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SOVEREIGN MAN

“Money is no object. I just can’t find the right person”

April 13, 2012
London, England

Jim Rogers has famously commented that, if you were smart in the 18th century, you moved to France. If you were smart in the 19th century, you moved to England. If you were smart in the 20th century, you moved to the US. And if you’re smart in the 21st century, you move to Asia.

It’s an absolutely true statement. Each time I’m in Asia, I’m overwhelmed at not only the massive opportunity that abounds for productive, creative, intelligent people, but also what a huge difference there is in cultural sentiment.

From Singapore (where I just departed last night) to Vietnam to Mongolia to the Philippines, Asia is full of optimism and confidence, not doom and gloom.

IMG 0289 300x225 Money is no object. I just cant find the right person

The reason is simple. Asian economies are based on production and savings. Western economies are based on consumption and debt. The market is simply reshuffling wealth, capital, and opportunity appropriately.

What’s nice is that, like our ancestors before us who moved abroad in search of a better life, anyone can choose to take advantage of this trend.

For someone seeking employment, for example, Asia is full of prospects for both workers and professionals. English teachers are in incredibly high demand across the continent. Experienced professionals are routinely awarded with handsome executive compensation, raking in huge salaries from Abu Dhabi to Beijing.

DSCN1871 300x225 Money is no object. I just cant find the right person

I had dinner last night with a friend in Singapore who was telling me that he would gladly pay a $1 million salary to the right person to manage his successful business. As he told me, “Money is no object, I just can’t find the right person.”

Aside from employment prospects, unique investment opportunities abound. I had a meeting with some private bankers in Singapore yesterday who were telling me about a number of really fantastic options they had available for clients.

For example, if a client wants to own precious metals, the bank can purchase and securely store physical gold bars… but then provide a line of credit back to the client at an absurdly low rate of interest.

In other words, you could purchase $1 million worth of gold, but then have access to an $800,000 line of credit, backed by the gold, at just 1%. In Vietnam, you can even generate a yield storing your gold at the bank.

Low interest rates are great for borrowers, and this is the case in places like Hong Kong and Singapore… even on investment, consumer, and commercial loans.

One friend in Hong Kong is about to buy an office building and pay a whopping 1.5% interest. Another in Singapore borrows money at 1% interest for his trading account; he then invests the borrowed funds in high quality, short-term corporate bonds that pay 9% interest, making a tidy 8% on money that isn’t even his.

Opportunities for entrepreneurs are also substantial; business thrives where there is access to capital and a growing, affluent customer base. This is Asia.

The number of people being lifted out of poverty and into the middle class in India, China, and southeast Asia is staggering. So is the number of new millionaires being minted.

I have friends who are building generational empires in Mongolia, easily the fastest growing economy in the world. Meanwhile, some of the world’s top entrepreneurs are now making their homes in Singapore, including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

IMG 0294 300x225 Money is no object. I just cant find the right person

No doubt, there’s a lot of cultural inertia and resistance to this idea; empires always resist the notion that they’re no longer #1. But facts are facts, and the truth is quite simple: the most extraordinary opportunities in the world are across the Pacific. If you’re hungry, the choice is obvious.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • pj

    Sorry but the examples of low interest rate arbitrage are not indicators that the free market is at work. To get these interest rates in a free market the savings rate has to be gigantic. Much more likely that these central banks are debasing their currencies as well.

  • http://www.bzemic.com/impossibleInstinct/ steve ward

    this seem to be something im hearing a lot since im looking into thing that present themselves. job/business wise for me, although this is new for me in several ways. The amount of money involved is crazy high for me for instance. 

    People in the usa can not find the right high tech? (not sure if that is the right word or not) south america can not find them, now your tell me about asia ugg to many opportunistic brain overloading.

    • DoesNotMatter

      “Now tell me about asia ugg to many opportunistic brain overloading”

      what the hell does this even mean? What are you trying to say? In fact your whole post makes absolutely no sense

  • amerikanka

    I’ve recently been hearing that conditions are also favorable in some of the “Stans” – specifically Kazakhstan and Kyrgyztan. 

    • Big D.

      Russia Rising.
      Amerikanetz

  • Yetti

    Hello my name is Aaron, and I am a subscriber to Simon’s confidential network, well at least it used to be a network. I believe the website has undergone a re-haul that hasn’t offered up the networking front it used have inter-meshed. The content of Sovereign Man Confidential (SMC) is the vehicle to receive more detailed explanations and recommendations on how to navigate the opportunities abroad, so please do yourself a favor and sign-up. My question is about your Asia post, in which I agree that the new professional frontier is there, even though I have a hunch that living expenses in and around cities are not much cheaper than they would be in the U.S. Not to worry, because if there are better opportunities for employment than having a larger earnings potential will offset the cost. But as a newly graduated business student born and raised in the U.S. my perspective to navigate the opportunities in this culture are non-existent. If its possible for you to tap into your boots on the ground experience and network, what are some professional recommendations and lifestyle choices you would push to the young and ambitious? Also I have a dear friend looking to franchise a food business model in the Philippines, what if any barriers do you see expanding this franchise outside the boarders on to other countries of South East Asia?

  • Vegas711

    If you think China’s planned, debt fueled economy is real, you’re in for a vrey big surprise.

  • gavincali

    What about Chile? Or Estonia? Or New Zealand?

    Keep in mind Asia is obviously an immense place.  If someone moving from England 100 years ago missed the US by a smidge and ended up in Haiti or Mexico, do you think they would feel very smart about their decision 20 years later?  What I mean is, the specific country matters a great deal–a massive area of the continent is not enough.

    Why not say “Asian countries with tax rates below X, or sovereign debt below X GDP” instead of saying just: Asia.

    Singapore? Check out their public debt, its huge.
    Hong Kong? The culture of liberty seems to be missing, do you really want your grandchildren to live under the thumb of the PRC?
    Vietnam recently cracked down on gold and silver as money, doesn’t sound progressive to me, even if you can make a few shekels storing gold.

    When you view the big picture, I’m still not convinced an Asian nation has as much respect for individual liberty (which is the root of American prosperity) as even the nadir of 21st century U.S. has. 100 years ago, I imagine the choice was somewhat obvious, but today it just doesn’t seem obvious to me.

    • npcomplete

       I agree with your premise as that is what worries me too.  However, of those countries you listed, I would definitely not consider New Zealand, which I’ve been too.  Chile–maybe, maybe not.  Uruguay would be better IMO.  Estonia is well managed economically, and provides financial freedom, but overall in the premise of liberty? No (Look at RT’s recent video about Estonia’s declaration of various “enemies”)  I suppose Singapore is nice if you’re willing to forgo several freedoms that don’t matter to you…

      But in Asia, I’m looking into Mongolia (don’t know enough about it yet) which I am hoping to visit in the future.  Personally, I like Japan, but I know it’s also not free in several areas as well, which brings home the point that it is all up to what you value most.

      I’d Europe, aside from Switzerland, I’d consider some of the smaller countries, but most especially the Czech Republic.  AFAIK the Czech Republic is the only country in the world that seems most generally to lean libertarian, not just incidentally in some areas like in some countries as an outcome by some competent technocrats, but real geniune sentiment among the government, people and academia.

  • FiveThousand

    Really surprised that you like submitting so much data to FB.

    Even more surprised that you think it is safe to store your PM’s in a bank’s vault.

    You have some good ideas, but those two are not!

  • Mwalgen44

    I was in Shanghai and Wixu last year.  China is a young man’s country.  Literally, all of the people enjoying business are young men.  The majority of restaurants were filled with 25 to 40-year olds.  I kept asking my friend, “Where are the 55-70 year olds?”  The reply was that they can’t afford to eat out.  The government makes them retire at 55; from then on, they are on a fixed pension.  55!  That’s way too young to retire.  I think the age range of the people that you’re talking about is 25-35.  For men and women of this age, yes, Asia is filled with opportunity.  But for folks between 45-55, unless you’ve already got years of business experience that can translate to business in Asia, the message is “you’d better stay where you’re at.”  I applied to an online teaching gig.  I got no reply.  I thought that my age, 48, was a factor.  China wants American speakers to teach English, but only American speakers who are 25.  Age discrimination has never gone out of style.

  • Gil

    Maybe.  Then again “Back To The Future 2″ Marty works for a Japanese boss because the success of Japan in the 1980′s meant everyone thought it would be the world leader in 2015.  So much for that prediction.

  • clark

    “As he told me, “Money is no object, I just can’t find the right person.” …”

    I’m sorry, I took myself out of the market because I didn’t want my efforts to be taxed and used to fuel the Empire.

    Signed, former go-getter.

    Psft, I didn’t think clearly enough, that I had the option to expatriate. Everyone around me pummeled me with the idea that I had to invest everything into the unitedstate college education trap and work to benefit the Empire to succeed.
    To some extent it worked, I forgot all about expatriation. Being married didn’t help either.

    Now that I look back on things I kick myself, I could have avoided helping the Empire and helped you out by simply boot-scooting it your way.

    As it is I’m now considering pounding nails in the blackmarket just to make ends meet, sort of.

    Let this be a lesson for younger People. GTFO.
    Also, beware golden-handcuffs.

    I will focus on the fact I did my best not help the Empire.

    I like everything Gary North has ever written, except for this: Forget Moving Overseas, A Safe, Quiet Place. http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north1122.html

    As you can tell from reading it, it is targeted towards older People. Maybe it makes sense for that age bracket? … Crap… I’m getting to be in “that” bracket. [How-did-that-happen? It seems like just yesterday I was, "22 and don't mind dyin'"... ] But for younger People I do not think his advise applies to you,… my question is, does it apply to me, Mr. Stuck-in-the-middle of The boomer generation and Gen Y?

    Prolly. ?

    I may be fVcked,… you, dear reader, if you’re in the Gen Y, or are in the Gen X (my generation) and are free to do as you wish,… go for it, get out from under the grasp of Empire if you can.

    Crap, writing that makes me realize how fvcked I am. wHAt the heck is wrong with me? I feel like I can’t just up and move and go where-ever I feel like and just – do – like I could before.

    Is this what it means to get old?

    If so, getting old sucks.

    Next thing you’ll know I’ll realize what they mean by, “getting old is not for wimps.”

    … Damnit.

    Well Simon, keep writing so I can live vicariously through you.

    Signed,

    Weak-assed beaten subject living unwillingly under Fascists/Communist banner doing his best to disobey and refusing to help Empire. … Damnit.

    Insert video of Twisted Sister’s song, Stay Hungry, here X.

  • Guest123

    the article contradicts itself.  asian countries are based on savings (vs the west), yet have “absurdly low” interest rates and it is easy for borrowers to make money

  • Craiggl6

    How can I get info on teaching english or working in banking?

  • 1voluntaryist

    Interest is compensation for risk. If a bank is paying interest on gold it is putting it at risk. Do you know how much risk relative to the interest? I bet not. Do you want to risk your gold (trust the bank)? I don’t. I’ll pay to have my gold guarded and if I want interest on it I will decide who I loan it to and at what risk. 

  • Vancachz18

    interesting…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/F6UVZN7AX5SKMMC2V2CUKOOWRY changeagent

    This definitely says a lot for the “global” economy despite the other concerns for the places not mentioned.  I see where the lines will have to be drawn involving America as a whole; almost seems like a dark Euro-Capitalist’s failure now – especially if it’s direction doesn’t change. As far as my own family goes, I’ll go wherever I must to protect them and see to their well being.

  • jacjac alba

    We either serve God or mammon (money). People who move for financial reasons are not trusting in God. People settled in America, originally, to have peace from persecution. As colonies developed, greedy, enterprising people soon followed suit. Now while America is being bled to death by the international bankers, Asian countries who have been third-world countries are rising due to the cheap labor resources. While they are being built up now, it is only so they can be torn down, the people raped of all their wealth and the international bankers children and heirs repeat the process in another part of the world. The only way to defeat them is for some country/ies to stand on their own two feet, develop a just monetary system based on real value, not credit, and trade with other nations without relying on the IMF or central banks to regulate and control their economies. Someone has to start producing and doing so regularly, responsibly and without greed; otherwise, the bankers process of creating bubbles and crashes continue and they reap the benefits because they cause them at will.
     
    PColeman

    • Savagecolombia

      I put God first in everything.   When my situation in the states went south, i asked God for his help.  2 years later i am retired and living overseas quite happily.   I also doubt God wants us to live without $$$.   How can a man be charitable and help others without wealth???    Provide for his family food, shelter, medicine and educations if he doesn’t produce some level of wealth???     On America being founded on Religious Prinicples……. all i can say is that is certainly a noble idea and i have no reason to doubt that the founding fathers had faith.   But i think if you look hard enough  ( Not that hard actually ) you’ll see $$$  being the key reason for seperation of the states from Mother England.   Follow the money……………..

       On the rest of your comments……. i can’t argue with your thoughts.  But i add…….  just look at the standard of living and all the worldwide assistance the wealth created in the USA has helped people live better lives.   Like anything else………. all good things come to an end.   I suggest moving before coming a statistic.

  • The_UK_is_a_corporatocracy

    What’s going on here?

    The article states “Asian economies are based on production and savings. Western economies are based on consumption and debt.” 

    Then it goes on to show how marvellous asia is with these examples:

    “One friend in Hong Kong is about to buy an office building and pay a whopping 1.5% interest.”

    “Another in Singapore borrows money at 1% interest for his trading account.”

    That’s credit fuelled speculation!! The savers are getting little return on their saving!! It’s exactly what has gone wrong in the West!!

    • honestann

      I agree.  Pretty amazing, no?

    • Savagecolombia

      Use of credit to create wealth and live a Bon Vivant life is smart.   Just like the wave of economic wealth the baby boomers created, Asia now has that Dynamic at work.   Obviously one must watch the landscape for opportunities and also dangers.

       The old thought of work hard and save your $$$ is actually a foolish way to live.  Had you tried to save your $$ to buy a house or buy a car……… you would probably still be renting and riding the bus.   Credit is a tool.   Use it wisely.   Buy that house on credit and over the years you had the benefits of home ownership.  Tax write offs and equity growth.   Ok, you say look at the housing market now.  Well, all i can say is that if you now find yourself upside down in your house and unable to afford it due to job loss etc.  Then i would seriously consider using legal means to shed the dead asset and get on with your life.  We could talk for hours………   but let me just say , that the use of credit has given me a truely comfortable life and financial security i would never had if i didn’t use credit.   If $$$ is cheap and opportunities abound in Asia…….. then off to Asia i would go.  Make $$$ and pay attention to the economical horizon.   I suspect the economic wave now starting in Asia will make the baby boomer wave seem like a ripple.

  • Mr M

    Great article, Simon-definitely a keeper.

    How can I find out more info about the work opportunity for the person looking to fill that apparently hard-to-fill situation?

  • http://www.facebook.com/MacFilip Jacobb Mcphilips

    He says the molgolian economy is the fastest growing in the world…There are only 3 million people living in Mongolia.

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