by Adam Wolf, Director of US Operations – Global Wealth Protection LLC
Achieving personal freedom is just one small but vital step to achieving independent wealth
For whatever reason, there are people who believe that freedom is dangerous and you must be controlled, but as they so often say, “it’s for your own good.” The truth is that freedom in and of itself is rarely dangerous to other people (it can be dangerous to yourself, but that’s another conversation), but if you are truly free, those same people cannot control you and that generally makes them feel extremely frustrated.
Note that I did not say that it is just your government that wishes to control you. While it is certainly true that governments wants to control the lives of their citizens, there are plenty of non-governmental entities that wish to control you, too; bosses, lawyers, spouses, your significant other, parents, children, your scary neighbor, that guy at the club, your ex. The list goes on and on and obviously not everyone on the list attempts to control you to the same degree and with the same mechanisms.
If you are going to work diligently to achieve your personal freedom, whatever that freedom is to you, you have to mitigate the control that other people and entities place on you and your life. For as they try to control you, they are preventing you from achieving your personal freedom.
Merriam-Webster defines freedom as “the state of being free from the control or power of another.” I know that sounds overly simplistic, but it is not.
The enemy of personal freedom is control.
It just so happens that one of the cheapest, easiest, and most effective methods of preventing others from attempting to control you (thereby maximizing your personal freedom) is to protect your personal privacy.
If no one knows what it is you’re doing or how you’re doing it, they can’t prevent you from getting it done short of imprisoning you or killing you. Since there is only a tiny sliver of the population (save for government agents) that will go to those evil lengths to control you, the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor that if you effectively maintain your personal privacy, you will sidestep that very control that other people try to place on you, and therefore, you will have a much better chance of achieving your personal freedom.
As we’ve established, freedom means different things to different people, and while freedom isn’t free, it doesn’t have to be expensive. This is especially true in the personal privacy field. In fact, some of the easiest personal privacy solutions don’t cost a penny; they’re habits.
For that reason, personal privacy is the ideal place to start for those people who may be still suffering from analysis paralysis as they struggle with trying to “just start” achieving their personal freedom. It just so happens that personal privacy is also the best foundation upon which all your other freedom-plans can be built. Since maintaining your personal privacy is so integral to achieving freedom, it’s critically important that you do it right. If you short-change yourself in the privacy arena, the rest of your freedom-plans could be for naught.
Personal privacy is a touchy issue for many people. After all, if you’re not doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to hide, right?
I’m hear to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Your right to privacy is as natural and fundamental as your right to life. Anyone who says otherwise should be treated with the utmost contempt because they are the enemy of freedom.
As David Banisar and Simone Davies points out in their international survey of privacy and human rights report, “Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional treaties. Privacy underpins human dignity and other key values such as freedom of association and freedom of speech. It has become one of the most important human rights issues of the modern age.”
Folks, this is a big, big deal.
It is critically important that you begin to wrap you head around this fact and start treating your personal information with the care that it deserves. Ironically, for us, this is an increasingly hard “sell.”
In this day and age, when we’re all networked, wi-fied, facebooked, twittered, googled, and linked-in together, trying to convince people to start taking their personal privacy seriously is very difficult, because the reality is that if you want to protect your personal privacy, you have to change the way you go through life in the information age. It does not mean that you have to unplug and drop off the grid, but it does mean you have to change some habits and terminate some services that you likely are currently using.
I know it’s convenient that your gmail account integrates so seamlessly with your g**gle calendar. I know it’s wonderful that all your personal and business contacts, all your emails, all your web browsing habits, all your online search history, all your banking info, all your photos, all your reading material, all your everything is all nicely organized in one single, convenient Big Brother, super-portal, but you absolutely, positively must stop using any and all forms of freemail and their associated products. No more g**gle!
You are not g**gle’s customer! You don’t give g**gle any money to use all of their fabulous products, yet they make billions upon billions of dollars every year. Do you think they make all that money from those annoying pay per click ads that you never click on? I’ll repeat this in case you missed it the first time: YOU ARE NOT THE CUSTOMER! You are the product. Your personal information is being sold to the highest bidder, and oftentimes given away freely to governments.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me try to get back on track. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, freedom isn’t free, but it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Please keep this in mind as we begin to lay the foundation upon which we will build your freedom plan.
The legendary J.J. Luna has made a career out of being a privacy consultant. His book, How to be Invisible, should occupy a prominent place in your personal library. It is a veritable encyclopedia of how and why you should begin to make personal privacy the cornerstone of your overall financial freedom plan. Unlike most privacy and asset protection consultants, I’ve actually met J.J. Luna and I can tell you that he is one of the most gracious, humble, and private people you will likely never meet.
Luna learned how to be invisible when he was working behind enemy lines in General Franco’s Spain back in the 1960s. Had he been caught by the Spanish Secret Police, he could have spent the rest of his life locked up in a jail cell, or worse. Needless to say, Luna’s experiences in Spain have served him well throughout his career and he remains one of the world’s leading authorities on personal privacy.
As you will learn when you read Luna’s book, Rule #1 in taking control of your personal privacy is, “Do not, as long as you live, ever again allow your real name to be coupled with your home address.”
Not only is this Rule #1 in the personal privacy field, but it is Rule #1 as you work to achieve financial independence and personal freedom. It is THE foundation upon which everything else rests.
We will spend considerable time in future columns discussing your electronic privacy and giving your actionable steps you can take to lock down your electronic communication. (Cryptohippie being the absolute best, most secure, encrypted VPN and email provider in the world.) But ensuring the privacy of your real, physical, day-to-day life still requires that you quit using your home address for everything. Period.
Do not, as long as you live, ever again allow your real name to be coupled with your home address.
I know it sounds radical, but I assure you it is not, and it’s actually a lot easier to do than you think it is.
The FREE solution is simply to start receiving all your mail at your office, a friend’s house across town, your church (don’t laugh, that’s a great place to get mail if you can work it out with the parish), or somewhere else where you have a good relationship. It might take some creative discourse, but I’m sure you can think of something. Then, just head on over to the nearest post office and fill out a change of address form. Poof! You’ve just taken an amazingly powerful and simple step to protect your personal privacy and it didn’t cost you a dime.
If, however, you feel like you would simply invite too many questions about your reasons for wanting to receive mail at someplace other than your house, for a very modest sum, you can get a private post box at a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency like The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc, Pack & Mail, etc. Not only does using a CMRA give you a good level of “introductory” privacy, but it also gives you more convenience and safety if you do any traveling, because these companies will hold your mail while you’re away so it doesn’t pile up in your home mailbox.
And just like that, for oftentimes less than $100 per year, you have just taken a very important first step to ensuring your privacy as you work to achieve your personal freedom. There are other steps involved in actually cutting the ties between your real name and your home address which you will read in J.J. Luna’s book, but the ever-important first step is really no more difficult that that.
I know this doesn’t sound like any earth-shattering revelation. I also know it’s not an insider’s secret that will help you fulfill your dreams of becoming an independently wealthy, international man of mystery, but it is a very effective first step to help you get in the mindset of taking simple precautions that will protect your privacy to help you achieve your personal freedom. AND it’s a cheap step to take, so there’s no reason in the world to not take it!
Besides, when it comes time to establish your ghost address, form an offshore corporation, open an offshore bank account, establish foreign residency, set up a secure computing platform, and have your new passports sent to you, you’re going to want to use something other than your home address.