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How to Be Invisible: The Essential Guide to Protecting Your Personal Privacy, Your Assets, and Your Life (Revised Edition) Hardcover – March 18, 2004
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Top customer reviews
I selected this book on a whim, it looked "interesting" as I hate mass mail marketing, anonymous phone callers, and scams resulting from obtaining my name and address through our government vehicle licensing and property taxation departments, and other such invasions upon private citizens. It's ridiculous.
This is a great primer for those who want their privacy restored; you can pick and choose which methods will help you, and learn how to get there. Luna offers a very cool service with his New Mexico LLCs, but I pitched my ideas (based on the Luna book) to my attorney and in short order (one month, most of it spent head scratching) established an LLC for asset management. It turns out that Luna's fees are very reasonable, and he makes it all easy for you; my self-imposed attorney-client method was a little more nuts and bolts, and my ultimate costs were slightly higher. Annual renewal fees to the state are a mere $10, compared to $90 through Luna, but the Luna annual fee includes a Resident Agent (legal requirement), and I am now obliged to buy my daughters an annual business appreciation supper ($100, each) for their role as my Resident Agent. Finally, my LLC is written specifically for helping my family when I die, and therefore customized, yet I now enjoy the same privacy benefits as an LLC as described by Luna.
Side effects: My residence is now owned by the LLC, and I am now a renter. The insurance on the residence actually went down (as a business entity); but I now pay renters insurance; but the business policy now has a low-cost liability ($1,000,000) rider for dirt cheap. I still get to deduct my realty taxes, sadly these increased as the property is no longer homesteaded, but it's not much. Happily, I can now deduct most of the operational expenses -- insurance, homeowners association fees, etc.
I will be transferring my vehicles soon, and learned I will be able to deduct insurance and maintenance costs of the "company car".
I will be terminating my personal phone line (note: unpublished and unlisted doesn't work all that well for residential service.. for some "odd" reason), and replacing it with a business phone. Deductible. I will be able to call out, incoming calls severely filtered; I might even get a cell phone for the business manager (me)... deductible. I can deduct 50% of my internet charges.
I stumbled upon a Ghost Address after reading about some techniques applied by other Luna readers (his website offers a Q&A forum, interesting stuff). You don't need to use his methods, but the reasons he presents for separating your name from where you live are thought provoking.
You can get a ghost phone number from Google Voice, free, and have your calls forwarded to whatever real phone you choose, and/or get an email with a voice transcription. Works for incoming only, but works great -- I have one for myself and one for the new business.
The list of possibilities is limited only by you, and a good tax accountant or attorney. Luna advises enlisting a tax advisor and/or attorney when it comes to implementing your privacy/liability measures. It's a good move. He also provides these services directly and indirectly ("Rosie"), offering decent setup and maintenance/service fees. Not all of his services may suit your needs, but this is a great place to begin looking and thinking.
I also bought the following book via Amazon and highly recommend it for learning and understanding an LLC:
"How to Use Limited Liability Companies & Limited Partnerships", paperback, by Garret Sutton.
And there are some related useful books from the legal publisher NoLo regarding LLCs and Estate Planning.
Enjoy your new -- and quiet -- life.
To the 1-star nay-sayers: I read JJ Luna's book and was able to apply it to my own circumstances. If you know so much about him and LLC laws in the 50 states and how much he makes at this, then by all means write your own How-To privacy book, and see how well it is received or not. Otherwise... shut up.
Luna considers it a luxury to be anonymous. This is intereting to know about, yet I wonder if technology is catching up to him.
To operate like JJ Luna, you'd have to change you life completely and probably forego earning a joyful living. Relationships would be difficult if not impossible. You'd have some freedom and the burden of one big secret. Could you do it?
That is, NOBODY will know where you are, how to find you, what you buy, and what you own. You will, in effect, have disappeared off the information grid of society.
Why would you want to do this? Well, first, identity theft is an epidemic these days and "experts say" that we will all get hit by it to some degree or another, sooner than later. Second, with new stories about government spying and intrusion coming out every day, and with the American people becoming a bigger and bigger target of anti-terrorism surveillance, it's comforting to know that you're under the radar and inconspicuous, even if you're not doing anything wrong.
There are the smaller reasons, too. If you've ever had a problem with stalkers, this book will show you how to put a permanent end to that. If anyone ever hires a PI to investigate you for whatever reason, he'll end up refunding his fee because he simply won't be able to track you down. If you get on the wrong person's bad side and they want to exact some kind of real-world revenge, they'll quickly give up when they realize that you simply don't exist.
I think the prevention of identity theft alone is reason enough to invest a few bucks in this book and a bit of time applying the information contained within. Better safe than sorry, right?
J.J. Luna provides the necessary information which an American Citizen needs to keep themselves safe from every type of criminal. His tips on registering an LLC have been extremely beneficial and I just rented my first apartment in cash. The fields are not mandatory at all! I was able to file it under an LLC I use.
I recommend this to EVERYONE who is serious about privacy, protecting your assets, and being safe with the evolving technology & world.