Difficult Decisions and International Living with Kids
, Joint Editor of The Q Wealth Report
I talk to people every day who are dismal. It would be easy to get depressed myself. Snow might be beautiful to some, but the humid grey skies that have been covering much of the northern hemisphere lately don’t inspire happiness in most of us. But I think it’s the economic doom and gloom that is really causing the serious pain and sending people scurrying to protect their remaining assets, or to find warmth and companionship (Funny side note, A recent survey found that Expats are most likely to fall in love in sub-zero Germany..)
As a general principle I firmly believe that health and happiness are essential ingredients in success and international wealth creation. You must be at ease with yourself before you can do anything useful. If you are depressed or desperate, you are likely to fail. Healthy, happy, positive people are the ones who make money. After all, what is wealth? It’s health, happiness and prosperity.
I’m not, however, into positive thinking psycho-babble and cookie cutter self improvement ideas. I’m a realist, an offshore banker by profession. Every now and then, it’s good to look back on what is wrong in our lives. That’s the only way to learn from bad experiences and change things for the better. Some of us work better than others under pressure or to deadlines – but all of us have to go through difficult times and learn how to react to create success and wealth.
It’s impossible to avoid being depressed sometimes. The question is how to get over it…. how to come out ahead. Q Wealth’s property tycoon and forex guru Thomas Bolther writes that “Anyone can become a tycoon if they dare to cut off some security and clean up their lives. It is a hard road but it is a road that makes you strong and eventually very rich as you will one day hit a gold mine.”
I agree with Thomas to an extent, but it seems to me that many people cling to a false sense of security. Jobs are a typical example. How many millions of people who thought they had secure jobs have discovered otherwise over just the past few months? Now they are being forced to make radical changes. These are testing times. If they had made contingency plans earlier, would they have felt more secure?
I’ve been making radical changes too. My significant other and I had to make the difficult decision last week to close a side business we’ve been running for the last five years. It’s just a small case in the global big picture, but I’m going to lose all the money I invested and I’m having to put people out of work, which is always very hard going. The problem was that the business was simply not making money, but was creating a lot of work, stress and headaches for us.
In cases like this the pure positive thinker might soldier on, working for free, believing things have to get better one day. But no, you can’t do that. It would be a mistake. It’s better to cut losses and move on to something new. Failure is nothing to be ashamed of – this crisis caught us all by surprise. For me, putting positive energy into existing or new successful projects makes much more sense than having energy sucked out of me by a business that’s on the rocks.
Getting rid once and for all of this side business will free up a lot of time for new, more enjoyable activities. We always enjoy travel and experiencing new places, new cultures, new international lifestyles and new culinary experiences. Well, this difficult decision is going to allow us to travel more, too, living closer to the true PT (Perpetual Traveler or Permanent Tourist) lifestyle.
For the last few years I’ve been the typical business traveler – something I have come to hate. I go to get things done but don’t have time for fun. I can’t enjoy the places I am visiting. Now, I can take my young family with me, go for a month or two to Montevideo, Uruguay, look forward to a few summer months in Europe, and may be we will go to explore China together as a family, which is something we’ve been planning and dreaming of for the last five years.
Some people question the wisdom of travelling with young kids, taking them out of school etc. I couldn’t disagree more. Travel is the best education that money can’t buy. My children are already fluent in English and Spanish and talk about bush fires in Australia or schools in Japan like some kids might talk about what’s going on in the next classroom. They are so easy going. Kids are just so much more flexible than us grown-ups. To children, everything is possible. They haven’t yet learned to impose limits and restrictions on themselves. If they fall down, they just get up and carry on. We all need to think like children.
Fortunately my business – writing and consulting – can be run from anywhere there’s an internet connection. But so many more businesses these days can be run in a similar manner. I know forex and options traders, internet marketers, e-commerce guys and even real estate gurus who travel the world, learning new things, living the international jet set life, and opening their minds – while making money.
For those without a real portable trade, real estate investing is something fairly simple, that most people understand. And if you have a relatively small amount of money, you can make a lot in real estate now. There will be an article on this in issue 52 of The Q Wealth Report, due out in mid February.
Of course, the rules of the game have changed completely. You can pretty much forget about bank financing, though if you are one of the lucky few who qualify it is very cheap at the moment. But if you want to buy up some land and start building, the cost of materials like steel and concrete has fallen by half… and whereas a year or two ago you had to beg artisans to come to work for you, now they will beg you for work.
Latin America is my playground for the moment and I just see so much opportunity around here today. Latin Americans tend to take financial crises in their strides. They’ve been there, done that. Put bluntly, they are used to living in poverty, used to not getting loans. So it’s no big deal for them. Whether you are in Ecuador or Mexico, Panama or Uruguay, the recession is not hitting so hard. Plus, it’s hard to be depressed when you are living cheap in a tropical paradise.
And right now, if you are lucky enough to have US dollars, your money is going a very long way. There is some urgency to this situation as I’m sure the US dollar will collapse pretty soon, and it has a very long way to fall. Not sure where to start looking for these opportunities? For International Real Estate Offshore World is good, as is Escape Artist.
Anyway, I’ve gone on much longer than intended today. If you’ve found this article useful, and you are not yet a subscriber to Q Bytes our free newsletter on International Living and Wealth Creation, then I strongly recommend you go ahead and sign up right now. It’s free. And not just that, we’ll also give you our five part e-mail course Secrets of the Super Rich covering offshore banking, international finance, asset protection and wealth creation.