A few weeks ago I was  in Oslo, Norway and spent some time with some local friends.  These guys are not your typical Norwegian socialists (sorry if that offends anyone).  They are very much of the free market mindset.  These are entrepreneurs and investors.  This was my first trip to Norway and I was in for a shock.

The $11 beer and $50 pizza was a good starter.  And I don’t mean some exotic beer and pizza.  I’m talking Pizza Hut quality.  As I found out, Norway has a 200% alcohol tax because they determined citizens drank too much and wanted to eliminate this scourge of modern society, completely disregarding the concept of personal choice.  A basic Porsche 911 costs about $250,000.  A 700 square foot apartment in the city costs about $2500 per month.  Gasoline is about $9 per gallon.  And this is all created by taxation.  On top of that Norwegians pay between 35-50% income tax.  But they do have “free” healthcare.

This “free” healthcare system consists of wait times for basic procedures that can take from just a few weeks to several months before you can get an appointment.  Of course emergency care is quick, but what about an MRI?  Sure, we’ll see you in July.  They also have a great public transportation system.  But a one-way subway ticket costs about $5. 

Unfortunately this is the path I see for the US.  There are many similarities.  Norway even considers their system an improved American government.  Is this really the way we want to go in the US?  I have no interest in living in a place like Norway.  Sure their income is much higher.  A McDonald’s employee earns about $20 per hour, but a Big Mac meal costs $12.  How do they intend to attract competitive companies when the cost of doing business is so high?  Do we want to follow in those footsteps?

For one of my Norwegian friends, we were discussing a program that allows him to ‘escape’ Norway.  He sold his company a few years ago to a large tech firm in Norway.  This firm just recently sold out to a large US company and my friend’s job is now able to be done remotely.  We are looking at ways for him to invest offshore and defer his gains as well as structuring his life around a multi-flag lifestyle.  He will likely continue to work for his company in Norway earning a ridiculously high wage in Norwegian kroners, but he will move to warmer and cheaper climate where his income goes much further.  By doing this he can structure his own investment firm in one country, do his banking and investing in another, continue to earn an income in Norway, and live in another place.  There are also huge tax savings to be gained from this.  He is very interested in intelligent asset protection planning.

Now is the time for you to consider how you want to structure your life.  Maybe you won’t make such a drastic change, but you can too form your own offshore investment company and defer taxation.  You can restructure your business for maximum asset protection.  Or you can find a new country to live in.  But don’t wait until you cannot leave or you are paying $12 per gallon for gas and waiting 6 months for an MRI.  Live well.