After announcing my book “how to become a millionaire in 10 years, and how we did it in 13” one of my friends from the Netherlands asked me; would I have done the same had I stayed in the Netherlands?
An interesting question that I hadn’t put much thought into. Probably because I knew from a very young age I wouldn’t stay there.
The question however could be looked at as a “would’ve/could’ve/should’ve” question.
First of all, had I stayed in the Netherlands would I have had the desire or seen the need to become a millionaire like I did here in the States? Sure we all dream about being rich when we were young but that was not what drove me to become a millionaire back in 2001.
Having come from the Netherlands, which is a fairly socialized (not socialist, there is a difference) country, there really wasn’t a need for a nest egg. Not as I saw that need here in the States. I think it might be fair to say that the United States truly is one of the few countries where you are one disease away from bankruptcy. That said in many other countries your simply one disease away from death, so it’s not all bad.
Growing old in the Netherlands doesn’t seem that daunting either, financially that is. My father was able to retire at 55, certainly has seen more than one disease (of the major kind) and yet I don’t think, he ever had to worry about how to pay for their next mortgage bill. Here in the States you’re pretty much on your own. Pensions are practically non-existent and you’re left funding your own retirement through 401(k)s or other means of saving/investing. Sure there is Social Security but all we hear is how that won’t be around when we retire.
I believe it is absolutely true that Europeans value the joys in life more than money. They take more and longer vacations than we do here. They seem to be less about things and more about life. In fairness I did leave about 18 years ago and things may have changed (I did see a fair share of “get out of debt” commercials the last time I was there). We mock France for their 32 hour work weeks while, we here in the States buckle under the stress of never having a day off. In the 18 years that I’ve been in the States I’ve really taken only one leisure vacation (I guess two if I count the trip to Vegas that was spent in the hospital due to food poisoning). My friends in the Netherlands may look at that and think that is entirely pathetic (which it kind of is).
Had I stayed in the Netherlands, I venture, I would have not seen the need to build a nest egg like I did over here. I probably would have vacationed a bit more and spent less time worrying about money.
So the first way of looking at this question on whether I would have wanted to be become a millionaire had I stayed in the Netherlands the answer is probably; no.
Could it have been possible to become a millionaire had I stayed in the Netherlands? Is becoming a millionaire still part of the American dream only? The short answers are: Yes and No. Yes, it is possible to become a millionaire in the Netherlands; no, becoming a millionaire is just part of the American dream, it’s no longer exclusive to America. It hasn’t been for some time.
You certainly can become a millionaire in the Netherlands. According to Wikipedia there are some 221,000 households to be considered millionaires in the Netherlands. Interestingly it seems that millionaires in the Netherlands are qualified as having $1 million (dollars not Euros). This information is readily available. What is harder to find are the demographics of millionaires in the Netherlands. Are these all senior management and business owners or is good paying IT job enough to get you there.
If I were to equate my career to one in the Netherlands it would be something like an IT Enterpise Architect. According to payscale.com. The salary ranges from €55,334-€102,089. I’m guessing the tax bracket maybe a bit higher over in the Netherlands so that should probably also be taken into account. That is certainly less than I made here but I’m pretty sure that I would have been able to set aside a considerable chunk of money at the end of each month.
So should I have stayed in the Netherlands and should I have had the desire to become a millionaire I believe I could have done it, even having done the same work I’ve done here. Could I have done it in the time span I did it in here? I highly doubt it. That said, one of the strong drivers of my growth in wealth has all to do with compound returns, so even if it would have taken me longer to achieve the same in the Netherlands, there is a good chance it may not have been much longer.
Should I have become a millionaire, had I stayed in the Netherlands. For me that answer is probably no. I had specific motivators that drove me to build nest egg. These motivators do not apply that much in the Netherlands. If you read my book however you’ll find that the million dollar mark was just that. A line in the sand, a goal to set for myself. Everyone has their own financial goals and being a millionaire is just one of them.
would’ve could’ve should’ve
Personally I’m not sure if I would’ve followed the same path had I stayed in the Netherlands as I had specific reasons to build a nest egg. Reasons that don’t apply so much in the Netherlands.
I certainly think I could’ve become a millionaire in the Netherlands? It may have taken a bit longer as the compensation and tax climate are slightly different. The numbers speak for themselves though, there are more than 200,000 millionaires. I could have become one of them.
No sure I should’ve become a millionaire. At least not for the same reasons I did here in the US.
What I’m trying to say is that even outside the States it still makes sense to buy my book.
Good luck reaching your financial goals