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Dispatch notes from Poland

Travel mishaps occur from time to time... though the airline completely losing my reservation is a new one for me.

I was all set to leave Europe a few days ago when a rather unfortunate 'booking oversight' derailed my plans for spending the weekend in New York City.  In this case, I was 'stuck' in Poland.

Not to worry-- I realized at the airport that, despite having spent over a week here in[...] Click here to continue reading

Weekly update

LATVIA / SWEDISH BANKS


The link between the fate of Latvia and the stock price of Sweden's major banks became even more apparent this week.  On Monday, Latvia's government announced that it had rejected a bailout deal with the IMF, spurring new concerns of devaluation.

In response, investors sold off shares of Sweden's Swedbank to the tune of a 5% decline.  The market sees these two parties as inextricably linked: as Latvia[...] Click here to continue reading

Banking in Austria

Yesterday I was on a mission in Vienna to buy and store gold; today I was on another mission that is honestly quite sensitive, but I'm going to share it with you anyways.

Banking.

For years, Austria has been one of Europe's best destinations for 'private banking'-- professional wealth and asset management by conservative, responsible stewards who ensure that return on savings will beat the rate of inflation.

While Switzerland has closed[...] Click here to continue reading

Storing gold in Austria

As much as I love the city, I'm here in Vienna today on a mission-- gold storage.  After yesterday's missive about Panamanian safety deposit boxes, I thought it appropriate to follow-up with a couple of strong solutions for offshore gold storage, and Austria certainly fits the bill.

First of all, if you love mountains, you definitely need to check out Austria. The Austrian Alps command some of the most breathtaking views in the world,[...] Click here to continue reading

Important Panama banking update

Something is afoot in Panama that I want to tell you about.

Several banks, including Banvivienda and HSBC, have recently announced that they will discontinue renting safety deposit boxes.  Customers who currently rent boxes will have until the end of the year to vacate their belongings.

Furthermore, some banks that formerly used to work with US customers, including Banco General, Credicorp, and Global Bank, will no longer open accounts for Americans unless they[...] Click here to continue reading

About that Croatian commando…

Remember that Croatian commando-turned-entrepreneur from dinner last night?

Well it turns out he's an aerobatic stunt pilot too... he's got an old Soviet-made aircraft that is only designed to do one thing-- be as unstable as possible. It does the trick.

This morning around 11am Central European Time, we met at a private airfield outside of Zagreb. He strapped me in to the cockpit, took me up to about 2,500 feet, and proceeded[...] Click here to continue reading

A late dinner in Zagreb

Croatia, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and the drive down here has been spectacular.  From Budapest, the drive to Croatia took me south along highway M7, which arcs gently across Hungary's rolling hills and hot springs.

But what brings me here is not the beauty of the drive, nor the sun-seeking Europeans on vacation... I came to town to visit a friend of mine who has[...] Click here to continue reading

This currency is overvalued

Burgers make better economic indicators than official statistics ever could.

As I travel, I typically perform an informal price study of my own basket of consumer goods-- a loaf of bread, a pack of cigarettes, a liter of petrol, and a handful of... non-family friendly wares.

This is the type of information that is most valuable for me because, everything else equal, goods of similar quality should cost the same around the world.
[...] Click here to continue reading

The Truth About Nationalized Healthcare

Nationalized healthcare doesn't work, and I'll tell you why:

I hold as my personal mantra in life that governments screw up everything they touch... and this goes for all governments, not just the United States Congress.

As I travel the world looking for great opportunities, I always try to understand the quality and efficiency of the local healthcare system. Sometimes I even go through it myself.  My conclusion? Most, if not all public[...] Click here to continue reading

What I am doing in Poland

Poland-- it's a beautiful, inexpensive country with a stable economy, gorgeous women, and fantastic food... so what am I doing here exactly?

Looking for citizenship.

The country has been dominated, broken apart, and put back together so many times, Poland actually has multiple nationality laws on the books for former migrants, refugees, and their descendants to reclaim citizenship.  The government recognizes that many Poles were coerced to give up their citizenship, or they[...] Click here to continue reading