Jeff: I like your plan, Dennis. But do you worry about the government confiscating our retirement accounts, or a portion of them?
Dennis: We’ve all read the reports concerning those issues. The most frequent angle is not confiscation in the traditional sense, but the idea that they’ll force us to keep a certain percentage of our retirement portfolio in “safe” government Treasuries—for our own good, of course.
Can you imagine what would happen if they tried that—even a mere 10%? Think of the sell orders that would hit the stock market from investors liquidating equity positions to replace them with government IOUs. It would clobber the stock market. And a lot of folks with Roth IRAs would just take their money out as opposed to holding worthless government paper.
Jeff: What about international storage of precious metals in a retirement account?
Dennis: I am now a strong advocate of making sure you have plenty of money offshore. There are some aspects of Obamacare, for example, that the public is unaware of and could be detrimental to not just investors, but to anyone who has a pressing medical need.
Jeff: How so?
Dennis: At our recent Casey Summit, one of the speakers was Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, an MD and health reform activist. Dr. Vliet agrees on what many have said about surviving the new healthcare law: she believes seniors will be hit the hardest and in many cases denied care.
A recent article in Money Morning quoted Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and author of the recent book, Beating Obamacare—Your Handbook for Surviving the New Health Care Law. She says, “Hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery will be especially hard to get from Medicare in the months ahead.” She warns seniors to get those types of procedures done now before Obamacare goes into effect January 1.
That may not even be the worst part. There are concerns that once care is denied by the government, absent a couple very minor exceptions, the doctor won’t be allowed to provide that service, even if you can pay for it out of your own pocket.
While the full impact of the Affordable Care Act is not yet known, I think these are valid concerns. I understand that these are strong statements, and some people claim they’re not true, but by the time we find out, it might be too late.
Jeff: If it is true, how could it impact one’s retirement planning?
Dennis: It would mean that a lot of Americans would have to go offshore for treatment that’s been denied or delayed. Which means you would not only need the money to do so, but would have to have some of it already outside the country.
Jeff: I think I know why…
Dennis: A day may be coming where it could be very difficult to get funds transferred from your domestic bank account to a medical facility in another country. At the least, there will be severe restrictions in doing so, but I think the more likely scenario is some form of capital controls, where it will be illegal to transfer any funds outside the US.
Jeff: I agree.
Dennis: And what if you don’t have any assets stored outside your country? You’re stuck—you may not be able to get that procedure.
While we don’t know for sure how it will shake out yet, imagine this possible scenario: you need a medical procedure to improve your quality of life or maybe even extend your life, but it’s been denied by Obamacare. You have the funds to pay for it, but the doctor is not authorized to perform it. You find a state-of-the-art facility in a nearby country that will perform the procedure for you, with no waiting list and probably at a lower cost—but when you attempt to wire funds to the medical facility, it’s denied by the US government.
Pity the poor person who might need a hip replacement, sitting in the waiting room of an offshore hospital and not being able to get the treatment because he can’t get money out of the country.
Jeff: Very scary, Dennis.
Dennis: The bottom line is that while our fears may not come to pass, we still need to take steps to ensure against these possibilities. There are lots of good reasons why prudent investors should hold some of their assets offshore—the fact that we’re even discussing the possibility of currency controls and how they relate to healthcare just reinforces the point that it’s not something to put off.
This is why I believe placing some assets offshore could be the most important healthcare decision a person can make. We all believe in internationalizing our assets, and now I feel an even greater sense of urgency.
And this is where precious metals make perfect sense. You can easily and cheaply store gold and silver internationally and sell them in an emergency if you need to. That’s exactly what I’m doing.
Offshore precious metals storage isn’t a benign investment, either. My wife and I recently went to Panama and spent some time with the president of the world-class Johns Hopkins facility there. If I needed a procedure done outside the US, I wouldn’t hesitate to use this facility. But think about this: the currency in Panama is US dollars, so if our dollar experiences high inflation, the cost of care in Panama will rise. But by having metals stored offshore, we can mitigate that loss in buying power.
One of the keys to enjoying retirement is good health—who wants to spend the last decade of their life popping pills while in constant pain, when you have the ability to live a much higher quality of life? I don’t.
Jeff: Good point. More capital controls are almost certainly coming.
Dennis: I spoke with Nick Giambruno of International Man, who went to Cyprus with Doug Casey and investigated what happened when they instituted currency controls earlier this year. Basically, on a Friday night, after all the banks were closed, they shut down the entire banking system and had currency-sniffing dogs at every point of entry. No money was allowed to be taken out of the country.
And you probably heard that the International Monetary Fund recommended just two weeks ago that a “capital levy” be placed on citizens with a “positive net wealth.” The part in the article that really bothered me was this: “Democrats and Republicans … are entertaining closed-door schemes designed to, once again, relieve Americans of their property.”