When I learnt about this book, I thought I'd better prepare to hide all my wealth when I get impolitely rich. However, after reading Chuck's book, I'm somewhat skeptical about the concept of paying fewer taxes. Moreover, the ultra-rich don't need to manage all their wealth. It's all done by unique entities called "family offices."
The family offices are companies owned by estates with a central role of hiding, preserving and multiplying wealth. If before the rich had to outsource stuff to trusted third parties, nowadays they employ lawyers, accountants, lobbyists and other professionals to avoid any conflict of interest. Let me repeat that: tens and hundreds of people are working full-time to manage the wealth of a single family! Crazy!
So there is no need to prepare to manage all that future wealth. Professionals will handle it. However, what is the ways to hide, preserve and multiply wealth? In short:
- Hide beneficiaries with legal structures like trusts; when no one "owns" the money, there is no one to send the tax bill
- Hedge money in real estate, art, crypto and other "stable" investments; this way, raising the prices of them
- Invest on better terms in ventures unavailable to the general public; hence, have better upside than most
- Lobby the law-makers to ease the estate laws, often by employing deceiving PR techniques
I'm glad that the author spoke up after inheriting the wealth. Otherwise, I would never have thought about family offices in such terms. I'm a bit disappointed in the simplicity of what's going on. I imagined secret societies of lizards — and what I got were some people ignorant of the long-term consequences of their actions.
And long-term consequences there are! Every dollar hidden contributes to increasing wealth inequality which triggers a cascade of events resulting in the rise of homelessness, drugs and crime — and a decrease in the life quality. Scientists have proven the fact that philanthropy makes philanthropists happier. Is the inverse true? From what I see, it might as well be!
Overall, I'd recommend this short book to everyone. We must know what's going on behind the expensive curtains. First of all, vote for officials that are trying to prevent this. Secondly, to not succumb to eating the Earth so our children and grandchildren live in ruins — when the time comes to distribute our ultra-wealth.