PT, for those of you who are not familiar with the initials, stands for many things. Some of the more popular are Perpetual Traveler or Permanent Tourist. Others are Prior Taxpayer, Privacy Thinker, or Prepared Thoroughly. But what is PT all about?

In a nutshell, a PT arranges his or her business and personal affairs as a Sovereign Individual, by unfurling various 'flags' or country bases and by treating governments as service providers instead of rulers. For example, there would be a citizenship flag ("second passport"), an official residence flag, a banking flag and so on. Each of these would be from different jurisdictions. That way, you are not bound to any particular country.

The ultimate PT goal is not to be resident anywhere! That is how you become a Permanent Tourist, at least on paper. You might for example spend five months of the year in one home, five months in another, and a couple of months vacationing, visiting friends or taking a cruise in between. That way each country treats you as a tourist and does not consider you a tax resident.

You then keep all your assets stashed safely offshore, earn your money over the internet in other countries, and live totally tax free completely legally. If you drive cars, own real estate etc they are all held in company names, or simply rented or leased. So you don't appear on any government 'Big Brother' style databases.

PT is based on the theory that most countries treat tourists better than citizens.

In fact, the beauty of this idea is its simplicity. As a 'PT' wherever you are, you always appear to be from somewhere else!

You can usually live and travel in better style and for less money than it costs to remain where you are. You can also chose to enjoy places that encourage the lifestyle and social norms you have always wanted to live.

PT will appeal to a wide spectrum of people who dream of being able to disappear when events and times in life make it convenient to do so. As a PT, a Perpetual Tourist, you run your own life. Using freedom tools such as the flags theories you can put a significant distance between yourself and bureaucrats that want to determine what is best for you, 'for your own good' of course!

A Brief History of the PT Theory

The PT theory was, according to urban legend propogated in the books, inspired by Harry Schultz, a Monaco-based newsletter publisher of North American origin who first coined the "three flags" theory back in the 1960s. Schultz's claim to fame is that he is quoted in The Guinness Book of Records as the world's highest paid investment consultant.

Later, a writer using the pseudonym W.G. 'Bill' Hill wrote a series of books including PT1, PT2 and The Passport Report which were published by Scope International Books in Hampshire, England. This same company published books by authors including Adam Starchild, Reinhard Stern and Jon Golding and Bob Beckman, also under the imprint 'Milestone Publications.'

Scope went out of business in the mid nineties and was absorbed by an American direct marketing company who are still using much of the material today. The majority of it however has been toned down somewhat, not surprisingly as it is published from within the USA.

Other writers have taken up the PT theme in books like The International Man by Doug Casey, The Internationalist by Nicholas Pullen, and most recently in 2006 by a group mysteriously calling themselves "Grandpa and Others." They wrote an attractive-leather bound three-volume set of limited edition books known as Bye Bye Big Brother. Or simply "BBBB."Bye Bye Big Brother is also available in an abridged, paperback version from Vera Verba, a Chicago-based imprint. But hardcore readers should be aware that the abridged version has edited out some of the more cutting edge, controversial material included in the original.

From Three Flags to Six Flags

The original theory espoused by Harry Schultz and Harry Browne ("How to Find Freedom in an Unfree World") talked about three flags:

* Have your citizenship somewhere that does not tax income earned outside the country.
* Have your businesses and speculations in stable, low or no tax countries.
* Live as a tourist in countries where what you esteem is valued, not outlawed.

Later W.G. Hill added two more flags - business havens where you make your money, and playgrounds where you spend your time, as a separate flag to your official residence - thereby creating a five flag theory - the level of complication or sophistication is up to you! Finally, in Bye Bye Big Brother, a sixth flag was added - cyberspace, where all the other five flags come together, a place where you can be everywhere and nowhere at the same time!

Shortcomings and Concerns about the PT Theory - and the Dangers of Camouflage Passports!

view on the PT theory is that it's a great idea, provided you treat it as what it is: a slightly tongue in cheek knock at the establishment with a wicked sense of humor. A client of mine recently read it and said it was riveting, like reading a novel.

PT is a well thought out idea to break free and escape, especially if you like international living and the traveling lifestyle. It's probably aimed more at those with well over a million safely tucked away in a Swiss bank seeking the kind of asset protection arrangements that their lawyers would not tell them about... while being less useful (but nonetheless interesting reading) for those who are just starting out on their quest for offshore wealth building opportunities.

PT is certainly not a step-by-step plan you should follow blindly. Indeed, it's clearly not for everybody. We say, "by all means read the literature." It's an idea you can read about, absorb and enjoy... and then adjust to your own situation.

always had a slightly different vision, and still do today. What's the difference? Well it's not easy to live out of a suitcase, or to have to worry about counting the days you are in a certain country due to limited tourist visas or the concern that you will become a tax-resident. There are more sophisticated plans available today, and we write about them in our newsletter for members. We also tend to focus more on opportunities for creating wealth.

An Important Warning about the Legalities of the PT 'Six Flags' Theory

Here's an important warning. Some of the tactics in the original PT books might have seemed like harmless fun back in the eighties, but in today's world they could get you into hot water.

By way of example, one of the products frequently promoted was the so-called camouflage passport. Camouflage passports are booklets that look like passports from countries that used to exist but don't any more - the intention being to fool anyone who might have learned about countries like Ceylon, Dutch Guiana, British Honduras or the U.S.S.R. in their school history classes, but who didn't know that those countries today are called Sri Lanka, Suriname, Belize and Russia. Camouflage passports were promoted as a way to avoid terrorist attacks, by confusing terrorists in a hijacking situation into thinking that you came from a neutral country rather than a target country like the USA, UK or Israel. However in the current environment merely having a camouflage passport in your possession is more likely to get you labeled as a terrorist than anything else!

Indeed, it has been said that 'Big Brother' thinks PT stands for Potential Terrorist!

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