I would be interested in GlobalWealth's take on this quote.
Would someone mind clearing up this popular Rockefeller quote for me?
I would be interested in GlobalWealth's take on this quote.
Post from yahoo answers
"I think he meant that if you try to own a specific something, you are forced to attach yourself to that something (like property or money, for instance). You are limiting yourself to what you can really do if you try to own something. You always have to watch your back, you always have to play watchdog watching over that piece of territory you own, to make sure no one takes it. That is force, not power. True power does not require you to hold something down (owning something) to be able to remain in control. One should be like a remote control -- to be in control of all the channels but not limiting oneself to just a few channels. Otherwise, you'll never know what the other channels are like. Be like a Puppetmaster, not a slave driver. Everyone is your puppet, but you only operate behind the scenes using invisible strings and are not bound to them. Let go, and you'll know what power is."
The best example I could think of to how this would play out is for an investment company like a hedgefund or REIT. You as the owner of the trust or hedgefund do not personally own any of the hard assets but you control them.
Another way of looking at it would be a business that purchases everything via an unsecured line of credit or loan void of a personal guarantee. In this regard you personally do not own anything the business does but you get to control all of it.
This has been my interpretation it could be way off of the point he was trying to make but it seems like pretty descent idea anyways.
The thing with these old time quotes is we don't in what context the person said the phrase. Could mean a couple different things based on what he was talking about..
IMO, I believe that he was referring to trusts. With a trust (or REIT) you do not own the assets...the trust does....but you can control what goes into the trust. I believe that the Rockefeller's put a large majority of their fortunes into trusts as asset protection.
EDIT: Just read what Pete wrote above.....Agreed!
But isn't ownership the big rule of entrepreneurship? If you don't have equity, you don't technically have a business, ya know?
At the same time, however, Rockefeller clearly wasn't an idiot (I read that he'd be worth around 10x as much as Bill Gates if he were alive today, with his money adjusted for inflation), so I don't feel right dismissing his elusive knowledge just like that.
It almost seems like he is saying that it's better to control billions or trillions of dollars in government, than to own your own company and make millions yourself. Of course, he owned his oil company and wasn't a politician, so that's probably not what he meant either...
Sometimes you can't help but wonder.
Think about the publishing business, they own the RIGHTS to distribute someone else's work. Realtors have the rights to sell a house or a building that they don't own for a commission. Shipping business, someone may own (or have the rights to) a specific route, or docking space, then lease that route to the owner of the ship. This is the classic, middleman strategy.
Currently reading Rockefeller's "Random Reminiscences" book. Before the companies were split up, Rockefeller owned what is now basically all of the major oil/gas/whatever companies in the world (Chevron etc. etc.). If he had remained owner of all of this it is almost impossible to imagine what the net worth of his offspring etc. would be today - I'm sure his personal net worth would have exceed $1 trillion.
Essentially the idea is to control the asset without direct ownership. When you directly own something you open yourself up to liability. You also have limitations and sometimes can lack the ability to scale.
For example, a hedge fund manager controls 100's of millions or billions in assets, but likely owns a very small percentage. But his income is derived from the portfolio under control.
Another example is using investor or bank money to build a real estate portfolio. In a simple example you may have 10 rental houses worth $100k each but you may only have 5% equity in each house. This means you control $1m in assets but only have $50k in equity (ownership).
Using companies and trust is a great way to create a veil of privacy around your assets to shield ownership. For example with US real estate investors we frequently set up land trusts for clients to own their properties. This means they don't personally own the asset, but control them indirectly through their trustee (which we usually establish as a Private Wyoming LLC which they do own).
This minimizes their personal exposure and liability without giving up any control.
For example, your online company could be a Delaware LLC. That LLC could be owned by a Cook Islands Trust with you as beneficiary of the trust. You would also be the manager of the Delaware LLC. In this case you have now ownership (the Cook Islands Trust owns the company), but you have complete control.
If you chose to sell the company, your Cook Islands Trust would be the receiver of funds from the sale, but you get to direct the use of those funds.
I have heard (could quite possibly not be true I don't know for sure) that the Kennedy Compound has over 50 Trusts. For example the driveway has its own trust, the pool has its own trust etc.
LOL, that wouldn't surprise me in the least. Segregation of assets also minimizes your liability and can create opportunities.
For example, you may own 100 high value domain names and operate 10 of them as businesses. The domains are considered IP and could be owned by a separate entity (controlled by you) and leased to your operating companies (controlled by you).
This segregates the assets from the operations. You may use tax free offshore companies for owing IP while using Delaware LLC's for operations.
I agree with Global Wealth that this quote refers to trusts, but I also think that Rockefeller is pointing towards a broader view and a mindset and not just referring to finances. The Rockefeller family managed to form a vast amount of indirect ownership over national and global economics, organized religion, foreign policy, and more than 100 schools and universities via non-profits, trusts, councils, groups, and corporations.
When you have the ability to make money via a corporation...minimize taxable profit via non-profit...control competition and trade via council (Council of Foreign Relations, Council of Americas)...control public opinion via political connections...and finally control and shelter gained assets via Trusts then you have really "Owned Nothing, But Controlled Everything".
Rockefeller takes that quote to a whole new level.
In the cook islands example - the asset is owned by the trust and not legally owned by you, that part is understood. The part that I am still fairly unclear on is how you can give up control to a trustee or manager that is truly removed far enough from your circle of contacts to allow for a clean defense should it ever come to a court battle or some type of liability suit. I can imagine the field day the attorneys would have with you when they see that your "friend" is the manager or trustee of the trust in question. I also read about certain "trustee's" that can be arranged or set up and have looted and stolen the assets inside the trust.
How can we protect ourselves from these situations?
The message in the links below is to basically never hand over control of your trust to a stranger, makes sense but how does that stand up in court.
FORMER CPA AND TRUSTEE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR STEALING OVER $500,000 FROM TRUST FUNDS OF SIBLINGS TO SPEND ON DOLL COLLECTION - The Sheriff's Blogger
Trusts are the oldest form of legal entity and have existed for thousands of years. The earliest record of them is in Roman times when someone was called to go to war and his neighbor had to take care of his property for his remaining family. Modern trust law stems from British common law, which is essentially what most of the world follows in trust cases.
In essence, you do need to give up control to a trustee. Ideally you use a professional trust company that is well regarded. There are always examples of trustees running off with the grantors dough, but those stories are mostly just stories. In reality it is more likely that your local Bank of America banker drains your account and moves to Colombia.
In Cook Islands there are only 6 trust companies. The manage A LOT of trusts. They would be stupid to jeopardize their millions in annual fees they receive by stealing one person's money.
Thanks + Speed.
GlobalWealth, assuming you utilize this trust technique, and in the event of a lawsuit, is it possible that you could just get a lien slapped against you (where they simply steal a percentage of your income, as you no longer technically own the asset) since they won't be able to outright take your asset?
Does this strategy really protect your wealth, or does it just make it harder for someone to rob you blind in court?
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