Author Topic: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?  (Read 2399 times)

Knapptyme

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Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« on: January 15, 2020, 09:00:35 PM »
So my wife and I are barista-FIRE at the very least if not better and are seriously entertaining the idea of teaching internationally for several reasons. While I had already stepped away from teaching, I would be voluntarily taking a "paid" position so we can live and raise our children in another country. (Note: she's still teaching while I watch and homeschool our kids.)

Does this sound crazy? Financially, the "paid" portion will cover most of our expenses to survive while most people raise funds (like missionaries) to live comfortably. We wouldn't need that.

We are really excited to make this happen, but I wonder if anyone else has thought of this or done something similar. I know arebelspy is off adventuring with his family, but we're not to that point, yet.

jamaicaspanish

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Re: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2020, 09:48:33 PM »
Teaching internationally can run the gamut from survival-level salaries to six figures plus expenses.
Not surprisingly, school quality can run the gamut from barely survivable to oh-my-god world class.
Those differences do not always track in parallel.
There are a ton of resources available to research countries, schools, and administrators. Please be sure to do your due diligence.
We spent eight years teaching overseas, and most of them among the best years of our working lives.  Most.
Feel free to pm me if you want more info.

Freedomin5

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Re: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2020, 09:52:38 PM »
Sure, that's what we're doing right now. DH is a teacher at an international school in Shanghai. It pays A LOT better than the public schools in Canada. (As a point of reference, he currently takes home approximately USD$60000. This is his net pay after taxes. He is at a Tier 2 school. The Tier 1 schools pay more -- somewhere in the ballpark of $80 - $100K - net pay after taxes, depending on your years of teaching experience.) In addition, the work contract provides free housing, free tuition for your kids, free healthcare, and free flights back to your home country each year.

The "paid" portion will not just cover most of your expenses; it should cover all your expenses with lots of money to spare.


Now, if you were to teach at a Tier 3 local university, and you don't have a proper teaching license from your home country, your pay would be a lot less - more like $12K per year (or USD$1000 per month), with free housing, healthcare, and flights.

Most people think that you take a pay cut and make local wages when you move abroad, especially to a developing country; that is erroneous thinking.

ETA: We are in Year 9 of living and teaching abroad and have taught at both local universities making peanuts, Tier 2 international schools, and Tier 1 international schools
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 09:55:49 PM by Freedomin5 »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2020, 10:34:11 PM »
So my wife and I are barista-FIRE at the very least if not better and are seriously entertaining the idea of teaching internationally for several reasons. While I had already stepped away from teaching, I would be voluntarily taking a "paid" position so we can live and raise our children in another country. (Note: she's still teaching while I watch and homeschool our kids.)

Does this sound crazy? Financially, the "paid" portion will cover most of our expenses to survive while most people raise funds (like missionaries) to live comfortably. We wouldn't need that.

We are really excited to make this happen, but I wonder if anyone else has thought of this or done something similar. I know arebelspy is off adventuring with his family, but we're not to that point, yet.
Why would it be crazy? People live in foreign countries all the time. Some of them are even here... among us... waiting for the opportune moment.

ROF Expat

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Re: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2020, 11:56:59 PM »
I think what you are talking about is a great option.  You get to live overseas in a place (more or less) of your choosing, and get pay and benefits to do so.  Your employer can usually help with visas and work permits.  You get a great entry point into local society and possibly a good entry point into the international community.  You'd have generous time off to travel. 

That said, I wouldn't call working full-time as a teacher "retirement."  I suppose part-time tutoring at some rinky-dink ESL program might be pretty low-key work, but if you are talking about teaching full-time at the kind of international school that pays world-class wages, expectations for your performance are going to be high.  If you are interested in teaching internationally, international schools hold major recruiting events in the US every year. 

Even though I wouldn't call it "retirement," working internationally can be a great if the lifestyle really works for you.  I've suggested this to other people on this forum who are looking for ways to travel and live overseas.    If you have a certified and in-demand skill, like teaching, medicine, or accounting, and a sense of adventure (a lot of these opportunities might be with NGOs working in the developing world), there are opportunities out there.  Speaking one or more foreign languages also opens doors.  This limits opportunities for a lot of Americans. 

Knapptyme

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Re: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2020, 08:34:01 AM »
Thanks for the feedback.

The crazy talk is that we would choose to live and work abroad rather than just travel when we're in a position to do so.

Obviously, I'd be coming out of retirement to make this happen, and I am under no delusion that this is similar to my retirement in the last couple years.

Because money is not the impetus of this decision, and the fact we're looking to live in South America (specifically Ecuador), the wages will not likely be super competitive world-wide.

(Note: I guess I hadn't been following closely, but arebelspy is back in the Sates putting down roots.)

thesis

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Re: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2020, 08:46:25 AM »
I have heard of some online companies where you teach over internet video. I'm not sure if it is to classes or just to wealthy individuals where you are in more of a tutoring position. I have a friend who does this for side cash. Sorry I don't remember the name of the website, but you may be able to search the companies out there and see what it's all about. If there is a tutoring option, that would probably be very flexible and allow you to travel around at the same time. It could potentially pay your expenses, but that depends greatly upon where you are traveling and what the pay is.

Knapptyme

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Re: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2020, 06:03:08 AM »
So now a more practical question since it we're likely going to make this happen. What to do with the real estate (4 properties) while we're gone. Most of me thinks of making a clean break and liquidating everything. But what to do with all our stuff? Storage unit? The thought has occurred to rent our house furnished.

Thoughts or experience?

itchyfeet

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Re: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2020, 06:49:19 AM »
We are living in Dubai and have had a great time living abroad

DW is a teacher here and salaries for experienced teachers are around $50K USD per year plus housing paid for and a flight home once a year for the summer vacation, which is 2 months long.

School fees are very expensive here though and it is unlikely that your employer will subsidise more than one child, if any, to attend the school you are working at.

The cost of schooling your children abroad is something to look into carefully. Maybe your partner could home school the children. One of our friends here has taken that route.

Freedomin5

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Re: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2020, 07:42:45 AM »
International schools love teaching couples. Double the number of workers in one housing unit. If both teach, you can get up to four kids in school for free (some schools offer two children per work contract here in China).

We sold all our furniture. Some schools will pay for a shipping container/relocation allowance. I wouldn’t rent your place furnished unless you’re okay with tenants destroying your furniture. We rented our cottage furnished and within the first month, furniture was broken or stolen. We currently rent our condo Unfurnished and have had the same tenant for four years.

I’d keep at least one property to keep your foot in the market for when you return (if you are in a city with crazy real estate appreciation and you know you want to come back to this city to retire). If you’re okay moving to a LCOL area when you retire and aren’t tied to your current city, then it makes sense to sell). Just be aware that it may be difficult to get a mortgage when you return due to a lack of recent work history in your home country. We are currently facing that issue. Our incomes are high but our credit report looks terrible because we have no Canadian income history, making it difficult for the bank to determine if we qualify for a Canadian mortgage. If you already have a property, you at least won’t be homeless when you return to your home country.

Freedomin5

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Re: Working while FIRE to stay abroad?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2020, 07:47:43 AM »
I think there are schools in Ecuador that pay relatively well and offer free tuition to staff’s children. If I remember correctly, a teaching couple moved recently to Ecuador...or Peru...or somewhere in South America. Again, it depends on the quality of the school you get into. The Tier 1 schools definitely pay a lot better and provide better benefits than Tier 2 or Tier 3 schools.