It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
It’s July 2014. I’m in the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The sun has just disappeared behind the beam, but it’s still hot as hell. And I’m standing with 9,000 other spectators watching the CrossFit Games.
Before the final heat kicks off, there’s dead silence for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The flag was blowing in the wind… and every American had their palm over their chest.
It sent shivers down my spine and brought a tear to my eye.
- At that moment, I felt like something I’m not.
That is… an American.
I wasn’t raised in a leafy US suburb. I grew up in the inner city of Dublin. It was a dank place. I remember my childhood as a black-and-white movie.
Murder and drug abuse were rampant. Some folks I knew growing up were thrown into prison (or the “big house,” as my grandad called it).
Getting rich? That only happened to folks in faraway lands. Millionaires were works of fiction in my neighborhood.
- America injected color into my life.
I took my first trip to New York City when I was 17.
The skyscrapers entranced me… I’ve never been more inspired than when I first stared up at the Empire State Building.
I wanted to be one of those Wall Street hotshots. So, I started learning everything there was to know about finance and investing.
I dropped out of high school a year early. But that trip to the Big Apple had lit a fire in me. Fast forward a couple of years, and I was working at a multibillion-dollar financial institution halfway across the world.
Wall Street is great. But honestly, corporate life sucks. That’s why our publisher Dan Steinhart and I started RiskHedge with two laptops at a coffee shop in Vermont.
Today, I’m living my dream as a professional investor. More importantly, I’m able to help thousands of readers grow their wealth.
And I owe it all to America.
Most of the kids I grew up with never made it out. At best, they work some boring dead-end job. Now, they “live for the weekend.”
America was my way out. To learn from the smartest people in the world… then to live abroad… and now, as a way to make a living and support my family.
The US is still the only country on Earth where you can be whatever you want… if you’re willing to work for it.
- That’s why I laugh every time someone says the US is in a decline.
Every time I turn on the TV or open a newspaper, “experts” are bashing the country. We’re told the US is falling apart at the seams. That Americans are a bunch of lazy, selfish racists.
This is just plain wrong. Having lived on four continents, I can tell you America is the most innovative, resilient, and welcoming place on Earth.
As an outsider, it’s still the beacon of freedom and prosperity for the rest of the world.
It’s no coincidence 16 of the 20 most valuable companies in the world are American…
Six of the 10 richest people in the world built their wealth in the US…
Or that most of the greatest inventions of the 20th century—including the internet, airplanes, computer chips, TV, nuclear power, and refrigerators—were pioneered by Americans.
Here in Europe, wealth-creating machines like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon couldn’t have existed. We’d have regulated these so-called “monopolies” out of existence.
Nowhere is perfect. But America is still by far the best country on Earth if you’re willing to put your head down and work hard—by far.
That’s why the world’s best entrepreneurs still flock to the U-S-A.
Nowhere else in the world can millions of people go from “poor” to “rich” by simply working hard.
It’s sad how many take the American way of life for granted. They’re like spoiled children: They don’t know how good they have it.
As an Irishman, America holds a special place in my heart. On this Fourth of July, I want to thank America for all the opportunities it’s given me and my family.
Chief Analyst, RiskHedge