On Getting a Good Lawyer
Good morning and Happy Friday!
At the end of another week, let me share the importance of getting a good lawyer. I’m not talking about the kind of lawyer that’ll get you out of jail.
These lawyers are the on-the-ground, thoroughly steeped types who can make a move so much easier for you. This is especially true if you’re moving to a foreign land.
Friends of Friends
I’m the type of person who tells his friends everything. (You may have picked that up already, just by reading the Rude!)
I can’t help it. I’m just a trusting extrovert.
But I’ve found some fantastic benefits to being loose-lipped.
The first benefit is the ability to throw around ideas with some brilliant people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to a buddy, “I wouldn’t have thought of that in a month of Sundays.”
It’s great getting answers to complex questions without too much effort.
The second significant benefit is that I never have to remember who I’ve told what to. I understand that some friends enjoy flapping their gums. But I’m more boring than I used to be, so I don’t have to worry about deep, dark secrets too much.
And finally, and this may be my favorite: when a buddy says, “Hey, I know a guy who can help you.”
When S Introduced Me to A
A while ago, I was messaging my friend S. He’s helpful with all sorts of international things.
S is one of those perpetual travelers with a gorgeous girlfriend. S and his girlfriend are definitely two of the “beautiful people.”
They spend all their time traveling, building their businesses, and skillfully avoiding income tax.
I admire them immensely.
“Sean, you know A, right? He goes to the same conference we do.”
A’s name hadn’t rung a bell, but since he frequents the same conference I do, I automatically assumed he speaks my language.
I wrote A an email and didn’t get anything back. As I’m not one to give up after the first time, I wrote again.
Unfortunately, I missed his response on the rebound! It wasn’t until last week when I was cleaning out my email inbox – I’m usually much more organizing with work emails – that I saw his reply.
We set up a 30-minute call for last night. I’m pleased to report it went well.
As an aside, if you’re an American abroad, and I was for many years, you know the importance of having a good accountant intimately.
But really, I never needed a lawyer until now.
So what are the advantages of engaging a lawyer in one’s international adventures?
The Massive Advantages
Don Rickles might have said, “My lawyer is the best in the world. He’s told me many, many times!” So let me list five great reasons to find a great lawyer abroad.
This almost goes without saying. But within 5 minutes of my call with A, I knew I was speaking with someone who was clued up.
One of my main gauges for that is how many times someone tells me to “Wait and check things out first.” People who try to rush you into something aren’t usually trustworthy.
A told me about different regions, how they work, how close they are to major airports, and many other facts I wasn’t aware of. And I’ve been doing my homework!
“When you get to Rome, I’ll show you around.” That’s always a nice thing to hear.
How to Properly Set Up Your Business
“Sure, you can live in the North and set your business up in the South.”
Again, an option I’d have never thought of.
In the old days, you got your gold. Then you built a castle around the gold and shouted, “Molon Labe!” (Come and get it!) With all the Western governments broke, they’ll raid your treasury at the drop of a hat.
These days, your company formation is the digital fortress you build around your cash flows. And like any well-engineered castle, you want it to protect you, and you want it to last.
Reducing Tax Liability
As you know, I come from a middle-class family in New Jersey. One of the most challenging things to get my head around is that rich people have rich people problems.
They don’t have poor/middle-class problems anymore. But they still have issues, just of a better sort.
The first thing you have to know about the rich is that mortgages and college educations are not their highest costs, as they are in middle-class families.
Their highest cost, and the one they must control, is their tax liability. If they get that wrong, the penalty is far higher than the cost of a Harvard education.
Just ask Oleg Tinkov, who’s on the hook for millions after allegedly concealing assets of $1 billion during his US citizenship renunciation process.
Nowadays, even the mass affluent have to watch themselves. One wrong move can mean financial hardship or even bankruptcy.
Where and When to Buy a House
As a quasi-perpetual traveler myself, I’ve never owned a house.
(Unlike James Altucher and Grant Cardone, I don’t recommend that course. It was an enormous mistake on my part. I call it my “million-dollar mistake.” Not buying bitcoin when my crazy libertarian buddies were telling me to is my “billion-dollar mistake.”)
At age 46, I can’t afford to make a mistake on real estate. So having someone on the ground advising me of the good and the bad is an enormous advantage.
Applying the Knowledge in Your Case
None of the above matters unless your lawyer has the ability and willingness to apply his knowledge on your behalf.
Of course, most are more than happy to do so. But getting this stuff “done for you” rather than trying to do it all yourself is a significant advantage.
Most lawyers are smart enough to know if they charge you a fair fee, you’ll go back to them over and over again.
Like a good accountant, a good lawyer will pay for himself throughout your relationship.
Bonus: Same Political Leanings
Knowing my lawyer thinks that politicians are parasites and that it’s essential to keep as much money as I can out of their hands is paramount to me.
You want to make sure your lawyer is working for you wholeheartedly – without one eye on The State.
Of course, you and your lawyer must do this in a moral, ethical, and legal fashion.
Hearing my lawyer refer to his government as a bunch of thieves is music to my ears.
I usually name my friends, but this time I didn’t have permission to do so.
If you’d like to get the name of my Italian lawyer, write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until then, you deserve to have a wonderful weekend.
I’ll see you Monday, well-rested.
All the best,