The most common question I tend to get as an American expat is, “Why did you leave America?” Here I hope to show you why it makes sense to leave your country. My hope is that this article will help educate and even give hope to those who are exploring a possible move abroad. It is OK if you do not agree with me. We all take different paths in life, this is mine.
Why I left the USA.-
There comes a time in our lives when you reflect and think about what you have done and where you want to go in the limited time you have left. When I look back to 2010 my life was going nowhere fast. I was stuck in a dead end job and I saw no way to accomplish my dreams. It seemed nothing I did since leaving the US Navy in 1999 brought me fulfillment. This all culminated in my decision to expatriate. So here are my 5 reasons why it made sense to leave America.
The Rat Race-
I tried going the path family and friends thought was best for me. I worked 5 years in healthcare, where my reward was stress and a breaking down body. I tried sales multiple times, where I excelled, but for every success it seemed the tax man was around the corner waiting for its share. I had a beautiful home that my parents helped me purchase for cash and remodeled. My home and a short stack of silver were my only physical assets after 18 years of work.
Every time a person would tell me, “Randy this is what you should do”, I would cringe. I would look at the lives other people were leading and I knew deep down that is not what I wanted. It seemed to me that everyone was on a hamster wheel paying their ever increasing debts. The question in my mind that kept popping up was, “should I leave America?”
The Tax Man-
Then every year in April, hard working people like myself had to pay the government a large portion of our earnings. I had Federal Income Tax, New York State Income Tax, Monroe County Property Tax and on top of all that in New York we have an 8% sales tax, cell phone bill tax, gasoline tax, gas and electric tax and a myriad of other hidden taxes. All together my total tax bill approached 30% of what I brought home. I was angry!
The Entrepreneurial Fire Was Lit-
Overall I had this overwhelming urge to be an entrepreneur. It was a fire in my belly that could not be put out. In 1999 I was given the book, “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, by Robert Kiyosaki. This book took me down a path of thought that went against everything my family, my teachers, the US Navy and public opinion told me I should do.
I was hooked on the thought of entrepreneurship. There was nothing that was going to stop me. I wanted to find a way to feel fulfilled, help others, travel and have no boss. The fire in my belly caused me a ton of problems since I was still under the control of the system. My mind was screaming, “let me out!”
The Patriot was Dead-
Randy Hilarski and Daniel in Chicago after Daniel’s Bootcamp Graduation 1996.
I come from a family of American Patriots. My Mom’s side of the family can trace its American routes back to the Mayflower while my Fathers family started arriving in the US shortly have the American Civil War. My family is the epitome of US Patriotism. We stand up and take our hats off when the US National Anthem is played. We served and support the troops without question. So I did my duty as an American and enlisted in the US Navy directly out of high school.
Unlike my younger Brother Daniel I had relative luck during my years in the US Navy from 1992-1999. Sure there were, “Police Actions”, during this period but very few with boots on the ground. Looking back it seemed surreal that the main reason so many of us joined was because the military would pay for our college.
Even during a period of relative quiet, I found myself quietly questioning everything I was involved in. Why were we in places like Somalia, Kosovo, Iraq and supporting hundreds of bases around the world? This made no logical sense to me. Whenever I would ask a question about why we were doing something the answer was always, “We are following orders” or “We don’t question, we just follow orders”. I knew this life was not for me, so I abandoned ship literally.
Then we all know what happened after 09/11. Like many I thought about going back in the military but thankfully the logical side of my brain succeeded. I watched as young men and women were sent to fight a war based on lies and deceit. I do not think this article is appropriate for my reasons, but it was enough for me to burn the last vestiges of Patriotism in my heart.
The Travel Bug-
Since I spent 7 years of my life in the US Navy I had the amazing opportunity to travel. I had the privilege to live abroad for 4 years of those seven years. I also traveled a good deal after leaving the Navy. This gave me a view of the world outside of the fish bowl I called home. Traveling does something to a person, it literally breaks down the prejudice that has formed in our subconscious since childhood.
In 1997 due to a hurricane baring down on Puerto Rico I was asked if I would like to do a rotation in the Republic of Panama with my squadron VP-26. Knowing that my Grandfather had served in Panama for 3 years in the 50’s, I quickly said yes. My Grandfathers stories of fishing, his pet iguana, monkeys, the ladies and of course the Panama Canal had been part of my life since a young age.
In 2010 I had just recently ended a 5 year relationship and decided it was time to make a move. I was in my late 30’s, no children, very little responsibilities and a dislike for my future prospects. I decided I was going to move to Panama! The country was in the midst of unprecedented growth and seemed like the opportunity I was looking for. It was time to leave America.
Before leaving for Panama I lined up work with an Asset Protection company as part of a Precious Metals sales team. Since very early on in my life I was taught that hard assets like precious metals were a vital piece of an investment strategy so this job fit me perfectly. I worked my butt off in an unconventional way. While the sales team was hitting the phones I was leveraging the internet. Within two months I was offered a partnership in my first company with the owners of the Asset Protection company.
This is where I met my beautiful wife Anabell Hilarski. She has been a treasure to me and to our company. Panama has been great, but without her I would probably not be where I am today.
Randy and Anabell Hilarski
Four years later and we have a thriving business with opportunities at every turn. Even though my first partnership did not work out it gave me the foundation to build a company. Now we have High Impact Media Group Panama and are in the midst of launching VIP Panama Tours.
I have no Dislike for My Fellow Americans.-
Even though this post may seem like a USA bashing opportunity, I assure you that I love my countrymen. My problem is with the warmongers, politicians, bankers and every other scoundrel. I do not have all the answers but my gut says the USA needs to look inward and fix the mess at home before telling the world how to live.
I hope that my 5 reasons to leave America was an eye opener for you. Sometimes it takes someone with a bullhorn to get the point across. Thanks to the internet this message will be heard loud and clear. If you get a chance please share this post with your friends or family members who are thinking about making a change in their life.