On the Outside Looking In

US Wealth Napolitano |

By: John Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST, RLP®


For those of you who are Facebook friends of mine, you have probably seen that Joan and I were just on a business trip to London, followed by a 6 day vacation to Italy. For a guy with my last name, most are surprised to learn that this was my first trip to Italy. And just like all who went before me, I was amazed at the beauty and tranquility found on the Amalfi coast of this fantastic country.

While traveling and looking at the USA through the eyes of the rest of the world, I had a few significant take-aways.

First is that when it comes to world politics, Europeans are far more advanced than Americans. In fact, the Europeans that I spoke with knew more about American politics than most Americans.

Urban Real estate in Europe is far more expensive than it is in the USA. Downtown Boston and New York at between $1,000 and $1,500 per square foot now seems reasonable to me when compared to London or the Amalfi coast of Italy. This little factoid lingers strong as Joanie and I are about to downsize from the family home to something a bit smaller and suited to our empty nest lifestyle.

We all need to get away more often. For those who think that you can't afford European travel, think again. If you go just before or just after the main travel season, you can rent in Europe for far less than Cape Cod. We met some young USA travelers who secured nice digs using air BNB for less than $100 per night. Go with a group and that villa you've always dreamed of is flat out cheap! Of course, the wine is truly outstanding and also very low priced compared to imported offerings found in your favorite store state side.

For all the old ways and traditions that still hold strong throughout Europe, they are very technologically advanced. Your USA staples such as Google, iPhones and most prominent US brands are equally prominent throughout Europe.

Public transportation is far more ubiquitous and utilized in Europe than it is in the USA. A public bus from Amalfi Italy to Sorrento coasts 1.8 Euros, which in today's wacky currency world equates to about $2.05. This is 75 minute bus ride gives you an amazing view of both the Amalfi Coast and the Sorrento peninsula with a bus driver who must be related to Mario Andretti. These roads are so narrow and harrowing that the bus frequently has to bring in its side view mirrors so it and the busses going the other way can fit on these ancient, winding roads.

And last but not least, the strong US dollar is buying you a ton of fun for way less than it would have cost you just a few short years ago. I’m not a currency specialist, but if you are ever thinking of going to Europe, take advantage of this global currency imbalance and book your trip soon.