Tell us about where you’re from!
I am from Sydney, Australia.
What motivated you to move to the U.S.?
I had been working for an investment firm in Australia, investing in stocks and traditional assets. It was fun and exciting, but I had always been fascinated with cryptocurrency and knew I wanted to focus on that for my next step. I had a mutual friend here in San Francisco who is the founder a cryptocurrency company, and we decided to use our combined expertise to launch an investment firm focused on crypto assets. I wanted to be on the cutting edge of that industry, so I figured, “Where better than Silicon Valley?”
Where do you live now, and how long have you been there?
I moved to San Francisco in 2018.
Had you been to the U.S. before?
I had been to New York and California and thought both were great!
What was the transition to the U.S. like?
The hardest part was securing the visa, but I was lucky because my business partner is Australian so he gave me some great advice going into the process. I also had a good lawyer. In terms of admin and overhead kind of stuff, it was actually surprisingly easy! I was able to get a bank account and social security number pretty quickly.
What were your biggest challenges getting started in the U.S., including financially (e.g. getting a credit card, getting a loan, etc.)?
The one tricky thing was credit. I generally try to avoid borrowing money, and I never really had a normal credit card before moving to the U.S.— I just had a slight aversion to getting one. But when it came time to travel around the U.S., I realized just how difficult it was to pay for things with a debit card. For example, it’s a pain to check into a hotel using one. If you are staying at a place for three nights and paying $800, they will charge you upfront and take another $400 for incidentals (as if you are going to go full Keith Moon on the place). You could also get flat-out rejected for even trying to rent a car with a debit card. So that’s when I decided that it was time to finally get a credit card.
Where have you traveled in the U.S.? Any favorite spots?
I did a fantastic 3,000-mile road trip that started in the redwoods and went through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada. It’s hard to pick a winner, but if I had to choose, I’d say Montana and Wyoming were my favorites.
Have you met a lot of expats in the U.S.?
Yes! We have three Aussies in our small company, so I feel at home. Overall, I’d say the U.S. is very accommodating to outsiders.
Did anything about American culture shock or surprise you?
Not really, because American culture is so commonly broadcast around the world. The people are extremely polite and friendly, especially out of the big cities. But I will say that it’s hard to tell what an American is thinking deep down because of their friendly facade. Australians and Brits tend to be much more direct in my opinion!
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love a good road trip, as you can probably already tell. I like to grab a Getaround or Turo car and head up to Northern California for day trips—there’s just so much great stuff nearby! I also love skiing and surfing. It’s great to combine a road trip with the latter!
How did you discover Nova Credit?
I was complaining to a co-worker about how annoying it was to travel with a debit card, and he recommended that I look into Nova Credit. My credit history in Australia consisted of a few post-pay phone plans, so I had some sort of positive credit to start with.
What advice do you have for newcomers to the U.S.?
If you want to establish credit in the U.S., use Nova Credit!