either in or outside of the US, it doesn’t matter. How about assets like gold or silver? Yes, and I’m doing that already. How about working with a brokerage outside of the US, where I actually get to own stock directly and don’t have to worry about a Lehman Brothers type of event? Yep, and I’m just getting that set up now in Australia, where the laws work differently.
Again, there are still rules. I can’t live in the property that my 401k holds as an investment. I can’t buy gold/silver coins for their collectible value, just their bullion value. I can’t buy certain stocks or derivatives that are more speculative in nature and precluded from taking money from trusts.
Okay, fine. I still have plenty more options than my fellow everyman. That means I’m not as bound up in the behemoth of the American mainstream, and can be nimble and creative around the edges. It means I can avoid the huge systemic mistakes that I see coming. And it also means I can make huge mistakes of my own that I can’t see coming.
This road isn’t for everyone. But I do believe very strongly that everyone should at least look at the roadmap and acknowledge that there are other roads to travel that can lead to the same destination of financial freedom.
Which works best for you? You get to decide this, you are not trapped. And if you feel stuck in the traffic of everybody else in front of you, know that you can exit to side streets that can get you where you want to go faster.
Yes, it’s a gamble. But remember that it’s all a gamble anyway, so you might as well do it on your own terms. For someone like me, the fact that it was so very difficult to get my meager savings out of the mainstream is a clue as to why the mainstream path exists. It makes me value the options I now have even more!
The thing about these options is that no one in the financial mainstream is likely to ever mention them. Not your financial advisor or broker or accountant. Why would they? They have plenty to lose and little if anything to gain.
So it’s up to you to research this on your own. Will you?
What thoughts does this post stir up in you?