When I first moved to Peru, I was frequently concerned that I was making some kind of huge error. I was 26 years old, and of course I had been pretty thoroughly brainwashed about how important it was to have a career (that is, become an indentured servant to some "respectable" company).
However, that kind of a life path just wasn't in the cards for me. I've mentioned before on this web page how I have a problem with stupidity. The way that translates into reality is that I can't "suck up" to my idiot superiors just so I can move up some artificial corporate ladder. I can't.
Now, this doesn't mean that I have contempt for people who can. My wife, for example, is great at navigating and handling the morons who battle her at work. If she sees something stupid, she puts on her poker face, files the information away in some secret compartment, and waits to pull it out to her advantage.
I, on the other hand, loudly declare, "that's idiotic!"
The result is that I have a certain career path and so does she.
So, anyway, Peru was a great place to go since it was somewhere I could be left alone. Also, everything was so economical back then that I didn't have to make much money. I was able to watch my investments grow, learn Spanish, and develop as a human being without being constantly harassed.
Still, I was worried because you just can't escape the social conditioning of pages like Yahoo that do nothing but rag on and on about how to touch up your resume, or what your office behaviors should be. You'll note that Yahoo almost never has articles about how to become an independently wealthy individual.
The years went by and I became more and more comfortable in Peru. Then, a funny thing happened in the US. The entire economy collapsed (mainly due to ridiculous mismanagement by the Republican party in my opinion--they don't raise taxes, but they destroy your net worth by allowing the housing market to plummet into oblivion).
For those of you who read this blog frequently, you'll be familiar with the comments of Dean. Dean mentioned yesterday how he had spent his entire life working only to retire and be fearful that he hadn't made enough. It's true. All the things that were generally considered long-term investments to assure your retirement, have pretty much gone up in smoke.
What that means is that for an entire generation of people, all the things they sacrificed their youth for have evaporated.
Although I'm annoyed about this, the one positive thing that has come from it is that it has retroactively justified my decision to spend so much of my life in Peru. I've effectively established a base camp in a foreign nation which means if Peru collapses I can live in the US, and if the US collapses I can live in Peru. To put it less dramatically, I can go and take advantage of whomever has the worst economy, which happens to be the US at the moment (personally I think there are more opportunities for wealth in a bad economy, because I'm a builder not a leech).
But for those of you who are reaching retirement age in the US, I'd suggest you consider Peru. Using Peru as your country of residence, you can save money and enjoy cheap, holidays to Europe, or even frequent trips to the US. The whole trick is that Peru doesn't evaporate your money like the US does.
However, most Americans have this ridiculous mentality which prevents them from doing what's in their own best interest. Whether it's a lack of education, brainwashing, or simple stupidity, I just don't know. From my perspective, the "American Way" is to drive as much industry, achieve your maximum individual potential, and gather as much wealth and influence as possible.
These days, most Americans seem to think it's more important to keep making payments on an underwater house. They call it honor, I call it dumb. Worse than dumb, it's a disgrace.