I had breakfast this morning with the head of business development for one of the world’s largest travel companies, and he told me an absolutely hilarious story that I wanted to share with you.
The company has aggressively expanded into Asia, often in places where e-commerce is still in its infancy. Many consumers in Asia either don’t have credit cards to make online purchases, or they don’t trust the Internet with their financial details.
The company’s solution? They’ve hired thousands of bicycle messengers to physically collect the money from customers once they’ve made a reservation online. In this way, the company has solved its customers’ problems and adapted to the local market to become one of the fastest growing sites in Asia.
“It’s amazing,” he told me, “that an army of people peddling around Asia is now responsible for a huge portion of our revenue.”
I love stories like this where creative thinking and low-tech solutions triumph. With that, on to this week’s questions.
First, Jeff asks, “Simon, I read on another website that you do not have to report gold holdings stored overseas. Then the same website said that it ‘appears’ that you do have to report. You seem to be the only person who actually has personal experience with this stuff– what’s the truth?”
It’s a confusing topic indeed… and to be clear, this only applies to US taxpayers. A bit of background– the Treasury Department expects people who had an aggregate of $10,000 in ‘foreign financial accounts’ at some point during the year to file form TDF 90-22.1 by June 30th of the following year.