YOU WON’T FIND W.G. HILL ON ANY BEST SELLER LISTS, BUT IT’S HARD TO FIND A MILLIONAIRE WHO HASN’T READ MOST OF HIS $100 “SPECIAL REPORTS”.
Hill’s Low Profile — The name W.G. Hill isn’t bandied around much in the book-publishing world. No literary society has ever discussed any of the two dozen or so volumes this author has produced. But over the last thirty years, in the world of bankers, accountants, high net worth investors and financiers with offshore interests, Hill has been a seminal influence.
His most famous book is P.T., or “Perpetual Tourist.” Though this title might convey the idea that it’s a book about traveling, it isn’t. The subject is, how wealthy people can – with proper paperwork – enjoy life more. Its “How to have a good time with your money, but at the same time avoid unwelcome attentions that conspicuous consumption and high profile wealth always bring.” These negatives include the unwelcome intrusions of tax collectors, insurance salesman, contingent fee plaintiff’s lawyers, alimony seeking ex-wives, kidnappers, burglars. Not to mention every description of con-man.
Do these matters concern millionaires? Judging from Hill’s book sales, they do, indeed. The original Hill (who could not be found for an interview – EW hears he’s in Patagonia doing hands-on research on female female gaucho wranglers – was back in the 1970’s a self-publisher who advertised his books as “Special Reports” in the London based Economist and International Herald Tribune. One of his early fans was the newsletter guru, Sir Harry Schultz, who must have made enough beforehand or sold enough books to live well. Sir Harry writes in PT, “I spent my first few years as a tax exile at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel, interacting with hard-bodied, high maintenance cost divorced women who in their topless bikinis populated Riviera pool sides like motes in the sunshine.”
Hill’s books always offered his personal services to assist any reader to accomplish the goals set out. For instance, his 1975 Lloyd’s Report promised the reader would “make serious money without any investment, work or risk.” This was two decades before many Lloyd’s names did in fact suffer substantial losses. But Hill wrote later, “If people handled their Lloyd’s relationships as I suggested (with stop loss insurance) they came out way ahead.” Hill charged a hefty fee to introduce new names and get them into Lloyd’s as insurance underwriters.
Eventually, around 1985 Hill’s maneuvers were picked up and thereafter published by Nicholas Pine. Pine was then operating as Milestone Press of Plymouth, England. He was a very minor publisher of books for collectors of ceramics. Their typical press run in the pre-Hill days was a thousand copies. With Hill’s books for millionaires soon selling like hot cakes, Milestone hit pay dirt. Pine changed his company’s name to Scope International. An ex-employee revealed that at the time he quit, sales of well over 100,000 copies of each Hill book would have been “a low ballpark figure.” With ten books being major sellers and a direct mail price of £60 / $100 per book, that means that gross sales of Hill’s books passed the 100 million dollar mark some years ago. As marketers who sell direct via advertising and junk-mail that means most revenues go direct to the bottom line. Although book sales figures are not available to the public (through bookstores), this could mean that little known Scope, by publishing the works of a mystery man who disappeared ten years ago, is far and away, the world’s most profitable book publisher.
But The Profits Just Start With Book Sales — Each Hill report describes a certain product or lifestyle. If the reader wants to make it a reality, he hires Hill (or more recently a Hill clone at fees up to $10,000 per consultation) to get him up and running. Our informant suggests that twenty per cent of all book buyers sign up for consulting services. Then there are the international seminars at $2000, plus residence and passport programs costing up to $350,000. The Hill books suggest other ways that millionaires can enjoy their money more – by spending it with Scope on “lifestyle enhancing” products and services.
The basic premise of PT and all of Hill’s books, is that any wealthy person will enjoy life more and protect his assets better by using what Hill calls “five flags.”
THE FIVE FLAG THEORY
The First flag for instance, is the Passport of a country that doesn’t try to tax or control you once you have left. According to Hill, any passport will serve this purpose except those of the USA. Their citizens have to renounce and get another one. Why? The USA is the only country that taxes the worldwide income of nonresidents. It is also the only country that polices it’s citizens morals and conduct abroad by making certain conduct of its citizens outside the country, criminal acts punishable by jail sentences back home. These include traveling to forbidden places, paying minor bribes, or having sex of a forbidden kind.
Each “Flag” of Hill’s is supported by at least one other book. For instance: The suggestion that every PT should have a suitable passport, good for visa-free traveling and not costing the holder a substantial portion of one’s income is supported by Hill’s most popular book. This is the PASSPORT REPORT, a hefty, nearly 400 page reference manual that explores the opportunities “in over 125 countries and political subdivisions.”
The Second flag is the Tax Haven Legal Residence — Every millionaire needs one, according to Hill. This concept is followed up by Scope with a large number of regional reports on such places as Monaco, Campione, Liechtenstein, The Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Andorra, Gibraltar, Switzerland. As there are no taxes in these tax haven, moving (by eliminating income taxes) doubles one’s income at a stoke.
The third flag is Playgrounds — Where can a jaded tycoon enjoy good climate, gourmet food? Where, if he desires it, is the companionship of beautiful young women (temporary wives), thrust upon him? Who will gladly (and for a small fee) provide him with the illusion of love, if not the reality. This aspect of the Millionaire’s dilemma was well covered by Hill’s controversial book, Sex Havens For Tax Fiends. Despite its great popularity, this report was withdrawn from the publisher’s list two years ago because of legal problems due to British censorship and obscenity laws.
The fourth flag is the place Where The Millionaire Invests His Money — These are countries and institutions where funds are placed under management to get maximum, tax free returns, safety from lawsuits, government confiscation, wealth taxes and all the financial problems and other risks. This problem is solved definitively in the newest 1997 Hill/Trevellian book, The Invisible Investor, subtitled, “Get Your Money Out of the Country Before Your Country Gets the Money Out of You.” Here we visit the “offshore” world and the service providers who swim in it. Cayman Islands, Panama, Bermuda, Bahamas and other banking secrecy centers are explored.
The fifth and last flag is Where To Work, Earn Money And Have An Active Business — For USA citizens, one of several recommended options is to incorporate abroad, have your headquarters, administrative and billing done from abroad, but sell your products worldwide, still paying attention to the important United States market. .” For readers who don’t have quite enough money to retire completely, there is another new 1997 report PTO: Portable Trades & Occupations. The idea here is to describe several dozen ways that any person can earn “serious money” in a foreign country – even if without any residence or work permit. These methods include promoting events, doing consulting work, giving seminars, public speaking and various types of creative work, including writing and self-publishing. Hill should certainly know something about that!
DOES HILL EXIST?
There was a chap, introduced and billed as Hill. who used to appear at Scope’s lectures in various wigs and disguises. He disappeared from the scene many years ago. It was variously announced that the original Hill had died, retired or went low profile himself in the Far East. The truth seems to be that there was a falling out with Scope and Hill just left.
Some Hill books released during the 1990’s, are said not to bear his distinctive humor and cut-to-the-point style. Scope is mum on the subject of what happen to the Original Hill, but they keep reissuing and selling more and more of his old titles. There are newly revised and expanded versions appearing every year. All we know for sure is that the original Hill, if he ever existed, hasn’t done a new book for ten years.
TREVELLIAN – WORTHY SUCCESSOR TO HILL?
Lately, Hill’s one time editor and friend, Peter Trevellian has released under the Trevellian name, two new titles, PTO and Invisible Investor. These reports complete the set and round out Hill’s original plan: “To present a coherent philosophy for productive, successful people, together with specific, highly detailed plans for achieving their goals.” In doing this, Scope, Hill and Trevellian have certainly found a profitable niche for themselves.
(Article from the Expat World Newsletter www.expatworld.net)
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