Author Topic: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?  (Read 35600 times)

Bumfluff

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Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« on: April 08, 2014, 07:34:23 PM »
A very general question at this stage as we are still waiting to hear about some of the finer details but DH has a job offer on a role in Qatar. Great tax-free pay, great amount of leave, relocation package. Upsides are paying off our debt in record time and hopefully saving enough for a deposit on a house (should we wish to buy) or having a chunk to invest plus the adventure of living somewhere new (not such a novelty for us though as we have lived abroad before). Downsides include the system in Qatar which includes having to request permission from your employer to leave the country - there have been instances of people being refused emergency leave to attend the funeral of a family member for example. Also driving in Qatar is said to be terrifying which makes me anxious as we have two small children and I'd be extremely worried for their safety when we were on the road. Additionally the ex-pat lifestyle does not particularly appeal.

Just initial thoughts of course and we'd have to do A LOT more research before making the decision but the debt-reducer/new 'tache grower in me says go for it while the rest of me says no. What would you do?

Gin1984

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2014, 07:36:55 PM »
Personally, no.  I won't put myself or my child in a place I feel is unsafe and I would feel unsafe there.

chasesfish

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 07:39:23 PM »
Yeah, you're employer basically controls you in those countries.  That in itself goes against everything MMM stands for

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2014, 07:43:48 PM »
I would not move to any other country personally until researching the culture and values very carefully. I don't really know anything about Qatar specifically, but as a woman, I would think once, twice, three times, and even more about moving anywhere in the Middle East. Heck, there are states here at home I wouldn't live in due to the lack of protections under the law. You wouldn't want to put your eggs in one basket and later find out "oops!, we don't do paid family leave/protection from sexual or racial discrimination/religious freedom/whatever else is important to you".

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2014, 07:50:55 PM »
Yeah, you're employer basically controls you in those countries.  That in itself goes against everything MMM stands for

No, they control your exit visas which are basically what you need to know that you can get back in under their sponsorship.  That's pretty far from controlling you.  If you want to leave and quit your job, do.

I probably wouldn't do it unless it was enough to make me FI in a year or two or I was FI already and looking for something to try out.  I know a guy who works in Qatar and loves it.  The one fairly anti-MMM thing that some people love about Qatar is that you can get a nanny or maid incredibly cheaply that you couldn't afford in the states or Canada.

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2014, 07:55:18 PM »
Everyone else has pretty much given reason why not to do it from the social perspectives, so here's the car safety perspective.

It's awful. Don't do it. Are there countries where it's safer to drive than the US? Yes! Is Qatar one of them? Noooooo.

beltim

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2014, 08:01:35 PM »
Yeah, you're employer basically controls you in those countries.  That in itself goes against everything MMM stands for

No, they control your exit visas which are basically what you need to know that you can get back in under their sponsorship.  That's pretty far from controlling you.  If you want to leave and quit your job, do.

Exit visas are also what you need to leave the country at all.  So your employer can prevent you from leaving the country.

Kierun

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2014, 08:39:53 PM »
I've lived/worked in the ME and know several people currently living/working in Qatar.  Yes, the driving is crazy, accidents do happen fairly often because a lot of people there drive like assholes.   There are a lot of social/cultural nuances to also be aware of and have to deal with.  Ethnicity and nationality does play a noticeable role in the society, the Qatari's will look down on you, there is a social heirarchy to be aware of.  Depending on the work and living location, it could be fine.  My time over there did significantly help my financial situation, but I also don't have kids to be concerned about.  Qatar isn't all that bad, lot of stuff happening in preparation for the 2022 world cup, though I'd prefer UAE. 

Visas can be a pain there, depends on the sponsor and employer.  If the employer and sponsor don't have a good relationship then it can be bad for the employees as they'll drag their feet in processing any visas. 

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2014, 08:52:45 PM »
At my last job (with Big Oil), I was >||< this close to being offered an assignment (1.5-3 years) in Qatar.  I also had several coworkers who had taken assignments there.  I also have some really good friends (who work for my former employer) who are on assignment there right now.

Were I in your shoes, I'd be there like a SHOT.  I don't know what the compensation structure is for your employer, but here's what mine offered:
1) 35% uplift, tax-assisted (!).  For us, that would have *doubled* our take-home pay and quadrupled our contributions toward retirement.
2) a generous COLA, based on a very generous standard of living.  Which made it very attractive for our mustachian family.
3) company-paid trips back to the states for R&R (and you could pocket that if you want)
4) company-funded relocation

My friends say that the driving is crazy there, but that they've gotten used to it.  Other than that, it's not particularly unsafe, but like any country, there are cultural differences you'll need to get used to.

Had we been offered such an assignment, I would probably be looking at retirement easily by age 40.

Primm

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2014, 08:55:55 PM »
A friend of mine spent 2 years in Saudi and then came home and paid cash for a house. She was single and it worked really well for her. I don't know that I'd do it with kids though.

CommonCents

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2014, 08:57:10 PM »
My (female) cousin travels there for work (marine biologist).  Based on what she's said regarding social issues for women, I'd never do it.

Gin1984

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2014, 09:05:13 PM »
My (female) cousin travels there for work (marine biologist).  Based on what she's said regarding social issues for women, I'd never do it.
Would you mind elaborating?

expatartist

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2014, 09:18:55 PM »
For a short (one/two-year contract) we would definitely do it -- we see life as a series of experiments. It would bump finances through the roof for a frugal family, if done strategically. Even if we had kids, we would do it. There are loads of cultural opportunities in the region, and with a fixed end-date, the challenging times are temporary.

Moving there as part of a western family unit would be a world away, experience-wise, from a single woman/woman traveling alone. Socially, etc it would be quite different, there should be some expats wives networks to join. Just stay away from negative attitudes, ie perpetual whingeing about 'the locals'.

SwordGuy

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2014, 09:23:08 PM »
Here's a good article on Qatar driving:

"http://www.keithlane.com/page26.htm"

Drive with extra caution or take the bus and you'll probably be fine. 

Advice about being female in a Middle Eastern country is good advice.  Don't assume you or your husband can act there the way you do here.   Learn the local customs and respect them in public.  Period. 

That's good advice for any foreign country you go to, by the way.

As long as you can pack up and leave the country when you damn well feel like it, I think it could be a great adventure.


Bumfluff

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2014, 10:13:18 PM »
Thanks for all your responses, you have highlighted some of my own concerns. We very much believe in a "when in Rome" philosophy and have lived in three different countries so understand cultural nuances. I have to say though that the racial/cultural hierarchy in the ME makes me very uncomfortable. During a recent visit to Dubai I was served before an Indian customer (who was in line in front of me) and my protestations were of course ignored.

The flip side is that our finances would improve out of sight and with 37 days annual leave per year we could enjoy some travel and down time. We need to find out re healthcare, superannuation and flights home. I also want to research nursery schools.

There is a lot to think about and of course I will do some serious research but I appreciate your input.

A fixed end-date may convince me to do it - I think I could manage a year or two but no more.

kaetana

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2014, 11:24:30 PM »
During a recent visit to Dubai I was served before an Indian customer (who was in line in front of me) and my protestations were of course ignored.

Wow. I would never in a million years live in a country where this kind of behaviour/attitude is rampant, not for any amount of money. I wouldn't even visit! If it blocks out certain parts of the world for me, so be it! But that's just me.

Bumfluff

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2014, 11:27:14 PM »
I think racism is still pretty rampant in some parts of the US isn't it?!

And in Australia (where I live) racism against Indigenous Australians, immigrants and so-called "boat people" or "illegal immigrants" is shocking.  In fact the government is at this very moment proposing changes to the Racial Discrimination Act which will basically sanctions bigotry and hate speech. Just because racism is less obvious, doesn't mean it's any less prevalent or any less vile.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 12:10:26 AM by Bumfluff »

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2014, 12:19:26 AM »
I confess I don't know much about Qatar specifically, but in the ME I would also definitely be concerned about gender issues.  I would probably accompany DH to Bahrain.  Saudi Arabia?  Not a snowball's chance.

Argyle

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2014, 12:49:09 AM »
I would totally do it.  Living in other cultures expands the mind like nothing else, and being paid a premium to live in another culture?  What's not to like?  It's easy to focus on the down side, but there's also no doubt an up side.  Maybe driving is a little more hazardous, but I imagine the murder rate is considerably lower than the U.S.  Maybe there's some racism — maybe it's salutary not to live in a place where the only racism is directed at people who are different from us.  And who knows what foods, sights, experiences, and ideas will be amazing?  I know a family who lived for two years in a country very much like Qatar, and the kids are still talking about their years there with appreciation ten years later.  I would absolutely go for it.

kaetana

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2014, 12:52:37 AM »
I think racism is still pretty rampant in some parts of the US isn't it?!

And in Australia (where I live) racism against Indigenous Australians, immigrants and so-called "boat people" or "illegal immigrants" is shocking.  In fact the government is at this very moment proposing changes to the Racial Discrimination Act which will basically sanctions bigotry and hate speech. Just because racism is less obvious, doesn't mean it's any less prevalent or any less vile.

I lived in the US for uni, and certainly never experienced any racism while I was there (I'm of Asian ethnicity). I haven't experienced anything in Australia, either. I'm sure it exists in both countries (if not ALL countries), but I would definitely not say it's "rampant" in either. I'm surprised a country like Australia would even be compared to a Middle Eastern country in terms of racism/other discrimination, to be honest. They're in different leagues as far as I'm concerned!

pka222

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2014, 03:08:19 AM »
Go- people have done a lot harder things for a lot less than living a posh expat life on the fast lane to FI.  My FIRE will take place 5to 6 years faster since due to the expat path for extreme savings.  I just did my IRS form 2555 yesterday - up to 97600USD per year with no US taxes.. awesome! My old man and uncles were all born in Saudi back in the 60s- it worked out fine for them. My kids are/will be born "overseas" and their old man will be retired before they turn 10.
Good luck

Bumfluff

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2014, 03:17:51 AM »
It's great that you personally haven't experienced racism, that's not a universal experience in either the US or Australia unfortunately. In my experience, Australia is the most racist country I have lived in. While my encounter in Dubai was awful (and in turn I was discriminated against when an Emirate person walked into a shop), it may not be indicative of the entire culture. I really wasn't there long enough to be able to say whether it's worse there than in Australia, my opinion was formed quickly and without any further research. As you said, you haven't been to the Middle East so I guess you can't fairly compare either.

I need to be sure that any opinions I form are based on fact and solid research otherwise I'm in danger of being (at worst) racist myself and guilty of stereotyping those in the Middle East at best.

Bookworm I wouldn't consider Saudi either, that's just a bit too hard as a woman I feel.

Thanks for your response Argyle, it could be a real adventure.

Wow pka222 that's an incredible achievement!

SnackDog

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2014, 03:27:15 AM »
I would take with a grain of salt all the advice you see here from people who have not actually lived there, particularly typical Americans who don't even hold a passport.  Then I would do my own research. 

Here's my advice, not having lived there (!).  On a scale of places to live, I reckon Qatar is somewhere in the middle.  I might hesitate to move a family to, say, Iraq or Bangladesh, based on what I know second-hand, but not Qatar.  Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Dubai are all relatively stable, progressive states with large expat communities, good schools. I have certainly heard people rave about visiting and living in all those places.  I have also met small-minded Americans who couldn't withstand an afternoon across the border in Mexico or a few days in Europe because they couldn't adjust.  If you are not extremely flexible and open-minded, stay home and read your USA Today.

Bumfluff

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2014, 03:46:08 AM »
I have friends in Dubai who are happy there and have their kids in good schools etc. and from my (so far cursory) research Qatar seems similar. If we do go it would be a short-term, end date in sight type affair, it isn't a life I would like long-term.

MissStache

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2014, 06:57:33 AM »
Is this a temporary thing?  Would you be willing/able to have DH go there alone, and you and the kids stay home?  If he's making enough, perhaps he could take frequent visits back.

I wouldn't move there, but I'm also an outspoken, liberal, single woman so I don't think it would be a good fit for me personally.  I WOULD consider sending my (hypothetical) husband if it would have a significant impact on our FI date and it was for a set and limited amount of time.

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2014, 07:28:23 AM »
Hell yes I would.  The wife and I have considered moving to Duabi to teach at some point.  I want to experience the world and other cultures.  Good and bad.  I can't understand those who are dismissing the whole country without experiencing it.  Are some of the practices unfortunate?  Absolutely.  Is there nothing redeemable?  Hell no.

I'd worry somewhat about a single woman going there (she should definitely research into the local laws and customs), but there is much less to fear - anywhere in the world - than most people make it seem.
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Daleth

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2014, 07:37:49 AM »
Personally, no.  I won't put myself or my child in a place I feel is unsafe and I would feel unsafe there.

Being a woman, no way--especially once you factor in the traffic dangers and the bizarre ability of employers to control your ability to leave the country.

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2014, 07:49:17 AM »
It would depend on the terms, but I would absolutely consider it.  If I had to commit to more than 18 months, or *maybe* 24, it would probably not be an options, but if the compensation was generous, I'd be more than game. 

Gin1984

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2014, 07:49:51 AM »
Hell yes I would.  The wife and I have considered moving to Duabi to teach at some point.  I want to experience the world and other cultures.  Good and bad.  I can't understand those who are dismissing the whole country without experiencing it.  Are some of the practices unfortunate?  Absolutely.  Is there nothing redeemable?  Hell no.

I'd worry somewhat about a single woman going there (she should definitely research into the local laws and customs), but there is much less to fear - anywhere in the world - than most people make it seem.
Why would you worry somewhat about a single woman but not a married one?

Guizmo

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2014, 08:05:47 AM »
I wouldn't go, but that has a lot to do with me not being Qatari, Arab or white.

arebelspy

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2014, 08:13:22 AM »
Hell yes I would.  The wife and I have considered moving to Duabi to teach at some point.  I want to experience the world and other cultures.  Good and bad.  I can't understand those who are dismissing the whole country without experiencing it.  Are some of the practices unfortunate?  Absolutely.  Is there nothing redeemable?  Hell no.

I'd worry somewhat about a single woman going there (she should definitely research into the local laws and customs), but there is much less to fear - anywhere in the world - than most people make it seem.
Why would you worry somewhat about a single woman but not a married one?

I believe the perceptions others will have of a single woman versus a married one will lead to different treatment that might negatively affect her.

I could be wrong, and would be open to that.

And, even if that were the case, like I said, I'd just worry a bit and hope she educated herself on the issues.  I wouldn't tell her not to go.

Fear is not a reason to not do something.
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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2014, 08:14:12 AM »
For myself, nowhere in the Middle East holds any appeal though I'm sure others feel different.  Like MissStache, I'd consider a temporary situation where DH went and I stayed home.

arebelspy

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2014, 08:20:21 AM »
I'm surprised at how many people would be willing to be separated from your SO.

I wouldn't take a job in a different country from my wife even if I was paid $500,000 for the year.  But I guess that just falls under the "I wouldn't take a job I didn't like" category, and I wouldn't like being away from my wife.
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Peter

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2014, 08:42:16 AM »
I absolutely would do this as a single with no kids, and am actively guiding my career in that direction. If things go well you can be working in the oil industry on a 6 weeks on 3 weeks off schedule and saving (after tax and expenses) 400k/year by your early 30s.

Even in my current high paying field, I will only be able to save 100k/year by my mid 30s.

Clearly my lifestyle would be better on a regular basis by staying at home, but with these kind of temporary (1-10 year) jobs you can only fairly compare by looking at dollars saved per year. I.E. Is working for 4 years and saving 400k better or worse than working for 1 year in the middle east, saving 400k, and taking 3 years of vacation?

kendallf

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2014, 08:47:30 AM »
I've been in Kuwait numerous times for work and have several friends who were residents there for long periods.  You've already gotten a fair summary of good and bad points.  I think Dubai might be better than Kuwait as well, when you're not locked in by Iraq and Saudi Arabia, neither of which are high up on my visit list.  :-)

Earlier in my career I would have gone there, for a couple of years with a defined end date.  Now, I doubt it.  I would pack up and go to Europe, maybe Asia, but the middle eastern deserts offer significant challenges to cycling, which is how I spend a lot of time.  Doing anything in 140 degree heat other than lying down is problematic.  Wave enough money in front of my face though.. and maybe.

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2014, 09:09:20 AM »
No way.  I wouldn't go anywhere where my employer could control my ability to leave the country.  I've lived in Ireland and The Netherlands, and might possibly do another stint in Europe with my kids.  But I would never move to the Middle East.  I like hiking and being in the woods.  I would have a hard time being forced indoors because of the heat.

I have a friend who taught in Qatar.  She had a rough time.  At one point in her first month, a Qatari citizen had to take her kids across the border for a "visa run."  She couldn't do it; it had to be a citizen.  So she hired this guy she didn't really know to do it.  He was somewhat related to the school where she taught, but not an actual employee.  She was *panicking* for the two hours they were gone, not sure if they were really coming back.  No, thanks. 

Argyle

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2014, 09:18:05 AM »
I don't know about the border run deal and what was going on there, but she did get her kids back, right?

Don't some of these worries and excuses strike you as complainypants?  On another thread, people are praising a guy living in his car to pay off student loans.  We think living in your car is badass, but trying out a high-paying foreign culture while living in luxury is too scary for us?  Isn't that just a mite timid?

arebelspy

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2014, 09:19:15 AM »
No way.  I wouldn't go anywhere where my employer could control my ability to leave the country.  I've lived in Ireland and The Netherlands, and might possibly do another stint in Europe with my kids.  But I would never move to the Middle East.  I like hiking and being in the woods.  I would have a hard time being forced indoors because of the heat.

I have a friend who taught in Qatar.  She had a rough time.  At one point in her first month, a Qatari citizen had to take her kids across the border for a "visa run."  She couldn't do it; it had to be a citizen.  So she hired this guy she didn't really know to do it.  He was somewhat related to the school where she taught, but not an actual employee.  She was *panicking* for the two hours they were gone, not sure if they were really coming back.  No, thanks.

Someone doing something poorly isn't a reason not to do that thing.  That's just spreading FUD.
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expatartist

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2014, 09:30:29 AM »
It sounds like the OP has her head on straight.
* She's lived in 'foreign' cultures before.
* She's looking at different sides of issues which may crop up
* She didn't rule it out just because it's a 'Muslim country' or the Middle East
* She'll be fine, no matter what

Btw OP, I lived in Sydney part-time for 3 years. Really enjoyed the place in many ways, but the anti-Lebanese and anti-Indian racism, amongst others, gave me pause (anti-east Asian racism was discreet in comparison). To say nothing of how the Indigenous people are treated -- however I'm from the USA, so we obviously have our terrible points on this too. I was surprised at how ok it seemed to bash aboriginal people, to just ignore them as full human beings....never seen anything quite like it, but I expect in the American south it can be like that too.

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2014, 09:45:32 AM »
I don't know about the border run deal and what was going on there, but she did get her kids back, right?

Don't some of these worries and excuses strike you as complainypants?  On another thread, people are praising a guy living in his car to pay off student loans.  We think living in your car is badass, but trying out a high-paying foreign culture while living in luxury is too scary for us?  Isn't that just a mite timid?

No, it's not timid.  I want to live where I *want* to live.  It has nothing to do with being afraid or complaining.  I make a boatload of money here.  I don't need to go make $400K somewhere, because I'm doing fine right now.  I don't want to live in 140 degree heat.  That's not complaining, because I don't currently live in 140 degree heat. I like hiking and swimming in lakes.  It's just shit I feel like doing.  I'm only here for 80-odd years, so why wouldn't I indulge myself in these ways if I can do it?   I'm close to my family.  I spent years living in other countries, and at this point in my life, I want to live near them.  We have a good time together.  My kids are close to their cousins.  That's not complainypants.  It's making a choice that makes me very happy in life.  I want to teach in NY.  I dig the city.  I like being near it.  It's what I have chosen for myself.  How can you call that complainypants? 

Sometimes I think the super zealous mustachians are a very isolated bunch.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2014, 10:08:36 AM »
If I was single and the money was 2-3x or more, sure I'd do it. Married, even without kids, we'd have to have a few long conversations about it. And no way I'd want to be separated. A week's business trip is bad enough.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2014, 10:14:17 AM »
But the world cup is going to be there! just saying!

No way I would move my family there!

kkbmustang

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2014, 10:24:30 AM »
Wow, lots of negative responses here.  To the OP, I spent my formative years (ages 11-14) living in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I am so grateful to my parents for giving me that experience. In fact, my DH and I have had discussions about returning to the ME as I'd love for my children to have the same experience.

I gained a better understanding of different cultures, got to travel the world (30+ countries), and grew to be a strong, independent woman. Do I contribute that in part to living in the ME? Absolutely.

There's a lot of fearmongering going on in this thread. We traveled regularly and extensively and, to my knowledge, NEVER had issues with being allowed to leave the country. And Qatar is less strict than Saudi, as I understand it. The Saudis drive like maniacs, too. Since women can't drive in Saudi, part of my dad's package was a driver who took my mom, my brother and I wherever we needed to go when my dad was at work.

Speaking of my dad being at work -- the beneficial comp package and tax structure allowed my parents to save a shit ton of money. Enough such that my parents gifted me a fully paid for college education (except for books and half of my sorority expenses, which I had to pay for) and a wedding. Before the Saudi relocation, my parents were living on a modest income and not able to save significantly. Saudi kickstarted their ability to save.

I'd move back there in a heart beat. Was it scary at first? Sure. Stepping off an airplane and seeing dudes with machine guns everywhere was a tad intimidating. But you get used to it. I never felt afraid for my safety.

matchewed

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2014, 10:32:37 AM »
To help with finances, maybe.

For the experience, yep. It'd be fun as hell as long as you understand the culture minimally and do the normal stay safe advice while being overseas.

goodlife

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2014, 10:43:22 AM »
Wow, I can't believe all the negative comments! My advice to you: YES, GO, ABSOLUTELY! I have lived in Doha and Dubai and loved both places. I don't think the crazy driving is such a big concern really, I think this is blown way out of proportion. There is no need to be afraid for your safety, just use common sense and drive a tad more carefully and you will be fine. The money you can make there just does not compare to whatever you could make in the US or Europe. If your kids are school age, make sure your employer maybe covers their education as well. They would go to an int'l school and would love it I am sure as there will be kids from all over the world. Also on the visa thing, this is a bit exaggerated here too, of course you can find some stories on the internet about people who weren't allowed to leave or whatever, but sorry, I know so many people there, have tons of friends there and travel to that region of the world a lot and 99.999% of people never face such issues at all, so please don't let some random internet story discourage you....every country has scary immigration/deportation stories...uhmm...the US too if I may say so! Yes, of course these countries have their own culture (as every country does) but as long as you don't do anything strangely outrageous (and why would you?) you will be perfectly fine and enjoy yourself greatly.

Personally, I would move there in a heartbeat, with kids as well. Actually, especially with kids, you can get maids too if you like and live a really grand life for very little money. There are a lot of stereotypes about the Middle East in the media. Don't believe them. I have lived there and I have had a great time and would live there any day again. If you have never been, then get over there (on the amazing Qatar Airlines...welcome to awesome flying) and check it out for a week or so. Walk around, see how people treat you and you will get what I am saying. I can't emphasize enough how wrong the stereotypes that you hear in the media really are. Especially in the US I have to say, way too much over exaggeration. You could save a lot of money there and then come back. It's not like you are moving there for the rest of your live. But if you just go for 2 years, you could save a ton. People usually don't regret the things they did, only the things they didn't do.

arebelspy

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2014, 10:46:11 AM »
I don't know about the border run deal and what was going on there, but she did get her kids back, right?

Don't some of these worries and excuses strike you as complainypants?  On another thread, people are praising a guy living in his car to pay off student loans.  We think living in your car is badass, but trying out a high-paying foreign culture while living in luxury is too scary for us?  Isn't that just a mite timid?

No, it's not timid.  I want to live where I *want* to live.  It has nothing to do with being afraid or complaining.  I make a boatload of money here.  I don't need to go make $400K somewhere, because I'm doing fine right now.  I don't want to live in 140 degree heat.  That's not complaining, because I don't currently live in 140 degree heat. I like hiking and swimming in lakes.  It's just shit I feel like doing.  I'm only here for 80-odd years, so why wouldn't I indulge myself in these ways if I can do it?   I'm close to my family.  I spent years living in other countries, and at this point in my life, I want to live near them.  We have a good time together.  My kids are close to their cousins.  That's not complainypants.  It's making a choice that makes me very happy in life.  I want to teach in NY.  I dig the city.  I like being near it.  It's what I have chosen for myself.  How can you call that complainypants? 

Sometimes I think the super zealous mustachians are a very isolated bunch.

Yes, living where you want to live is the way to do it.  What most of the stuff in this thread and your friend's experience is FUD and complainypants.  Basing where you want to live off of fear stemming from ignorance is different than being empowered and informed and choosing where to live.

Thanks to those who have posted some rational things in this thread in the last few posts.  The Xenophobia was getting stifling.
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Albert

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2014, 11:40:34 AM »
I'd consider it if they pay you a lot, albeit as far as I know Emirates or Oman are nicer places for westerners and with more things to do in your free time. I was in Oman on vacation recently with a female friend and we both had a good time and were treated very well. In fact local Omanis were nicer and more helpful than Indians so prevalent in the service sector.

Saudi Arabia would be one step too far for me, though. It's so restrictive and so hot that the only thing one could do is spend time in the mall or in front of TV… I have a Lebanese friend who is a Muslim too, but left a high paying job in Saudi Arabia after a year because he and his wife couldn't stand the super conservative culture there anymore.

beltim

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2014, 11:56:25 AM »
It's not xenophobia to point out that in Qatar "If a worker leaves his or her employer, even if fleeing abuse, the employer can report the worker as “absconding,” leading to detention"
http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/qatar

Or that "Under the provisions of Qatar’s sponsorship law, sponsors have the unilateral power to cancel workers’ residency permits, deny workers’ ability to change employers, report a worker as “absconded” to police authorities, and deny permission to leave the country."
http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2011/164233.htm

Are these reasons to never go?  Of course not.  But they are legitimate issues to consider

crc

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #48 on: April 09, 2014, 12:01:43 PM »
I currently know of two women living and working in Qatar, one is married and the other is over there as a singleton. I think a huge consideration is how adaptable you and your spouse are to a new situations (children by default are usually very adaptable.) If you're both easily able to make new friends, enjoy exotic foods, tackle potential political issues and don't consider it a huge compromise to your quality of life then go for it. But if, for instance, your wife stays home with the kids and doesn't feel comfortable making new friends/taking the kids out etc, then it will be a massive emotional burden that may not be worth the additional money you could make.

I see a lot of people talking about bureaucratic issues, which are a reality when working anywhere abroad (to varying degrees of course). I lived and worked for 1.5 years in Denmark and was at the Immigration Office EVERY MONTH dealing with some stupid issue or another.

Of course all of our opinions will be skewed by personal experience and our own sense of adventure (or lack thereof) but from what my lady friends have conveyed, the Middle East can be pretty neat!

Albert

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Re: Would you move to the Middle East to help your finances?
« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2014, 12:03:14 PM »
All that is true, but in reality it's more relevant for service sector employees from developing countries. Highly paid professionals from the West tend to be treated well.