Today is Kathleen and my 18th Thanksgiving as Americans abroad. Just like every other year since we moved overseas, Kathleen is at home today putting together a traditional Thanksgiving feast for family and friends who will join us around our dinner table in Panama City tonight.
We haven’t lived in the United States for 18 years, but there’s no denying we’re Americans… and we wouldn’t want to try. Eighteen years ago, Kathleen and I left the States, but we weren’t running from something. We wanted to see what life was like other places. We wanted to be able to explore options and opportunities, for lifestyle, for investment, and for business, from different geographic and cultural vantage points. We didn’t leave America behind. We brought it with us.
The American Dream isn’t a place. It is an approach. A state of mind. And it shouldn’t be trapped inside the boundaries of North America.
Further, you don’t have to be American to embrace it. People from all across the globe seek the American Dream, recognizing that, often, it is to be found beyond their home borders.
The American Dream is available to anyone with the gumption to go looking for it. Americans seeking the freedoms they were born with… Venezuelans fleeing political oppression… Panamanians looking to improve the quality of life for their children.
It can be found anywhere opportunity exists… which is to say almost anywhere in the world. In this global economy, all you need is a skill or an idea and, like all American pioneers of the past three-plus centuries, the confidence to relocate it to a place where it has value.
A swimming pool contractor might find opportunity in a place where no one knows how to build quality swimming pools. A banker might see a niche for a mortgage brokerage house in a fragmented banking market. A golfer might fill a need consulting with a developer looking to build a serious course in a developing nation.
Each of these is a real-life example of an American I know who has found his (or her) answer to the American Dream beyond American borders. In each case, each of these Americans relocated to another country, exporting his valuable experience with him.
I’ve also known a Brit who started a messenger service, an Aussie who opened a hostel, a Dutchman setting up a night club… all in countries where they didn’t happen to be born. These and many, many other non-American entrepreneurs like them are actively seeking the American Dream.
Just like us Americans.
To realize your American Dream, take your skillset and go in search of opportunity. If your agenda is that of a general entrepreneur, the world is wide open. If you have specific training or experience that you want to continue using, almost any developing market could accommodate. No need to reinvent the wheel. Like the American Dreams in the examples I mentioned above, all you have to do is find a fit.
Most developing countries are desperate for many of the products and services we take for granted in the Western world. Even if a business already exists in the place where you’re interested …Continue Reading
Argentina elected a new president yesterday, Mauricio Macri. The people have spoken. Argentines (at least enough of them to win the day) have had enough of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her party and have opted instead for a pro-business president they hope will bring the country back from the brink of financial disaster.
President-elect Macri has his work cut out for him. Argentina’s hard currency reserves are mere fumes, the ongoing dispute with bond holders from the 2001 crisis is keeping the country out of the international bond market, inflation has reached runaway levels, and farmers have been so taxed on their hard-currency commodities that they’ve preferred to hold onto their harvests rather than sell and pay the tariff.
Macri is going to need an infusion of foreign investment if he’s going to get his country back on track. One source could be real estate investment. A friend in the country reports that foreigners have on the ground shopping in anticipation of a post-election party change.
Argentine farmers are sitting on an estimated 10 million tons of soy beans. That’s more than US$3 billion worth. Soy bean futures are down with the expectation that farmers in Argentina will move to sell their stores into the open market as soon as Macri takes office and eliminates the extra tax on hard-currency commodity sales.
Now, US$3 billion wouldn’t make much of a difference one way or another in the hard-currency holdings of many countries. But Argentina’s coffers are practically empty. That US$3 billion, if and when it materializes, could help.
Eliminating the artificial exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Argentine peso should have benefit, as well. The current official rate of exchange between Argentina’s peso and the U.S. dollar is around 10 to 1. Expectations are that that would move to 15 pesos to US$1 (the current blue market rate on the street) if Argentina allows …Continue Reading