I spent the first part of my career working in the offshore finance business. My job was helping very rich people to protect their assets. We offered strategies to protect against fantasy lawsuits and greedy tax collectors. We helped people reclaim their privacy and personal freedom.

For the first five years or so, I earned very little. Much less than most of my friends from business school who had gone to work 'in the system.' But it was a great learning experience. I was working for myself. Everything depended on reputation. People don't usually get rich by being dumb, so wealthy people tend to be very careful when it comes to trusting people with their financial and offshore asset protection plans. It took me at least five years to build up the necessary reputation. Getting rich depends on hard work, and hard work was what I did.

I still do a certain amount of offshore consulting and take on a few new clients each year. I approach everything I do with a free-wheeling, offshore mindset. But offshore consulting is no longer the main focus of my work. Why?

Once you've achieved certain things in your career... and especially once you become a parent... you begin to think differently. Your outlook on life grows. And this happened to me.

Tax planning, believe me, is an art, not a science. Good international tax planning involves a great deal of creativity, within the framework of certain rules. But tax planning on its own does not create wealth. It is just a way of shifting profits around, or helping people protect what they've already got. All fine and good, but at this turning point in my life, I decided I wanted to do something more productive, something that really created tangible benefits, something that would help people.

Out of all the things I learned from fifteen years dealing with successful, self-made millionaires, one thing struck me the most.

It was around this time that I had what Americans call an 'epiphany.' The penny dropped. I had made probably the single most valuable wealth creation discovery of my career. And it was all about mindset.

Clients generally came to me first because they felt they were paying more than their fair share of taxes. I helped them design and implement plans to reduce taxes legally. Often, besides setting up legal structures like companies and foundations, this involved a physical move to another country... sometimes even a change of citizenship (second passport).

But that thing that struck me most was that after a few years, taxes really didn't come into the picture at all anymore. What I mean is, if my clients decided to move again, or even decided to move back to their home country, tax would not be a factor in their decision. Remember these are extremely wealthy and successful people who were prepared to move their entire lives other countries, which is not an insignificant step, just to avoid paying tax. Then they got there, and tax really didn't matter any more.

Why? They had a bite of the apple. They had tasted true financial and personal freedom.

The thing is, once you legally get rid of tax, you also get rid of a great deal of other mental baggage that is dragging you down. Tax is just a part of the socialist, government control mentality. Government is about control ... all "for your own good" they would have you believe!

Besides taxation, there are lots of other ways that they control you that you probably won't even notice until suddenly they are not there any more!

Let me give you an example. One guy I know - we'll call him Mr C - took early retirement because he had made a few million on property in the UK. He wanted to avoid a capital gains tax bill of around a million pounds. He could do that legally at the time by moving abroad for five years and transferring his rental property portfolio into a corporate set-up. His initial plan was that after realizing the tax-free gain, he would live happily off the interest for a few years, then move back to the UK a million pounds richer. But after a few years settled offshore, he said he could never move back to England.

He just wouldn't fit in any more. Now Mr C has a completely different mindset - because he has experienced offshore financial and personal freedom first hand. The result? Now he doesn't think about one or two million. He thinks about hundreds of millions.

His tax-free status and offshore business base opened up a world of new opportunities. He is now running a project in the Caribbean on which he expects to earn hundreds of millions. The innovative and intelligent method he chose to finance it (which could and will be the subject of another interesting how-to article, another day... ) would never have been possible in his former life. Why? Because the government would have taken a third to a half of the money upfront before he had a chance to invest it.

The most valuable thing of all, however, is freeing up your mind. I call it freedom from wage-slavery. No matter if you have a regular job or you are running your own business, if you live onshore, you are a wage slave. How come? Because about half your profits go to the government, so half of the productive work you do is for the government, not for yourself. Not to mention all the non-productive work you do to comply with insane government regulations!

Once you clear your mind of all the stress and worry of wage slavery, you can unleash your inner creativity and entrepreneurialism. By getting your personal freedom, wealth and finances in equilibrium, you could become rich beyond your wildest dreams!

What Will it Cost Me?

Skeptical? You should be. But ... it really doesn't cost you anything to give this idea a try!

In fact, not only does it cost you nothing to try. The best thing is you will actually save money by trying! So even if you try your hand at applying this information and fail (which is very unlikely) you will still come out ahead financially. Is that a win-win situation or what? Allow me to explain more...

What I'm recommending here (and I'll elaborate on this in future articles, so please sign up for the RSS feed!) is that you move your home - with your family if necessary - to another country in order to achieve your goals and the lifestyle you want. Sure, there are ways you can put some of these ideas into action and make certain preparations without a move, but an international move is almost always necessary.

Going offshore, escaping wage slavery, doesn't cost money. It saves money. There are plenty of places in the world where you really can live better for less. I'll be happy to recommend some to you if you like, but most likely you already have some ideas.

It's not just a coincidence that most people associate "going offshore" with palm-fringed islands, endless white sandy beaches and crystal clear ocean. The good news is that the quality of life in many of these places will be higher than where you live now, for less money.

And the even better news is that you have a free choice in where you go. You don't have to move to a country that's known as an international banking center. There are numerous other countries that offer tax advantages. In most of Latin America, for example, you don't have to pay tax on any income earned from outside the country. Once you have generated an international income stream (more on that later) you can live tax-free almost anywhere. Tax will be nothing more than a minor inconvenience.

So why doesn't everybody do it? You know I really wonder that myself. I guess if they knew it was so easy, they would. More and more people are quietly going offshore. In recent years the flow of expats has turned from a trickle into a stream, but it still reprsents only a tiny portion of the population. I can only conclude that most people either lack the necessary information and know-how, or they are simply scared to leave familiar surroundings. It's an irrational fear... a fear of the unknown.

The Problem with Society

The big problem is that although this fear is irrational, it's a fear perpetuated by society. By 'society' I mean our friends, family, schools and probably the worst offenders of all, the mainstream media and the government. Society wants us to be wage slaves. To be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. It is up to us as individuals to break free. Nobody else will do it for you. That last setence is very important - please think carefully about it!

Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England, once famously said, "There is no such thing as society." This is frequently quoted out of context. Of course, she didn't mean it literally. Society is very much there. It is holding us back. She knew that. What Lady Thatcher really meant was that we can break free from the restrictions imposed on us by society, we can excel personally... but only when we act as if there's no such thing as society. To be successful, we have to ignore what society says, and act as individuals. She really meant, but was too polite to say, "to hell with society." She was right.

Society has taught us many negative things about wealth. From childhood most of us are conditioned that we have a certain place, and we should not seek to achieve more.

If you can see something of yourself here - a person with skills and ambition, but being held back by fear of the unknown that comes from what you are told by the people around you - then don't worry. You are not alone. Most millionaires have been there too!

That, as I said, is the thing that struck me about my wealthy offshore consulting clients. Even though they were very successful people with a lot of money, they too were all being held back by 'society.' Once they escaped and acquired a new offshore wealth building mindset, breaking free of government control and taxes, they became infinitely more wealthy without even trying. Quite simply, when I saw how much money they made simply by going offshore, I was amazed!

Most self-styled "wealth creation gurus" simply have no idea about this offshore advantage. They might have some good ideas, but they probably don't know about how powerful true personal freedom is when it comes to achieving financial freedom.

Too busy earning a living to make any real money.

Well I hope I'm not boring you. The other point I wanted to get across to you is that in order to be successful, you need to try something different. Action is required on your part. Everybody has a dream, but most people don't know where to start in order to realize their dream. Or if they do know where they want to start, they somehow just never find time to get going. They are, as the cliché goes, "too busy earning a living to make any real money."

Pure B.S., I say. All these people who say they are too busy still manage to find time to watch an hour of television or go for a drink in the pub. "I need to wind down," they will say. Yet television actually winds us up! It is one of those things that holds back our ambitions. It is highly addictive. It draws us in to the mainstream dumbing down, pulling people down to the lowest common denominator. There's a lot of compelling psycholigical research about the negative hyptonic effects of television on our brain. (See issue 44, downloadable in the archives, for an indepth study)

But my point right now is not to tell you about the negative effects of watching TV. Simply, if nothing else, it's a waste of time (plus it makes you fat!) If you really want to break free, you can find the time somewhere. Give up television!

Live Better for Less: How You Can Save Money by Trying My Ideas

Remember how I said that trying something different won't cost you a penny? By now you might be wondering what plan or investment I'm trying to sell you. The good news is nothing. I am not trying to sell you an MLM plan or a dodgy real estate investment. In fact I am not trying to sell you any plan at all. Because everybody is different.

Let's recap. I've told you about my experience of fifteen years working with self-made millionaires. How successful people were initially attracted to live abroad by the prospect of saving tax, but how after a while they came to appreciate that the overall freedom they gained was of much greater value than the mere tax savings.

Are you ready for freedom? Can you handle it? That is what I'm trying to sell you on. My idea. It's a concept, a lifestyle choice. A level of personal and financial freedom that most people will never know. And with it will come abundant wealth.

I cannot stress enough, however, that if you want to follow these ideas, some serious action on your part is called for. Perhaps most importantly, you need to move yourself offshore. Not just your business.

How Privacy Creates Wealth

I haven't mentioned privacy yet. Privacy is another important part of the offshore mindset that these super-rich individuals have. People who choose to go offshore also understand the value of confidentiality and discretion. That is one way in which the offshore wealth building ideas I am talking about differ from typical wealth creation plans. They don't normally take into account how valuable an asset privacy is.

The fact of the matter is, if you want to get rich you should not talk about it. You don't want or need other people to know how well you are doing. Showing off or living a high profile lifestyle achieves nothing for you. 99% of the time it will have a negative effect. Remember I was talking about jealousy?

Once people know you have money, it becomes a serious problem. I know. I've been there. Friends will change, and view you in a different light. It is jealousy. Distant family members will come out of the woodwork and ask you for loans that they will never repay. If you have an ex-spouse (or future ex-spouse), they will want a share too. Then the taxman will start to hassle you, looking for his share. You will appear on the radar of criminals like burglars, identity thieves, and even gangs who kidnap for ransom. And all of them will probably believe that you are richer than you really are, because that's what jealous people do. If you are not careful, there'll be nothing left over for you and your family.

That's why privacy is such an important part of offshore wealth building. And it's a good reason why you should keep all your financial dealings offshore, where your dealings cannot be tracked by governments, credit bureaux and the like. Around here, we have a word for this - actually two words: stealth wealth. Stealth wealth is about living comfortably but under the radar.

I'll be writing more on this subject soon!

Author's Bio: 

Peter Macfarlane is an author and lecturer on offshore finance, investment, due diligence and wealth creation matters. He is joint editor of The Q Wealth Report www.qwealthreport.com