Author Topic: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage  (Read 9276 times)

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #50 on: February 10, 2019, 10:25:53 PM »
There is an episode of the chooseFI podcast with a guy who lives with his family most of the year in central America. He was pretty cool on the idea of using geoarbitrage as a means of retiring early. He argued that successful geoarbritagers adopt the local lifestyle, using public transit, cooking their own meals, living in a modest apartment. But these are all things you can do in a LCOL area of the US. The big difference is that other than rent and probably health care, costs for things are much cheaper in the US than in many developing countries. I bring this up mostly not to pour cold water on anyone's plan to move internationally. But to suggest that a person who doesn't want to move overseas can get the best of both worlds by making some lifestyle changes at home.

Itís intereting that you say this. I was definitely planning on living permanently anywhere but the US.  Since I might need to change that if some things in my life work out, Iíve been thinking about life in the USA and realize that if youíre FIREd and donít need to be near a capital city for work, you can live quite cheaply in the US. Outside of healthcare, itís incredibly affordable. I donít think most Americans realize what high quality they get at such low prices. Hell you can buy a beautiful home for the cost of a deposit in some countries. It doesnít make the US perfect, particularly when it comes to racism, so I get why some might not want to live in the US, no matter how cheap.

Padonak

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #51 on: February 11, 2019, 09:31:14 PM »
There is an episode of the chooseFI podcast with a guy who lives with his family most of the year in central America. He was pretty cool on the idea of using geoarbitrage as a means of retiring early. He argued that successful geoarbritagers adopt the local lifestyle, using public transit, cooking their own meals, living in a modest apartment. But these are all things you can do in a LCOL area of the US. The big difference is that other than rent and probably health care, costs for things are much cheaper in the US than in many developing countries. I bring this up mostly not to pour cold water on anyone's plan to move internationally. But to suggest that a person who doesn't want to move overseas can get the best of both worlds by making some lifestyle changes at home.

Itís intereting that you say this. I was definitely planning on living permanently anywhere but the US.  Since I might need to change that if some things in my life work out, Iíve been thinking about life in the USA and realize that if youíre FIREd and donít need to be near a capital city for work, you can live quite cheaply in the US. Outside of healthcare, itís incredibly affordable. I donít think most Americans realize what high quality they get at such low prices. Hell you can buy a beautiful home for the cost of a deposit in some countries. It doesnít make the US perfect, particularly when it comes to racism, so I get why some might not want to live in the US, no matter how cheap.

Can you give some examples of nice places in the US where a FIREd person can leave quite cheaply? Nice as in safe, either walkable or short drive from a walkable downtown, mild climate, pretty good access to healthcare if you have subsidized ACA insurance.

There are many places in the world that fit that description where a single person can live well on $1500/month or less all included and a couple w/o children can live on <$2000.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #52 on: February 11, 2019, 10:55:57 PM »
There is an episode of the chooseFI podcast with a guy who lives with his family most of the year in central America. He was pretty cool on the idea of using geoarbitrage as a means of retiring early. He argued that successful geoarbritagers adopt the local lifestyle, using public transit, cooking their own meals, living in a modest apartment. But these are all things you can do in a LCOL area of the US. The big difference is that other than rent and probably health care, costs for things are much cheaper in the US than in many developing countries. I bring this up mostly not to pour cold water on anyone's plan to move internationally. But to suggest that a person who doesn't want to move overseas can get the best of both worlds by making some lifestyle changes at home.

Itís intereting that you say this. I was definitely planning on living permanently anywhere but the US.  Since I might need to change that if some things in my life work out, Iíve been thinking about life in the USA and realize that if youíre FIREd and donít need to be near a capital city for work, you can live quite cheaply in the US. Outside of healthcare, itís incredibly affordable. I donít think most Americans realize what high quality they get at such low prices. Hell you can buy a beautiful home for the cost of a deposit in some countries. It doesnít make the US perfect, particularly when it comes to racism, so I get why some might not want to live in the US, no matter how cheap.

Can you give some examples of nice places in the US where a FIREd person can leave quite cheaply? Nice as in safe, either walkable or short drive from a walkable downtown, mild climate, pretty good access to healthcare if you have subsidized ACA insurance.

There are many places in the world that fit that description where a single person can live well on $1500/month or less all included and a couple w/o children can live on <$2000.

Just google buddy: https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/slideshows/best-affordable-places-to-live-in-the-us

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/10-cheapest-places-to-live-in-the-us/

http://mentalfloss.com/article/85668/11-most-affordable-cities-us

Not to mention lots of small towns across the US if you know the areas.

jim555

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #53 on: February 12, 2019, 05:00:25 AM »
Many places in the US are affordable, it is a big country.  A lot of these LCOL countries have massive pollution, crime, or rule of law problems. 

dude

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #54 on: February 12, 2019, 09:06:18 AM »
All this discussion has cemented my feelings on moving abroad vs. just living there for modest spans of time. In a few of the places I really love (e.g., Mexico and Costa Rica), friends who are locals down there always ask me if I plan to buy a place and move there after I retire. I tell them all the same thing -- I don't want to be pinned down living in one place. I'd rather maintain a home base in the U.S. and spend 3-6 months renting and living/traveling in a particular country, and repeating the process year after year until I decide I want to settle in one spot -- which would almost certainly be the U.S. I actually love where I live now in the U.S. and can see myself growing old here, but only after experiencing those aforementioned periods of "living abroad."

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #55 on: February 12, 2019, 01:01:09 PM »
All this discussion has cemented my feelings on moving abroad vs. just living there for modest spans of time. In a few of the places I really love (e.g., Mexico and Costa Rica), friends who are locals down there always ask me if I plan to buy a place and move there after I retire. I tell them all the same thing -- I don't want to be pinned down living in one place. I'd rather maintain a home base in the U.S. and spend 3-6 months renting and living/traveling in a particular country, and repeating the process year after year until I decide I want to settle in one spot -- which would almost certainly be the U.S. I actually love where I live now in the U.S. and can see myself growing old here, but only after experiencing those aforementioned periods of "living abroad."

If the kid thing works out, this might be me too. 

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #56 on: February 12, 2019, 01:51:26 PM »
All this discussion has cemented my feelings on moving abroad vs. just living there for modest spans of time. In a few of the places I really love (e.g., Mexico and Costa Rica), friends who are locals down there always ask me if I plan to buy a place and move there after I retire. I tell them all the same thing -- I don't want to be pinned down living in one place. I'd rather maintain a home base in the U.S. and spend 3-6 months renting and living/traveling in a particular country, and repeating the process year after year until I decide I want to settle in one spot -- which would almost certainly be the U.S. I actually love where I live now in the U.S. and can see myself growing old here, but only after experiencing those aforementioned periods of "living abroad."
This is where I was when I first FIREd - owned a place in the US and travelled a few months a year - and where I'm going to end up again (eventually) after a bit of full time travelling/renting. I'm finding I like having a home base in the US and that suits me better than full time vagabond. As a single childless person I'm more flexible on where and how I can live to keep costs low even in expensive areas. Like Tahoe ;-).

Do you Airbnb when youíre away or some other type of arrangement?

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #57 on: February 12, 2019, 06:42:01 PM »
All this discussion has cemented my feelings on moving abroad vs. just living there for modest spans of time. In a few of the places I really love (e.g., Mexico and Costa Rica), friends who are locals down there always ask me if I plan to buy a place and move there after I retire. I tell them all the same thing -- I don't want to be pinned down living in one place. I'd rather maintain a home base in the U.S. and spend 3-6 months renting and living/traveling in a particular country, and repeating the process year after year until I decide I want to settle in one spot -- which would almost certainly be the U.S. I actually love where I live now in the U.S. and can see myself growing old here, but only after experiencing those aforementioned periods of "living abroad."
This is where I was when I first FIREd - owned a place in the US and travelled a few months a year - and where I'm going to end up again (eventually) after a bit of full time travelling/renting. I'm finding I like having a home base in the US and that suits me better than full time vagabond. As a single childless person I'm more flexible on where and how I can live to keep costs low even in expensive areas. Like Tahoe ;-).

Do you Airbnb when youíre away or some other type of arrangement?
No. I generally camped (had a dog then) or rented a place by the month if staying in one area longer term. I have a weird bedbug/motel skankiness phobia so short term AirBNBs and motels are done rarely and with much angst on my part. Use to use hostels when travelling overseas so plan to do that again but need to break the phobia first. If I can't it'll be camping and longer term apt rentals. I prefer camping though but hostels would be my first choice overseas though by bike or train as minimal effort and stuff.

ETA just realized you were asking me if I rented out my house while I was gone. No I didn't. Partially for the reasons above but also it was paid off and didn't cost much in expenses so just left it empty with someone to check on it. I liked having the option to go back home whenever I wanted with having to wait until renters left. That proved pretty priceless more than a couple of times  when I or my dog got sick or injured or I was just "done" with travelling.

Thanks. Yes, thatís what I meant. Interesting. I think if I were to do thst, Iíd want a 2 bedroom apartment so itís easily cared for.

dougules

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #58 on: February 19, 2019, 12:11:37 PM »
Y'all talk about moving within the US like it's no big deal.   There are cultural differences within the US. 

If for example you're gay and living in the Bay Area, you might feel more at home moving to Mexico City or Quito than taking advantage of the LCOL here in Alabama.  I saw several gay couples holding hands in both places.  I don't think I would ever hold hands with DH in public here.  You could easily maintain a car free lifestyle in Latin America that would be difficult in a lot of the US.  Those are major differences but there are other smaller things that add up too.

I think y'all take moving within the US way too lightly.  I would think about moving within the US the same as moving internationally.  If you're not looking forward to a change in lifestyle and culture, try to find ways to just be more frugal where you are.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #59 on: February 19, 2019, 12:23:34 PM »
Y'all talk about moving within the US like it's no big deal.   There are cultural differences within the US. 

If for example you're gay and living in the Bay Area, you might feel more at home moving to Mexico City or Quito than taking advantage of the LCOL here in Alabama.  I saw several gay couples holding hands in both places.  I don't think I would ever hold hands with DH in public here.  You could easily maintain a car free lifestyle in Latin America that would be difficult in a lot of the US.  Those are major differences but there are other smaller things that add up too.

I think y'all take moving within the US way too lightly.  I would think about moving within the US the same as moving internationally.  If you're not looking forward to a change in lifestyle and culture, try to find ways to just be more frugal where you are.

There are gay people in every little town, liberal and conservative in the US. Of course you have to find your community but the US has lots of options. Except for maybe 5 cities, the US is pretty cheap and very affordable compared to the rest of the world. You get a lot more for a lot less. Iím all for living outside the US, but can easily acknowledge that the US can be a good base to travel from. Also, some people arenít equipped to live overseas for long periods.

ysette9

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FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #60 on: February 19, 2019, 12:35:18 PM »
Having gay people (or Asian or Hispanics or Jewish or whatever-your-relevant-minority-status) in a town is a heck of a lot different from being able to comfortably and openly live as yourself without harassment or comments or sideways glances. If you are raising kids then it may be very important to do so in an environment where whatever you are is normal and your kid isn’t the token kid who stands out in school for speaking another language at home or having different skin or having two daddies.

I remember long ago chatting with a fellow intern as we both were working out of state for the summer in CO. I was from CA, he from KY. Somehow I mentioned my Asian boyfriend and this guy immediately asked me if people gave us crap for being interracial. My mind sort of stalled for a moment as I had to process that it was even a thing people might get their knickers in a twist about. Living in a place where you can get detained by authorities for grocery shopping while speaking another language would certainly put a damper on our trilingual, interracial family.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/2-american-women-detained-after-speaking-spanish-montana-file-suit-n971716

elaine amj

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #61 on: February 19, 2019, 01:22:54 PM »
This has been a very interesting discussion and I agree with so many of the points made. Moving across the world isn't always a simple matter and adjusting can be difficult.

I moved to Canada from Asia and married a Chinese Canadian. It does help a lot that we are from the same cultural background but I certainly knew when I married him that it meant I would give up my home country and live in Canada for the rest of my life.

So I'll share my perspective with moving here from the opposite view.

I was already fluent in English so that helped. I did have to learn to "Canadianize" my English as locals had a difficult time following my accent. I also did spend some years stumbling occasionally socially (and probably still do lol!) with DH pointing out that there were times I was rude without realizing it.

I do spend a lot of time on forums like this which has really, really helped me understand more about how Canadians and Americans think.

I was extremely homesick the first few years until I developed a local friend network. That wasn't easy so I would not be eager to move again.

Geo arbitrage is interesting but there are so many benefits to living in Canada/US that I doubt I would want to live anywhere else, not even my home country (although I hope to snowbird there!).

Canada is safe, friendly, follows the rule of law (so is predictable) and quiet. I like not worrying about petty theft or even violent theft (in my home country many of my friends live in gated communities for safety). Its nice not to have to navigate bribery and corruption (which is pervasive in my home country). I also like being able to deal with service people easily here. I live in a small, city and enjoy the peace and quiet here.

My mother was very happy in our home country but has recently moved in with me here in Canada and enjoys the peacefulness of life here.


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Villanelle

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #62 on: February 20, 2019, 07:12:26 PM »
Y'all talk about moving within the US like it's no big deal.   There are cultural differences within the US. 

If for example you're gay and living in the Bay Area, you might feel more at home moving to Mexico City or Quito than taking advantage of the LCOL here in Alabama.  I saw several gay couples holding hands in both places.  I don't think I would ever hold hands with DH in public here.  You could easily maintain a car free lifestyle in Latin America that would be difficult in a lot of the US.  Those are major differences but there are other smaller things that add up too.

I think y'all take moving within the US way too lightly.  I would think about moving within the US the same as moving internationally.  If you're not looking forward to a change in lifestyle and culture, try to find ways to just be more frugal where you are.

I won't discount that there are major cultural differences within the US and that an inter-US move can be challenging. But having done both that and several international moves, I'd say there is no comparison as far as differences and difficulties. 

Sure, if someone loves where they are, figuring out how to stay, or if the compromises needed to stay are worth the benefits, makes sense.  But if one needs to move, moving in the US is going to be far easier than moving to most, if not all, other countries. 

Freedomin5

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #63 on: February 21, 2019, 12:24:54 AM »
I agree. You donít need to deal with visa issues with a within-US move.

Also, Culturally, there may be an adjustment depending on where you move within the US, but at least everyone speaks English. Itís super frustrating when you have no water for two days and donít have the vocabulary to communicate the problem with the city water people.

Obviously, moving anywhere new will require an adjustment process, but moving within the US is not the same as moving internationally. It also depends on what you mean by ďinternationalĒ. It was definitely easier to move from Canada to the US and back, and to move from Toronto to Vancouver. than to move to China.

kaizen soze

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #64 on: February 21, 2019, 11:30:24 AM »
I wouldn't say that moving within the US is necessarily easy. But I do believe that it would be easier for most North Americans than moving to Asia or Central America. I've lived in Asia, and it was fun. But I never got close to assimilating. My social circle was almost entirely fellow ex-pats (really a small community within a big city). My friends were constantly moving away. I had ok language skills, but I occasionally had to rely on others to help me with issues where language was a barrier. You sometimes step into cultural no-nos without realizing it. And not everyone you encounter is glad to see a Yankee riding the subway. Was a wonderful experience, but I didn't want to make it a permanent move.

But I totally get how cultural differences can be an issue even within the US. When my wife and I spent a few months in Alabama, we felt welcome but there are obvious cultural differences. People there are into football, hunting, fishing --  things I'm not really passionate about. But there were also people into art, music, and theater. We may have had trouble finding our tribe had it been a longer term stay, but not impossible. And having said all that, it's still America. They have all the same stores and restaurants that you're used to. You can navigate daily life without trouble. And you can just go there, get an apartment, and boom you live there now. Pretty easy by comparison.

dougules

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #65 on: February 21, 2019, 12:48:59 PM »
I wasn't trying to say that a domestic move was on the same level of difficulty as an international move, but the attitude seems to be that in absolute terms a domestic move is no big deal.  Even if a domestic move is not on the same level of difficulty as an international one, it's still geo-arbitrage with some adjustments in culture and lifestyle that will have to be made.  I wouldn't just tell somebody to take a move from New Jersey to Alabama lightly just because it's a lot easier than moving to the Philippines. 

You may have not had any difficulty moving domestically, but that is somewhat attributable to your personality type and where specifically you were moving between. 

I wouldn't say that moving within the US is necessarily easy. But I do believe that it would be easier for most North Americans than moving to Asia or Central America. I've lived in Asia, and it was fun. But I never got close to assimilating. My social circle was almost entirely fellow ex-pats (really a small community within a big city). My friends were constantly moving away. I had ok language skills, but I occasionally had to rely on others to help me with issues where language was a barrier. You sometimes step into cultural no-nos without realizing it. And not everyone you encounter is glad to see a Yankee riding the subway. Was a wonderful experience, but I didn't want to make it a permanent move.

But I totally get how cultural differences can be an issue even within the US. When my wife and I spent a few months in Alabama, we felt welcome but there are obvious cultural differences. People there are into football, hunting, fishing --  things I'm not really passionate about. But there were also people into art, music, and theater. We may have had trouble finding our tribe had it been a longer term stay, but not impossible. And having said all that, it's still America. They have all the same stores and restaurants that you're used to. You can navigate daily life without trouble. And you can just go there, get an apartment, and boom you live there now. Pretty easy by comparison.

The culture here in Alabama is very much under the surface.  You will probably feel welcome here on arrival, but polite hospitality is a sign that you really haven't made any deep connections.  I'm sure you would eventually penetrate that layer to find your tribe, but if you're not living in an area with a lot of other transplants it wouldn't be plug and play. 

As a side note, interesting choice of words.  Not everybody here is glad to see a Yankee either.

kaizen soze

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Re: FIRE via Geo-Arbitrage
« Reply #66 on: February 21, 2019, 07:45:17 PM »
I wasn't trying to say that a domestic move was on the same level of difficulty as an international move, but the attitude seems to be that in absolute terms a domestic move is no big deal.  Even if a domestic move is not on the same level of difficulty as an international one, it's still geo-arbitrage with some adjustments in culture and lifestyle that will have to be made.  I wouldn't just tell somebody to take a move from New Jersey to Alabama lightly just because it's a lot easier than moving to the Philippines. 

You may have not had any difficulty moving domestically, but that is somewhat attributable to your personality type and where specifically you were moving between. 

I wouldn't say that moving within the US is necessarily easy. But I do believe that it would be easier for most North Americans than moving to Asia or Central America. I've lived in Asia, and it was fun. But I never got close to assimilating. My social circle was almost entirely fellow ex-pats (really a small community within a big city). My friends were constantly moving away. I had ok language skills, but I occasionally had to rely on others to help me with issues where language was a barrier. You sometimes step into cultural no-nos without realizing it. And not everyone you encounter is glad to see a Yankee riding the subway. Was a wonderful experience, but I didn't want to make it a permanent move.

But I totally get how cultural differences can be an issue even within the US. When my wife and I spent a few months in Alabama, we felt welcome but there are obvious cultural differences. People there are into football, hunting, fishing --  things I'm not really passionate about. But there were also people into art, music, and theater. We may have had trouble finding our tribe had it been a longer term stay, but not impossible. And having said all that, it's still America. They have all the same stores and restaurants that you're used to. You can navigate daily life without trouble. And you can just go there, get an apartment, and boom you live there now. Pretty easy by comparison.

The culture here in Alabama is very much under the surface.  You will probably feel welcome here on arrival, but polite hospitality is a sign that you really haven't made any deep connections.  I'm sure you would eventually penetrate that layer to find your tribe, but if you're not living in an area with a lot of other transplants it wouldn't be plug and play. 

As a side note, interesting choice of words.  Not everybody here is glad to see a Yankee either.

Ha. I don't think of myself as a Yankee. I chose that word because I was told "Yankee go home" more than once while in Asia. Usually by a drunk.