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About The Author:
John Schroder of Ascot Advisory Services writes articles for a number of publications and e-zines regarding topics and issues of interest or concern to clients.  As an expatriate himself, John has lived abroad for many years, and assists clients with services related to the topics on this web site.
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RHETT BUTLER WAS OFFSHORE ! - How About You?
The US civil war was really about the rights of individual states, but let us forget about all that for a moment.  Rhett Butler was offshore and he bought Scarlet a new house when the war ended. . . . An old movie can teach us some new and very important lessons

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How many people remember the classic film Gone With The Wind?  If you are like most people, you probably remember the movie because it was a wonderful tale about the American civil war, or what happened to the antebellum lifestyle of the southern United States and how the war changed all that.  Perhaps it was certain characters that you liked.  Perhaps you are a history buff and liked the film for that reason alone.
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For me, the film conveyed a message and lesson you probably never even noticed or though about:  Rhett Butler had his money offshore, and that was the only thing that saved him financially in the end.  Many perceived Rhett Butler to be nothing more than a rough, whiskey drinking, womanizing, and scoundrel like ship captain.  Perhaps this was all true.  However, he was also a very smart man that saw the writing on the wall, and protected himself accordingly.  If you remember the beginning of the film, when everyone was so excited about going to war to teach them Yankees a lesson - Rhett did try to talk some sense into the others.  He said, you better think long and hard about what you want to do.  The south has an economy based upon agriculture and not industrialization.  Sure there was some industrialized production in the southern states, but it was nothing in compared to the capacity that the northern states had, in terms of being able to crank out weapons of war (the weapons of mass destruction of their own time).  Rhett said, think about what this will mean and what the real problems are going to be.  Alas, they would not listen to Rhett - did they?  No, they were full of fight and vinegar and for them - that would be enough to win the war.  Maybe it would, but then again maybe not. 
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In any event, what did our hero Rhett do?  Well, he volunteered to keep on keeping on.  In other words, he agreed to continue piloting ships back and forth between Europe (England mainly) in order to bring the southern agricultural products (cotton) to market so money could be earned to fuel the local economy in Dixie.  This was not an easy feat, as he risked his life and also risked being jailed if he became captured.  Never the less, he did do it, even though he knew what the long-term held in store.  But he also did something else.  He put his earnings and his life savings offshore, or better stated in another country.  England to be exact, an independent country not involved, where he knew his money would be safe, come what may.  Maybe Rhett had gold, maybe he had his assets denominated into British Pounds, but regardless he did have it elsewhere - and certainly not denominated in the new Confederate paper currency that became worthless almost overnight.  Rhett was offshore, and a good thing too.
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Was Rhett a social malcontent?  Was he any less patriotic than all the other men of the south?  Was he someone to be chastised or someone to be held in high esteem for his smart and forward thinking?  Well, oddly enough, most of the so-called wealthy high society folks who tolerated him before, but certainly did not think too highly of him, all ended up broke.  Most lost the family plantations, if not because of the immediate war itself, then because of all the high reparation taxes charged by Washington later on.  Not Rhett, he had his money safe and sound.  In fact, after the war was over (and after he was released from the Yankee war prison he was in) Rhett went back and got his money.  And he came back a wealthy man.  He bought a huge house in Atlanta, which was the envy of all the high society folks that scorned him previously.  Not only that, those same people actually stopped to say hello to him when they passed him on the street.  Success has a funny way of changing how other people view you - does it not?
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Anyway, what is the lesson we can learn from Rhett Butler?  Well, for starters, being offshore, or having funds invested in another safe haven country (other than our own that we are living in) may not be such a bad idea after all.  Are you a scoundrel, criminal or some sort of anti-patriot for doing so?  I suppose it all depends upon your point and view and where you end up a few years down the road from now (and where everyone else that likes to criticize you ends up as well).  Will they still consider you a scoundrel or foolish idiot later on?  Hard to say, but just like Rhett, a little bit of common sense allows you to see the writing on the wall, and protect yourself accordingly.
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What does all this have to do with today?  Well, ask yourself a few questions.  Just like Rhett trying to warn the other gentlemen not to do something foolish or at least think about what they want to do - is it possible that current day politicians are really using some common sense in terms of the problems at hand, or are they brushing it under the rug hoping wishful thinking will pull them though?  Better said, are they even taking the time to seriously address the looming problems we know are coming down the line?  These are questions you have to think about and answer for yourself.  However, the problems and issues are out there, and they are not going to go away.  Loss of manufacturing and other kinds of jobs to foreigner countries with lower wage costs are for sure going to change the long-term dynamic of the American and other industrialized nations as well.  A huge number of the so-called baby boom generating getting ready to retire and take benefits from the government social welfare pension system at a time when it is not exactly as solvent as it should be.  Government and personal spending run amok, with higher and higher debts mounting year by year.  Government insurance agencies, such as the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) publicly admitting insolvency at the moment, at a time when many large companies are declaring bankruptcy, which puts the pension plans of retirees from these companies are risk.  The list goes on and on.  So, what do you want to do?  If you feel like Rhett, trying to talk sense into someone that refuses to take you serious or even listen - you know what you have to do.
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A Second Passport
or Second Citizenship:

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Why You Need One Now, and Fast. . . 
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What is Dual Citizenship and it is legal?  What is the difference between residency and citizenship?  
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Ascot Advisory Services 2014

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