Author Topic: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?  (Read 4915 times)

travelbug

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Hi

looking at MMM's latest blog post has reinforced just how cheaply Americans can live due to housing and COL in general.

I also love that he made a conscious decision to leave Canada to create his early FI.

We are planning on leaving Australia to live in Asia, Europe (focusing on France, Italy) and the USA.

We will be travelling to search for our optimal retirement place...if we ever find it...who knows?

We will be FIRE next year (probably are now too, but want a bit more buffer) and could live in Australia on our passive income, but we could invest and grow this hugely if we moved.

Just wondering if anyone else was using this option as a vehicle to get to FI and a better lifestyle?

nikki

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2013, 06:00:22 PM »
I used to teach full-time at a university in Texas making only $22,000 USD per year before taxes. Ouch.

So I moved to South Korea, where I make about $30,000 USD per year with SIGNIFICANTLY less stress and a much lighter workload AND my housing is provided by my employer. Additional perks? Korea has awesome public transportation, so I no longer need a car to get around. I can go out to Korean restaurants and eat glorious feasts for much less than in the states (although I keep eating out to a minimum still). Some consumer products, especially electronics and clothing, can cost much more in Korea, but I'm not buying those things anyhow. Medical care is SO MUCH cheaper (and better, to me) than in Texas.

For the first two years of living in Korea, Americans can enjoy paying no taxes in Korea, and because I'll always make under $95,000 or whatever it is now, I can exclude my earnings from American taxes. Next year I'll begin paying Korea taxes, but they're pretty low as far as I understand.

Since moving here, I paid off my student loans and have actually started saving money. I've only just started, so I'm very far from FI, but I intend to stay in Korea as long as possible. I'll actually be looking at a higher income and lower hours-per-week commitment next year when I switch to a university position in Korea (just have to get hired ;D )

So YES--moving to Korea was intentionally to get a grip on my finances (and "travel" without paying for it).

arebelspy

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2013, 06:02:20 PM »
I'm personally planning to have enough to FIRE in the US, but plan to travel extensively and would expect to spend less due to that.

However I personally wouldn't FIRE with less than needed with a plan to live overseas, and then be in a bad situation if it doesn't work out (you don't like it, want to go back home, can't get the needed visas, etc.)
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

apennysaved

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2013, 07:39:46 PM »
My sister and her husband (an Australian) are planning on moving back to the States from Sydney in the next year or two to accelerate their FIRE.  They have done really well in Australia especially regarding their home appreciation.  They made a killing (50%) increase in the value of their home in Perth which they only owned for 3 years.  Now they are in Sydney and haven't seen quite the appreciation as in Perth, but good appreciation nevertheless. 

They plan to move to either Colorado or Texas (the majority of my family is in Texas).  Both have fairly inexpensive housing.  It is amazing what you can get in a suburb of Texas for @$200K.  They just feel that their money will go so much further in the States.  And of course since my sister is a citizen, they don't have to worry about visa/green card issues.  I can't really speak about other countries. 

randymarsh

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2013, 08:30:40 PM »
I'm completely open to it, but I'm not sure it would work out in my advantage. I'll be in the tech industry and don't think I'll find higher salaries outside the US. Ideally I'd like to find work here that has some international travel. I'm also considering teaching English in Japan/Korea/wherever for a year, but not sure if the pay would be high enough to cover my living expenses and considerable student loans.

nikki

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2013, 08:47:29 PM »
I'm completely open to it, but I'm not sure it would work out in my advantage. I'll be in the tech industry and don't think I'll find higher salaries outside the US. Ideally I'd like to find work here that has some international travel. I'm also considering teaching English in Japan/Korea/wherever for a year, but not sure if the pay would be high enough to cover my living expenses and considerable student loans.

If you're in the tech industry, it's likely you already make much more than ESL teachers can make. I'm coming from an even lower income teaching in the States (see post above), so this is a great place for me. But $26,000 per year is a pretty solid estimate of what you'd make in South Korea without prior teaching experience, a BA in English or Education, or a master's in any field. I don't know what your education level is, but ya... just some estimates.

As for being able to cover your living expenses, you have to remember that they will probably be significantly lower elsewhere (especially if you choose a country that covers housing and round-trip flights--South Korea does this). I'm saving an average of 82% of my income, but I don't go out or travel as often as most expats here. Even people who go out multiple times a week are able to save a significant portion of their income, which can just be pelted at student loans until they're dead.

But like I said, you'll probably be able to make more anyway in your actual field. I doubt making this move like I did would be a good move for you financially, but it could be an interesting experience if you just want to live elsewhere for a while.

expatartist

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2013, 09:38:00 PM »
I did the Korean thing for a year or so. ESL in Korea or Japan can be a good option if you're in your 20s and have an impractical BA (mine was in painting) and want to pay off loans fast. COL expenses are low. ESL as a field is pretty dead-end however unless you get an MA. In China, I tutor business clients on evenings/weekends to gain more insights about the culture, and it's a nice extra income, but I never liked doing ESL full-time.

At the moment I teach at an international school in Beijing, and salaries (and benefits for overseas hires) are easily triple what English language teaching pays. Also, you can find work virtually anywhere in the world vs. just the ESL markets (which are limited [edited to add: limited for Americans] mostly to Asia [for reasonable pay/savings potential] and South America).

Long-term visas for Europe can be a problem for Americans -- and Europe isn't a place to earn good money/save, but can be a good place to retire. Here's how one American family is going about their visa application for Spain, using their online income http://life.almostfearless.com/want-to-move-to-europe-whats-an-american-to-do/

Our history is patchwork:

I'm an American married to a Brit. We've lived a peripatetic life together in Asia and Australia (I lived/worked/studied in Europe before we met) for a decade. We've really enjoyed it but haven't saved as we should have.
We'll move to the UK next year to be closer to my MIL whose health is failing. We plan to live there for 6 years and I'll become naturalized (British passport) which will make retiring in Europe much easier. While in the UK, I'll do a (free, salaried) teaching cert in Design & Tech to increase my employment options at int'l schools when we return to Asia - a big money-saver esp if we have/adopt a kid. Also perhaps an MSc for various reasons. During our time there, we plan to buy a multifamily property in his hometown - which gets some of the highest rental returns in the UK, and pay cash for a handful of small, affordable flats/houses in the Mediterranean region for investment and potential retirement locations for us.
We're looking at Singapore or Taiwan for the next phase of our working lives, either directly after leaving the UK or after a sabbatical, working there for a number of years until FIRE.

Since home isn't just one place for us, we're looking at a balance of currencies and lifestyle options for our future.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 09:48:00 PM by expatartist »

MustacianInTheMaking

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2013, 11:08:41 PM »
Newbie in the house...what is FIRE?

expatartist

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2013, 11:17:52 PM »
@MITM I wondered too when I first started on these forums. It means:

"Financial
Independence
Retire
Early"

We won't be retiring in a traditional sense incredibly early...in fact most of my 20s/his 30s was spent in what some would call a 'pretirement', bouncing around countries in life experiments. What FIRE means for us is financial independence - and his retirement from corporate work before age 55.

limeandpepper

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2013, 01:53:43 AM »
Hi travelbug, I currently work and live in Australia and love it here. I grew up in Malaysia. I love it there too. Both countries offer different things and have their pros and cons. I have to say at this stage I am super tempted to move back to Malaysia (or a similarly low-cost country) at least for a while, as my investments can cover a frugal and basic lifestyle there - particularly as I know how to live like a local. I'd want live a bit more lavishly (hello travel and eating out!), admittedly, but just doing some part-time work could cover those luxuries without touching principal, as long as I keep it reasonable. I like the idea of a nomadic lifestyle but I also want to keep Australia as a home base.

I have a thread from a few months ago which discusses similar ideas, if you are interested in having a read:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/would-you-run-away-to-a-cheap-country/

randymarsh

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2013, 06:49:08 AM »
But like I said, you'll probably be able to make more anyway in your actual field. I doubt making this move like I did would be a good move for you financially, but it could be an interesting experience if you just want to live elsewhere for a while.

Agreed. I'll probably make 50K+ here starting out and I can live at home rent free so that's probably the best (financial) course of action for a year or two after school. Pay down most of my loans and save up a small cash cushion and then travel/move out.

livetogive

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2013, 11:22:40 AM »
We're planning on borrowing a bit from the Tim Ferriss guide to life.  We'll probably keep our investments and citizenship in the states for several reasons (military pension, track record of nationalizing bank losses, etc.) but will "travel" to places like Thailand for as many months at a time as we can and rent there.

If we own a home we'll probably rent that out too while we're gone.

travelbug

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2013, 05:12:52 PM »
I'm personally planning to have enough to FIRE in the US, but plan to travel extensively and would expect to spend less due to that.

However I personally wouldn't FIRE with less than needed with a plan to live overseas, and then be in a bad situation if it doesn't work out (you don't like it, want to go back home, can't get the needed visas, etc.)

I agree. We figure if  we have enough to retire in Australia we have enough to retire anywhere (except maybe Japan).

Thanks for all the replies. I figured it is an interesting option and one glossed over when looking at MMMs lifestyle and what he valued and sacrificed to gain FI so early. We feel the same, although we will be 7 years after him, but calculated on a larger stash because of Australian COL.

 

Todge

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Re: Anyone looking to move countries to obtain/accelerate FIRE (like MMM)?
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2013, 07:17:53 PM »
Travelbug:
My wife and I moved overseas for the experience - luckily for us it has also accelerated our path to FI. One of the benefits of living overseas is that we've achieved FI in less time than most of our friends back home and have not had to compromise on travel and lifestyle. Sure we could had gotten there earlier if we'd lived more frugally, but we were FI before 40 and had travelled to every part of the world we wanted to living a great life.

In a way that now makes the decision to retire sooner, easier. As we've seen so much we are now more than happy to live a quieter and slower life with reduced overseas travel. I'm pretty much ready for this now, just need to convince the wife!

The other thing to remember is that moving abroad does not need to be forever. You could look to live overseas to accelerate FI or retire and optimise your withdrawals then move back to your home country if/when your needs (medical?) or wants change.