Author Topic: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country  (Read 1534 times)

asgaroth

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Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« on: August 27, 2017, 07:00:44 PM »
Life Situation:

Married 30yo male, 29 old year wife and no kids (four cats and an old dog, all adopted/rescued from the streets).

We live in the "best city" in our Country (Medellin-Colombia), in a very nice area (expensive compared to the rest) and very nice apartment (460sqft). We are very happy here with our current lifestyle, we try to be frugal but we live here because it is safer than cheaper neighborhoods.

However, we are worried about the direction this country may take where a situation like Venezuela may occur.

We are thinking immigrating to Canada could be a good option, but the cost of living will impact our path to FI.

In the details below, you'll see how cheaper it is to live in a LATAM country, I have converted the values to USD using 1x3000 COP. (conversion rates range between 2800-3000)

Gross Salary/Wages: 80,400 USD



Other Ordinary Income:

- Rental income: 200 USD (We are likely selling this property soon, see assets)
- Being a Software engineer I could take on additional freelancing work hours, which could bring additional 1000 to 3000 USD If I just stopped gaming a couple hours at night T_T (don't count on this)


Current Expenses:


Entertainment150
Transportation100
Rent600
Internet44
Utilities84
Groceries240
House Cleaning100
Pet Care100
Monthly taxes (pension unavoidable)70
Health Insurance120
Misc200
Charity40
Vacations/Christmas/Birthdays100
Total1948

Adjusted Gross Income: 4952 USD/mo

Taxes: I have to pay about a month's worth of salary per year: 6700 USD.

Expected ER expenses: 30k/yr

Assets:


- Savings 10.000 (will go away in taxes soon)
- Investments: 27.600
- Paid off Apartment: 100.000 (generating 200 in rent, which is why we are going to sell it to invest somewhere better)
- I have stock options at my company, impossible to know how much they'll be worth, but I'll estimate a minimum of 100.000 in four years.
- Pension: 7.600 (not very likely to ever be able to cash this)

No car, we work from home, no liabilities.

Specific Question(s): We know that many people like to retire in LATAM, given how much cheaper it is (as you can see above), while we are very happy here, and our lifestyle is very good, the difference is that these people can just go elsewhere if things go south here, we do not have that option. I may sound pessimistic, and nothing may happen here, but if it does, we want to have options, be able to leave in case the country's situation goes bad.

We like the option of Canada, because there may be a chance we can move there and keep my current job (because I love it, and because the shares could be worth a lot), unfortunately the relocation guide has no entries for Canada, which makes it harder for me to estimate the hit on our FI goal.

However, I wanted to get your opinion in general, is this a good move? what would you do in our situation? would moving to a different LATAM country be a better idea? Europe is also an option If I decide to switch jobs.

Additional reasons we don't like it here much: Pure rant, so you may want to stop reading from here:

- Being a third world country means:
- Lost of corruption (ranked 90 with a 37 corruption perception index)
- There is a lot of insecurity (you don't want to move around on your bike)
- Taxes are high and are never reinvested (more so than many other countries)
- No investment in education
- Streets are in bad shape
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 07:28:58 PM by asgaroth »

Freedomin5

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 09:41:55 PM »
Canadian here. As with everything in life, the answer is, "It depends."

Have you visited Canada before? Have you and your wife gone through six months of winter before? Able to drive in the snow/black ice? Used to having the sun come up at 9 AM and set before 3 PM (which is what we get in winter)?

Which part of Canada are you planning to move to? For example, Toronto and Vancouver are HCOL cities, but smaller cities will likely be cheaper. There are some Canadian cities in which it is possible to live comfortably for less than USD$2000 per month.

Most people enjoy Canada in the summer. If you and your wife are thinking of immigrating here, I would suggest coming around January or February and staying for 2 to 3 weeks in whatever city you're interested in. Walk around the neighbourhood, take public transportation, look at Kijiji (www.kijiji.ca) or craigslist.ca for rental postings to get an idea of the rents in the area. Shop at the local grocery store. Stay in an AirBnB and talk to the host who will be able to give you more information about the specific city.

It's hard to give specific information about moving to Canada, because Canada is HUGE and different regions vary.

Adventine

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2017, 11:09:26 PM »
I think about this sometimes too, even though I am in a similar situation as asgaroth (but on the other side of the world). Posting to follow and maybe get some ideas.

Goldielocks

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 12:13:40 AM »
Moving to Canada may set back your FI plans about 2-4 years.   Other than the weather, most people get back on their feet within that time, and you have the advantage of not currently eating out much and being used to a smaller place (and no kids).

If you move, I recommend that your wife take a Canadian degree (4 years) if possible, and thereby qualify for PR status with lots of points on the entry system... assuming that you would be on a temporary visa, or tied to your status at first.   This has the advantage of quickly leading to employment, which would more than supplement your income here.

Only do this if you are serious about wanting to have a permanent home outside of your current country.  It will be quite a few years before you can even split the year between your home country and Canada, in order to satisfy all the immigration requirements.

asgaroth

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2017, 12:39:48 AM »
Canadian here. As with everything in life, the answer is, "It depends."

Have you visited Canada before? Have you and your wife gone through six months of winter before? Able to drive in the snow/black ice? Used to having the sun come up at 9 AM and set before 3 PM (which is what we get in winter)?

Which part of Canada are you planning to move to? For example, Toronto and Vancouver are HCOL cities, but smaller cities will likely be cheaper. There are some Canadian cities in which it is possible to live comfortably for less than USD$2000 per month.

Most people enjoy Canada in the summer. If you and your wife are thinking of immigrating here, I would suggest coming around January or February and staying for 2 to 3 weeks in whatever city you're interested in. Walk around the neighbourhood, take public transportation, look at Kijiji (www.kijiji.ca) or craigslist.ca for rental postings to get an idea of the rents in the area. Shop at the local grocery store. Stay in an AirBnB and talk to the host who will be able to give you more information about the specific city.

It's hard to give specific information about moving to Canada, because Canada is HUGE and different regions vary.

We have never been through winter, I have heard they are tough, but we hope we can manage with a good heater and not leaving home much. there is definitively going to be a period of adjustment, probably very long. Our idea is to live in a town nearby a city, we think near Victoria or Ottawa. we don't need a big city unless I have to switch jobs, my wife also works from home, so that gives us flexibility.

We plan to visit Canada next year for a month, doing exactly what you said, living like a local, visiting towns around the cities I mentioned, and overall getting an idea of what it would be to live there. you say January would be a good date to get an idea of the winter?

asgaroth

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2017, 12:51:13 AM »
Moving to Canada may set back your FI plans about 2-4 years.   Other than the weather, most people get back on their feet within that time, and you have the advantage of not currently eating out much and being used to a smaller place (and no kids).

If you move, I recommend that your wife take a Canadian degree (4 years) if possible, and thereby qualify for PR status with lots of points on the entry system... assuming that you would be on a temporary visa, or tied to your status at first.   This has the advantage of quickly leading to employment, which would more than supplement your income here.

Only do this if you are serious about wanting to have a permanent home outside of your current country.  It will be quite a few years before you can even split the year between your home country and Canada, in order to satisfy all the immigration requirements.

We are considering that possibility too, she is a starting entrepreneur and may be able to find something to complement that, would be a great way to get some extra points thanks.

Goldielocks

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2017, 12:53:49 AM »
Canadian here. As with everything in life, the answer is, "It depends."

Have you visited Canada before? Have you and your wife gone through six months of winter before? Able to drive in the snow/black ice? Used to having the sun come up at 9 AM and set before 3 PM (which is what we get in winter)?

Which part of Canada are you planning to move to? For example, Toronto and Vancouver are HCOL cities, but smaller cities will likely be cheaper. There are some Canadian cities in which it is possible to live comfortably for less than USD$2000 per month.

Most people enjoy Canada in the summer. If you and your wife are thinking of immigrating here, I would suggest coming around January or February and staying for 2 to 3 weeks in whatever city you're interested in. Walk around the neighbourhood, take public transportation, look at Kijiji (www.kijiji.ca) or craigslist.ca for rental postings to get an idea of the rents in the area. Shop at the local grocery store. Stay in an AirBnB and talk to the host who will be able to give you more information about the specific city.

It's hard to give specific information about moving to Canada, because Canada is HUGE and different regions vary.

We have never been through winter, I have heard they are tough, but we hope we can manage with a good heater and not leaving home much. there is definitively going to be a period of adjustment, probably very long. Our idea is to live in a town nearby a city, we think near Victoria or Ottawa. we don't need a big city unless I have to switch jobs, my wife also works from home, so that gives us flexibility.

We plan to visit Canada next year for a month, doing exactly what you said, living like a local, visiting towns around the cities I mentioned, and overall getting an idea of what it would be to live there. you say January would be a good date to get an idea of the winter?

Victoria -- I would say November, because it is quite dark, if rainy and not exceptionally cold.  January is colder, but brighter and not as wet.  Ottawa -- You could also try visiting in February or even March, to get a taste of winter, with a bit of early spring thrown in...  You don't need to try the coldest part of winter to understand what it is like, really....so choosing something other than January would be a great idea.

Again, most people I know who moved here, are well on their way again for FI in about 2 years, sometimes 4 if finding work is a challenge.. and most immigrants do a LOT better than locals at being successful over 10 to 15 year time spans...

Freedomin5

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2017, 05:10:12 AM »
The climate in Victoria and Ottawa are different. I have a friend who was born and raised in Toronto who could not stand Victoria because it is a "wet" cold. While the temperature never dropped below 0C, with the windchill and the humidity, the cold just soaked right into your bones. Ottawa dips below 0C but tends to be a dry cold. It snows, but doesn't rain much in the winter. So the snow basically just slides right off your coat. Or stays frozen and does not melt into your coat, so you can just brush it off.

If you are able to make the same salary as you are now and live on a similar amount each month, I don't think FIRE would be delayed by too much.

And Goldielocks is right. You don't have to just go in January. Winter starts at the end of November and goes on through March and sometimes even the beginning of April. Any of those months will give you a decent taste of winter.

Some people need sunlight. Seasonal Affective Disorder is alive and well in Canada. So definitely hang out for a month in Canada during our darkest season and see how it affects your mood.


RetiredAt63

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2017, 08:38:57 PM »
The climate in Victoria and Ottawa are different. I have a friend who was born and raised in Toronto who could not stand Victoria because it is a "wet" cold. While the temperature never dropped below 0C, with the windchill and the humidity, the cold just soaked right into your bones. Ottawa dips below 0C but tends to be a dry cold. It snows, but doesn't rain much in the winter. So the snow basically just slides right off your coat. Or stays frozen and does not melt into your coat, so you can just brush it off.

If you are able to make the same salary as you are now and live on a similar amount each month, I don't think FIRE would be delayed by too much.

And Goldielocks is right. You don't have to just go in January. Winter starts at the end of November and goes on through March and sometimes even the beginning of April. Any of those months will give you a decent taste of winter.

Some people need sunlight. Seasonal Affective Disorder is alive and well in Canada. So definitely hang out for a month in Canada during our darkest season and see how it affects your mood.

From all the weather discussion here you can tell that weather (winter) plays a big part in Canadian lives.  Freedomin5 is only partially right about Ottawa winters - it can also snow when it is warmer (0 to -5C) and that snow is wet and heavy (we call it heart attack snow for a reason).  And if it is a touch warmer we get freezing rain, and everything is coated in ice.  If we are lucky it gets warmer and the ice melts, but usually that ice stays until spring.   February is a particularly icky month, if you want to test things out.  And you might get "lucky" and hit days in the -20s to -30s.  They are beautiful, bright sun in a blue sky reflecting off sparkling snow.  They also mean your nose freezes shut and if you are out for more than a few minutes you want to be breathing through a scarf to conserve the warm air.  The first picture shows what happens when you breathe out warm moist air in winter.  The second picture shows what happens when you get 3 ice storms in one week.

I taught a student from Columbia once, and he did manage to survive 3 winters in Montreal, which also has harsh winters.  It was a Québecois author (Gilles Vigneault) who wrote Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver

It isn't that we want to scare you off, we just want you to know what you are getting yourself into.

This web site will give you all the government nitty-gritty:
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.asp
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elaine amj

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2017, 09:06:34 PM »
I moved to Canada from a warm, tropical country and faced a freak blizzard in my first winter here. I survived and am still living in Canada nearly 20 years later. I will say that winter used to be a bit more exciting and even shovelling snow had an element of fun. Nowadays, I just long for spring again lol!

I love living in Canada. I like the country in general, I like the people, I like how the country tries to take care of its people. And yes, it is REALLY, REALLY nice not to deal with corruption on a daily basis. Plus, Canadians do in general try really hard to avoid being racist. As a visible minority and an immigrant, I appreciate that. It still isn't easy for immigrants to get accepted in the workplace...but it is possible with time and effort.

Perhaps plan to be a bit nomadic the first couple of years to give yourself time to find an ideal place. Canada is a big place with many many different combinations of weather, population density, and people. I always thought I would live in a big city forever. Then I discovered that I love living in my small city and will never choose to live in a big city again.


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RetiredAt63

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2017, 07:56:04 AM »
I moved to Canada from a warm, tropical country and faced a freak blizzard in my first winter here. I survived and am still living in Canada nearly 20 years later. I will say that winter used to be a bit more exciting and even shovelling snow had an element of fun. Nowadays, I just long for spring again lol!


Winter was more fun when I was younger, too.  I remember in Grad school we had students from the Caribbean in my department, and what a shock a Canadian winter was for them.  Winter is survivable, and can be lots of fun (skating, skiing, making snowmen and snow angels with the kids, etc.) but it helps to be psychologically prepared.
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ElleFiji

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2017, 08:46:41 AM »
A big warning that housing prices, especially rent, can often be higher than the numbers you see on craigslist or kijiji. There are lots of good, affordable places, but they go really quickly

elaine amj

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Re: Case Study: Moving to a more expensive country
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2017, 10:11:08 AM »

Winter was more fun when I was younger, too.  I remember in Grad school we had students from the Caribbean in my department, and what a shock a Canadian winter was for them.  Winter is survivable, and can be lots of fun (skating, skiing, making snowmen and snow angels with the kids, etc.) but it helps to be psychologically prepared.

Definitely! Although we really really just have no idea. When I left home, my friends bought me a "winter coat u can go skiing in!!". All these years later I still have that giant fleece and giggle when DH or I wear it.

And of course, PLEASE take your winter clothing advice from an adult, preferably a mom. My "mentor" was a 19yr old fashionista student who advised high heeled oxfords (that didn't even cover my ankles!). Thank goodness chunky heels were in fashion as that helped me avoid breaking my neck. My winter coat was a cheapo wool thing - barely any lining and only buttons. Fine for moving from house to car to classroom - not so good for standing at a bus stop for 30 mins in the frigid cold or slogging through knee deep snow to get from my student apartment to the classroom.

I met a lady last winter who had moved here from the Caribbean. I suggested a few things to buy but we had an unexpected cold snap and it was too cold for her to go shopping. She was miserable and freezing all the time. I quickly showed up at her tiny apartment with some old winter coats (unfashionable but she couldn't care less!) and a stack of thermal undershirts and leggings (timing worked out as I had just bought too many for myself on a killer sale so was happy to give it away).



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