I can’t add much to what lagos and JB replied already, other than to agree with them and add some additional thoughts/perspective.
FWIW, DON’t invest any amount that you can’t afford to commit for 5+ years and possibly risk 100% loss with any GV investment (Mercan, any fund, RE, or otherwise). At least with RE purchase you’ll have something you can live in, but you could easily end up with a money pit that may be difficult and/or costly to unload if you make the wrong choice.
I’ve had similar concerns over the past few months, but have decided to proceed with one of Mercan’s projects. Mercan seems to be the 800-lb gorilla with a long track record, run by what appear to be competent canadians (who I tend to trust more than americans), and Portuguese (also less criminal than americans IMHO).
Any or all of my US holdings could end up worthless on any given day. Some are less risky than Portuguese real estate, some are more risky. Over the years, some of my smaller investments have evaporated. This has never caused any hardship because I’ve rigorously diversified and managed risk.
Sometimes I feel like I can’t get my ass and assets out of the US fast enough. Diversifying into Portugal is a big first step for me and will be the first serious currency hedge I’ve made. While I’m no George Soros, I think “betting” on the Euro is a prudent move. The Euro should hold up against the USD, and I think better than 50/50 will grow stronger relative to the dollar in the next 5-10 years. Portuguese citizenship and joining the EU club are just icing on the currency cake.
Another thing that is very telling about the Mercan projects is the fact that I won’t have the option to keep my money invested in the hotel after the GV holding period elapses. The fact that I can’t do this means that the big money behind all this stuff believes that the projects are safe bets and they don’t want to share the pie with any of the little guys longer than they have to.