It's soon going to be 6 years since I began my journey in this country. That was a huge milestone in my life. A lifelong dream come true that ended 26 previous years of frustration in a communist system.
While still in Cuba, my "end goal" was to simply get the hell out. It was not to have a lot of money, it was not to become a trader. It was all about being a free man. Cuba's national hero, José Martí, once said that "Liberty is the right of every man to be honest". And it was at times very hard to make a living in Cuba being entirely honest.
I landed here with some clothes in my luggage, my guitar and $192 dollars in my pocket. Nothing else....and I was happy. I can honestly say I was the happiest man on Earth that morning of May 8, 2009.
Once up here in the "normal" world, new dreams and goals inevitably started to emerge as the gasoline that moves humans' souls. My new goal: go back, marry the girl you left behind, bring her with you. After that: help your friends and their families to come here.
It feels incredibly rewarding to have directly helped 9 people to drastically change their lives. Today, 3 of my best friends live here with their loved ones. I spent entire months hosting 3 different families in my one bedroom apartment as they learned the language, found a job, an apartment etc. As you can expect, at the end of this adventure the money left in my pocket was, let's put it mildly "not abundant"....and I was a happy man.
However, from the very first day here it was shocking to see a proportionately larger number of people in a bad humor in the neighborhoods, on the streets, on the subway. I wondered how come these people in a free country, with good jobs, all the basic needs covered seem so unhappy and moody by comparison? Is it the weather? Is it the gray sky? Is it the city? What the hell is it?
This perception was reinforced during several trips to Florida, which gave me confirmation: It's not just Canada. For some reason people in North America, a vast free region full of opportunities and wealth, seem to be a little unhappy. Somebody said to me "it's the money", "it's the bills", "people would be happier if they had more money". But no, money is not the answer. A farmer in Guatemala, making one dollar per day, eating a banana while sitting at the foot of a tree during a break, can be legitimately a hundred times happier than a Goldman Sachs executive on a $3000 suit, burnt out, overstressed, suffering the slavery of money and with little time to enjoy the company of his loved ones. If anything, money is the obstacle to happiness, but not its solution.
Is money the end goal then? and if not, what is it?
The end goal is not money. The end goal is to simply "be happy".
About three years ago I started to feel that something was missing in my life. I had already started to climb the proverbial corporate ladder. Money started accumulating and I was easily saving 60% of my income even in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I had also happened to become consistently profitable as a trader, which little by little started to also boost my net worth. Yet, for some reason, I was feeling this weird sensation of emptiness. Like something was missing. That something, I could only discover it during the trip to Florida for my birthday in November last year. It was those little persons that make my life complete. It was Mom, Dad, Grandma, my sisters, my brother, my nephews. It was being around and not missing the valuable moments that truly make you richer. It was the certainty of having them now and the certainty that life is simply passing by.
Without more goals in Canada and with the motivation of the family, I will be moving to the US by late March this year.
Having it all figured out up here; having a great job; saving lots of money and easily on my way to absolute financial freedom before I'm 40, you would think I'm crazy and perhaps I am...a little bit. Going to a new place where things may end up not being the same, maybe I'm pressing my luck too much. But again, I don't care. Simply because money is not the end goal :) I'm more than confident that this is the right decision, the one that will make me happier, regardless of what happens down there in monetary terms.
The beginning in the US will be challenging. I won't have a work permit for the first 3 months, although it can be up to 6 months. Then, start job hunting. This is the reason why the "Long term Investing" topic on this blog has been almost dead in the past 5 months as I have been saving up some cash for the new life about to begin.
What does this mean for the-lazy-trader.com?
Not much :)
The site and my activity will continue as usual, although perhaps you will see a little 2-week break by late March - early April. My long term investing activity however, will be limited for some time. Probably non-existent. This has made me consider removing the subject from the site, and also removing my "Investment accounts" progress from the Results page. However, I have decided to leave it all there, as guidance for others who want to invest long term in Canadian companies and might find some value in that content.
My Options trading activity will continue as usual with the same broker and my Forex trading won't stop either. I have little money committed to Forex anyways. I won't be able to inject fresh capital into these accounts but that won't stop me from continuing to trade them. I will definitely be more active on Twitter and on this site after the first couple of weeks of this "Sabbatical" period.
One evening, on my way back from one of my trips to Cuba, something happened that had never happened before in any of my previous 7 or 8 trips. While flying over the city of Toronto and seeing its lights, a nice warm unexpected sensation invaded me: "Henrik you're back home". Canada is my home and not because a passport says so. Toronto is my home and today I feel Canadian from head to toes. I'll be eternally grateful to this wonderful land and committed to it, whatever it takes. Now it's just the time to start a new era.
In the mean time, I already sent my most precious material possession to the US: my 14 year old guitar. Mom didn't know I had sent it, and she exploded in joy when it was delivered at her house, because she now knows I'm inevitably coming, and because she knows I'm a happy man.
Thanks for reading folks. Thanks for caring and thanks for all your support.