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I don't OWN it, I CONTROL it

Discussion in 'General Entrepreneurship and Startup' started by Russ H, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. Russ H
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    Russ H Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    For years I've been saying that the bigger/more wealthy an individual gets, the more "control" they have over things.

    This is intentional-- the middle class are fond of saying "I'm the owner of ________".

    Really rich/wealthy folks don't say this. They don't WANT others to know how much they own.

    As an individual becomes more and more wealthy, they often shift their focus from $$$ to CONTROL.

    In other words, it's not as important for them to personally "own" something-- it's more important to "control" it.

    Examples:

    -A middle class person may "own" their home, and may even "own" a vacation home or two.

    -A rich/wealthy person may not "own" any of the homes they live in (they may have many). A separate LLC or other corporate entity "owns" these properties, shielding the wealthy person from frivolous lawsuits.

    *******

    -A middle class person may "own" the car they drive (most do).

    -A wealthy person may not own the cars in their garage. It's more likely that these vehicles are owned by a corporate entity (for liability/tax reasons), OR-- since brand new cars depreciate over time and in most cases are a poor investment, the car may just be leased-- the wealthy person never intends to own them. The lease is often paid by a corporate entity, and not directly by the person that drives it.

    *********************

    The ultimate form of control is law. If you want something done that benefits you, having it made into law makes it easier to accomplish.

    So it stands to reason that the mega-wealthy (who understand and appreciate the advantages of CONTROL) are the people most interested in influencing LAW to do things that favor them personally.

    The world's wealthiest people have an enormous influence on politics (politicians are our law makers). Wealthy people influence law by getting "their own people" elected-- politicians who will "pay them back" with favorable legislation -- or, even better-- someone who has the same goals/principles as the wealthy person, and by "voting their principles" also endorses/supports the wealthy person's agenda.

    It is with this in mind that I present the following MASSIVE change in American control systems (aka "politics"):

    Court eases business, union election spending rule - Yahoo! News

    PLEASE NO POLITICAL COMMENTS-- that is not the intent of this thread.

    I'm posting to ask:

    1. Have you made the shift from OWNING to CONTROLLING?

    2. If so, WHAT have you done? HOW have you done it?

    3. What changes/adjustments could you make to your PLAN to benefit from the massive change just approved by the US Supreme Court? (note to international readers: You too could structure your PLAN to benefit from these changes, if you plan on doing business in the US. How/what would *you* do?)

    -Russ H.
     
  2. PaulRobert
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    PaulRobert Gold Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Russ I cannot Thank You enough for typing this up. I had been exposed to own nothing control everything quite early on my life. When I was in 7th grade I went to the Lamborghini dealership and had a extensive talk with the manager of the dealership. I remember when he said this sentence. I remember it word for word. "Most of my customers do not own these cars, they sign em off to their own business. So basically they don't pay for them, their business does." At first I was in confusion because I didnt understand the statement, but as I started learning about how a business works, taxes and entities, I began to unravel the secret to that sentence. The answer was -- "Own nothing, Control everything." What a lesson I learned from a Lamborghini sales manager. :icon_super:

    Thank You again for posting this.. O Yeah two more things.

    Speed +++

    and

    :95mph:
     
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  3. kurtyordy
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    kurtyordy Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    I think the most important lesson from this is to control an audience. This ruling just increased the value of having a political audience.
     
  4. clee4
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    clee4 New Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane

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    Lamboman350K

    the phrase "Own nothing, control everything." didnt make much sense when i first heard it, but like you...as i continued to learn more and understand business...it made more and more sense. great thread.
     
  5. Gymjunkie
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    Gymjunkie Silver Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I first need to get to "own" level..then I can improve... I'm still just in "own" state :(
     
  6. MonTexan
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    MonTexan Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Great points Russ. I never really thought of it this way, but I did make a shift from "owning" to "controlling" my real estate investments early on. Getting started, my business partner and I took turns buying houses in our personal names because we didn't have any other choice....banks wouldn't lend money to our rookie LLC.

    We disliked the added liability of personally owning the houses, but we disliked the thought of being a wage slave the rest of our lives much more. So we did it.

    After a year or so of managing the business and building relationships with bankers we were able to refi those houses out of our personal names and into our LLC's name. We've also done the same thing with our company truck!
     
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  7. GreenHouses
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    GreenHouses New Contributor

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    Good topic, thanks Russ.

    As some of you know I'm from Australia and we have different structures here, so please bear that in mind when you read this.

    We set up a corporate structure before we bought our first investment property.

    We set up a trust, a company for property trading, and the trust has a trustee.

    Initially the trustee was my wife (and/or) myself as private individuals. We did that to keep costs down with setting up the structure. However it wasn't too long and we changed the trustee to be a corporate trustee (a company). We did this to strengthen the overall structure.

    Also I was the sole director / company secretary of one of the companies and my wife was the sole director / company secretary of the other... the separation was for asset protection reasons.

    After a few years we closed down the trading company because we no longer do property trading (vendor financing deals).

    Aside from the property trading, all our investments (shares and buy & hold property) have always been bought through the trust. In addition to the asset protection, it gives us some more control over our taxes (minimizing them) since we can change how the net proceeds from the trust are dispersed from year to year.

    Having the trust and the trading company (when we had it) allowed us to claim some expenses as business / investment related, to minimise our tax a little. These expenses haven't been anything substantial though.
     
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  8. 365
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    I agree and I started very early to play around with limited companies.

    However, I strongly oppose the idea of putting your private expenses on the bill of your business. Bad influence on your employees who will assume the company is there to pay for their expenses (company cars, credit cards are no good) and it will obviously mess with your numbers and your capability to interpret what's going on in your business.

    So I would suggest you create a new separate company instead and keep things separate and clean.
     
  9. Gymjunkie
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    Gymjunkie Silver Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I honestly don't get people who earn enough but run for paying taxes (full taxes) and look for ways to reduce them. Come on, you make enough, you can pay them and make more back. It's often talked about abundance here but this kind of thing makes me think about scarcity... Sorry for throwing a rock but I don't get it..
     
  10. kurtyordy
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    I prefer the freedom to determine how and where I give back and the maximum impact it can have. Taxes steal that right from me and power hungry politicians determine where it goes to serve them best. So, taxes are not about abundance, they are about power.
     
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  11. Russ H
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    Russ H Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Gymjunkie, a personal q: What is the max you've ever earned in a year?

    If it's less than $100,000, it's natural for you to feel this way.

    Once you've worked your tail off for years to build a business, and it starts to generate big bucks, it's painful to see hundreds of thousands of dollars go to the tax man each year.

    You ask yourself: "Is there another way?"

    The answer is: Yes!

    And its' not tax evasion, or anything fraudulent.

    It's all about maximizing your return on investment.

    And being able to give where you want.

    For instance: We give away thousands of dollars each year to charities we've chosen. These expenses are completely deductible on our corporate tax returns.

    And we pay less tax overall, as a result of our donations (since we have less money left).

    But I think you have a really good point- -and one that folks like MJ might want to answer.

    I'm going to copy your post to a separate thread, in the hopes it gets a greater response. :)

    -Russ H.
     
  12. Brootal
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    Brootal Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane

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    Russ: Thanks for this!

    A few questions:

    1) How can someone take advantage of these techniques if they DO NOT make more than $100,000, work a full time job, but have an LLC for a smaller side business.

    For example: Is it possible to use my LLC to "control" my car and get tax advantages? (sorry if I am completely missing the point to this?)

    2) Is there some sort of guide that can help with learning these things? I often hear about these tax advantages and techniques but have no idea where to start or where the heck these people heard about them to begin with.

    THANKS!!
     
  13. Rem
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    Rem Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    You can always learn techniques on how to manipulate and control people with other things besides money. It's done all the time but I wouldn't advise it.

    :tiphat:
     
  14. Gymjunkie
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    Gymjunkie Silver Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I haven't. This definitely can be my limiting belief or something like that, but still. When you earn a lot you should be secure in yourself, stop counting every penny (my problem with Buffet, too frugal ) and just enjoy fruits of your labor! Yeah you pay a lot and that sucks but you shouldn't be paying less than anyone else just because you earn more (I don't know about taxes in USA, I assume everyone pays the same percentage of their personal income).

    And from this post I understood that you see charity as expense... that sounds strange... I'd be glad to give it and will give it out easily!

    Sorry if I sound like a prick, not here to offend, I may not be understanding everything fully :)

     
  15. Russ H
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    Russ H Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    You don't understand, but that's cool.

    1. First off, as you make more money, I think you may feel different. My attitudes changed a LOT from the time I was making $20K/yr in the early 1980s to when I was making $300K/yr in the late 1990s.

    2. The US has a sliding scale for income tax. Note that it's INCOME tax, not use tax or sales tax. Everyone pays the same rates for sales tax (on food, gas, retail goods, cigarrettes, alcohol, etc). Taxes vary by state and even by city, but within each area, each person pays the same sales tax, whether they're begging money on the corner, or flying over that corner in a helicopter they own.

    I mean that their *corporation* owns. I had several clients w/Gulfstreams and heli's. None of them personally owned any of them.

    There is a sliding scale for US income tax (see screen shot, below).

    Let's say you made a million dollars ($1,000,000) in income in 2009.

    Tax you pay:

    $835.00 First $8,350 is taxed at 10%
    $3,840.00 Next $25,600.00 is taxed at 15%
    $12,075.00 Next $48,300.00 is taxed at 25%
    $25,004.00 Next 89,300.00 is taxes at 28%
    $66,462.00 Next $201,400.00 is taxed at 33%
    $219,467.50 Next $627,050.00 is taxed at 35%
    ___________
    $327,682.50 = total FEDERAL taxes paid on $1M.

    But wait, there's more!

    If you look at sales tax, excise taxes, and income taxes, you wind up paying another 3.9-11.7% tax on that income. I'll just use the national average (6.7%) = $67,000 additional taxes

    This of course does not count employment taxes like Social Security (about $6620.00) and Medicare (about $14,500).

    So . . .

    $327,682.50
    $67,000.00
    $6620.00
    $14,500.00
    =415,802.50 of your million dollars--- PAID IN TAXES!

    Oh, wait . . . I forgot property taxes . . . If you own a really big, really expensive house (or multiple houses), you'll be paying tens of thousands of dollars (perhaps more) in property taxes. Prop taxes are deductible-- to a point. But it's related to the size of your mortgage-- so if you've paid off your house (many retired fastlaners have), then you will owe 100% of the prop taxes. Let's say that you own 3 homes, all are paid for, and you have a combined prop tax for those 3 of $56,000.00/yr.

    adding . . .

    $415,802.50 + $56,000.00 = $471,802.50 of your $1,000,000.00 -- ALL GOING TO TAXES.

    That's over 47% of your income, for the year.

    Trust me-- it doesn't hurt until you start making this kind of money.

    Then, you start to feel the pain.

    -Russ H.
     
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  16. Russ H
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    Russ H Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I'm guessing this is humor?

    You are getting sleeeeeeepy . . . . sleeeeeeeepy . . . . :)

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGKgr8SDdtY]YouTube - Chinese hypnotic spiral[/ame]

    -Russ H.
     
  17. Russ H
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    Russ H Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Great points.

    It is important to not use a corp as a place to "expense" personal things-- they need to be legitimate (and legal) business expenses.

    That being said, there are a TON of legit expenses that can be "expensed" through a business.

    Things like:

    -A truck or car that you use ONLY for work (the ONLY part is important-- you can also expense a percentage of use, but 100% use, w/another vehicle for personal use, is great, if you can do it (again, keeps things clean).

    -Taking employees out to lunch/dinner. 100% expensible.

    -Buying office supples (including books)- 100% expensible

    -Paying utilities (water, power, gas) for a building (or suite) that you use only for business

    Here's the thing:

    You make $100,000
    You have $60,000 in legitimate business expenses (things like the above items)

    Then, only $40,000 is taxable. And even less may be, if you have other tax exemptions (eg, loss carryovers from prior years).

    -Russ H.
     
  18. Russ H
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    Russ H Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Don't make the mistake of expensing personal things through your biz. That's a bad boo-boo. Much better to study what is expensible and what is not (see next point).

    Here's the first-- and best-- book I read on the subject:

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Loopholes-Rich-Legally-Make-Money/dp/0446678325]Amazon.com: Loopholes of the Rich: How the Rich Legally Make More Money and Pay Less Tax (9780446678322): Diane Kennedy, Robert Kiyosaki: Books[/ame]

    After that, I read this:

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Rich-Dads-Advisors-Corporation-Companies/dp/0446539066/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1264232717&sr=1-1-spell]Amazon.com: Rich Dad's Advisors: Own Your Own Corporation: Why the Rich Own Their Own Companies and Everyone Else Works for Them (9780446539067): Garrett Sutton, Robert T. Kiyosaki: Books[/ame]

    (and we started working w/Garrett shortly thereafter)

    -Russ H.
     
  19. unicon
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    Taxes are the biggest business and personal expense bar none.

    Control is more of a legal concept as mentioned above, it may be like buying a more expensive asset to pay less tax from a depreciation standpoint as an extreme example. It is more about bigness.

    From an investing standpoint "certainty" is the non-legal counterpart and perhaps a more priority focus.

    Flexibility may be more of a primary goal as flexibility is equal to profitability. Getting in and out of deals with less dependance on any third party approval, bureaucracy, etc., may be more appropriate for a fast moving small guy.

    Having 3 corporations historically one could control the timing of expense and income thereby reducing taxes. However this is offset by more bookeeping and reporting requirements.

    If one is brutal about cost cutting of expenses and efficiency toward zero based spending, all expenses are attacked in addition to taxes. In other words the purpose of control could actually increase expenses when certainty and flexibility would reduce expenses.

    Idealogically the more legalistic and politically correct the world gets the more control is needed with more entities. Lawsuits are exhausted going through many entities but there is a cost to these entities.

    Corporation to Trust to Limited Partnership - The end control with the general partner who owns nothing (standard layering).

    Warning - don't buy into all the world's predictions of doom one might lose focus on how to make the real dollars. Decreasing spending is difficult but you learn gobs from it - the exact opposite of what politicians do!!

    Keep it simple and you may not pay any taxes for a decade and own millions in property and control a portfolio if added together in geography and utility would equal (approach) Bill Gates's living status.

    This is possible by just combining a business and real estate one step at a time. Insurance may be your most important control device than legal entities.

    Keep in mind that if you are an animal about protecting your position, prevention is more about the substance of what you do, not the entity. If you have a reputation as a stand up guy (person) and a no-nonsense attitude people will not mess with you. Not saying this is easy but it is character building.

    Sometimes complexity will disguise opportunity.

    Example: If I want to make a deal one is structured to do it overnight, without any 3rd party approval, any financing, any creative alternative, or even an escrow, etc. I have true control, flexibility, and efficiency.

    I no longer have 3 corporations as my business was sold. Real Estate is held personnally currently with a concept of building up one property at a time which complements the others synergistically, if one would leverage into a large business the corporate entity would be a minimum requirement.
     
  20. Bilgefisher
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    I like the idea of control for my real estate investments. I fear that setting up the extra layers of control is a mere shroud that lawyers have found ways through.

    I don't have much atm, but its a lot to me in my little world. The way I understand it, control is more or less protection of wealth.

    The old days a bank or vault would be used. Now we use legal structures. The core concept is the same, the method has changed. We must adapt to these new methods. Russ I will be very interested in talking to you about this topic and many more at the B&P.
     
  21. Jcroz91
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    Jcroz91 PARKED

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    this is actually very true and i never realized it until now! very interesting
     
  22. Russ H
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    Russ H Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    test post

    rh
     
  23. StreetsofSilver
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    "Own nothing, control everything" - means 2 words to me "owner financing." An example for real estate is buying a property subject to the existing mortgage or using a land contract and holding the deed. Then rent the property out to a 3rd party and make it cash flow or sell it and collect.

    An example for business would be to buy an existing business (that's in distress) using owner financing. You now control the business and put better management systems in place to make it profitable.

    In both examples you control the property/business using OPM and don't have to personally take the risk.
     
  24. Russ H
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    Russ H Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    So true.

    But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    So much can be done w/corporations, living trusts, and proxies.

    So much! :banana:

    -Russ H.
     
  25. GlobalWealth
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    GlobalWealth Platinum Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I find this thread very interesting as this is what I do. My firm counsels entrepreneurs and investors on proper asset protection strategies.

    The Rockefeller quote "own nothing and control everything" is actually on my homepage. this is the core principle behind the subject of asset protection. Essentially you have 2 main threats to your wealth; government and litigation. The govt threat ranges from taxation, currency controls, inflation, restrictive legislation etc.

    I find Gymjunkie's posts very interesting considering this is an entrepreneurial forum, but I suppose everyone is entitled to your own viewpoint.

    From my viewpoint, the creation and preservation of wealth is the ONLY factor that matters for the improvement of society. Government has a 0% success rate and successful wealth creation. By implementing a proper asset protection structure you take control of how you wish to spend your money, as Russ stated.

    Right now the US has the highest corporate tax rate in the world and one of the highest personal tax rates in the world. If you factor in the private cost of health care, US citizens pay the highest tax in the world. Or at least the ones that pay tax. About 50% of all US citizens pay 0 tax leaving the burden on the top earners.

    I just returned yesterday from a trip to Oslo, Norway and it was quite enlightening. They pay a slightly higher tax rate than we do, but they have free health care. Their income and cost of living is much, much higher though. For example there is a 200% tax on alcohol. The government has decided the people drink too much therefore they imposed their own social values on the public thereby lowering consumption. A beer at a pub costs arount $11-12 per .4L. Yikes.

    By using a combination of LLC's, LP's, trusts, and offshore entities, you can create a structure that allows you to take control of your assets as opposed to allowing the government or creditors (litigation) to control you. The point is never to evade taxation, but to maximize the available tax benefits. The only reason any rational person pays more tax that he/she really owes is because he/she is not aware of ways to reduce the burden.
     

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