Author Topic: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE  (Read 4210 times)

princeradar

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Location: Toronto
Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« on: April 11, 2017, 11:43:15 AM »
I expect to FIRE when my daughter turns five.  I've always wanted to have her experience living in other countries, especially for the cultural and language experience.  I envision us spending a few years in France, and perhaps a few years in Spain.  The other option would be to stay in Canada, and spend summers in different countries doing a house sharing agreement.  Anyone out there already FIRED with a young kid living in other countries?  How has the kid adapted, any advice on schools?


bwall

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 471
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2017, 11:58:24 AM »
Posting to follow.

I'm in a similar boat and have the same questions. My wife is German, so we have access to reside anywhere in the EU.

mcampbell

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 58
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 02:35:45 PM »
So I'm an American that has semi retired to Thailand. The biggest problem is paying for private schools. If you aren't on some kind of work visa most countries aren't going to let you use public schools. So your options are to homeschool or private school. Even in the "third world" here, a decent private school starts at $15k USD a year.

princeradar

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Location: Toronto
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 09:00:07 PM »
So I'm an American that has semi retired to Thailand. The biggest problem is paying for private schools. If you aren't on some kind of work visa most countries aren't going to let you use public schools. So your options are to homeschool or private school. Even in the "third world" here, a decent private school starts at $15k USD a year.


Thanks mcampbell, this is a very valid point and something we will need to budget for.  I would assume the private school in Thailand is an international school and the curriculum is taught in English.  My goal is for her to be immersed in the culture, so I'd want her to be taught in French/Spanish.  I was a teacher 20 years ago, so I could home school too, but that seems too much like a job :)


DoNorth

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 184
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2018, 03:45:51 AM »
I'm doing it in France now....so far, so good.

EndlessJourney

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 94
  • Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
    • 6.5 Years Round the World by Motorcycle
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2018, 08:12:43 AM »
Not really a FIRE story, but it has some relevance:

We were at a party awhile ago in Cape Town with some US ex-pats. A couple we were talking to moved there with very young kids. Over the last few years the kids have been brought up in the South African education system.

The guy told us that his kids are basically South African, not only in language (they correct his Afrikaans all the time), but mannerisms and culture. He said he's never felt more like an immigrant having his kids be from a different background from his own.

The couple was mixed, he's white and his wife is Asian. She told us that she now knows how her parents felt when they emigrated to the US from Taiwan and didn't speak a word of English - watching their daughter grow up American.

They're happy where they are and it was all mentioned in a joking manner of course, but I thought it was quite interesting hearing about "third culture kids" from the parent's perspective. And a western perspective at that!
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 08:16:56 AM by EndlessJourney »

Hula Hoop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 795
  • Location: Italy
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2018, 08:25:07 AM »
Endless - I feel the same.  My kids were born here in Italy and go to Italian public school.  They are bilingual but speak English with an Italian accent despite my best efforts and lots of trips home.  They correct my Italian all the time and I don't really understand a lot of the cultural references.   Helping them with their Italian homework is already getting kind of tough and the older one just finished 4th grade.  Thank goodness for Google.

I definitely call myself an immigrant not an expat.  I have all the same language and cultural issues that the other immigrant parents at my kids school have although I'm better off economically than many of them.

EndlessJourney

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 94
  • Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
    • 6.5 Years Round the World by Motorcycle
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2018, 08:43:40 AM »
I definitely call myself an immigrant not an expat.  I have all the same language and cultural issues that the other immigrant parents at my kids school have although I'm better off economically than many of them.

Wow, that is *exactly* the sentiment the US couple had when we were talking about their "third culture kids".

The conversation wasn't specifically about their kids, it actually began as a discussion about "what is the difference between an immigrant and an ex-pat?"

The common belief is that if you're moving from a more economically well-off country to a lesser one, you're an ex-pat. If it's the other way around then you're an immigrant.

This couple from the US called BS on that. They said they felt more like immigrants for exactly the same reasons you stated: Regardless of economic well-being, they faced *exactly* the same struggles and challenges that any immigrant in that country felt.

And no one made them feel more like an immigrant than their own kids! :D
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 08:47:29 AM by EndlessJourney »

Hula Hoop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 795
  • Location: Italy
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2018, 08:52:42 AM »
Yes we do face many of the same struggles as immigrants from poor countries although a lot less racism as I and my children have white skin.  Also, we are considered "VIP immigrants" due to our nationality and get treated a lot better than our counterparts from Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia or Latin America.  Even my language is treated as superior -  as an English speaker most Italians encourage me raising our kids bilingual whereas I've had friends who are trying to raise their kids bilingual in other less "prestigious" languages (Tagalog, Wolof, even Russian and Spanish) who have had everyone from doctors to random people on the street tell them to speak Italian with their kids.

Anyway, I think of an expat as someone who is able to stay in the expat bubble - ie they don't become fluent in the local language, don't have friends from that culture, their kids go to international schools and they plan to leave at a certain point.  An immigrant is someone like me who plans to stay here long term if not forever, raises their kids more of less like local kids (although we do have some weird habits like earlier bedtimes and eating peanut butter!) 

seattlecyclone

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4577
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2018, 08:00:29 PM »
I'm not real interested in moving abroad full time, but I do think the idea of spending summers abroad with kids has a good deal of appeal to it.

As to the immigrant/expat definition, I pretty much agree with @Hula Hoop. I think of an expat as someone who moves abroad for a few years to earn a big salary from a multinational corporation and then come home. The word "immigrant" connotes more permanence in my mind; an immigrant moved somewhere else with the intent to stay indefinitely and make a life for themselves in their new country.

expatartist

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1514
  • Location: The Big Lychee
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2018, 11:08:31 PM »
I definitely call myself an immigrant not an expat.  I have all the same language and cultural issues that the other immigrant parents at my kids school have although I'm better off economically than many of them.

Wow, that is *exactly* the sentiment the US couple had when we were talking about their "third culture kids".

The conversation wasn't specifically about their kids, it actually began as a discussion about "what is the difference between an immigrant and an ex-pat?"

The common belief is that if you're moving from a more economically well-off country to a lesser one, you're an ex-pat. If it's the other way around then you're an immigrant.

This couple from the US called BS on that. They said they felt more like immigrants for exactly the same reasons you stated: Regardless of economic well-being, they faced *exactly* the same struggles and challenges that any immigrant in that country felt.

And no one made them feel more like an immigrant than their own kids! :D

+1! I'm in a weird grey area between expat and immigrant. Usually call myself an immigrant. Though my Cantonese is basic and people don't expect me to speak it, I take classes and end up using Mandarin and pidgin Canto in my neighborhood where the only faces that look like mine are visiting craft shoppers and art students who go to SCAD nearby - they're always gone by evening.  Feeling stupid often and continually wanting to learn more. This is my adopted home, a place which has given me opportunities not possible in my home country of the US.

Back to the OP, your daughter's at an ideal age to start immersion in a local school until age 8-10. France might make more sense given Canadian nationality. Try out visiting a few places before settling in. Paperwork in the countries you mentioned can be basic to exhausting depending on your passport status, etc. Highly recommend the experience especially if you're keen to learn the language along with her - she'll probably outpace you within a month or two ;)

actionjackson

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 103
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2018, 10:25:59 PM »
I'm doing it in France now....so far, so good.

Can you detail the specifics?

Are you FIRE'd? IF so, are you European. Did you have any issues getting your children into school there? Is it a state school, or a private school? If the latter, roughly what costs?

DoNorth

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 184
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2018, 06:54:38 AM »
I'm FI, but not RE now, although I was.  The short version--I retired from the military with a pretty generous pension and benefits.  After about 4-5 months of FIRE, I took my first post military job in the civil service in the Washington DC area at which point I came across MMM, Nords and some other from the FIRE community.  I basically worked for about a year, didn't like the commute, grind and where I was heading in life, so we sold our house and moved in with my parents in Northern Michigan where I'm from while  I spent the next 2.5 years building my own house while working part time for a small non-profit.  My wife freelanced to help fund our house building and we were happy and enjoying ourselves, but, we had lived overseas once and had always talked about going back.  I thought about doing a school program using GI Bill or just taking a year and renewing tourist visas, but last October, my wife found a  job in southwest France that she thought I would like and would be a good fit for.  I applied for it, got the offer in December and started about 2 months ago.  We're all American and I speak French, but my wife and kids don't so its a little challenging, but my kids went to the last couple weeks of French school and really loved it.  We live in the Charente and so far, quality of life has been terrific.  Cost of living is very reasonable, schools are good and people are friendly.  School tuitions depends on income taxes and my kids go to private Catholic school for about 450 euro/year.  I think the highest is 750 euro/year.  Tutoring for French is about 10 euro/hour. School doesn't require proof of immigration status or anything like that, so if you were working or studying here, you would have a long term visa otherwise, you would be doing visa runs every 3 months to keep them current. 


the experience has been very positive overall.  We grab a baguette, cheese, and a bottle of wine and head to the park for the afternoon and no one cares about open container or anything like that.  We live right on the Charente with a long running/walking/biking trail, several restaurants, shops and Cognac houses next to where we live.  We sold our SUV back in the US and bought a VW Touran van which gets about 60 mpg in diesel, but my wife can walk the kids to school and I can bike to work so we don't have to drive that much.  As of now, we're planning on staying 2-3 years so my son can doing his 6th grade year and my daughter her 3rd grade year back in the US.  If the kids want to stay longer, I can stay up to five years but I want to keep them current on their US studies so we'll revaluate later. My job is super easy and I'm just stashing away my retirement pay, maxing out my 401K and IRAs while we enjoy Europe

actionjackson

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 103
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2018, 03:32:25 AM »
Thanks heaps for the detail. Private school for only 750 euro a year!? That's super cheap compared to what I would have expected.

Wife speaks French and used to live in Avignon - we love that part of the world and are super keen to get back there at some point. I'm a keen rock climber and so somewhere like Gap would be great. I'd also like to speak French, as I speak some Spanish and want our children to have the opportunity to be immersed in a second language. I have the British passport, although it seems that won't get us that far by the time we want to live there - given Brexit. So we might need to find a workaround for that. Having said that, wife could probably get work teaching english for the sake of a visa.

DoNorth

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 184
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2018, 07:50:59 AM »
No problem.  Yes, the tuition is really reasonable the education (and school lunches) are fantastic.  I'll be honest, we had lots of trepidation beforehand, but everyone settled in nicely and I definitely don't have any regrets.  I highly recommend trying it, especially for those with younger kids.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8778
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2018, 09:03:19 AM »
@whywork, Thailand has a new United World College campus that also offers primary education -- it is in Phuket.

http://www.uwcthailand.net/

If your kids could get selected for a UWC seat at the IB level via the US selection committee, I believe their IB studies would be fully paid for -- the Davis Foundation fully funds all US UWC scholars chosen through the national committee process.  It is highly selective, and there is no guarantee they would be offered a place at the school in Thailand, though.  If you apply for a place through the Thai national committee the scholarship support may be more limited.

A significant secondary benefit of attending a UWC program for the IB is that it then makes you eligible for a needs-based Davis Scholarship for undergraduate studies at a number of selective US colleges.  More info here:

http://www.davisuwcscholars.org/

I am a UWC alumni (UWC Atlantic, 86-88) and highly recommend the program.  It changed my life in many ways.  About to head to my 30 year reunion in a couple of weeks and look forward to catching up with my circle of global friends.

princeradar

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Location: Toronto
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2018, 09:55:14 AM »
I'm FI, but not RE now, although I was.  The short version--I retired from the military with a pretty generous pension and benefits.  After about 4-5 months of FIRE, I took my first post military job in the civil service in the Washington DC area at which point I came across MMM, Nords and some other from the FIRE community.  I basically worked for about a year, didn't like the commute, grind and where I was heading in life, so we sold our house and moved in with my parents in Northern Michigan where I'm from while  I spent the next 2.5 years building my own house while working part time for a small non-profit.  My wife freelanced to help fund our house building and we were happy and enjoying ourselves, but, we had lived overseas once and had always talked about going back.  I thought about doing a school program using GI Bill or just taking a year and renewing tourist visas, but last October, my wife found a  job in southwest France that she thought I would like and would be a good fit for.  I applied for it, got the offer in December and started about 2 months ago.  We're all American and I speak French, but my wife and kids don't so its a little challenging, but my kids went to the last couple weeks of French school and really loved it.  We live in the Charente and so far, quality of life has been terrific.  Cost of living is very reasonable, schools are good and people are friendly.  School tuitions depends on income taxes and my kids go to private Catholic school for about 450 euro/year.  I think the highest is 750 euro/year.  Tutoring for French is about 10 euro/hour. School doesn't require proof of immigration status or anything like that, so if you were working or studying here, you would have a long term visa otherwise, you would be doing visa runs every 3 months to keep them current. 


the experience has been very positive overall.  We grab a baguette, cheese, and a bottle of wine and head to the park for the afternoon and no one cares about open container or anything like that.  We live right on the Charente with a long running/walking/biking trail, several restaurants, shops and Cognac houses next to where we live.  We sold our SUV back in the US and bought a VW Touran van which gets about 60 mpg in diesel, but my wife can walk the kids to school and I can bike to work so we don't have to drive that much.  As of now, we're planning on staying 2-3 years so my son can doing his 6th grade year and my daughter her 3rd grade year back in the US.  If the kids want to stay longer, I can stay up to five years but I want to keep them current on their US studies so we'll revaluate later. My job is super easy and I'm just stashing away my retirement pay, maxing out my 401K and IRAs while we enjoy Europe

I'm curious on how your kids language skills have developed since you've been in France.  I'm assuming they adjusted quite quickly and are now fully bilingual?

flipboard

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 66
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2018, 04:28:32 AM »
The biggest problem is paying for private schools. If you aren't on some kind of work visa most countries aren't going to let you use public schools. So your options are to homeschool or private school. Even in the "third world" here, a decent private school starts at $15k USD a year.
Citation needed. I've moved through many countries and never had to pay for school, and was always accepted into the public schooling system. There were no Visa checks. (I'm not disputing that *some* countries might do that, but all the ones I've been to don't.)

The bigger issue is that moving is extremely disruptive for children, and at some point schooling will become inconsistent and makes it difficult to get a school finishing certificate that is internationally recognised for actually continuing with University (if they decide they want to study). Which is why many immigrants (at least the ones who call themselves "expats" instead of immigrant) send their kids to the local international schools, which do have high fees - but have the advantage of sticking to international certificates like IB, making it easy to switch between schools.

Based on personal experience, you really shouldn't move kids around because of the disruptiveness. One move is OK, repeated moving is unhealthy for children. Wait until they at least start University/start a full-time job before embarking on your world travels. Children should have the opportunity to experience a "home" too.

firefamily

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2018, 08:49:00 PM »
We seriously considering FIREing in Mexico with 4 school aged children for many of the cultural advantages you described, but ended up picking Florida. We realized after a month trip to Mexico that at least one of our children wasn't ready to handle that amount of change...new language, new culture, etc. We were planning to do online school (we have done a year of this in the us and it works well for some kids...not as well for others) and own a home in the us and spend a few months of each year in the US to claim a state residency for free online public school.

Aelias

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
Re: Global Arbitrage with Kids and Education Post FIRE
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2019, 11:27:18 AM »
Posting to follow.

We'd been thinking about buying a second property in VT or NH, and then it  hit me like a lightning bolt that I'd been totally ignoring Canada as a possibility -- and it's right there!

While it's not a traditional geo-arbitrage location, if we were to apply for and receive permanent residency it would reduce a lot of uncertainty around our biggest future expenses: health care and higher education for our kids (just as an example: McGill is a great school and shockingly affordable, particularly for Quebec residents).  Also, it's close - a 6.5 hour drive.  In the shorter term, if we spend less than 6 months a year there, we would be "visitors" and wouldn't need any further immigration status. 

Don't know that we'd actually go this route, but it's certainly something to consider.