As the world becomes more globalized (hate that term) there is a growing movement that suggests men should leave the USA for good. Expatriate and never return. The problem with this? There are always puts and takes to a decision. The USA is one of the rare places where you can make it from the bottom to the top, assuming you have the talent, drive and work ethic to back your ambition.
Instead of making this an Anti-American or an American Dream post, we’re going to go point by point with a negative and a positive about the country. If you cannot relate to any of the positives… this will give you an immediate reason to expatriate.
Obesity: If there is any epidemic in the USA, it is obesity. Even in the major cities from NYC to Chicago to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Miami… You’re going to see a lot of overweight people. This is a major problem that is not prevalent abroad. People in the USA lack discipline and self control. We even encourage people to accept laziness as a fact rather than a choice. It is a choice. The number of people with legitimate issues is well below 0.5% and yet the overweight/obese number is far beyond 40%. That is an 80x difference.
Solutions: Instead of sitting around throwing up numbers to explain how bad the situation is, we should use positive momentum to spur on change. Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to consume healthy food. Simplify their diet. Become proud of them when they choose fruits, vegetables and salads instead of the boxed cheese its and the unhealthy burger joint. Like any other positive person, do not yell or get annoyed with them if they eat poorly. Instead encourage them to do the opposite and keep your information basic.
Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all: Semi-joke. At the end of the day, the USA is a monster economy. Roughly speaking, the USA’s GDP is the same size as the 2nd largest, 3rd largest, and 4th largest economies in the world… Combined. Put those numbers into perspective. China has 1.3 billion people, Japan has 127 million people, Germany has 80 million people… this means 1.5+ billion people generate the same output compared to ~300 million people. This is 5x the output on a relative basis. That is an enormous amount of power when the numbers reflect trillions of dollars. People fight tooth and nail to come to the USA. The USA is so powerful we have people immigrating to the country illegally (jumping the border) and even writing up fake marriage documents just to have the opportunity to live here.
Solutions: If you live in the USA, you are swimming in opportunity. Google generated ~$60 billion dollars in revenue with their search engine in 2013 (page 24). That is a lot of money for aggregating information. There is a lot of money flowing around in the USA and you have a chance to take a small piece of the pie. Think big and you’ll be shocked at the opportunities. In fact, how about we think small. If you are able to equal just 0.00001% of the USA’s GDP… you’re now pumping out $1.6M a year.
Competition: Depending on who you are this is a good thing or a bad thing. In the USA, everything flows to the top. You are going to be in a fist fight for your entire life, but if you win… You’re going to win big. As they say, second place is the first loser. It’s not easy to get to the top but what are your alternatives? Being average in the USA means you are playing a game of catch up and no one cares about your opinion. Being average in the USA means you’re not even trying. Being average in the USA means you’re someone we have no interest in ever meeting.
Solutions: If you intend to stay in the USA, you better not sit still. The average person will not receive anything, he is overweight, makes mid five figures a year and hates on everyone better than him because he cannot do it himself. Don’t be average. The USA does not reward mediocre, above average or even great performance, it only rewards the cream of the crop. Excellence or don’t show up. If you’re unwilling to put in the time, you won’t like it here.
Health and Athletics: If you are interested in being fit and staying ahead of the curve, there is no better place than the USA. If you want to compete at the highest level, look at the USA every four years during the Olympic games. In 2012 the USA landed the most gold, silver and bronze medals. We have the best trainers, the best facilities and arguably, the best incentive program for becoming exceptional in an athletic event. It is strange that the USA also leads the way in obesity… with many of the best athletes in the world.
Solutions: To be entirely honest, not sure what to place here. If you’re interested in sports you can simply choose one and you’ll find an immense amount of resources to succeed. In addition, if you embrace athletics as a hobby you’ll always have people to hang out with, be it the NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL etc. We have the most entertaining sports in the world (please queue soccer fans to invade comments).
Women and Gender Roles: If you’re looking for a stay at home mother, or a woman with traditional beliefs, the USA is not the place to go. This is what men are referring to when they state that “women abroad are better than the USA”. In our experience, this is true. You will date slightly more attractive women and they will be “old school”.
Solutions: If you place women extremely high up on your priority list this likely weighs in more on your expatriation calculation. If your income is entirely location independent, feel free to take off. Go to Thailand, Argentina or Moscow. Simply take your pick. Don’t forget that you’re leaving a large network in the USA behind but we’ve got nothing wrong with the decision to leave given those circumstances.
Efficiency and Convenience: Anyone with legitimate travel experience knows this… The USA is excruciatingly efficient and convenient. If you’re looking to have a wasted Wednesday in Reykjavik or Guadalajara… Your choices will be slim. Good luck finding food for delivery at all hours of the night in third world countries and we wish you even better luck in finding high quality produce that run from leafy greens to organic milk. There is simply no way to match the convenience of the western world.
Solutions: Take advantage of all the accommodations. As you become older over time your time should become increasingly valuable. Your opportunity cost should no longer be $20/hr, it should be at $100+/hour at minimum. This means you can quickly buy yourself more time by taking advantage of convenience (Uber, early morning breakfasts, late night shopping runs etc.). The Western world is convenient because the world demands it. You should be part of the demand.
Cost of Living: Ahh yes the savings side of the equation. Make no mistake, your hard earned US dollars are going to go much further abroad. A good rule of thumb? If you’re going to Thailand cut your costs by one third for a similar lifestyle and if you’re going to South America your costs should decrease by ~33-40%. The quality and selection of the goods/produce abroad do not match the USA but you will certainly receive more bang for your buck. Even in major cities, you can buy bottle service for 50% or less compared to the USA.
Solutions: As you can see, there is a clear trend. Location independent income if you’re hoping to live abroad. The only way to truly take advantage of this discrepancy is to earn your income in US dollars and spend it in pesos and Baht. As they say “Earn ya money in the West and Spend ya money in the East”. Don’t forget, no matter how you slice it, you’re making your money from the western world.
Leading Innovation: Forget about it. This is where the USA makes its bread and butter, by creating the most interesting products and services. As much as China is becoming more efficient at making products, the latest and greatest all come from the States. The smartphone took off with the invention of the iPhone. Not to mention the creation of applications that range from data center management to simple games such as Candy Crush Saga. While many say “look around you and find a product that wasn’t made in China” the counter argument is clear, “look around and find a product you enjoy that wasn’t invented in the States”. We can despise social media as much as we like, but it is a multi-billion dollar industry, started in the States.
Solutions: If you can solve a problem or create a new market, you’ll love the USA. The prerequisite? You need to have the right ideas, the right execution and the right skills. We’ll reiterate, everything flows to the top. The USA will reward excellence.
Take the Quiz
To make the decision easier on you, you can take the quick 10 question quiz below. If you score a 6+ you’re better off staying. A yes will warrant a 1 and a no will warrant a 0.
- Will your income grow faster in the USA?
- Do you intend on becoming a lifetime bachelor?
- Are you hoping to create a scalable business?
- Are you two standard deviations above the mean on multiple levels (intelligence, fitness, work ethic)?
- Are you under the age of 35?
- Are you comfortable in your ability to meet a new woman you find attractive in 40 days or less?
- Do you pick up on changes in technology quickly?
- Are you passionate about the entertainment industry or athletics?
- Are you a competitive person with a positive attitude?
- Do you believe you’re in the top 10% in the USA?
Well that didn’t work well. At the end of the day you’ll quickly find that staying in the USA will be the better decision for guys who are significantly above average. We don’t see many millionaires complaining about smartphones or women, because they are non-issues. By all means, if you receive no benefit from staying, have fun in Moscow, but we strongly doubt this is the case for the majority.