When My Five Flags/International Advice Doesn’t Apply To You

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Sometimes I’ll see comments like this:

“Caleb, what you’re saying about USA collapsing doesn’t make any sense. If the USA is so horrible and if it’s collapsing, why are millions of immigrants trying to get here every year???”

Or I’ll see something like this:

“You say Colombia (or insert another country here) is a great place to move to? You’re crazy! I was born in Colombia and I live here and it’s horrible here! No one has any money, everyone is poor, it completely sucks! Why are you telling people to move here? No! People should LEAVE HERE!”

I’ve also seen comments like this:

“Argentina??? (or insert another country here) All these libertarians are saying move to Argentina because the government is corrupt so they let you do whatever you want??? NO!!! I was born in Argentina and it was horrible! I moved away BECAUSE the government was so bad!!! How the hell could you possibly WANT to move to Argentina??? You guys are idiots!!!”

Don’t get hung up on the specific examples of Colombia or Argentina. I’ve seen similar comments about Vietnam, Malaysia, Panama, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Belize, and even Dubai, plus a few others I’m forgetting.

My advice is for Westerners (and certain non-Westerners in certain first-world countries) to do the following:

1. Get your income 100% location-independent through your own Alpha 2.0 business so you can quit your job and be internationally mobile, making yourself both freer and safer from Western collapse, growing socialism/corporatism/authoritarianism, and the coming AI revolution.

2. Move to a less bad non-Western country where you will live a better life, pay less taxes, spend less on cost of living, be around happier people, and be safer from the above problems.

3. If you absolutely “can’t” do #2 because you’re a pussy, uh, I mean, because, uh… let me think… uh… because it’s “not feasible for you right now,” then at the very minimum, set up an international back-up plan where you have residency and a base of operations in a second non-Western, non-collapsing country so that you have a place to go in 72-hours if/when there is a serious problem in your current country so you are at least protected when this happens (and it will happen).

Notice that this advice is aimed directly at Westerners (and perhaps a few non-Westerners living in certain first-world nations). I am not telling people who live in third-world shitholes or even low-end emerging market countries to do any of this. I am also not telling these people to stay in their lower-end countries.

For example, Paraguay makes a fantastic flag for a Westerner escaping the Collapsing West. But I have never, ever said to Paraguayans born and raised in Paraguay to stay in Paraguay forever because Paraguay is so great for people already living in Paraguay. Paraguay is actually a pretty hard life for most people who live there. If a Paraguayan born and raised there wanted to get the fuck out of Paraguay and move to the UK or South Korea, I would completely agree with that decision.

It’s the same for people already living in Colombia, Mexico, Philippines, or anywhere else lower on the economic scale.

An American or European with a decent income from a location-independent company doing business in USD or Euros moving to Colombia is going to have a completely different experience in Colombia than a lower-class Colombian born and raised in Colombia trying to eke out a dreadful living in Colombian Pesos making the equivalent of about $700 a month.

Right? Right. Two different scenarios.

Therefore, if you live in a lower-end country where most people are poor, and I tell people to move to that country for a better life, and you’re completely confused because to you your country sucks, remember that I’m not directing that advice toward you. I’m directing it at Westerners with businesses, income, and currency coming from outside of your country.

These Westerners are going to live like kings because your country is so much cheaper than theirs. Moreover, your country, as bad as it looks to you right now, gets better every year, while Westerners live in countries that get WORSE every year.

Westerners really are living a better life by living in your country. I know YOU aren’t, but YOU aren’t who I’m talking to.

This also addresses the “why are so many immigrants coming to the USA if it sucks so much” question.

Yeah, millions of third-worlders are crossing the border every year into the USA because Americans have stupidly been electing left-wingers and big-government, pro-corporatist, pro-welfare state right-wingers like G.W. Bush and Donald Trump to high office for 40 years now.

The question is, who are these millions of immigrants trying to get into the USA (and Europe)?

Are these people mostly doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, business owners, and millionaires? Uh, no.

I suggest you look at the stats of the number of middle or upper-class first-worlders who have been moving to the USA over the last 20 years. These numbers have dropped like a stone. Do you see a lot of business owners and doctors moving from the UK or Australia to the USA? No.

Then who are these people? You know who they are. These are lower-class poor people, doing exactly what I would do if I were them. They live in low-end countries and live low-end lives and they want to come to a first-world welfare state country like the USA to live a better life. They don’t give a shit that the first-world country they’re moving to is slowly collapsing. All that matters to them is that right now, being a poor person in the USA or Europe is much less bad than being a poor person in Africa or Central America, which is factually accurate. (At least for the moment. I happen to think that in our lifetimes, middle-class people will end up living a better life in Mexico than in the Collapsing USA, but that transition will take many years and is certainly not the case today.)

Let’s take this one step further. Why are most of these immigrants coming to the USA/Europe?

Are they doing so because they have profitable location-independent businesses in comparatively stronger currencies and are trying to save money on taxes and lifestyle and trying to escape their big-government countries because they’re collapsing and getting worse every year?

No. Quite the opposite. Most of today’s immigrants are coming to the USA/Europe because they have no income or money and want free stuff. And the suicidal nations of America and Europe are only too happy to give it to them, funded by the taxpayers and extreme money printing, even if people like Boris Johonson or Donald Trump are in charge.

This is reason #46 the West is collapsing. I’ve said many times that you can have a welfare state or liberal illegal immigration policies, but you can’t have both at the same time, or else you’re going to bankrupt your society. The Collapsing Trifecta of the USA, Canada, and Western Europe have both (and again, this will not change no matter who you elect, Trump Supporters).

So here are the three takeaways:

1. You, as a Westerner, provided you have location-independent income (and that’s a big if), can and will live a better life in the 2020s/2030s living in a lower-end non-Western country even if that country sucks for people who are already living there.

2. You, as a person born and raised in a “crappy” lower-end country probably should get the hell out of there if you can and you really want to, even if that means moving to a collapsing, quasi-authoritarian Western country. That’s bad, but it would be less bad for you.

3. The above two items don’t contradict each other.

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Question of The Week

Investing In Real Estate In The Collapsing West

G.P. Writes:

I’m based in the USA and currently own two single-family rental properties. Although I want to expand my real estate portfolio, I share your concerns about the potential collapse of the US.

I know you’re hesitant to offer specific financial advice, but given your experience in real estate, here are my questions for you:

1. Do you believe real estate is still a wise investment at this time? I recall you mentioning that you don’t own any real estate at the moment by choice.

2. What circumstances would make you recommend investing in US real estate? Or do you think it’s best to avoid it altogether? Why?

3. If you were to invest $5 million in real estate today (let’s say you had to do it), where would you do it, how would you go about it, and what types of properties would you purchase?

All good and valid questions. My answers:

1. Yes, real estate is not only a good investment but it’s one of the best investments by far. However, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t consider real estate an “investment” because real estate investing is never passive. People have fantasies of buying a bunch of real estate and then when the renters pay off the mortgages they can retire, do nothing, and collect checks. Real estate absolutely 100% does NOT work this way (as you’re probably aware by now if you own two properties).

Even if you hire property managers to manage your entire portfolio, a real estate portfolio is going to take several hours a week of your time to manage for the rest of your life. And that’s fine provided you’re willing to do it, but if you want something truly passive, forget real estate and buy a “real” investment like bonds, which are less powerful and much more boring, but are truly passive.

I consider real estate is an investment/business hybrid, not an investment.

But yes, it’s still good if you do it correctly.

The reason I don’t have any real estate right now is that I only want to purchase foreign real estate and that process is extremely complicated if you don’t live in the region. Thus, I’m waiting until I have more time to devote to that project. I want to do it right.

2. The only real estate I would consider purchasing in the USA in the modern era would be apartment buildings, and as large as I could afford, even if I needed partners. I completely agree with Grant Cardone on this one. As America’s collapse continues, it is very quickly shifting from a homeowner culture to a renter culture for several reasons. Own some apartment buildings in key areas and you might do well, at least in the medium term. If you own other types of real estate (single-family homes, commercial real estate) in the USA, man, you’re FUCKED (at least in the long term).

3. I would take $3 million and buy apartment buildings in Cambodia or Vietnam, using on-the-ground partners I trusted (again, this is complicated). That $3 million would become $10-30 million in just a few years and I’m not joking. I would then take the other $2 million and buy farmland in southern South America, probably in Uruguay or Paraguay but I’d be willing to look at Brazil and Argentina as well. I’m honestly not sure if I’d start a farm or a ranch on the land since that would be another project, but I would absolutely look into it and possibly partner with someone on it (partner on the farm/ranch business, not the land, that would be 100% mine).

As always, the long-term future isn’t in the West. It’s outside of the West, so that’s where ALL my real estate will be.

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