Now, a lot of people would probably be chuckling at the title of this article because it seems that the answer is so obvious. Well, if you really think about it hard enough and you consider both sides of the question, the answer is rarely black and white. It rarely jumps out at you and demands your attention because it’s so obvious.
Now, keep in mind that this doesn’t take away from how heavy your current financial situation may be. Maybe only one person in your family is employed or maybe you are struggling with a tremendous amount of debt. In such circumstances, you may be thinking that the opportunity to migrate to the United States is really a no-brainer. It is, if anything, an unqualified blessing. As if some sort of miracle happened and this amazing pot of gold was dropped into your lap.
Well, that’s precisely how a lot of people view American migration, but you need to also look at the other side of the equation. What will you be giving up?
This is a problem because if you, for example, are a lawyer or a doctor or a moderately successful business owner in Peru, please understand that it’s not like you can replicate that lifestyle overnight in the United States. Taking the medical boards in the US is no joke. In fact, the passage rate of foreign-trained medical professionals is pitifully low.
The same applies to lawyers and judges. This is a big transition and that’s why it’s no surprise that a lot of lawyers from the developing world end up driving cabs in places like New York. This is a tremendous hit on the ego.
Similarly, a lot of doctors from developing countries end up working as nurses or, worse yet, nurse’s aides—you know, the people who do a lot of heavy lifting and clean up all sorts of nasty stuff in the hospital. A lot of them are doctors in their previous home country.
I raise these issues because American migration for a certain segment of the population is not a slam dunk. It’s not some sort of black and white decision that simply just jumps out at you because it’s so obvious. In addition to the cost of transition, both on an ego and financial level, you also have to pay attention to the impact on your kids.
If your kids are fairly young, don’t be surprised if they grow up to be full-blooded Americans. What I mean by that is that they will call you by your first name. They would refuse to live with you once they turn 18. In other words, they start acting like Americans with a typical American attitude.
Now, this is not a judgment against the greater American culture, but let’s face it, you would like to maintain a lot of your Peruvian culture and family values in an American setting. But depending on the age of your children, this might not even be possible. Are you willing to make that sacrifice? Are you willing to essentially raise American kids?
Finally, if you are in your 30’s, you have basically another 40 years of productive work life left, and it’s probably a good idea to migrate. But if you’re already in your 50’s or, worse yet, late 50’s, you might want to think twice because America, historically, has not been a very friendly place to old people without money.
Why do you think a lot of Americans are so obsessed with retirement benefits, pensions and planning for old age? It is due to the fact that, unlike developing countries where there are many several generations living within the same house, there is no such support network for older people in the USA. The worst part to all of this is that there is actually a tremendous amount of scams and crimes perpetrated against older American citizens.
Not surprisingly, a lot of older immigrants find themselves spending a lot of time in their home countries. Either they stay for a few weeks or several months at a time. This has almost everything to do with Americans’ attitude towards old age.
The idea here is that once you get old, you’re essentially useless. Your best years are behind you and there’s a little bit of hostility there. There is no deference. Compare that with the Middle East or Latin America or, most especially, Asia. If you are older, regardless of how much money you have, how much education you have, you are given respect just because you are a certain age.
That doesn’t apply in the United States. Whether you’re 75 or 85, you are treated like a 20-year old. People can be harsh. They can be rough. So keep this mind if you’re kicking around the idea of American migration.
I’m not discouraging you. Instead, I’m just giving you a realistic picture of what you can look forward to. Otherwise, you might end up getting surprised in the worst way possible.
It’s not unusual to find immigrants staying the US for about 10 years and packing up and leaving just as quickly as they moved in. They found out in the worst way possible, with their own two eyes, that it’s not the right move for them.
Usually, these are people who have money back in their home country. But if you’re broke and you’re struggling, America is the land of second chances. You really have nothing to lose. But if you have something to lose, then you might want to think twice because it’s not as black and white of a decision as you may think.