refuse. To ensure your own financial privacy, you must do two things. First, you must minimize theamount of information that gets created about you. Second, you need to verify and limit access tothe information that already exists. That may sound like elementary advice, but remember, the experts say that we ourselves providegovernment and private industry with most of the data they maintain on us. In fact, one studyconcludes that more than 72 percent of the time, investigators obtains their information from thevery people they are monitoring. So, out of respect for the fact that you will probably want to keep some portion of your assetswithin the United States, take a minute and consider ways that you can protect yourself fromunnecessary invasion of privacy. Just to get you thinking along the right track, here are somepractical suggestions. First, be aware that that not all domestic bank are alike. They all fall under U.S. bankingregulations, but some are more privacy-oriented than others. For example, a number of financialinstitutions have recently started photographing and fingerprinting customers before completingeven the most routine transactions. Don't do business with that kind of place! Instead, look for abank that's willing to ensure the highest possible level of financial confidentiality. A good way to identify the right institution is to ask for a written contract that sets down the groundrules for your professional relationship. Make sure your contract includes at least these twoprovisions: the bank must notify you whenever anyone asks to see your records; and you reservethe right to periodically see and correct any records the bank may keep on you. A second rule of thumb is to conduct low-profile banking. Think about it. By reviewing nothingmore than your monthly checking account statement, an investigating agent could learn a lot aboutyou - where you shop, the restaurants you frequent, the names of friends and relatives, yourreligious and political affiliations, even the private clubs at which you have a membership. Inessence, the account provides a panoramic view of your everyday lifestyle. You should aim to reduce the clarity of that view. For instance, use your checking account for onlyordinary, everyday expenses - mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, car loans. Then, for moresensitive purchases, open and maintain a second account - preferably offshore. Better yet, handlethese through a registered trade name. Simply set-up a company and conduct your discreettransactions through its checking account. It's easy to implement this strategy. Your business mustbe registered, of course, either at the county or state level (or both). It's perfectly legal as long asyou register it and use it without intent to defraud, and it will give you a flexible, low-key way tolegitimately preserve your privacy. To keep a low profile, you should probably avoid the wide array of privacy-insurance gimmicks thatare around these days. Ultimately, things like invisible ink (meant to protect your checks from thebank's photocopy machine) and red checks (again, intended to limit reproduction) are only goingto work against you because they bring attention to you and your account. That's not your goal.You want to preserve privacy, so, you must try to blend in, become invisible within a system thatconstantly searches for the slightest deviation from routine procedure.