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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am wondering what you have found to be the best way to protect your money from the US government, and if there is a best currency to convert your money to.

I am in my late 30's, and due to growing up in foster care and having a criminal record from when I was 18, I have no family to go to for support or advice, and no backup plan should things go south. What I do have are a Bachelor's and an MBA, and a position with a teaching program in SE Asia. It is my hope to never return to the US by either finding a company who will sponsor me long term, getting married, starting my own business, or possibly declaring asylum somewhere on the grounds of cruel and unusual punishment.

As I hope to never return, I am selling everything I own and will have a decent amount of cash on me when I leave. I know you can't carry more than $10k through the airport when you leave, so I am trying to find another way to transport or store my cash. Leaving it in a US bank is not an option, except for what I will need while traveling to my destination. I'm afraid that if I leave it here it will get seized for taxes, student loans, medical bills, or some other reason, so I want to put it where the government can't touch it, but I don't want to have to carry it with me at all times. It might be years before I need the money for anything.

Have any of you had to do similar things? Would love some good advice from those with experience in this.
 

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....or possibly declaring asylum somewhere on the grounds of cruel and unusual punishment.
I'm skeptical that this particular option would work anywhere. Aren't you out of prison? Do you have an outstanding arrest warrant? (No, I'm not suggesting you get one.)

As I hope to never return, I am selling everything I own and will have a decent amount of cash on me when I leave.
That's already a bad idea due to civil forfeiture potential, even before you leave. Ever heard of a bank? Even a Bluebird account from Walmart?

I know you can't carry more than $10k through the airport when you leave....
That's incorrect. The U.S. allows you to import or export cash (or cash equivalents) legally in any amount. You must declare funds valued at $10,000 or more using FinCEN Form 105. Foreign countries generally have similar requirements, so on a typical international trip you'd have two such forms to fill out.

That said, it's extremely risky, even dumb, to carry large amounts of cash or cash equivalents.

....so I am trying to find another way to transport or store my cash. Leaving it in a US bank is not an option....
I'm not sure why it's not an option, but OK, just transfer the money from your U.S. account to your new foreign bank account. You can use a low cost foreign currency transfer specialist such as CurrencyFair, Xoom, etc.

May I suggest you do everything reasonably possible to stay within the good graces of the country that issued your passport. Having a revoked passport, or a passport that you cannot renew, while outside your home country can be at least awkward. Keep that in mind.
 

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So, you want to do a runner to a faraway country and protect your money from collectors of outstanding debt you left behind (you mentioned it could be seized to cover your unpaid taxes, student loans, medical bills, etc.).
Well, in addition to morally dubious, this is illegal and thus shouldn't be discussed publicly on this forum.

Also, as BBCWatcher already mentioned above, it is never good to burn your bridges. What if, for whichever reason, you need something from the USA authorities in future (e.g. the mentioned passport, but it could also be medical treatment or the right to live there, if all else fails - no other country owes you that!).

Altogether, please reconsider your hare brain scheme - it just won't work for the long term!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ever heard the saying "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" How are you helping by preaching about something you know nothing about? The taxes I speak of are those that the US might try to charge me after I leave for some reason. I don't understand the laws. Hell, even THEY don't understand the laws, so I don't want to take the chance. All I am trying to leave behind is a country that put me into an abusive foster home as an infant where I spent the next 12 years being beaten and tortured, and then has the audacity to tell me that I should take responsibility for the way I turned out and has prohibited me from being allowed to sue anyone responsible for the abuse. I owe this country nothing. I know in Germany you can commit murder and get out in a few years and be working again, but here in the US, I have 4 degrees and a few certificates, and because I got in trouble at 18, more than 20 years ago, I can't work with kids, can't teach, can't work any job where I have access to personal information or money, where I need to be on an insurance policy, and so on. The US is not what it is cracked up to be, especially for those of us who had to grow up in the dysfunctional foster care system. Burn bridges? I've never had any in this country! Take your lack of knowledge and judgements and shove them up your ass.

Now, if you have anything helpful or constructive to say, I'm all ears.
 

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Ever heard the saying "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" How are you helping by preaching about something you know nothing about? The taxes I speak of are those that the US might try to charge me after I leave for some reason. I don't understand the laws. Hell, even THEY don't understand the laws, so I don't want to take the chance. All I am trying to leave behind is a country that put me into an abusive foster home as an infant where I spent the next 12 years being beaten and tortured, and then has the audacity to tell me that I should take responsibility for the way I turned out and has prohibited me from being allowed to sue anyone responsible for the abuse. I owe this country nothing. I know in Germany you can commit murder and get out in a few years and be working again, but here in the US, I have 4 degrees and a few certificates, and because I got in trouble at 18, more than 20 years ago, I can't work with kids, can't teach, can't work any job where I have access to personal information or money, where I need to be on an insurance policy, and so on. The US is not what it is cracked up to be, especially for those of us who had to grow up in the dysfunctional foster care system. Burn bridges? I've never had any in this country! Take your lack of knowledge and judgements and shove them up your ass.

Now, if you have anything helpful or constructive to say, I'm all ears.
The forum is for asking questions and accepting the answers given by others who are trying to help, so gratitude is the polite response. You cant only get the answers that you like and want to hear.

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Please inform me as to where is beppi's response he was trying to be helpful. While you're at it, why not also let me know if he was reprimanded for calling me "hare brained." Is that not an insult where you live?
Calling a scheme hare brained isnt an insult.

So, you want to do a runner to a faraway country and protect your money from collectors of outstanding debt you left behind (you mentioned it could be seized to cover your unpaid taxes, student loans, medical bills, etc.).
Well, in addition to morally dubious, this is illegal and thus shouldn't be discussed publicly on this forum.

Also, as BBCWatcher already mentioned above, it is never good to burn your bridges. What if, for whichever reason, you need something from the USA authorities in future (e.g. the mentioned passport, but it could also be medical treatment or the right to live there, if all else fails - no other country owes you that!).

Altogether, please reconsider your hare brain scheme - it just won't work for the long term!
Please dont argue. The posters have given you their answers and opinions.

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OK, OK, here... Under the circumstances, simply leaving the country with one's cash does not solve the problem.

For a US citizen to remove his- or her-self from the control of the US authorities, it takes a minimum of renunciation (with all its incumbent complications) . And you can't renounce until and unless you have a second nationality. That takes (usually) several years of living in your adopted country legally. (Yet another challenge.) Many countries also require a police report from your country of origin, either for obtaining a visa or for the process of naturalization - though what they may do with any negative information that turns up on the report is anyone's guess.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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All I am trying to leave behind is a country that put me into an abusive foster home as an infant where I spent the next 12 years being beaten and tortured....
For the record, the U.S. federal government doesn't run foster care systems. (Maybe it should.) Your state government failed you, and your birth parents may have failed you as well.

Have you considered emigrating to New Zealand under its Skilled Migrant Category? As long as your conviction was not too serious (in terms of prison sentence), it's far enough in the past to be overlooked. You can acquire citizenship with as few as 5 years of continuous legal residence. If through acquisition of that citizenship you intend to relinquish your U.S. citizenship, you can document that fact with U.S. authorities (via the U.S. embassy in New Zealand), staying within the good graces of the U.S. as best as possible for that entire time. (Among other things to note, New Zealand has an extradition treaty with the United States.) New Zealand is predominantly English speaking, so you should have no language difficulties. At last report New Zealand's unemployment rate is 5.8%, fairly good among developed countries. New Zealand citizens also have generous reciprocal rights in Australia under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement. At last report New Zealand's passport is only very slightly less attractive than a U.S. passport in terms of granting visa free access to other countries for ordinary tourism, tied for #5 with Singapore and Switzerland (170 countries v. 174/tied for #1 for the U.S. passport).

A general caution: If you're only running away from something, the chances of succeeding in another country are very much lower, at least according to the many reports in this forum. It's much better if you're running to something, at least in addition. So if New Zealand is a place, country, and experience that is appealing to you as a standalone matter, great. But if it's just some random country on the map for you, purely a "convenient" one, well....
 

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OP, I completely understand you.

Your concerns are entirely valid. Don't listen to these simpletons who think you can trust any government with your money. It is entirely normal to want to protect your money. It is entirely normal to shop for the safest place you can to put your money. Don't listen to assumptions about tax evasion and patriotic rants. The financial world is a market for this and functioning markets are the protection of freedom.

It is true that this kind of thing attracts attention. Though they may not like it, every immigrant here has to admit that when you move country you will be moving money.

Let's face it, a lot of expats continue to bank in the same country where they have been doing so before. This is interesting. To me that shows a lack of faith in the place they are going to. Are they really committed to this?

There's a lot to learn about money and borders. This is something even the average traveler doesn't appreciate. The status quo at the moment is keeping money where it is and then withdrawing via a cash machine or point of sale. How secure is this procedure? It has the advantage that you now have 2 sources of income - your savings in one country and wages in another.

The other common way is people get settled in the new place and wire over lump funds, typically for real estate purchases with a little extra for spending, leaving a little 'just in case'. This is interesting. It can be smooth but depending on the countries involved it can be a nightmare. Funds can and do get seized and taxed. Stating the obvious it can be safer, but more expensive to do it in smaller amounts.

Here's the thing: try to keep it simple. Reduce border movements. And keep accounts. Keep money away from countries with a history of capital controls.

The world is an unsafe place for money right now. The mobile person is most vulnerable - just because you are free to move doesn't mean your money is.

Bitcoin isn't a very safe stable thing. But it is at least a fantastic way to address all this since it is an idea and not a thing. Everybody here would do wise to at least check it out. Already it's proved invaluable for me for topping up prepay phones as I travel because using a card tends to be blocked when they see I'm not in the same country online as where the card is from. Research your countries. You might find it's use is too limited or you might find it useful for something.

Other than this there's the approach of making investments in the CURRENCY of your expenses. So if you pay your mortgage in HKD then you could make investments in USD since they are pegged (bad example). Likewise it may be better to move some money to where you live. If you've moved to Singapore there is peer to peer lending there now. Always bear in mind though, how much are you commiting to a place. Buying a house in the UK ties you with the sale but buying in Argentina and you're funds are locked.

Many countries you'd think to be safe and stable economies may look healthy on the face of it but the balance sheet is not the same. As such, nor is the legal ability to declare a bank holiday. Expats keeping all funds at home I urge to reconsider.


Getting away from talking about money. There are other forms of wealth. Get to know people locally. Invest in your friends and neighbors.
If you fell on hard times, would there be help for you? I think this is a question many an immigrant has asked themselves. And why we stick together.
I've lived in places which have turned out to be very tight knit. So what would interest me would be if there a way to mix money and friendship. Perhaps there isn't and it's a bad idea. Other than a house, how have you seen expats invest in the area around themselves?
 

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The financial world is a market for this and functioning markets are the protection of freedom.
Yes, and functioning governments are indispensable to functioning financial markets. (And functioning markets are regulated ones, e.g. with a legal system of contracts, peaceful dispute resolution, and property rights.) You simply do not want to attempt to do your banking or protect assets in places without a functioning government, e.g. Somalia. Though you're welcome to try if you really wish.

The status quo at the moment is keeping money where it is and then withdrawing via a cash machine or point of sale. How secure is this procedure?
Quite.

The world is an unsafe place for money right now.
I would argue it's never been safer. War is traditionally, historically the biggest threat to the safety of savings (not to mention personal safety), and the world is relatively, historically peaceful at the moment. Moreover, we now have important innovations such as deposit insurance and low cost, middle class-accessible financial diversification options that simply didn't exist even a few decades ago. And none of that requires trying to hide physical assets under mattresses (literal or figurative) and the attendant, high risks of theft. On top of all that, inflation is too low.

Bitcoin isn't a very safe stable thing.
Agreed. See above regarding functioning governments. ;) Bitcoin is also dying. At my last check, Bitcoin averages about 7 transactions per second worldwide (and falling). That's incredibly illiquid for an alleged currency.
 
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