The biggest portal about international asset protection and diversification

The biggest portal about international asset protection and diversification

Where Is the Safest Place to Keep Millions of Dollars: Safe Havens for Large Capital

Before understanding the issue of reliable storage of large capital, it is worth deciding what should be understood as a safe haven for saving money. This means that assets are protected from such factors:

  • Inflation and depreciation in the long run
  • arrest, freezing, and other sanctions from any state
  • physical robbery and virtual hacker attacks
  • natural disasters
  • bankruptcy of financial institutions that hold customer money
  • unfavorable market conditions – stock prices and currencies exchange rates
  • any other external economic and geopolitical risks.

It is not enough to earn huge capital. You also need to know how not to waste money, afford an early retirement, and make savings for the heirs.

We will consider the most reliable options for how High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs – people whose fortune is estimated in millions of dollars) protect their money. Each method will be evaluated for reliability, based on whether it is possible to save more than USD 1 million in this way with minimal risks. One million – to one offshore account, second one – to another. This is what smart money diversification looks like in simple terms.

How to save a million

Treasury bills or bonds

This is a special type of securities that are traded on stock exchanges, where the issuer is either the governments of different countries represented by the ministries of finance or large corporations with state participation. Features of such investments are:

  • This is a more reliable type of securities compared to shares of private companies because guarantees are provided by the state. In fact, these are risk-free saving investments.
  •  Interest on government bonds is either fixed or floating rate. Payment occurs 1-2 times a year.
  • Treasury bills are usually issued in national currency, occasionally in foreign freely convertible currency.
  • Not all states issue debt securities on a regular basis. Some countries occasionally place treasury bonds only for specific projects of strategic importance.
  • Interest income on treasury bills and bonds may be taxable, depending on the country. This issue needs to be clarified before investing money.
  • Unlike bank deposit accounts, where only part of the deposit is insured (for example, in European banks, it is not more than 100,000 euros), investments in bonds are 100% safe, regardless of the amount.

Let’s make a small sample of the conditions under which the governments of different countries offer to purchase debt securities for individuals and legal entities.

Issuing countryInterest rateAcquisition conditionsFeatures
USA3-5%Repayment period – from 6 months to 30 years.The minimum face value is USD 1000. Can be resold to others before maturity. Bond income is subject to federal taxes.
SpainRegular interest rates are not paid. The investor earns money once due to the difference in nominal value. For example, they buy a bond of EUR 1,000 for EUR 500, and after a certain period, the state redeems this security for the agreed EUR 1,000.Maturity: short-term bills – 12-18 months; bonds – 3-5 years.The minimum amount of a bill is EUR 1,000. Income from interest on bonds is exempt from taxation.
Greece2-4%The minimum maturity is 3 years. The minimum amount to purchase government bonds is EUR 400,000, corporate bonds – EUR 800,000.With the purchase of securities, the investor receives a 5-year residence permit, which can be extended if the investment is kept. If desired, the investor can become a tax resident in Greece and enjoy a special tax regime for foreign income.
Sri Lanka25-32%Maturity – from 3 months to 30 years.The minimum amount is 5 million rupees (USD 15,400). Interest income is exempt from income tax. Foreign citizens also have the right to invest.

As you can see, you can buy a huge package of various treasury bills for USD 1 million. Each investor decides personally which state to trust their money, not necessarily their own. Some investors are interested in the opportunity to obtain a residence permit in the chosen country since such conditions are available not only in Greece. For others, the state’s authority in the international arena is critical. Each investor has their own motivation, and the main thing is making the right choice.

You can buy bills or bonds:

  • on special government websites
  • at brokers
  •  in state and commercial banks (intermediaries charge fees from customers).

Savings in cash

The idea of saving a million dollars in cash looks unsafe at first glance. Such an amount in the form of physical money takes up too much space. In addition, it is difficult to find a cache for it, and not easy to transport. But this is only at first glance. The safety of cash savings depends on the selected denomination of banknotes. If the emergency reserve is stored in US dollars, where the largest banknote is $100, we will get the following calculations:

  • $1 million in hundred-dollar banknotes = 10,000
  • 1000 banknotes = 13 cm high, 10,000 banknotes = 130 cm high
  • $1 million in hundred-dollar banknotes = 10 kg.

To safely store such weight and amount of cash, you will need a large case or safe, which is an additional cost. But there are other reliable and freely traded currencies in the world:

  • Singapore dollar (SGD). The 10,000 SGD ($7,400) banknote is the world’s largest and most valuable banknote. However, the National Bank of Singapore stopped issuing these banknotes. They are still in circulation, but by 2023 they have become a rarity. Singapore dollars are still available in the market in denominations of SGD 1,000 and 500. USD 1 million = SGD 1.34 million, so approximately 1,300 SGD 1,000 banknotes will be required.
  • Swiss francs (CHF). The most valuable banknote is 1,000 CHF. USD 1 million = CHF 920,000. Only 920 banknotes will be needed for saving USD 1 million. The stack will be about 11 cm high. The Swiss currency is compact and transportable, and this is why Swiss citizens are so concerned about keeping enough cash in the country.
  • Euro (EUR). The most valuable banknote is EUR 500. USD 1 million = EUR 940,000. It will take about 1,900 banknotes of EUR 500, the total weight of which is less than 2 kg.
  •  United Arab Emirates dirhams (AED). The largest banknote is AED 1,000. USD 1 million = AED 3.7 million. It will take 3,700 AED banknotes to store USD 1 million.

As you can see, if you convert cash into centimeters and kilograms and choose the correct currency, it turns out that keeping $1 million on hand is relatively safe.

Explore what are the safest assets to own in 2023.

Expensive real estate

What is meant by safe real estate investment? Everyone has their own vision:

  • buying the most expensive square meters in the world
  • choosing an object in a country where there is no real estate tax
  • registration of real estate not in the person’s own name, but in the name of the intermediary owner, for example, a trust company, to ensure protection from the risks of arrest or declaration of property
  •  acquisition of property in those countries and regions where natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, or volcanic eruptions) have not been observed before or there are no reasons for territorial military conflicts.

Let’s consider the first two options.

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Objective ratings of the most expensive housing square meters in the world are annually compiled by Deloitte (only in Europe) and Numbeo (worldwide). Here is what the ranking of the most expensive cities in the world looks like for real estate buyers at the beginning of 2023:

City, countryPrice per square meter in the city center, USD
Monte Carlo, Monaco77,500
Hong Kong32,000
London, UK31,000
New York, USA24,000
Singapore17,000
Geneva, Switzerland16,000
Paris, France13,400
Moscow, Russia11 000
Dubai, UAE8,700

For $1 million, you can buy the following:

  • modest studio in Monaco, about 30 m²
  • excellent apartments in Dubai, about 100 m²
  • medium apartment in the center of Vienna, about 60-70 m²
  • detached villa in Bali, about 300 m²
  • apartments in Cancun, Mexico, about 250 m².

Tax-free havens for safe real estate investments:

  • Croatia – the buyer pays a one-time stamp duty during the transaction. However, an annual tax of 5-15 kunas (0.6-2 euros) per square meter is provided for property owners in resort areas.
  • Liechtenstein – including no real estate tax for businesses.
  • Monaco – note that the stamp duty reaches 7.5%.
  • Malta – only a one-time stamp duty of 5% is charged.
  • Georgia – property income (1%) is paid only by those property owners who earn more than 40,000 lari per year ($15,000) from sources in Georgia.
  • Fiji – including no taxation on land.
  • Cayman Islands.
  • Sri Lanka – in addition, has no capital gains tax.
  • Persian Gulf countries (Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar).

Check out how do the rich protect their assets.

Physical precious metals

Pieces of gold and silver have been a means of payment worldwide for 5 thousand years. For the past 50 years, the most traded currencies, primarily the US dollar, have been entirely unbacked. No wonder rich people believe in traditional values, especially in times of crisis. Unlike bitcoin or company stocks, gold does not fluctuate wildly. This precious metal has only been growing steadily for many years, and there is no reason for a decrease in value in the future.

Tips for safe and smart investment in precious metals

Buy only physical precious metals that you can hide in a secluded place. It is better to ignore offers to purchase gold ETFs or “paper” gold (impersonal metal accounts or shares of gold mining companies). Choose only tangible objects of a certain sample and weight.

A suitable format for the purchase and profitable resale of precious metals is investment coins and bars, the origin of which is confirmed by the manufacturer’s certificates. Jewelry or souvenirs cannot be sold at the original price. You should not buy numismatic coins if you do not have sufficient knowledge about this market.

The traditional place to buy coins and bars is banking institutions, but the buyer must present an identity card there. In addition, the metal’s price is higher due to the bank’s markup. For anonymous purchases, choose jewelry stores, pawnshops, precious metals brokers, and special online marketplaces (but not eBay or other sites for private sales).

Reliable sellers are trading machines. The first ATM appeared in 2010 in Abu Dhabi, where bars and coins were sold like chocolate bars. Gradually, precious metal trading machines were also installed in Peru, Florida, New York, Germany, and large European cities.

Ensure the investment metals trader and producer are accredited by the LBMA (London Bullion Market Association) or LPPM (London Platinum and Palladium Market). This means that the supplier is trusted and reliable.

Choose the most liquid bars that you can sell as quickly and profitably as possible. So, an ideal bar has a small weight – up to 30 grams (1 ounce). At the same time, the lighter the product is, the higher the cost of one gram of metal will be. Therefore, look for a balance between maximum liquidity and optimal weight. No doubt, in a 1 kg bar, the price per gram of metal will be lower compared to a 5-gram bar, but a 1 kg bar is harder and takes longer to resell.

Choose the most liquid investment coins that can be sold anywhere in the world. Most of them weigh about the same – no more than 1 ounce. The coin’s value is determined by demand in the international market. The most liquid coins are:

  1.  Canadian Maple Leaf (gold or silver) – issued by the Canadian Royal Mint.
  2.  Vienna Philharmonic (gold, silver, platinum) – issued by the Austrian Mint.
  3. Australian Gold Nugget (gold) – minted by the Perth Mint.
  4. Chinese Gold Panda (gold or silver) – issued by the PRC Mint.
  5. Britannia (gold, silver, platinum) – issued by the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom.
  6.  Krugerrand (gold) – minted by the South African Mint.

There are also American Golden Eagles and Buffaloes. Experienced investors consider them an unreliable asset because these coins are listed only on the US domestic market but not on other continents. In addition, there may be problems with the export of gold from the States. Any other unpopular bullion coin (such as the Mexican Libertad or the Maltese Melita) is a better choice than the American Mint.

Store precious metals anywhere but in the banking system – it’s risky. The best place for such savings is within walking distance, which you can control. If there is a need to move physical metals to offshore jurisdictions, pay attention to Asian vaults, particularly in Hong Kong or Singapore, but not in Europe and, moreover, not in the States. And make sure the custodian company will not lease, mortgage, or hedge your assets.

Buy bars and coins with your own money, not with credit. The basis of a healthy economy is to save first and then invest. In addition, smart investors buy precious metals not only to save money but also to increase capital in order to use gold and silver as collateral. Therefore, do not take out a loan for those assets that you are going to use for another loan in the future. It’s a vicious circle.

Actual prices as of mid-March 2023 on the global precious metals market:

  •  A 100-gram 999-carat gold bar costs $6,147.
  • A 1 kg gold bar is $61,300.
  • A 999-platinum bar weighing 100 grams costs $3,260.
  • A 100-gram 999 palladium bar is valued at $5,340.

In total, for USD 1 million, you can buy more than 16 kg of gold of the highest standard, more than 18 kg of palladium, or more than 30 kg of platinum.

Internet domains

Beautiful, short, and catchy URLs for Internet sites are quite a reliable asset for long-term investments. The essence of this savings method is to look for a sonorous and concise name of an Internet address at domain auctions or from registrars, buy it, save it for a while, and then resell it at the best possible price. The advantages of this investment type are:

  • This is genuinely a safe investment. No matter how much this asset is worth, you don’t need to declare it, pay annual taxes, or spend resources on saving and maintenance. This digital product cannot be stolen or arrested by court order.
  • This is a long-term investment. Earnings on the resale of domains are unsuitable for those who do not want to wait a long time. But if the domain’s owner has nothing against years of aging, their patience will pay off a thousandfold. As a rule, the largest transactions in the market occur a few years after registering the site name.
  • This is an inexhaustible reserve. Do not believe the pessimists who say there is nothing to catch in the Internet domain market because all possible short addresses have long been bought out. Firstly, no site or business lasts forever: today, a beautiful address belongs to one brand, but tomorrow unpredictable events may happen, and this address is again looking for a new owner. Secondly, the Internet is not limited to the .com zone and the Latin alphabet. It is necessary to look at the possibilities more broadly. For example, in 2023, new valuable virtual assets appeared – nicknames in Telegram. You can always find something good in the Internet name market if you search well.

The only disadvantage is that it is impossible to buy domains without prior training or the help of specialists, the so-called cybersquatters. The investor has the money, and the squatter has the skills, the understanding of trends, and the eye. Together, they will be able to quickly form a portfolio of promising Internet names.

Cryptocurrencies

Digital non-fiat money is not limited solely to Bitcoin, which has already become a household name. By 2023, thousands of options have appeared on the crypto market: you can choose 2-3 wallets and distribute financial assets among them. Here is a small list of promising cryptocurrencies and their exchange rate for mid-March 2023:

  •  Toncoin (1 TON = $2.42). It is interesting for those investors who believe that Pavel Durov creates brilliant products for his time. And the fact that the American regulator did everything possible to prevent the project from launching on the market means that TON is not liked by world governments, because this decentralized network cannot be regulated and controlled. So, this is a great choice for individuals who do not like government censorship.
  • Solana (1 SOL = $19.3). It is attractive with low fees and high transaction processing speed. This cryptocurrency is interesting because it works on the principle of a bank deposit – it accrues interest income on the funds saved.
  • Ethereum (1 ETH = $1,656). This is the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and popularity after Bitcoin. Only unlike BTC, ETH emission is not limited, and more than 117 million tokens are already in circulation.
  • Maya Preferred (1 MAYP = $496,220). This stablecoin is about 20 times more expensive than Bitcoin because each coin is backed by $34,000 worth of gold and silver from Mexican mines. The developers created this currency with the goal of turning MAYP into a monetary instrument for transfers and settlements at retail outlets, only with lower fees.
  •  Monero (1 XMR = $146). This is the most anonymous cryptocurrency in the world. It is impossible to trace the identity of the wallet’s owner in this ecosystem. Such coins will never become a mass means of payment in order, for example, to make purchases in an online store, but they are an ideal tool for long-term storage of assets and access to the darknet.

This article does not list all the options for the safe and long-term storage of large capital, but these are popular and proven. Many would like to know how to securely save millions of dollars. What conclusions can be drawn?

Millions of dollars are better stored in any format, but not in US dollars. After all, this money is backed by an economy with trillions in debt, and this bubble will burst sooner or later. Even Americans do not believe in their currency in international markets. Fortunately, there are enough reliable instruments in the world to preserve capital.

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