I’ve Seen The Future And It Looks So Bright

I've Seen The Future And It Looks So Bright
Copenhagen Sunrise

Part of creating great wealth and happiness is anticipating the future, understanding the future, betting on the future, and adapting to the future. Well I've seen the future and it looks so bright.

With President Joe Biden in power until 2024 at least, the government will be getting bigger. Taxes will be going up and there will be a larger social safety net.

Thanks to trillions of dollars of stimulus and an accommodative Fed, the best time to retire may be under a Democratic President! Why keep grinding so hard if your taxes are going to go up? Not me. No sir.

After a long pandemic, it's time to take things easier. Otherwise, we're all going to end up burned out and miserable.

The Future Of America Looks Like Europe

America will become more like Europe. And that's not a bad thing given the top 5 happiest countries in the world all hail from Europe.

We just need to be careful not to be Europe in its existing form where too much debt torpedoes our entire economic livelihood. But even if we go overboard, there will always be the Federal Reserves of our greatest nations to help us out. As the world police, they owe us!

Given America is becoming more like Europe, I decided to go to Europe and see for myself what our future might be like. You thought I was just going on a 2.5 week vacation to inject $10,000 into the Eurozone to help save the world didn't you?

Au contraire mon frere. My main purpose was to conduct some front lines investigative reporting to provide readers with unique, real-time insight into how to live and prosper over the next four years!

The funny thing about seeing the future is that I originally wrote this post in 2012 and talked about President Obama. Now that we're in 2021, it seems like all my predictions hav come true. And, we've gotten rich as a result!

What America Will Be Like In The Future

In every great nation's history, there will be a purge of the wealthy. When those in power get too greedy, too rich, and too ostentatious, the people revolt and take them down.

This is why it is imperative to show a consistent history of charitable giving if you are rich so that when the revolution comes, you won't be stripped of everything.

Peterhof, Russia - I've Seen The Future And It Looks So Bright
Peterhof Palace, St. Petersburg

Study any European country's history for the past 1,000 years and you will learn about countless uprisings.

That's what happens when you build mega palaces like Versailles in France or Peterhof in St. Petersburg which require a whole town of slave labor to build and upkeep. We people have a knack for normalizing extremes.

America has gotten to a point where people are sick of seeing CEOs make 100X the average employee's salary, while suffering no repercussions when a company underperforms.

Americans are sick of rich people living well, while the man on the street suffers due to a lack of health insurance. Just look at the Occupy Movement now focusing its attention on politicians at the DNC after railing against big banks for so long.

As a result, we must embrace the Stealth Wealth movement now and in the future. Showing off your wealth is a low EQ move. Instead, it's better to blend in with the masses for greater happiness.

The Future As Shown From Russia and Europe

The following are some observations after spending over 50 hours speaking with local residents of Holland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, and Russia about life in their home countries. I believe the United States will eventually turn into Europe.

It's a wonderful life.

By far the most common feedback is how fantastic it is to live in Europe/Russia. Nobody really worries about going bankrupt or dying early because the government has their backs. As a result, Europeans and Russians can focus more of their energy on living lives they want. Oh and by the way, the top income tax rate in Russia is only 13%!

If you're one of the millions who are unemployed in the US, can you really say life is wonderful when you could get sick and enter a negative cycle of poverty for the rest of your life because you don't have health insurance? When you have a government who will pay for your healthcare, housing, and help you raise your child, you can live a better life, and at the very least, not a horrible life.

No real economic worries.

Europeans are sick of being asked about the European debt crisis. As far as they are concerned, there is no debt crisis, just a media's obsession with blowing things out of proportion. Yes, there is a debt problem in Greece, Portugal, Italy, and Spain, but these are all resolvable problems. They believe Angela Merkel from Germany will do the right thing and bail the region out. In return, concessions will be made.

There are a lot of talks about California also being in a debt crisis. I live in California, and I can tell you that Californians don't really care, because we know the government will do the wrong thing. It'd be great to believe the future will be free of corruption and inefficiencies, but we've got our doubts.

No matter who we vote for, we know our politicians will lie and take care of constituencies first. Why else do you think the government wants to raise our taxes but not reform their own pension liabilities? Besides, we've got the Federal government and our budget surplus states to lend us a hand.

When you have a government that can print money and continuously bail its people out, there is less of need to work as hard.

Less stressed.

With an implicit guarantee that you will be taken care of after secondary school, there is no societal stress placed on you to be somebody special. We are all special now and the future is bright! The term “Super Motivated Boyfriend,” referring to a man who is so eager to be somebody that he won't propose to his girlfriend until he's on the right track, doesn't exist in Europe! 

With less stress comes less suicides. With less stress comes less chronic pains. You're happier because at the very least, you'll survive. At the very most, you'll be a runaway success like the founders of IKEA and Skype.

I've Seen The Future And It Looks So Bright
Crooked houses of Amsterdam

If half of college graduates can't find jobs in the US, then certainly half of college graduates are living back home with their parents wondering when they can launch their lives.

It's somewhat embarrassing living at home with your parents as a 26 year old college graduate (but here's how you can still get girls if you do).

In Europe, it's absolutely acceptable given there's been a persistently high youth unemployment rate for decades. Europeans are proud to spend their adult lives with their parents.

There is a strong sense of family. Because there are so many great fortunes made in the US, we start feeling inadequate after a while. Seeing friends do amazing things and earning incredible amounts of money leads to feelings of insecurity, obesity, and depression if you cannot keep up.

Better educated population who is more understanding.

Practically everybody in Finland, Holland, Sweden, and Belgium speak two languages well. They've traveled by train to their neighboring countries and have learned about their respective cultures and histories. A good percentage of Europeans speak three languages.

America consistently scores in the bottom percentile in math and science because we aren't forced to learn. Everything comes to us. As a result, we don't travel as much. Only 62% of Americans own passports for example. And even when we travel, we force everybody to speak to us in English!

What if a Dutchman came to your US hometown and forced you to speak Dutch with him? You'd think he was crazy. Ask your friends how many languages they speak well. I bet most of them only know English.

Less innovation, but that's OK.

It should come as no surprise there haven't been many great new companies that have come out of Europe in the past several decades. Government sedatives aren't conducive to creating the next Apple, IBM, or Google.

But who cares? You aren't going to be the next Steve Jobs. Besides IKEA, Nokia, and Skype, I can't think of any other meaningful company that has affected the world. Innovation is stifled when there are too many regulations. Higher taxes aren't motivating either.

America is #1 at innovation because we've got a relatively meritocratic system with a strong legal structure that protects intellectual property. For the rare genius out there who is self-motivated and works harder than anybody, America is an attractive proposition.

However, let's get real. Most of us are not geniuses and don't have the drive to work much longer than 40 hours a week. By definition, most of us will be average. If you are average, then higher taxes and less red tape mean nothing to you. Hence, you'd rather have a strong government backstop like Europe to take care of your average self and your average family and relatives.

A healthier population.

Americans have a health epidemic given more than 50% of the population is overweight. When millions of people are starving around the world, why are we so different? Take a look at the ideal weight chart and get pissed off.

Dutch 2 ft X 3 ft elevator

We over-eat because abundance is all we know. We aren't forced to adapt, learn a new language, travel, or ration our food or water. Instead, we spend billions of dollars on miracle pills, gym memberships, and diets when all we have to do is eat less!

When you go to Europe, begin to observe how much smaller Europeans are than their US counterparts. The hotel rooms are smaller. The cars are tiny and people live longer.

When you are less stressed, don't have to worry about survival, you eat better and exercise more. Heck, doesn't this two foot by three foot elevator in my Amsterdam hotel say it all?

A more peaceful conscience.

In a nation as wealthy as the US, it is an atrocity there are roughly 131,000 homeless veterans and many more who can't find work at home. It is absurd that on every third corner in downtown San Francisco, you will find a brother begging on the street. Have we forgotten to help the poor?

We have seen a 50% increase in Americans accepting food stamps since 2008 (31 million to 46 million). That's a full 15% of the American population. Democrats consider this a success because more poor people are being fed. Republicans find 46 million people on food stamps to be a failure since it undermines the magnitude of unemployment and the number of people who cannot support their own families. So which is it?

In Europe, I hardly saw any homeless people in Helsinki, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Estonia, or Amsterdam. The poorest of citizens have the basic necessities to survive.

The guilty conscience of not doing everything we can to help the poor does not exist like it does in America. As a result, people can focus their attention on other pressing issues.

The Future Looks Just Fine For Most Of Us

I've Seen The Future And It Looks So Bright
Many bedrooms in the Swedish Royal Palace

One of the biggest worries is whether our children will have the same opportunities as us. In a highly capitalistic, laissez fair government world, the answer is no.

With tuition costs spiraling out of control, massive government debt, generational cronyism running rampant, and a shrinking government safety net, I fear for our children's future.

This fear as a parent is part of the reason why I hope the Quiet Quitting movement takes off in America! Let's lower the bar for work so we can reduce stress and anxiety. In a highly capitalist world, this race towards selling more stuff for more profits burns workers out.

Sure, the best solution is to have hard working, smart kids who take nothing for granted and get scholarships. But, that's a rarity. Instead, we should all expect our kids to struggle.

Personally, I'm building a rental property portfolio and keeping my small business going just in case my kids get rejected by society. You just never know.

Besides, I'm bullish on real estate and online businesses in this low interest rate environment anyway. When you can't shut down an online business in a pandemic, that's a huge win!

Careful With A Populist Revolt

We are clearly witnessing a growing revolt by the people with the Tea Party and Occupy Everything movements who believe larger powers exist to keep them down. Eventually, they will come for you.

What I'm suggesting to those who are protesting is to accept the fact that the government will continue to grow bigger. We need to start looking at the positive side of things.

The large majority of people I've met in Europe are as happy as the most steamed Brussels mussel. The youth get to be free, backpacking across the continent without financial worry.

The adults don't have to fret about losing their jobs when 70% of their last year's paycheck is paid to them for an indefinite amount of time. The intellectuals can get two Master's degrees for free and not worry about school loans crushing their futures.

I've seen the future of America and things look wonderful. Most of us are better off that we were four years ago, and it has nothing to do with politics!

It has everything to do with our own free will and desire to improve. Despite an ever growing government, we will continue to be the land of the free so long as our debt doesn't get too out of hand.

As soon as we can accept the future, we can then prosper from the future. Let's go world!

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Planning for retirement when paying for private grade school
Are you on the right retirement path? There is no rewind button.

The Future Is Real Estate

I've seen the future and real estate is going to continue getting more and more expensive. Our children, 20 years from now, will ask why we didn't buy more real estate today.

Real estate is a core asset class that has proven to build long-term wealth for Americans. Real estate is a tangible asset that provides utility and a steady stream of income if you own rental properties.

With real estate, you can earn a steady stream of passive to semi-passive income well before age 59.5, which is when you can withdraw from a 401k penalty-free.

Take a look at my two favorite real estate crowdfunding platforms:

Fundrise: A way for accredited and non-accredited investors to diversify into real estate through private eFunds. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and has consistently generated steady returns, no matter what the stock market is doing.

CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations, higher rental yields, and potentially higher growth due to job growth and demographic trends.

Both platforms are free to sign up and explore. 

I've personally invested $810,000 in real estate crowdfunding across 18 projects to take advantage of lower valuations in the heartland of America. My real estate investments account for roughly 50% of my current passive income of ~$300,000

72 thoughts on “I’ve Seen The Future And It Looks So Bright”

  1. Roger Thomas

    Europe is very different than the U.S. in that most countries are the size of a U.S. state and each country is ethnically homogenous. When the people in your country are your people it is a lot easier to stomach high taxes because your own people benefit and so do you because you are part of that system. When you have a country like the U.S. with many different groups of people whether racial, ethnic, religious, political, dietary, etc. having high taxes and money taken away from you to benefit people who you hav nothing in common with and who because the country is so big live 3000 miles away, it is not palatable.

  2. Hey Sam, I know this is a super old post, but I found it thanks to your skillfully placed hyperlinks! Hope you still check comments.

    You might want to check out this bloomberg video regarding the Greek debt crisis. It is a few years old and not the “hot news item” of today, but I held onto the link for entertainment :)


      1. I am a big fan of your website, and while being a small businessman/professional real estate investor I don’t overly worry about American economics moving towards Europe style ones. However I must take issue with your rosy descriptions of Europe. I travel there and have many friends and family there and in Western Europe things are FAR from alright. Sweden now has the second highest per capita rape rate on earth. The Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the UK have massive levels of immigrant crime. Horror shows like Cologne and Rotherham are becoming everyday realities. Western Europe was close to paradise once upon a time but unfortunately today- I am sad to say – it is heading towards dark, dark days. But yes, Prague, Budapest I think will only get better so I am optimistic there.

  3. I just want to point out, that I am always very bothered by the “Europeans speak more languages than Americans, so American’s aren’t as smart.” (I know you didn’t explicitly say that, but…)

    I live in the panhandle of Texas. If I jump in my car, and start driving in any direction, and stop in every town and talk to someone, I’ll need to drive at least 16 hours until I am in an area where most people’s native language is Spanish. (of which i speak a little) and 26 hours till I’m where most people’s native is french.

    If I say, lived in Orleons, It’s just seven hours to get to either Spain, or the Netherlands, or Germany, or to Italy, and I think they could get to the Czech in seven hours too. Most europeans speak multiple languages, because multiple languages are on their door step. In the, that just isn’t so.

    However, I’ll give you the point that we should learn the language of countries we visit.

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  9. If I highly idealized America as a young girl – and I still do sometimes – I am grateful I am an European, even from one of poorest countries here.
    My creativity goes up when I feel safe – and my country has allowed me to graduate one college and one master degree for free, another college (medical school) for 5000 euros (which I paid from the scholarship of the first degree) all while having a chronic deadly disease. I had to work and travel in other countries and even age more before I realized how lucky I am, so I’m now practicing medicine right here :)
    I may still visit USA when I will be retired – but right now, it seems like too much violence even for a medical graduate who’s seen it all :)

  10. Samurai, Do you not see your own contradiction? You like the ‘carefree european lifestyle’ but don’t like the gov’t/taxes needed to administer and fund it.

    1. I like the carefree Euro lifestyle without having to pay taxes for it. I want to join the masses who take, take, take and vote to raise taxes on the minority who already pay the cast majority of taxes.

      Is this not the European and American way? Pity those French households who paid 100% of their income to taxes in 2012!

      1. I loved the post, optimistic and funny. I remember 2012 as a hard year for french people (we do complain a lot). In one of your previous posts you said people complain a lot about financial hardship and say they are broke yet they go on expensive vacations and spend like crazy. It was likely the same here.

        Last year a poll came out, saying you are rich in France if your household makes over 85k, can you believe it ?

        After reading you, I dont think you would be happy here. You would have the feeling you can only do so much. It is not really motivating.
        If you are unemployed you can still get money from the state while creating your company so you will not be as motivated to succeed.
        We dont have student loans. I paid 1500k for my undergrad. Now I want a masters degree (to become hospital CEO) and guess what ? I will be PAID by the state to do so.

        Lastly, about the French households paying 100% : it was deemed confiscatory, lasted only two years (stopped since the 1/1/2015). It was for 8000ppl (around 30 000 were taxed over 75%) and has brought around 400M over the two years span.
        Ridiculous !

  11. Just a Canadian

    I love this article! I am actually very impressed by your perspective, and also even more impressed by the thoughtful responses you are receiving from the community.
    When reading your article I was sure that the reaction from the average American would have been strong and fairly negative. You have taught me that there are a lot of very open minded people in the states that are open to the possibility that there are things that can be learned from other parts of the world. That is not to say that America has nothing to contribute to the world.

    I enjoyed my trip to Europe as well, and there is a more relaxed lifestyle that we can all benefit from. America has a lot to offer the world as well, and being Canadian, I appreciate you as our neighbour.

    I do support the idea of having universal health care. It is a basic right that I am continuously amazed that the United States does not have.

    As an aside, I really enjoy your website. There is a lot of interesting material.


  12. Jonathan Audette

    I have been to Europe and I hate it. Everyone sits around all day drinking lattes and reading papers. I want to go fishing, hunting, boating without endless regulations. I want to drive a big SUV with all 6 of my nieces and nephews plus my wife and kids while towing a 27ft boat to the ocean to go fishing. I want to own my home, not 50 year mortgages like Europe. My grandparents left Europe to escape the big government and controls. They wanted opportunity to be more than just a government employee going to work and coming home to do nothing. When I get vacations I don’t want to go relax in Europe, I want to party in the US or Mexico. I do not feel entitled to anything and I paid my own way through college and flight school and I expect my kids to do the same. It is all about discipline and saving. We have created the best country in the world after breaking away from Europe and now you want to go back down that path. No thanks. If I wanted to live the life of Europeans I would go there. Worrying about your future and trying to be the best you can be is what has made us so strong. Entitlements and just being average is what has brought us down. To stay competitive we need to push ourselves and our children harder. Expect more not less. I heard a high counselor tell me the worst thing she ever heard when she asked a parent what they expected from their child was “I just hope they graduate.” Why are we reducing ourselves to just being average? Dumbing down society? Schools should be raising standards not lowering them. And regarding college. Not everyone needs college. There are MANY good, rewarding, high paying jobs out there that require no education, so why waste funds and four years of productivity sending them to college. Speaking two languages is worthless in the US. We have an official language. It is English in case you were wondering. I have traveled all over the world and not once have I ever not been able to get around with just English.

  13. I do think America’s future is Europe. Sadly, I think we’ll get most of the bad parts without most of the good parts. Most of Europe, perhaps with the UK and maaaaaaaybe France excluded, are relatively homogenous. The US is not. The Swedish model, for example, works great for them because 90+% of the population are the same ethnicity with the same inborn values. Everybody more or less agrees on the direction of the country. Not so in the US. Socialism works extraordinarily well when everybody is the same. Not so much when everybody is different.

    1. Kyle, that is a fascinating perspective on the Swedish model and the homogeniety of the population. I’ve got a Swedish post from my trip coming up and have some thoughts as well.

  14. It’s the human aspect, of course. Drinking cappuccino at corner bars, hanging out in the town square, and then gathering round a table for pizza and good vino. Later, a gelato and a stroll around the tree lined boulevards. Who cares if you live with your parents in a tiny apartment? The whole town is your living room!

  15. Why America has become the shiny beacon of the world? It’s because of the vision of our founding fathers to believe that individual freedom triumphs over tyranny of government.

    When government starts taking control, we lose those who take risk to innovate and create wealth. It’s that simple.

    I’m ceaselessly amazed at those who think that government is the answer to their livelihood and existence. With that mind-set, American will lose the brightest among us –from around the world — who come to America and make it the greatest nation on earth.

    I wish that our schools make it mandatory for young children to learn about the declaration of Independence and our constitution so that they can understand the founding principles of this great nation.

    1. Government is not the answer but it must be the facilitator. If you’ve ever had a long term illness then you’ll know how good it is to have a hand up (not a hand out!). America’s social care is not the greatest but with Obama in charge it can be strengthened. The declaration of Independence doesn’t mean a thing if government – the servants of the people – aren’t living up to them!!

  16. This is an interesting post since I’m in London and just hosted a Pennsylvanian for a week during the Olympics. I think in the US, its you against the state. The American Dream is just that…a dream for some…. that can never become a reality. People suffer through lack of government support – no free banking or healthcare (yet) and the gun lobby!I love the European lifestyle and, as a second generation immigrant, feel taken care of by the state. We are encouraged to exercise, study and travel not just work ourselves to the bone. Europe is big on human rights and, if you have a disability, you get a handsome budget that can buy you a good quality of life. I hope America takes a leaf out of our books and that Obama makes it for a second term!

  17. I hope for another four year term, though I may be alone here! More than anything I’m curious to see if he will actually be able to follow through on the change that was promised the first time around after he doesn’t have to worry about reelection. I think it will probably be closer than last time, though.

    I like a lot of things about the European system. Like it or dislike it, though, I think we’re a far way from adapting it into our own lifestyle. There’s just too vocal a group that will fight back against it. Agree with their arguments or not, they’ve been pretty effective in blocking positive change over the past four years (i.e. the mangled health care bill. That is an improvement. But looks nothing like anyone planned on at the outset.)

  18. I just found your website through a series of financial tweets and other blogs and I am quite intrigued by your approach towards money.

    In regards to this article, I am a European living in Canada at the moment but still keeping current with European news and real life through my family there. And the situation is far from that rosy one as you describe it. I have to add I am not from any of those countries you visited but a bit further east so we might have a different experience as for what “the European way of living” is. The government backed up social network is great for individuals, as long as they can afford to keep it up. I got a free education, free health care, there is guaranteed (but quite low) pension. However, all these countries are paying a big price for these social conveniences now. Taxes are through the roof. If Americans think that Canadians pay a lot of taxes they would be outraged how high taxes are in most European countries. Some places as close as 50% easy. I just can’t see that happen in the US.
    Also I wanna say that it’s hard to judge a country or a region realistically before you lived there. Coming from Europe I thought Canada would be a Canaan. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great country but life is not at all as easy as I thought it might be. It’s really the “grass is greener on the other side” effect.

    1. Free healthcare and free education doesnt sound too bad at all!

      I’m saying Anerica is recovering now, and will be fine for the most part over the next 4 years.

      The grass has already started to turn green!

  19. John at Married with Debt

    I also recently got back from Europe and I must admit I prefer the more leisurely lifestyle. 4 week vacations suit me just fine. Europeans are more comfortable with a global economy than I am, though.

  20. If Merkel bails out the region and we are headed in that direction…who is going to bail us out eventually?

  21. I lived in southern Germany for three years and I wholeheartedly agree that the pace and lifestyle were pretty darn good. That said, the beauty of America is that you have the opportunity to live a European-style lifestyle if you want, but if you want to burn the candle at both ends, you can as well. Maybe you want to do the latter for a few years, then relax a bit. I also know that the Germans that I drank with grumbled a lot about taxes, regulation, the inability to fire lazy workers, and a whole host of other things.

    All in all, I enjoyed the leisurely pace, but I don’t want to be FORCED into accepting the leisurely pace through decades of steady decline.

    Plus, Europeans very well might be on the sharp edge of a cliff, living contentedly now, while their unsustainable system is getting ready to implode.

    1. Thanks for the perspective, especially coming from southern Germany.

      I agree about having a choice is better than having no choice. I just think in this scenario, no choice is not so bad.

  22. So who are you voting for this election? I’ve heard you say things that lean left and I’ve heard you say things that lean right.

    I agree that our future is bright, so bright we have to wear shades (come on, someone had to say it). I think our future is bright regardless of who is elected though.

  23. Based on what friends and family in Northern Europe say, you’re right. Southern Europe, maybe not so much. Greece, Spain and Italy are nowhere near this. See this article:

    Two things come to mind as reasons for Northern Europe’s apparent utopia. The first is most Northern European countries have strict immigration laws… which are strictly enforced. This means the labor pool for all jobs is restricted, even entry level. So they don’t have so much disdain for lower level jobs as perhaps we have here. This is true comparatively, not absolutely, because they do have Turks, gypsies and Northern Africans, but those are a much smaller percentage of the population than in America. And the reason for that is culture. No country in the world has embraced immigration as openly as the States.

    Culture has another influence. High income earners pay much higher taxes in Europe than here. But they don’t flee the country and go to Singapore, or hire lobbyists to get their legislators to reduce their taxes. They understand they’re in a position of privilege and while they don’t like paying those high taxes, they accept that even after those high taxes, they still live very, very well.

    And those high taxes? Their governments don’t squander 20% of it trying to tell the world to do things their way. Rather than wasting their money on the military, they spend it on their own people. And their own people truly come first. They do not allow illegal immigrants access to any benefits ahead of their own citizens. There are benefits, but citizens come first.

    And so, because their governments don’t betray their own people, Europeans (those high tax payers) trust them with their money a lot more, because they can see that money coming back to them in one way or another, as opposed to others.

    Will THAT ever happen in the United States? Will its own citizens ever come first in the eye of American legislators or bureaucrats? Or will the special interest groups and lobbyists on K Street continue to be preferred?

    Looking at everything, I don’t believe America will ever end up where Europe is today. That’s not all bad. The most recent OECD report ) shows on page 3: America is still the fastest growing economy in the world at the moment. There is just something about America that somehow pulls it to the top of the heap. By no means are we perfect, but we are the most innovative and entrepreneurial nation in the world. Just stop, sit back right where you are and ask: which country blogs as much as us? It may be frivolous, but it is the face of our push to be at the forefront of everything that’s new.

    I don’t think that will end any time soon, either. As imperfect as we are, this is still the country where most people want to come… :)

    1. Hi William,

      Thanks for your thoughts and good observation regarding northern vs more troubled southern Europe. You have a point, however, the EU spans the entire continent and I spent 2.5 weeks in southern Europe in the fall of 2011 as well (Spain, Greece, Italy). They recognized the debt problems but had similar responses from the post above.

      Good to meet!

    2. Not Northern Europeans….I’ve heard people are afraid to go to the US after the shootings in Colorado. If you can’t even be safe at the movies…what can you do???

  24. I agree that the US is heading towards a European socialism. However, Europe is a dead, rotting, corpse of a continent, still stumbling and twitching like a zombie in search of brains.

    Asia, especially China, is coming on strong, and if the US and Europe don’t snap out of it, we’re all going to be speaking Mandarin in the next 20 years. Unless they keep English as the language of the slave caste.

    And finally, if this post isn’t sarcastic, it may be time to unsubscribe. What tripe.

  25. People fear change and control! Most people view Europe and other countries of controlling their lives through higher taxes. My concern would be government has never done a good job with the money. The Europeans are used to the government doing more and we are not. There is the distinction and conflict.

      1. Fear is the obstacle. In Europe, high income earners are taxed, no matter what. Taxes are generally high but intelligent people know that that’s a good thing!

  26. Kim@Eyesonthedollar

    Would you say that Europeans are more content to have experiences while Americans tend to value themselves by net worth or how many things we own, houses, cars, etc? I think I’d have a hard time adjusting to a European lifestyle. I can’t do three hour dinners.

    1. I think so. The search for status and wealth doesn’t seem as high a priority/goal over there.

      They are constantly reminding tourists to take it easy and take things in.

      One hour dinners are fine!

  27. Fantastic post.

    I actually tried to move and work in Amsterdam back around 1998, but at the last minute decided not to. I don’t regret it, but I do wonder what that experience would have been like. I’ve been all over Europe, and have found mostly the same thing. Copenhagen late in the evening center city, teeming with people of all ages wearing the biggest smiles. Spaniards up late at night eating great food and drinking–enjoying life to the fullest. I could go on and on. It is a different world over there, and for me, a much more attractive one.

    1. Thanks Glenn. I can definitely see myself living in Amsterdam for an extended period of time. In fact, of all the cities I’ve been to in Europe, I think Amsterdam is the best.

      Reminds me of SF!

  28. Americans work a lot. And you, Sam, suggest we work more if we want to get ahead. So are you saying America is heading into a culture that won’t work more than 40 hours and no matter how hard you work, it’ll be a pretty even playing field?

    I’m not sure how I feel about this, but I am definitely on board for a mandatory 7-weeks off or whatever it is that Europe has. :)

    1. Yes, I think there will be less and less of a corelation between effort and reward which results in people working less and enjoying life more.

      7-8 weeks of vacay must be awesome. Most I did was 6 weeks off a year for the past three years and I loved it!

  29. Wait a minute… aren’t the entitlement and “social protection” programs the reason why many European countries going bankrupt? Spain, Greece, Italy cannot afford their current programs. If you’ve been to those countries, you know that a majority of the “working” class actually does very little work. Germans work extremely hard, which is why they are the ones doing the bailouts.

    The working class doesn’t work enough to pay enough taxes to pay for these programs. It’s not chicken/egg either… they just don’t work a lot. I’ve worked with many different European countries and they just don’t take work seriously, that’s not an exaggeration.

    Overall I agree with Lance… I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic.

  30. RichUncle EL

    IF they can fix unemployment and the tuition crisis here in America then we will be headed in the right direction. I do agree with you that Obama will be reelected and that most people can see past his skin color to give him a chance. It’s sad that in this powerful nation we have to live so stressed as you mentioned several times in the post, but if we find the solution to fix jobs and education the stress will be less.

      1. We pay for our children 1770 euros a year for tuition (they study in Amsterdam). Every student receives from the government a minimum of 100 euros a month (when you live at home, otherwise it’s a minimum of 250 euros), 70 euros a month for healthcare insurance (which is about 100 euros a month) and they can travel for free by train, bus, subway. If they don’t graduate, they have to pay it back. New elections here on Wednesday, and there’s a big chance the system will change and they will have to borrow everything. We are paying for this Euro crisis and are aware of it.
        By the way, I started to learn English at secondary school (as well as German and French), but nowadays English lessons often start at the age of 7.

      2. I don’t live in Amsterdam myself, but anytime you’re in the Netherlands I’ll show you my small famous historical city (Delft, lots of canals too). Housing in Amsterdam is very expensive and difficult to find. We don’t have a campus system, so my children have to travel every day by train, since they haven’t found a student room yet. Distances here are nothing compared to the US, within 3 hours you have crossed the entire country and can reach any border. I haven’t visited the US myself, there is still so much to see and to do in Europe. But as soon as my children have graduated (and we have more money ;-)), I would love to travel to the US.

  31. I’m jealous of your trip! I love Europe- The history and culture is amazing! I love the fact that everyone walks or takes the subway to get around. Also yes – everything is smaller. You don’t find giant stores like Walmart, which is refreshing. The only thing I didn’t like about Europe is that it can be darn hard to find a bathroom sometimes :)

  32. Accepting the truth is the first step to prosperity.

    Have you been to Europe and experienced their joy yet? If so, when? I was just there through Sept 3, and I can unequivocally tell you that the majority of people I spoke to are happy and free.

    1. I’m not sure what Jason is talking about, especially on working their asses of part, why hate on euro countries that have a solid support system from the government, something north American’s lack large.

      In Europe they work their asses off, but they work smarter, not harder. Everyone know your can push a horse so far until it rebels, human nature in work is no different, except we rebel with health problems.

      And by the way, this is coming from someone who’s traveled to over 8 countries Europe, lived in one for first 7 years of my life and finished two grades of school. Yup, so I seen it first hand and can talk about it.


  33. Loved the post. I know you are a personal responsibility type guy who works hard for his money and would rather keep most of what he makes instead of paying high taxes etc. I am too. I also love parts of Europe. My wife always says they are onto something with the less work, more siestas attitude.

    Having said that, I went to Spain last year and most of those people are not happy…they are PISSED. Taxes and unemployment are killing the ones who are not rich.

    I would rather visit Europe than become Europe. But I agree that bigger government is coming (even if Obama could possibly lose the election). When is the last time we saw a trend of smaller government? I am budgeting higher tax rates throughout my life as I plan for FI.

    Sam, what was your favorite city/place? We are headed to Amsterdam, St. Pete, Copenhagen next year and I am still planning. GIVE ME TIPS!!!!

    1. Mate, we must have gone to the wrong bars and spoke to different people bc there is no misery drinking sangria and garlic squid tapas!

      On this trip, Amsterdam was hands down my favorite city where I’d be happy to live. Will write a post. You plan to travel by land or sea?

      1. I agree there is no misery in the bars. Had a damn good time in every bar in Madrid and Barcelona. Food was great too.

        I was referring to a few citizens/cab drivers who complained of extremely hight taxes (over 40% is what I recall) and that was only for those who could find jobs.

        As far as next trip, we are still working on details. I would love to take a cruise to St. Petersburg, but my wife wants to take a train. We’ll see.

  34. @Mike
    Hmm… “take America back” from who? I don’t understand this incredibly ambiguous concept/ punchline. Was America somehow colonized by some extraneous power?

  35. Love your pics! I am optimistic about the future and think there are a lot of positives in the Euopean lifestyle. I’ve worked for European firms and they are great at work life balance. Our government could use a good makeover and a facelift from a lot of the European countries, esp those in the North. The trouble is politics in the US is too obsessed with bashing the other party instead of focusing on positives and working together.

  36. James Brian


    I enjoy your column and will continue to do so, but today’s is the most inaccurate thing you have ever written that I’ve read so far. I’m almost willing to believe it is written tongue in cheek, or to stimulate discussion/argument amongst your readers. It’s not that all of it is wrong, some is correct , and some is debatable, but a good bit is factually wrong.

  37. This was an interesting post… I can never tell when you are being sarcastic. There is no way America can turn into Europe in four years. Our culture wont allow us to relax and live the way the Europeans do even if the political and economical climate changes to be more like Europe… at least that is what I think.

  38. I’d rather take America back, regardless of the idiot running the country. I actually like working on the things that I do and want the potential to have a middle class existence. Additionally, leisure and I tend to not mix well (maybe due to being slightly Type A personality?). So a European lifestyle of leisure wouldn’t be for me.

    1. I concur with your opinion on this, Mike. Redistribution of wealth from the hardworking and endeavorous to subsidize a European lifestyle of leisure for others feels wrong and unethical to me. It runs against the principles of what made our nation great in the first place. Government needs to be shrunk and taxes decreased in order to foster innovation and growth in our country. The incompetents in our government need to be removed, and our tax payer dollars halted from subsidizing them. I certainly hope this is a tongue in cheek article.

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