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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: hornbyisland on October 12, 2016, 08:17:26 PM

Title: Canadian moving to Denmark
Post by: hornbyisland on October 12, 2016, 08:17:26 PM
Iím immigrating to Denmark in March, and Iím working on my financial plan. Please excuse me if this is kind of scattered. I really wish I had some friends IRL that I could talk about this with, but I get as far as ďI have a TFSA with mostly index fundsÖĒ and their eyes glaze over.

Any insights, suggestions, or poking fun are welcome. Please be nice - I can think of lots of reasons why I shouldn't do this, I don't need any more!

Money Iíve got:
About 6000 in liquid cash.
11,000 in TFSA, accessible.
16,000 in TFSA, locked down (backloaded fees for 4 more years).
10,000 in RSP, probably best to leave it where it is for now.
3000 coming from a tax return in March.
2000 coming from sale of motorbike in March.

Between now and March I can save $1000 per month.

Oct-Nov-Dec-Jan-Feb-March. Maybe say 5000 since I might be leaving at the beginning of March, depends when the plane ticket is cheapest.

Actual available money is going to be
6000 - have
3000 - tax return
2000 - bike sale
5000 - income

16,000 to take with me is the goal.

Big stuff I have to buy includes:
   Plane tickets ~1000 (possible to get as low as $650)
   Visa and fees ~300
   Travel insurance ~800
Probably a lot of other stuff. Luckily Iíve got six more months to plan that.

I usually save $1000 a month and I put it straight in the TFSA or the RSP, alternating months. Now that Iím gearing up to travel, Iím trying to figure out the smartest way to save my money from now till March.

Should I just keep that $1000 a month in a savings account so I can access it right away?

Should I put it in the TFSA instead and switch the TFSA from reinvesting dividends to depositing income in a checking account?(The TFSA with 11,000 is in invested in this portfolio: The one with 16,000 is in an ill-advised moderate-aggressive plan from Investors Group.)

Should I hold it in cash, and also keep the TFSA reinvesting dividends, and see how far I can get with the $16,000 I can hopefully save up between now and March?

What are the other questions I ought to be asking/answering and have forgotten about?

I feel like there must be some math I can do to figure out the best choice, but Iím not sure how to do it.

My plan for Denmark is to move in with a friend who has invited me to stay at his house, get a working holiday visa, and try to find an employer who wants to sponsor me. Thereís also a university degree I want to take, but it will cost at least $50,000 in tuition and I havenít figured out how to pay for that. So possibly not. I would very much like to take some kind of short vocational training, if I can find a course that makes sense and will get me working quickly. Iím a software developer right now.

But thereís a very real possibility that I just wonít be able to hack it and have to come home. Too many of my friends have come back from Australia or wherever, dirt broke because they tried to immigrate and failed. Denmark is also famous for being one of the toughest countries for expatriates. So thatís why Iím keeping quite a lot in reserve. I keep telling myself I can do this if I have a solid enough plan, but my plans donít seem all that solid at all. I just know that I want to at least try being Danish.
Title: Re: Canadian moving to Denmark
Post by: tardis on October 12, 2016, 10:01:24 PM
I feel like there must be some math I can do to figure out the best choice, but Iím not sure how to do it.

Why do you want to try being Danish, ie. what are you trying to get out of this specifically?  Have you been there before and if so for how long?  Math will not solve this question, only tell you how best to achieve your desired goal from a financial perspective.

My main advice as a person currently 11 months into my own working holiday is to have a detailed plan for up to a month, a general plan for one year and then 6 months into that take a second look at how you feel/what you want to accomplish and adjust as needed.  This is too big with too many variables to know how it will go until you're in it.

Look into what type of banking you will be able/not able to do as a non-citizen in Denmark.  Can you open an interest earning savings account, how would your international investment earnings be taxed, how much can you bring in/take out etc.  I would keep what you save between now and March in high interest savings until you have a better idea of what will happen.  You miss out on a few hundred dollars max which is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

If the main goal is to just get yourself to Denmak, you're good to go right now.  You have enough liquid cash to cover a year without working a "real" job no problem if you are careful, and as a software developer I imagine you can find a online work situation if need be.  If you are more focused on getting the degree or earning maybe save up for another year while learning to speak/write Danish, get an official fluency test, and look for internationally recognized qualifications you can take with you.  I imagine this would also give you a better chance of immigrating successfully.
Title: Re: Canadian moving to Denmark
Post by: hornbyisland on October 13, 2016, 04:05:14 PM
Why do you want to try being Danish, ie. what are you trying to get out of this specifically?  Have you been there before and if so for how long? 

It comes from an ambition I've had since I was very young, to live outside of Canada for at least a little while, for the perspective, for the learning experience, and most of all for the stories. No particular country has really grabbed my attention before, though. I've visited Nicaragua, the USA and Spain, and in all cases I enjoyed the visit but I was happy to come home.

I got a chance to visit some friends in Denmark earlier this year, kind of randomly - I met them in Spain, and I happened to have a week or so of unscheduled time and some room in the budget. I liked it so much I didn't want to leave, and I've been thinking about it ever since. It also helps that there's a possible romantic interest, though if that doesn't work out I still want to do it.

Thanks for the advice re. 1 month and 1 year plans - that makes a lot of sense to me. What country did you go to?
Title: Re: Canadian moving to Denmark
Post by: tardis on October 13, 2016, 07:17:15 PM
I am currently in New Zealand.  I have a ďrealĒ job and could probably easily immigrate if I wanted, but am looking forward to the holiday part of the working holiday and heading back home.  NZ is lovely but have realized that a lot of the things that are most important to me are more easily possible/accessible there.

I thought it was a bit strange that you specifically mention and ďbeing DanishĒ  and immigration without mentioning what inspired such an intense desire which is where my curiosity came from.  A one week holiday is a very limited source of information to base a plan to permanently move to another country, so doing a working holiday sounds like a good plan to see if you would like it well enough day to day.  People here suggest renting a house in a different city before buying, let alone moving to another country for a reason.  :)  Iíd love to hear how your trip goes in any case!