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How to Profit from Time Travel to Future?
Old 01-14-2015, 08:48 AM   #1
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How to Profit from Time Travel to Future?

I'm working on ideas for my next book.

A mad scientist is able to travel from 1970 to 2020. One-way only. How could she profit from that, legally or illegally?

My main idea is that she invests the money and withdraws it in the future. But any bank account would be seen as abandoned after she's been gone for a while. How does that work?

Could she buy stock certificates and hide them away?

If she had a safe deposit box, with automatic or prepaid rent charges, would that be available (if the bank still existed)?

Hiding gold would not work, since that usually just keeps pace with inflation, right? Something else she could hide and recover?

I realize that hiding things can be problematic.

Another idea is that she robs a bank (or steals jewelry), hides the loot, and uses the time machine to escape. Any cash she hides will have lost value ($100 1970 dollars would only be worth about $16 today).

Ideas?
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Old 01-14-2015, 08:52 AM   #2
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If it were me, I would just travel one day ahead, find out the Lottery numbers, go back and buy a single ticket, collect my winnings and live happily ever after


All that robbing and hiding is just too much work for me
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:02 AM   #3
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Going back in time, and knowing the future would be sooooo much better. (Assuming one way only) Just one day at a time. Heck, just going back for just two minutes whenever I wanted would be great for me.
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:07 AM   #4
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She can start Medicare as a teenager (her birth certificate says she's 50 years older).
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:07 AM   #5
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Going forward beyond the current date offers the opportunity to spin a story of some form of salvation from a yet to occur apocalyptic fate. Perhaps the time traveler herself becomes valuable by possessing some trait that will save the world - for a price. Having 'seen it coming' was the stroke of mad genius.
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:10 AM   #6
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She can be an excellent actress, with detailed knowledge of Woodstock, and yet be totally Clueless about the '80s.
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:12 AM   #7
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I remember a Twilight Zone episode entitled "The Rip Van Winkle Caper" that had similar plot elements. Four men robbed a train transporting gold and hid away in a cave for something like 100 years, put into "hypersleep" (my apologies for cribbing "Alien"). At the end of the episode, once they're all dead, we discover that gold is now worthless, because scientists had found a way to mass produce it.

I've always fantasized about going into the past, but with all my knowledge of the future intact. But, I can't see any fool-proof way of getting rich by going into an unknown future.

Now that I think about it, there was also a Twilight Zone episode about a rich man going into the past, in a deal made with the Devil. Even though he was already rich, he wanted to come out of it even richer. But, he found a way to screw things up.
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:16 AM   #8
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She can commission works by Andy Warhol, then tote that art with her, and all will be fine until someone does the 2020's version of radiocarbon dating on it.
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:19 AM   #9
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How about a trust? She would have to set up the trustee "chain" so that there was always someone to manage the trust through the years and it'd still be there on the "other side."
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:20 AM   #10
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She can child-nap Adam Sandler, take him with her, and the world of 2020 will shower her with gifts as thanks for helping them avoid so much pain.
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:23 AM   #11
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Some ideas here...

Main/Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit - Television Tropes & Idioms

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Old 01-14-2015, 09:40 AM   #12
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I think scoring a big heist would be the best plan since the goods would likely keep up with inflation and the statute of limitations means you could not be prosecuted for the crime (but there could be a claim on the goods so you would have to figure some way of secretly getting them back into the market).

Depends how quickly you can jump into your time machine and escape the police.

Or just do like Goldfinger and invest in Starbucks.
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:20 AM   #13
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The Final Countdown is a 1980 alternate historyscience fiction film about a modern aircraft carrier that travels through time to a day before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Final_Countdown_(film)

Great movie if you haven't already seen it.

The idea of moving about the same amount of time into the future is interesting. If nothing else the main character could be a history professor who tries to correct all the inaccuracies taught to the then current students. For example, "You fools can't really believe the moon landing was faked??!?!?!"
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
A mad scientist is able to travel from 1970 to 2020. One-way only. How could she profit from that, legally or illegally?

My main idea is that she invests the money and withdraws it in the future. But any bank account would be seen as abandoned after she's been gone for a while. How does that work?

Could she buy stock certificates and hide them away?

If she had a safe deposit box, with automatic or prepaid rent charges, would that be available (if the bank still existed)?

Hiding gold would not work, since that usually just keeps pace with inflation, right? Something else she could hide and recover?

I realize that hiding things can be problematic.

Another idea is that she robs a bank (or steals jewelry), hides the loot, and uses the time machine to escape. Any cash she hides will have lost value ($100 1970 dollars would only be worth about $16 today).

Ideas?
As someone else said: have someone set up a trust fund with an independent trustee. She could tell them she is going to do mission work on a far away island with no communication. But after 50 years, I don't know if there would be eventual issues.

Other physical items she could use as a store of wealth: high quality diamonds (very easy to buy a few million $ in 1970 dollars to conveniently fit in your pocket), buying super long term corporate bonds (some corporations have issued 50-100 year bonds over the years. Not many issuers, but there have been some, but she would still need to deal with taxes owed on interest payments, unless they were zero coupon bonds). If she bought land, she could buy up hundreds of thousand of acres in a state with no property taxes. That should let her just sit on it for 50 years with no one bothering her (assuming no one sues her over it). Maybe coastal property somewhere for high value. Or even an entire island, or large holdings on Caribbean islands that has no taxes.

Pay people in the Bakken/Eagle Ford/other shale formations for mineral and oil rights for practically nothing (because no one knew they had oil that was accessible with fracking back then, and back before oil was above $3/barrel). I believe that if you structure this in a certain way, you own the mineral rights forever, and don't have a deadline to start producing in a certain amount of time or lose the lease. She could go back to 2020, then sell those leases for a vast sum (at the craze a few years ago, with $100/barrel oil, mineral rights were going for something like $35,000/acre-or more!)

To jump to the end, if you're looking for a real "gotcha", you could have it such that the mad scientist does something they don't realize when they zip back to 1970, which causes the 'butterfly effect', where a butterfly flapping its wings in Africa eventually builds to cause a hurricane in the Caribbean. Like, her materialization in 1970 causes a brief flash of light, which distracted a driver off in the distance, causing them to have an accident with someone else. That someone else has major injuries which prevents them from continuing on their path - could be someone who, for example, later saved President Reagan from the assassination attempt, or it could have been a peanut farmer in Georgia with a last name of Carter. But since they were injured in the car accident, the future 2020 that the mad scientist left is forever changed by the injured person not doing what they were supposed to do). Perhaps it's a big change, perhaps a very very subtle change with an ironic twist (like their Caribbean island they bought land on is now communist and they can only visit a tiny part of their land holdings, etc.)
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Old 01-14-2015, 11:10 AM   #15
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I read a story once that had people burying artifacts in the past then digging them up in the future when they were worth a lot of money. Different concept than yours, since the time frame was much greater and there was back and forth travel.


There's no way for a past person to know what will be of value in the future. Assuming you want them to succeed in profiting, I would think a "missing" art treasure (lost Rembrandt or something like that) would be the most likely to rise in value. Assuming your traveler was an art thief. Cool! Like Thomas Crown with a time machine.
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Old 01-14-2015, 01:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by MooreBonds View Post
If she bought land, she could buy up hundreds of thousand of acres in a state with no property taxes. That should let her just sit on it for 50 years with no one bothering her (assuming no one sues her over it). Maybe coastal property somewhere for high value. Or even an entire island, or large holdings on Caribbean islands that has no taxes.
To expand on this a little more: she uses advanced info to make a well-timed purchase in the futures markets in 1970, then uses her millions to buy tons of beachfront property in CA. She then works up an agreement with the state to lease it to them for $1 for 50 years, and when the lease expires in 2020, she then sells it for buku bucks.
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Old 01-14-2015, 01:26 PM   #17
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The problem that I see with the trust is that she has to prove that she is who she says she is. As soon as they say, "Well, then why aren't you 80 years old?" the jig is up.

What about a numbered Swiss account? "A numbered bank account is a type of bank account where the name of the account holder is kept secret, and they identify themselves to the bank by means of a code word known only by the account holder and a restricted number of bank employees"

Maybe back in 1970 you could open one of those without disclosing your age?? Instructions on the account: "You won't hear from me for 50 years. Deduct any fees from the balance." The new rules might screw her.

But if she only gets 2% above inflation ROI, $1,000 would only grow to $2,690.

How about she buys stock in a variety of companies, and hides the certificates away? Some will be valueless, but some might payoff.

Maybe buys some rare coins.

I'm leaning towards jewel thief who disappears. She's bured diamonds at a number of locations. Some become inaccessible. Some are discovered by others.
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Old 01-14-2015, 01:40 PM   #18
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How about she buys stock in a variety of companies, and hides the certificates away? Some will be valueless, but some might payoff.
That would be direction I'd go. The key is "variety of companies". GM and IBM could be either history or megacorps in 2020 and from a 1970 perspective there is no way to tell. Heck, Microsoft didn't even exist.
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Old 01-14-2015, 02:15 PM   #19
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With some alterations you may be able to take advantage of this fund:

The Time Travel Fund[tm]
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Old 01-14-2015, 02:22 PM   #20
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With some alterations you may be able to take advantage of this fund:

The Time Travel Fund[tm]
Who'd have thunk it? The things I learn on this forum!
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