Matthias A. Will is a business consultant and tax-strategist servicing HNWI clients around the globe. His expertise ranges from international corporate strategies to individual internationalization, asset protection and flag-theory. BitcoinNews conducted an interview in which he shares his best kept secrets how to make the most out of secure vaults and lockboxes and his motivation to help clients to think and act intertnationally.
Hi Matthias, thanks for taking the time with us today. You travel around the world, live in hotels and are constantly on the go, why this unsettled lifestyle?
Originally I started this lifestyle of living and working remotely because I had to be physically close to my customers that are scattered around the world. The longer I did it, the more I discovered the fun to explore the different tastes and cultures this planet has to offer. So for now it is about half fun half business necessity.
You help people maximize freedom and optimize their corporate structure, what lead you to this profession and mission?
This merely happened by accident. Probably the key point was when I had a market research job that included talking to the rich and wealthy and find out what moves them and which products and services they need to make their lives better and I found solutions how to provide these products and services to them. With the advancement of technology it became clear that many of these strategies can be used by a broader range of people, even some that are “just” starting out like location independent gig workers or digital nomads.
Freedom is one of my highest values, so it was clear that I wanted to do something that brings more freedom to the world, no matter if it is for a new solopreneur or a settled high network individual.
Tell us about your lockbox game, what are the strategic considerations, what do you store?
The basic ideas behind the lockbox game are security, efficiency and convenience. With my rapid travel style, every item that I carry around adds weight and clutter to life because I need to take care of it, wash it, repair it, etc. Let’s take the example of a simple shirt.
Since I travel only with a small bag pack that fits under the seat in front of me on a plane, it is very difficult to transport it from one place to the other without it getting wrinkled, smelly or dirty. So why not have a clean, ironed shirt for you waiting after landing, no matter where you go.
Another example would be underwear or socks. What sense does it make to carry dirty laundry on an international flight just to spend hours of your valuable lifetime after landing at a laundromat in a foreign city?
Let the clean clothes wait for you at arrival. And finally, shopping in a foreign country can be a challenge, maybe they don’t have your size, favorite color, brand etc or you don’t speak the language to tell them what you need. This way, wherever I go, I can rely that the things that work for me are readily available. Sometimes I even send (non-perishable) food delivery to my lockbox instead to my hotel room so that my favorite items wait for me on arrival without having to stop by the grocery store and I can be sure that hotel staff did not tamper with it.
Another pillar in the lockbox game consists of important items or documents. It can be very risky (theft, security) to carry them around with you all the time. So for most things I carry just copies, while the originals and some notarized copies are in the lockbox.
Some examples of these items would be the same model of my laptop and cell phone I am using (including sim card, all apps installed and a matching charger), one emergency credit card from each major network (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) an additional passport, a 2FA yubikey, American Express travelers checks and a small paper notebook with phone numbers of my most important contacts and passwords (abbreviated) in case I lose access to the digitally stored versions.
And the third group consists of items that hold monetary or sentimental value to me, that I don’t need to carry around all the time.
Some of these lockboxes are serviced, which means third parties have access to them and are able to send me the contents to wherever I am in the world, e.g. if I would lose my laptop or passport, they could send me the replacement that is stored there within a matter of days if not hours. Others require me to be be there in person. Those ones contain items that are too valuable to take the risk that people who would service a lockbox could create substancial damage with (e.g. leaking confidential information).
You’re very sceptical of Bitcoin, what’s the insider information that others are missing?
I want to make clear, that I am not a sceptic when it comes to the technology behind Bitcoin but more about the tendencies of more and more governments in the world to take personal (financial) freedoms away. So I see Bitcoin or other crypto currencies facing a usage ban in at least some countries in the mid-term future. It makes more sense for governments to roll out their own mandatory digital currency, that features total control about every transaction. Maybe, in a dystopian point of view, we could see this technology be combined with a social credit system like we know it from China and/or a universal basic income. I am aware that we cannot “ban” the technology, but if governments start to punish their use (probably under the flag of money laundering, terrorism, etc), the generation of my parents or grandparents won’t use bitcoin to pay for their potatoes at their local grocery store.
What is your general approach to asset protection and what are the must haves in 2022?
The three pillars of asset protection are diversity, accessibility and anonymity. While this is one of those famous triangles where you can only pick two of them at the same time for a certain asset class one should have at least a few from each category.
Diversifying can happen between assets in the class, different currencies, countries. Accessibility can happen e.g. with using different custodians, e.g. different brokers for your stocks, different wallets for your coins, different lockboxes for your private keys and collection of fancy watches. And anonymity can be attained by not holding assets under your name, using an anonymous storage facility, an offline wallet not linked to your name, an offshore company or over the counter transactions.
We live in turbulent times, how do you keep your calm?
There are very few instances when panic would improve a situation. Calm comes from the security that I have thought of about 80% of the possible outcomes of situations or interruptions to my life and the knowledge that I will never fully discover and fix the other 20%. This is one of the many instances where the so-called Pareto principle helps us to stay focused on what works. As long as I know, that the worst outcome of those 80% that I am prepared for would be one I could live with, there is no need to think about other bridges I might cross before they are in sight.