Author Topic: Raising kids in US vs Overseas  (Read 1620 times)

whywork

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Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« on: July 11, 2018, 12:04:53 AM »
What are your thoughts on raising american born kids in US vs asia or mexico or other places that have low COL and more traditional

My wife is from Thailand and we have the option of moving there and raising our two kids there. Let us say we need to decide once we have 1.3M. What will be a better option then?

My feeling is that by moving to Asia or Mexico, I can leave the kids a lot more stash especially by the low COL standards. That way giving more security in their life too. If they are raised here they will be more polished but once they become adults, they need to work most of their life away for living. In Asia or Mexico, working will only be an optional thing especially with the money I can leave them. They can always come to US and start their working life with a good backup of finances if they want to. In the US I have to worry that they stay on track with their education, compete and get jobs, then work hard and save up to lead a good life. My wife also feels kids raised in Asia will grow up to be more traditional and with better bonding to parents and marriages can be more stabler too.

The plusses with being raised in US is that they are living in the midst of latest technology, healthcare and overall quality of life. I feel people interfere less with your life and overall stress is much lesser.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 01:08:39 AM »
Well, I'll touch on this from my perspective.  Generally, very young (US born or otherwise) children don't care much about where they are raised.  Our US kids were raised in Norway for a few years and one of them spoke better Norwegian than English.  Neither of them knew American culture when we moved back.  Then we moved to Dubai and they also spoke fluent Arabic (but couldn't write it, so disappointing!).

But long term (10 years later), you have to make a choice at some point.  Either they are close to family and their 'homeland' or else they go through their 'really' formative years abroad.  I have seen quite a few difficult situations when adolescents feel like their parents 'ruined their life'. 

Long story short, kids need stability.  If you are going to move, set up a family support plan and figure out the trade-off depending on your kids.  Some future inheritance is not a decision-maker compared to their perception of growing up; you may be making decisions from a flawed perspective.

2Cent

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 02:46:02 AM »
I don't know your ages, but your kids will probably not inherit anything until they are in their 50's or 60's. Also I seriously recommend not dangling a huge inheritance in front of them growing up. I've seen first hand how it spoiled the lives of those kids and their relationship with their parents. It destroyed their motivation to do hard work because they felt they already where rich. Then when they needed more money for their families, they would look to the parents. And between each other they even fought a lot over who gets what and who should get an advance etc.

That said, the most important thing for kids growing up is being surrounded by good friends and family, and having a good school to go to. I would say don't move when they are teenagers. That period is quite hard already without moving to a new country. Also help them to make friends there on vacations beforehand. It will ease the shock of moving. If it's only about low cost of living, I would recommend moving to a LCOL area in the US itself. My experience living in a poor country is that you are seen as a walking money bag, which is not that nice.

Hargrove

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 11:19:41 AM »
In terms of passing on security on a personal scale, is the domestic cat who meows for food more secure than the wild cat who finds it?

I will probably give my kids financial gifts, but I will always tell them there is no inheritance. The answer to your question has a lot to do with whatever you mean by "more traditional." There are parts of the US that consider themselves pretty traditional! Traditional how?

LiveLean

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 12:09:05 PM »
One of my best friends grew up with his American-born parents working for the State Dept. They lived in Germany, Thailand, Laos, and Switzerland. I met him during a two-year stretch they lived in the DC area.

I've always been envious of his experiences and world view. He worked for the State Dept. himself for about a decade out of college before moving on to other things. I don't know anyone who has seen more of the world for business and pleasure.


Hula Hoop

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 01:36:32 PM »
It's a wide wide world out there.  I would not stereotype the US or other parts of the world as more "traditional" or less "traditional".  What does that even mean anyway? Do you mean culturally conservative?  Within the US, as others have said, there fore more "traditional" ie culturally conservative areas and areas that are less so.  I'd say that rural Texas is more "traditional" than Mexico City or Bangkok. 

Anyway, my kids are growing up here in Italy and there are good and bad points to growing up here or growing up in various different parts of the US.  As I said, the world is a huge place with many very varied cultures.  Your question is impossible to answer.  I do agree with the others that your kids' lives probably won't be impacted by any inheritance until they are in their 50s (unless tragedy strikes) so no need to consider that at all.  But what about earning power?  Here in Italy, hordes of young people move to Northern Europe or even the US or Canada as salaries are so low here (if you can find a job at all) compared to other countries.  Life may be cheap in, say, Mexico, but is that matched by lower salaries for your kids when they grow up?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 01:39:21 PM by Hula Hoop »

whywork

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2018, 08:47:19 PM »
Thanks for your replies.

Whatever be the place (US or overseas), the kids will have to do well in school and try to establish a career / earning power. If it is overseas, in addition they are already FI when they start their careers. As parents we need not let them know about the inheritance. They can know this when they are around 30 years and start getting frustrated about work life. In addition we can teach them good financial habits so that they save what they earned that far. That way giving them the inheritance wouldn't spoil them.

Can we do that in US with the same money? Very hard to save anything for kids here. If ACA goes away then that money may not be even enough for our retirement. By raising them in overseas, I am giving them this additional benefit of comfortably going back and living in that Low COL country if they decide to do it in future.

May be if I can teach them thrifty habits and they too stick to those and accumulate enough by 30s like MMM and enter the safe FI zone then US is  the better option.

lhamo

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2018, 10:21:12 PM »
We moved to China (the country my husband is from) when our oldest was 9 months old.  DD was born back in the US, but also raised in China.  DS and I came back to the US first, when he was 14 so that he could enroll in a special early entrance program at the state university.  DD followed the next year, after her brother had made it through the screening program and was formally admitted.

My husband and I are both bilingual/bicultural and so are our kids, but they probably act/feel more American than CHinese.  We  made a point of coming back at least once, usually twice, a year to visit my family, and spent most of the rest of our vacation and holiday time visiting DHs family.  We didn't see much of the rest of the world, which I somewhat regret, but I wouldn't trade the time with family.  Esp. now that my mom is gone -- coming back when we did meant I was able to spend time with her and help with her care as she declined with congestive heart failure (diagnosis confirmed a few months after DS and I got back).  Now we struggle with the decline of my inlaws and trying to help long-distance -- DH is actually with them now, helping with care.  He spends several months a year giving his sisters a break (they have help but there always needs to be a family member on site, too, due to FIL's cognitive issues and how they affect his behavior).

I would recommend that you try an extended stay of at least 3-6 months with some trial of the schooling situation you are planning to pursue before making a full commitment to stay long-term.  I had lived in China for extended periods before we moved, so knew I could adapt (though living there with kids was a whole different ballgame).  Eventually we also had to bite the bullet and put our kids in very expensive private international schools -- those ate up my entire salary (25-30k/kid AFTER my DH's 20k/year allowance).  It was worth it at the time -- both kids excel academically and a lot of that is attributable to the expensive school's practices -- but it is also one of the things that made me want to leave. 

I will say -- don't underestimate how hard it can be to be a foreigner in an Asian country.  You will always be an outsider, even if you are fluent in the language and get along fine with people culturally.  It wears on you. Maybe more so if you ARE fluent, because you understand all the obnoxious things people are saying about you all the time.  They comment on everything, thinking you don't understand.  It gets really annoying, especially when you have put the time and energy into trying to adapt linguistically and culturally.  It is hard to make local friends outside of work, and if you aren't living a typical expat lifestyle that makes you an outsider in those circles, too.  @Freedomin5 has had some solid posts on her journal about the challenges of atypical expat life in China.  Worth reading as you ponder whether this is the path you want to pursue.

whywork

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2018, 10:40:08 PM »
Thanks so much lhamo. Your situation looks very similar to mine. My elder kid is 8 and I would like to move before she turns 10. After that I suspect it will become more difficult to move and adapt to a foreign country.

I currently have 650k networth (no home) and if I leave in 2 years I will have about 900k. My wife has about 300k worth in thailand. If we live off that for next 14 years (when both kids complete their college), my 900k here would have grown to be 1.6M. We all can then come back and retire in a low COL city in US while kids pursue their jobs.

On the other hand if I decide to stay in US and want to end up with the same networth and pay for kids college, my working life would be extended for 3.5 years more which is not that bad. My wife wants to look after her mother in Thailand (she wouldn't be staying with us but nearby) and I have this reason to retire early so moving there seem to work for both reasons.

I would prefer my kids to be grown up here but don't see a big problem moving there as well.

Freedomin5

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2018, 07:22:52 AM »
Also, itís not clear from your post whether you plan to have your kids attend university in Thailand or in the States. Many developed countries look down on university degrees from developing countries, and that may limit your kidsí job opportunities if you my kids eventually want to move back to and work in the states. Degrees from American (and other developed countries) universities are much more valued.

whywork

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2018, 09:10:29 AM »
Also, itís not clear from your post whether you plan to have your kids attend university in Thailand or in the States. Many developed countries look down on university degrees from developing countries, and that may limit your kidsí job opportunities if you my kids eventually want to move back to and work in the states. Degrees from American (and other developed countries) universities are much more valued.
College is expensive in US. My plan is to have them attend the college in Thailand. Let us say they take computer science engineering, they will read the same books as part of their curriculum in Thailand. Then get a job and working experience for 2 years before they move to US and ease into IT field here. As you gain working experience, your degree becomes less and less significant

I see the point of others too that inheritance may not be a big factor in determining happiness. By raising them more traditional what I meant was kids can be pushed to work harder and be more disciplined in Asian countries than in US. My wife particularly worries about how they become rebellious in teenage and can go astray with their careers. Raising them in an asia and putting them in schools that enforce some discipline, we can ensure this doesn't happen(?)

lhamo

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2018, 09:47:22 AM »
I wouldn't be so self-assured about how much better the environment is for raising compliant kids.  It might work out that way, it might not.  I knew plenty of parents (both expat and local) who had similar struggles with their kids in Beijing that they would have here in the US.  In some cases the situation is worse, especially if you are in expensive international schools -- many of my kids' friends were more or less being raised by hired help, and had lots of cash at their disposal.  And not a lot of motivation to study. 

You will also want to look more deeply at the quality of local university education.  Don't assume the curriculum or approaches are the same.  I'm not saying rule it out entirely, but do more research and observation and see if the lower cost results in some significantly diminished benefits. 

2Cent

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2018, 10:03:13 AM »
Also, itís not clear from your post whether you plan to have your kids attend university in Thailand or in the States. Many developed countries look down on university degrees from developing countries, and that may limit your kidsí job opportunities if you my kids eventually want to move back to and work in the states. Degrees from American (and other developed countries) universities are much more valued.
College is expensive in US. My plan is to have them attend the college in Thailand. Let us say they take computer science engineering, they will read the same books as part of their curriculum in Thailand. Then get a job and working experience for 2 years before they move to US and ease into IT field here. As you gain working experience, your degree becomes less and less significant

I see the point of others too that inheritance may not be a big factor in determining happiness. By raising them more traditional what I meant was kids can be pushed to work harder and be more disciplined in Asian countries than in US. My wife particularly worries about how they become rebellious in teenage and can go astray with their careers. Raising them in an asia and putting them in schools that enforce some discipline, we can ensure this doesn't happen(?)
This is something I also really hate in western schools. The peer pressure to not study too much. Making fun of smart kids while honoring the rebels and athletes. Although Asia has it's own problems of course.

DoNorth

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2018, 12:19:09 PM »
We moved to france 4 months ago with our 9 and almost 7 year old.  They don't speak French yet, but school is just starting this week so I think they will within 3-4 months.  I will work here for 2 years minimum and then my wife and I will let the kids decide whether we move back to the US or stay for a 3rd or 4th year.  I see the point you're making, but I would only consider the move from the stand point of enriching their lives through different cultural experiences, not the arbitrage of making $$ go further in a foreign lower cost of living experience.

cats

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2018, 09:50:03 AM »
My parents are immigrants and I grew up in the US.  My husband and I have some dual citizenship options that would allow us to potentially move to another "developed" country without huge hassle, and we are definitely considering it.  In our case, the COL difference probably would not be huge, but we see a lot of value in having more of a social safety net (particularly with regards to healthcare).  I get the sense also that (though this could just be my perception) that there is more respect for basic living "rules" in some other places than there is in the US, which I think may actually contribute to making those places more functional.  Like, in our neighborhood/city, people think nothing of parking on the sidewalk (making things difficult for pedestrians and DEFINITELY creating problems for anyone in a wheelchair or scooter), jaywalking, leaving trash out at the park, etc.  None of these things are necessarily huge on their own, but we find there's a kind of pervasive attitude of entitlement like "I should be able to pick and choose which rules I want to follow".  I don't necessarily want our kid to be a mindless compliant robot, but FFS, some of these rules/norms DO actually result in a greater benefit to society overall.

As far as education goes, there are good university options in any of the countries we are considering and I personally feel the US university system is on a fairly unsustainable trajectory right now, so I don't feel that staying in the US is necessarily going to benefit my kids educationally.  I also think that if the US continues to choke off immigration that it might start to lose some of its edge as the world technology leader.

We do plan to FI with enough of a stash that if we went abroad and it turned out to be a terrible idea, moving back to the US would still be feasible.

letsdoit

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2018, 07:03:38 AM »
to follow

letsdoit

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2018, 08:41:56 AM »
I don't know your ages, but your kids will probably not inherit anything until they are in their 50's or 60's. Also I seriously recommend not dangling a huge inheritance in front of them growing up. I've seen first hand how it spoiled the lives of those kids and their relationship with their parents. It destroyed their motivation to do hard work because they felt they already where rich. Then when they needed more money for their families, they would look to the parents. And between each other they even fought a lot over who gets what and who should get an advance etc.

That said, the most important thing for kids growing up is being surrounded by good friends and family, and having a good school to go to. I would say don't move when they are teenagers. That period is quite hard already without moving to a new country. Also help them to make friends there on vacations beforehand. It will ease the shock of moving. If it's only about low cost of living, I would recommend moving to a LCOL area in the US itself. My experience living in a poor country is that you are seen as a walking money bag, which is not that nice.

one of the possible traps of being raised in LCOL country is not knowing how to clean up after yourself or having only diplomat friends.  if you live in a place where a maid is $4/day , the kid can get used to it pretty fast

letsdoit

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2018, 08:43:19 AM »
One of my best friends grew up with his American-born parents working for the State Dept. They lived in Germany, Thailand, Laos, and Switzerland. I met him during a two-year stretch they lived in the DC area.

I've always been envious of his experiences and world view. He worked for the State Dept. himself for about a decade out of college before moving on to other things. I don't know anyone who has seen more of the world for business and pleasure.

another trap is being a parent in a poorer country and being essentially unemployed.  anyone will become lazy really fast.  then that is what you are modeling to the kid

letsdoit

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2018, 08:46:29 AM »
i'm gonna sound like i'm against this, but i'm playing devil's advocate

as the woman with kids in china said, it's tiring to be an outsider.  i lived in a country that was so different that i felt like an astronaut, only barely tethered to the earth.  for... three years. 

letsdoit

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2018, 08:48:50 AM »
We moved to france 4 months ago with our 9 and almost 7 year old.  They don't speak French yet, but school is just starting this week so I think they will within 3-4 months.  I will work here for 2 years minimum and then my wife and I will let the kids decide whether we move back to the US or stay for a 3rd or 4th year.  I see the point you're making, but I would only consider the move from the stand point of enriching their lives through different cultural experiences, not the arbitrage of making $$ go further in a foreign lower cost of living experience.

are they going to public school?

AMandM

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Re: Raising kids in US vs Overseas
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2018, 01:25:33 PM »
I want to raise another, different issue. We've lived in three different countries with our kids: my native country, my husband's, and a country foreign to both of us. One result that we had not anticipated is that our kids did not have AT ALL the same sense of "home" that either DH or I did. Indeed, some of them had hardly any sense of a "home country" until we had settled on one place for several years. They were outsiders no matter where they lived, because they weren't seen as "from here" anywhere. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean your kids' childhoods won't play out like yours or your wife's; for instance, other Thai parents may treat them differently, so what you think of as the Thai way of childrearing might not happen to them. Just something to be aware of.

A useful book on this topic is Third Culture Kids by Pollock and Van Reken.