Author Topic: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?  (Read 4121 times)

realityinabox

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Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« on: October 07, 2015, 08:10:37 AM »
I have long been intrigued by the idea of visiting New Zealand some day.  Flights are easily $2500+ round-trip for a single ticket.  I've been researching travel hacking, and am starting to think that getting to NZ without breaking the bank isn't such a pipe-dream.  After listening to MadFientist talk about slow travel, the idea of visiting for a measly 2 weeks sounds incredibly underwhelming.  I started to consider the idea of taking a long leave from work at some point in the next couple of years, but the idea of getting set back from FIRE isn't appealing enough.  Then the idea of actually moving there ran across my mind, and I can't get Bilbo out of my head.

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I want to see mountains again Gandalf.  Mountains!
 
According to their immigration website, NZ has a high demand for people in my field (Electrical Engineering), and their cost of living is comparable to the US.  I'm wracking my brain to figure out reasons not to pursue going.  Family is one of them.  Unfamiliar tax situation is another.  Would I get double taxed?  What out 401k equivalents?  How does it all work? 

I'd love to hear about experiences from others who have gone ex-pat pre-FIRE, or recommendations for further reading.


yyc-phil

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2015, 10:11:33 AM »
If you are under 30, you might be interested in a working holiday visa scheme available to American citizens from countries like Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Ireland. Under that type of visa, you are allowed to spend a year in the country, and they are the easiest answer for those who want to travel, but either don't have enough money to do so or are worried about their bills at home once abroad. These visas are fairly easy to have approved; they are generally only open to people 18-30 years old. You can work in your field or not, full time, part time, or seasonally, or not at all and just visit the country.

AZDude

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2015, 10:29:49 AM »
Most countries, and while I dont know for sure, I would assume New Zealand is among them, have a tax treaty with the US. So any tax you pay in NZ is credited toward your US tax bill. Should be easy enough to find out with a google search. I know Australia is like that.

As for the rest, it will cost quite a bit to move unless you are going to arrive with just a suitcase, in which case you will still need hotel money until you find a place(or rent blind... which sounds scary to me but maybe you are cool with that) and the visa application fee. Factor in say, a one-two week vacation back to the US each year into your budget and you are probably good.

Once upon a time I looked into emigrating to Australia, and things seems mostly straightforward as far the visa process, but the moving all my stuff part looked costly and expensive.

REAL WORLD EXPAT

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2015, 10:44:12 AM »
NZ is a great place to visit, been there once for 2 weeks (brother married a Kiwi) and it was no where near enough time so a longer trip is on the cards post FIRE. I'm quite surprised you say the COL is the same as the US (though the COL in the US can vary a lot) because I thought it was quite a bit higher compared to Chicago COL which is my reference. Wages are quite low in NZ and many Kiwi's work in Australia (not sure where I heard it but someone told me NZ has one of the highest migration rates of any developed country which if you've ever spent time in London may not be hard to believe!). Another thing to consider is NZ is a long way from pretty much anywhere else but that being said there is enough in NZ to keep you busy.

Not sure of your personal situation but if you have the opportunity to work and live in NZ (or any other country for that matter) I'd go for it, not everything can be measured in financial terms.

Good luck!

realityinabox

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2015, 10:47:42 AM »
I'm quite surprised you say the COL is the same as the US (though the COL in the US can vary a lot) because I thought it was quite a bit higher compared to Chicago COL which is my reference.

That is based solely off a generalization on their immigration webpage.  I'd have to do some more research before getting serious about the idea, though it does sound very tempting.

dcozad999

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2015, 10:49:55 AM »
I read somewhere recently that New Zealand requires a $400k-$500k investment in the country (house maybe?) for a visa.

former player

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2015, 10:58:42 AM »
I spent 10 days in NZ years ago (as part of a 5 week "I've got FU money and I'm going round the world while you sort yourselves out" break from work) and loved it.  First world, underpopulated and spacious, green, friendly, safe, stunningly beautiful, great climate.  I could live there very happily.

Notsospendi

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2015, 12:56:34 AM »
Hi, I've done the opposite to what you're thinking of doing...I'm a kiwi that moved to the US for the few years.  So I know a bit about the differences / realities of moving to New Zealand.  I'd say do it, our US friends that come to visit us here are blown away by our little country and some have come back several times!
There is a tax treaty between NZ and the US, so you won't be double taxed.  You will still probably have to file a US tax return while you are overseas though. Cost of living I'd say is pretty high compared to the US.  Depends on where you live in the US and NZ of course! I'd say after living in California, COL here is comparable to LA.  Less expensive in the provinces, but job availability would be questionable.  In the cities like Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch, rental costs are high, salaries are lower than what you'd get in the US.  Food and drink are more expensive (but very delicious). We have a welfare state, so stuff your US employers pay for (benefits, health insurance), are covered by the government here, so taxes are higher.
You'd probably be able to find a job in your field of work, but you might want to check your prospects with local employers. Don't know how the visa thing would work - a working holiday visa, if one is available from the US to NZ, is a good idea. www.trademe.co.nz is a good website for all things (kind of like Ebay, with real estate and jobs).  www.seek.co.nz is another job site. Cheers Notsospendi.



deborah

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2015, 03:53:11 AM »
If you are under 30, you might be interested in a working holiday visa scheme available to American citizens from countries like Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Ireland. Under that type of visa, you are allowed to spend a year in the country, and they are the easiest answer for those who want to travel, but either don't have enough money to do so or are worried about their bills at home once abroad. These visas are fairly easy to have approved; they are generally only open to people 18-30 years old. You can work in your field or not, full time, part time, or seasonally, or not at all and just visit the country.


While I was traveling the Flinders Ranges in Australia last year I met many people in that age group doing just this. Working a bit, touristing a bit. Two girls I met (from Brussels?) were hoping to get an extension for 6 months or another year because they had done a few weeks of fruit picking - evidently this is a pretty standard extension and a lot of others were getting this extension too.

Nancy

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2015, 05:08:51 AM »
As an electrical engineer, you qualify for the skilled work visas/ long term skill shortage list in NZ, which allows you to get a job in your field for a longer duration than the working holiday. My husband and I have considered/are considering doing this. We would want a considerable cash cushion for the move across the world and the job search period if we went under the Silver Fern visa. We're leaning towards doing this when we're a year away from FI or maybe even when we reach FI.

mandy_2002

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2015, 07:48:21 AM »
I read somewhere recently that New Zealand requires a $400k-$500k investment in the country (house maybe?) for a visa.

That is for one specific type of visa. A high needs career visa does not have an investment requirement.

realityinabox

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2015, 08:21:15 AM »
Hi, I've done the opposite to what you're thinking of doing...


I forgot I posted this thread.  The idea is still rattling around in my head, and is very tempting. Would it be better to try to line up a job before worrying about visa, or vice verse? Thanks for the info!

arebelspy

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2015, 09:33:41 AM »
Before.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

FLBiker

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2015, 02:52:44 PM »
I haven't been to NZ, but I spent 5 years in Taiwan and 1 in China before coming back (for now) to the US.  I worked as an English teacher.  I didn't pay taxes in the US during that time (filled out Form 2555 instead).  Living overseas is great!

Nancy

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Re: Going Ex-pat pre-FIRE?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2015, 03:31:05 PM »
Hi, I've done the opposite to what you're thinking of doing...


I forgot I posted this thread.  The idea is still rattling around in my head, and is very tempting. Would it be better to try to line up a job before worrying about visa, or vice verse? Thanks for the info!

Whether you can apply for a job before or after depends on the particular visa. All of this info is on the immigration website. You should check it out.