Author Topic: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL  (Read 8106 times)

Phillip

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Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« on: September 22, 2019, 08:03:47 PM »
Travel Insurance with emergency medical, dental, and evacuation coverage: $12.65/month
5-Star AirBnB five minutes from Jaco Beach: $504/month
Various groceries: ~$150/month
Gym: $35/month
Laundry: $40/month

All of this means I get to live right by the beach for less than the US Federal Poverty level. Jaco Beach is pretty safe, too, but this is coming from a guy who grew up in Akron. There's a lot of prostitution here, but it's legal so what do you expect?

My budget isn't that strict so I kinda guessed for the groceries. I try to get it lower but I'm a serious strength athlete so I eat a lot of beef and chicken. Normally I fill up on greek yogurt but I haven't been able to find it at any of the stores. Ditto with protein powder.

I work as a freelance writer. I write a couple articles a day and then I head down to the beach. My lifestyle is insane. It goes to show that it's not about how much money you make, it's about how you make the money. I make it online, so I can go anywhere.

With that said, it's still really hard. I usually bring in $1-2k, but this month I only made like $600, and I busted my ass for a good few weeks to do it. I know I can find the clients, though. I cast a wide net, and this month I caught a bunch of small fish, but next month will be different. Also no one my age is doing this, so I have to aggressively learn Spanish to make friends. Yo apprendiendo espanol rapidamente.

I think the biggest tip in this post is this: Decent travel insurance is INSANELY cheap. If you have a remote job and are a healthy 20-something, get out of the country and go explore just to take advantage of travel insurance. September 9th through December 5th, my policy cost $44. That's it. It won't cover regular trips to the doctor, but it's good enough for me.

Phillip

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2019, 08:07:10 PM »
Here's a couple pics, by the way:

https://imgur.com/a/cu6SPGn
https://imgur.com/a/l7hjSmG

Also, here's a question for those wiser and smarter than I am:

How long do I milk this cow? I can make $1-2k per month and live pretty cheaply anywhere in the world by living in hostels. My savings naturally won't be that high, but I'm always socking something away. I have $6.5k in a Roth and $1k in crypto (I know, I know, but I already doubled it and withdrew half to put in my Roth, so it's all earnings at this point). If I got a "legit" copywriting job in the US, I bet I could retire by 35, but should I? Are these opportunities worth more than early retirement?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2019, 08:13:12 PM by Phillip »

Freedomin5

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2019, 03:10:48 AM »
If you have a college degree, you could also teach English online. Up to $20/hr. There are threads on this forum about that. So pick up five students, make an extra $100/week.

Phillip

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2019, 05:03:58 AM »
Thanks, definitely something I might do. My degree is in Education, and I worked as an English teacher for a little bit, so I think I'd be well-suited for it. I'll look into it.

Malkynn

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2019, 05:29:28 AM »
You're living a dream post-FIRE or coast-FI life, except you skipped the part where you save a ton of money and let the compound interest work its magic while you work on your own terms and make only what you need.

That's fine, it's your life, do what you want, but you are in prime earning and investing years and trading off a huge amount of future wealth for your current lifestyle.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. I personally didn't start my career until my 30s, and I was mostly paying off student debt for the first 5 years of it anyway. I made a trade off in order to be able to work long term the way I wanted to.

You need to decide for yourself if the astronomical cost is worth it.

The beauty of what you are doing right now is that it gives you a lot of time, space, and psychic energy to really live happily and decide what you want your future to look like.

Most people don't have that option, they decide on careers largely out of fear and then stay in them due to the same fear. Few people give themselves the space to be really happy *before* they commit to major life paths.

You sound young, you sound healthy, and if you are paid to write, you sound reasonably smart, so you have an enormous amount of options available to you.

Reflect A LOT, do some math, and think deeply about what you want out of life and make a plan from there. Decide just how much in terms of opportunity-cost this current lifestyle is worth to you and plan accordingly.

Dicey

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2019, 05:48:10 AM »
Lovely photos! I'd like to hear more about how you ended up in this place. More backstory, please!

Phillip

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2019, 06:53:23 AM »
You're living a dream post-FIRE or coast-FI life, except you skipped the part where you save a ton of money and let the compound interest work its magic while you work on your own terms and make only what you need.

That's fine, it's your life, do what you want, but you are in prime earning and investing years and trading off a huge amount of future wealth for your current lifestyle.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. I personally didn't start my career until my 30s, and I was mostly paying off student debt for the first 5 years of it anyway. I made a trade off in order to be able to work long term the way I wanted to.

You need to decide for yourself if the astronomical cost is worth it.

The beauty of what you are doing right now is that it gives you a lot of time, space, and psychic energy to really live happily and decide what you want your future to look like.

Most people don't have that option, they decide on careers largely out of fear and then stay in them due to the same fear. Few people give themselves the space to be really happy *before* they commit to major life paths.

You sound young, you sound healthy, and if you are paid to write, you sound reasonably smart, so you have an enormous amount of options available to you.

Reflect A LOT, do some math, and think deeply about what you want out of life and make a plan from there. Decide just how much in terms of opportunity-cost this current lifestyle is worth to you and plan accordingly.

I'm (apparently) the writer, but you articulated my worries better than I could. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write that out. I'm already super glad I joined this forum :)

You see, right now, I write real estate copy, technical copy, and ghostwrite blog articles for a whole host of different people, so with my current clients and portfolio, I could go back to the US and turn my dinky $12-25k/year freelance writing business into a $50-70k/year technical or copywriting career, and probably get into project management 5-10 years after that, at which point I'd be looking to retire by 40.

But hopping around from country to country is pretty cool, too. My savings rate dropped off a cliff, though. I only put away a measly $500/year right now, so it's more about maintaining the habit at this point.

Then again, I think I can seriously increase my income in the next couple years if I stick with it. I don't know. It's not crazy to think that $20k will turn into $50k if you're doing something you love, and I really love writing. I did it for YEARS before anyone paid me.

I guess I just have to think about it some more -- but the people on this forum, more than probably anyone else, understand my predicament, so thank you for your guidance.

Malkynn

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2019, 07:25:08 AM »
I'm (apparently) the writer, but you articulated my worries better than I could. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write that out. I'm already super glad I joined this forum :)

You see, right now, I write real estate copy, technical copy, and ghostwrite blog articles for a whole host of different people, so with my current clients and portfolio, I could go back to the US and turn my dinky $12-25k/year freelance writing business into a $50-70k/year technical or copywriting career, and probably get into project management 5-10 years after that, at which point I'd be looking to retire by 40.

But hopping around from country to country is pretty cool, too. My savings rate dropped off a cliff, though. I only put away a measly $500/year right now, so it's more about maintaining the habit at this point.

Then again, I think I can seriously increase my income in the next couple years if I stick with it. I don't know. It's not crazy to think that $20k will turn into $50k if you're doing something you love, and I really love writing. I did it for YEARS before anyone paid me.

I guess I just have to think about it some more -- but the people on this forum, more than probably anyone else, understand my predicament, so thank you for your guidance.

There's no right or wrong answer here.

There are trade offs you are willing to make and trade offs you aren't willing to make.

The most important part is actually looking honestly at the cost of your choices and making your decisions fully informed about what they are worth long term.

I've made some expensive fucking choices in my life, and so has my DH, but we're very happy in our present and will have more than enough money in our future. We make our trade offs carefully, we understand our priorities clearly, and understand that those priorities can and will change over time.

You need to fully understand the mathematical magnitude of what you are doing and how it will impact your future before you can determine if it's the right path for you.

It may be, it may not be. That's entirely up to you.

Phillip

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2019, 07:46:08 AM »
Lovely photos! I'd like to hear more about how you ended up in this place. More backstory, please!

Gladly.

As for landing in Jaco in particular, that's because of a few wise words from Uncle Jimmy.

Like any kid with dreams of traveling the world for longer than a week, any job I could find, I took. All throughout college, I worked full-time (or as close to full-time as I could get) as a deli clerk, butcher's assistant, factory laborer, waiter, and dishwasher. I donated blood plasma for extra cash because I had dreams of one day riding a gondola in the canals of Venice.

After all that work (and college tuition) I was left with only about $2k when I graduated. It would get me a ticket somewhere nice, but when you factor in accommodation, food, and everything else, it wasn't much to build a trip around the world on. Even Nomadic Matt said I'd need at least $10-15k

Then I heard about this program called Workaway. You do odd jobs in someone's house (cleaning, painting, yard work, etc) and they put you up for a month or so. This was my ticket out without having to save -- and then spend -- a ridiculous amount of money.

I signed up and found someone willing to host me in Ireland.

Here I am messing around with a power drill in Kinnitty, happy as a clam but covered in paint and cow shit, after taking apart a concrete wall:

https://imgur.com/a/dmQzwY8

And here I am with one of my friends, when we first arrived to help rehab a Georgian mansion built in 1777 to turn it into a modern hotel:

https://imgur.com/a/6afsxc7

I used Workaway to travel all around Ireland, and then I started making pretty significant money writing online for a water softening company (weird, I know), so I traveled around Switzerland and Italy for a couple months while I wrote.

I came back home in July dead broke (except for retirement savings, which are borderline untouchable) and ready to start a career.

That's when my Uncle Jimmy said, "Wait, you can make $1k online just by writing? Why don't you go to Costa Rica?"

It didn't seem feasible. It sounded too good to be true. A couple days later Spirit Airlines sent out an email advertising one-way tickets to San Jose, Costa Rica for $87. I checked AirBnB to find a rental near the beach. A week later, I bought both the one-way and a month-long stay in the AirBnB.

And now here I am, struggling not to dip into retirement savings. I am up $500, though, which will cover rent for next month, and I think I can keep it going. Worst case I go back to Workaway, which isn't even real work.

So I should probably get to work on the type of writing that people actually pay me for now, but for Dicey and anyone else who listened to my rambling, thanks.

And, by the way, I did get to ride that gondola:

https://imgur.com/a/F5E8HDE

Phillip

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2019, 07:50:35 AM »
I'm (apparently) the writer, but you articulated my worries better than I could. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write that out. I'm already super glad I joined this forum :)

You see, right now, I write real estate copy, technical copy, and ghostwrite blog articles for a whole host of different people, so with my current clients and portfolio, I could go back to the US and turn my dinky $12-25k/year freelance writing business into a $50-70k/year technical or copywriting career, and probably get into project management 5-10 years after that, at which point I'd be looking to retire by 40.

But hopping around from country to country is pretty cool, too. My savings rate dropped off a cliff, though. I only put away a measly $500/year right now, so it's more about maintaining the habit at this point.

Then again, I think I can seriously increase my income in the next couple years if I stick with it. I don't know. It's not crazy to think that $20k will turn into $50k if you're doing something you love, and I really love writing. I did it for YEARS before anyone paid me.

I guess I just have to think about it some more -- but the people on this forum, more than probably anyone else, understand my predicament, so thank you for your guidance.

There's no right or wrong answer here.

There are trade offs you are willing to make and trade offs you aren't willing to make.

The most important part is actually looking honestly at the cost of your choices and making your decisions fully informed about what they are worth long term.

I've made some expensive fucking choices in my life, and so has my DH, but we're very happy in our present and will have more than enough money in our future. We make our trade offs carefully, we understand our priorities clearly, and understand that those priorities can and will change over time.

You need to fully understand the mathematical magnitude of what you are doing and how it will impact your future before you can determine if it's the right path for you.

It may be, it may not be. That's entirely up to you.

Thanks, I really appreciate it. Any books or resources you recommend? In making this decision (and/or continuing to make this decision), I want to be as informed as possible.

Malkynn

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2019, 08:18:19 AM »
I'm (apparently) the writer, but you articulated my worries better than I could. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write that out. I'm already super glad I joined this forum :)

You see, right now, I write real estate copy, technical copy, and ghostwrite blog articles for a whole host of different people, so with my current clients and portfolio, I could go back to the US and turn my dinky $12-25k/year freelance writing business into a $50-70k/year technical or copywriting career, and probably get into project management 5-10 years after that, at which point I'd be looking to retire by 40.

But hopping around from country to country is pretty cool, too. My savings rate dropped off a cliff, though. I only put away a measly $500/year right now, so it's more about maintaining the habit at this point.

Then again, I think I can seriously increase my income in the next couple years if I stick with it. I don't know. It's not crazy to think that $20k will turn into $50k if you're doing something you love, and I really love writing. I did it for YEARS before anyone paid me.

I guess I just have to think about it some more -- but the people on this forum, more than probably anyone else, understand my predicament, so thank you for your guidance.

There's no right or wrong answer here.

There are trade offs you are willing to make and trade offs you aren't willing to make.

The most important part is actually looking honestly at the cost of your choices and making your decisions fully informed about what they are worth long term.

I've made some expensive fucking choices in my life, and so has my DH, but we're very happy in our present and will have more than enough money in our future. We make our trade offs carefully, we understand our priorities clearly, and understand that those priorities can and will change over time.

You need to fully understand the mathematical magnitude of what you are doing and how it will impact your future before you can determine if it's the right path for you.

It may be, it may not be. That's entirely up to you.

Thanks, I really appreciate it. Any books or resources you recommend? In making this decision (and/or continuing to make this decision), I want to be as informed as possible.

uuuhhhh...what kind of books???

If you want financial resources in figuring out the financial implications of your decisions, then this forum is your best resource.

If you are looking for life decision advice, well, you're kind of on your own. I'm sure someone here will point you to a book or two that they find super insightful, but I am so not the person to ask, as my main schtick is all about not giving a fuck what other people think you should do and fully owning your own desires and priorities and not looking outward for motivation.

...which sounds pretty hypocritical coming from someone who gives a lot of advice here, but I do it as a way to explore my own priorities and drives, and examining the reactions I have to other's circumstances, stresses, and decisions.

Personally, I think you sound like a genuinely happy and positive person who already thinks outside the box, which in my opinion, puts you way ahead of most people in terms of figuring out how to live a great life. I work primarily with medical professionals who start their careers late, with a ton of debt, and who spent their entire 20s miserable in school. Some end up happy, but many end up deeply depressed.

Don't underestimate how important being happy is as you figure out what you want to do moving forward, and examine money as a tool for securing and maintaining happiness, not as a goal in and of itself. Spend some quality time learning about what you want your financial reality to look like, and what risks and trade offs are involved in your options along the way and decide from there.




Padonak

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2019, 09:00:00 AM »
You can get a certificate for teaching English and find a job online like somebody else mentioned here. Keep the copywriting gig going and prioritize whatever pays more.

brooklynmoney

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2019, 09:21:05 PM »
As you get older life happens and you need $. For health care costs, to help out family, because you want to start your own family or even because you want to retire someday. Iím too risk-adverse to live without a safety net aka savings, but I suppose if your work picks up you could be ok. I would give myself a deadline ie by x I need to make y. Hav me you met any of those expats down there yet that dropped out of life in the US with no savings and are now getting older? They are there.

KBCB

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2019, 06:52:39 AM »
So amazing!! Enjoy it!!

BicycleB

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2019, 03:36:30 PM »
Re calculating mathematical impact, you could read the MMM article on retirement math, but instead of using "current expenses" as a baseline, use a higher amount to approximate an income that would let you move back to the US.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/

Or, pick a sample income (say 30k), use the 4% rule to calculate an amount ($750k), give yourself x number of years to determine whether your current work approach is growing your income enough to give a reasonable accumulation time.

Or, just wing it for a year or two while building a 50k-75k income at the beach!  :)

I saw an article today on that topic. Since it didn't say exactly how he turned writing into dollars, I searched a little and concluded (on thin data) that most of his income is from posting on Medium; key sentence, "When Medium introduced the partner program, I began publishing articles through it" (second link). Don't know if these help, but hey, that's up to you! :)

https://medium.com/better-marketing/how-i-went-from-making-11-000-to-25-000-in-a-month-from-writing-5d0fd3e8d932
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-make-money-writing-medium-tim-denning/

Nice pics, btw.

Phillip

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2019, 07:49:33 PM »
Thanks, KCBC and BicycleB! And everyone else, ofc!

I'll definitely check out those resources; that's good thinking. I'm worried the Medium guy might be pushing some affiliate marketing stuff, but I'll check it out still.

Here's an update:

I've worked my way up to the "Top-Rated" program on Upwork and I pulled in $400 this week (and I have reason to believe this will only grow, since I'm keeping clients for the long term). I think I can make this work, so I'm going to stick it out for now. At worst, I have enough money to make it to December without dipping into my savings (going back to Akron/Cleveland for Christmas). If I somehow make $0 for the next two months, I'll still be okay. I'll just get a copywriting or technical writing job in the US and start pulling in $30-50k, still living on like $10k, and retire in ten years so I can start working on novels and poetry instead.

:)

And that's the worst case LOL. Talk about lucky.

For now, I think I'm going to move to Ho Chi Minh next year and rent out an Airbnb for $170/month. That'll bring my total expenses to something like $400/month, with a steadily growing income.

I just like it too much, you know? I understand there's risk: that the income ebbs and flows, that I might have to dip into my investments one day -- but right now it feels right, so I'm going to give it a shot for the next year or so.

Wish me luck.

change_seeker

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2019, 09:17:41 PM »
Luck!

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2019, 10:56:03 PM »
Good luck! Throw us an update when you feel like writing for free.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2019, 04:42:42 AM »
You made a badass decision, which gives you a great life now and some more uncertainty in the future. But you are still you, so you can do anything later.

I have heard a couple of young people who live an fulltime exciting outdoor life, making epic trips with sponsor money and living from writing books, making TV films and holding talks whenever they are not travelling. They also live on the minimum they can afford to finance their often expensive trips to far away. I heard one of them being concerned about not building up any kind of pension and not having an education. But she was also quite young, like 25.
You are already further than she is, as you have your education and your working experience. You could at any time decide to go back to "normal" life and make more money, or just continue to live on very little and have a lot more freedom. There are even TV series about people living like that fulltime, still in their fifties. I remember one of the series with a guy living on a sandy island off Australia, together with a Danish girl. They had to collect their own rain water for drinking. He caught his own food in the sea. They were really poor, financially, but I got the impression they had a great life in many other aspects. he was almost living off grid.

You should consider getting yourself some kind of insurance for disability. If you would get an accident or an illness that makes you unfit to ever work again, it would be good to get something paid out for the rest of your life, or some big lump sum.
This is something a financial expert that I listen to in a Norwegian podcast often recommends for young people who haven't built up any seniority in social wealth-fare systems. For young people, the premium for such an insurance should be quite low.

PJC74

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2019, 10:51:10 AM »
Totally badass! Keep us updated. I've always dreamed of retiring in Costa Rica living like a beach bum surfing everyday.

Wishing you best of luck!

Padonak

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2019, 11:00:54 AM »

OP, you have mentioned that you may move to Saigon next year, rent an airbnb for $170 per month and live on 400 per month.

Have you actually been there?  For a decent small apartment, not even in the most central district, you're looking at at least 2x the amount. If it's on airbnb, probably 3x. While it's an inexpensive  city, $400 per month is just survival level there. Don't forget about the cost of visas and visa runs too.

You'll probably need at least $1200 per month on Saigon to be comfortable if you don't waste money going to bars, chasing women etc.

The good news is that it's relatively easy to get a job as an English teacher there and make $20+ per hour.

Phillip

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2019, 05:18:12 PM »
Thanks PJC4 and Padonak.

I haven't actually been there, but I really don't plan on spending above survival level. One of my friends might come with me, so I'll be able to split the rent on a 2 bedroom with him, but this is what I was thinking about (price fluctuates):

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/38048557?s=67&shared_item_type=1&virality_entry_point=1&sharer_id=269323023

I already have a visa. There are a lot of Airbnbs available for $200-500/month.

I don't go out, really. I write and read a lot, and I enjoy it. I also go to the gym, so that will probably be another $30-60, but still well within my earning potential. I'll also have a pretty significant safety net by then since I'm coming home for Christmas early -- unless I hop down to Panama to extend my visa.

ULminimalist

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2019, 08:57:23 AM »
You're living a dream post-FIRE or coast-FI life, except you skipped the part where you save a ton of money and let the compound interest work its magic while you work on your own terms and make only what you need.

That's fine, it's your life, do what you want, but you are in prime earning and investing years and trading off a huge amount of future wealth for your current lifestyle.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. I personally didn't start my career until my 30s, and I was mostly paying off student debt for the first 5 years of it anyway. I made a trade off in order to be able to work long term the way I wanted to.

You need to decide for yourself if the astronomical cost is worth it.

The beauty of what you are doing right now is that it gives you a lot of time, space, and psychic energy to really live happily and decide what you want your future to look like.

Most people don't have that option, they decide on careers largely out of fear and then stay in them due to the same fear. Few people give themselves the space to be really happy *before* they commit to major life paths.

You sound young, you sound healthy, and if you are paid to write, you sound reasonably smart, so you have an enormous amount of options available to you.

Reflect A LOT, do some math, and think deeply about what you want out of life and make a plan from there. Decide just how much in terms of opportunity-cost this current lifestyle is worth to you and plan accordingly.

I was able to FIRE at 36 because I was declared 100% SC by the VA, was a combat medic in Iraq in 2004. I was also able to discharge $70k in student loans(couldn't work, kept dropping out of college because of my medical issues, so I took max loans every semester and lived off that, and got expensive dental work done, among other things, had only half GI Bill due to serving less than 2 years) I just mailed the Dept of Ed my VA paperwork stating I was 100%.

I do have a Compensation & Pension review next year, they can cut my benefits, but I haven't had any improvement much, just maintaining basically, and there's no way I can work. I still live super frugal, and have 10 years saved up if they cut me off completely, which isn't likely since at 100%, there's no way you completely improved in 4 years. Working out, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and hiking help my physical and mental health. Still have a lot of free time left, that I'm trying to figure out what to do with.

Malkynn

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2019, 01:42:06 PM »
You're living a dream post-FIRE or coast-FI life, except you skipped the part where you save a ton of money and let the compound interest work its magic while you work on your own terms and make only what you need.

That's fine, it's your life, do what you want, but you are in prime earning and investing years and trading off a huge amount of future wealth for your current lifestyle.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. I personally didn't start my career until my 30s, and I was mostly paying off student debt for the first 5 years of it anyway. I made a trade off in order to be able to work long term the way I wanted to.

You need to decide for yourself if the astronomical cost is worth it.

The beauty of what you are doing right now is that it gives you a lot of time, space, and psychic energy to really live happily and decide what you want your future to look like.

Most people don't have that option, they decide on careers largely out of fear and then stay in them due to the same fear. Few people give themselves the space to be really happy *before* they commit to major life paths.

You sound young, you sound healthy, and if you are paid to write, you sound reasonably smart, so you have an enormous amount of options available to you.

Reflect A LOT, do some math, and think deeply about what you want out of life and make a plan from there. Decide just how much in terms of opportunity-cost this current lifestyle is worth to you and plan accordingly.

I was able to FIRE at 36 because I was declared 100% SC by the VA, was a combat medic in Iraq in 2004. I was also able to discharge $70k in student loans(couldn't work, kept dropping out of college because of my medical issues, so I took max loans every semester and lived off that, and got expensive dental work done, among other things, had only half GI Bill due to serving less than 2 years) I just mailed the Dept of Ed my VA paperwork stating I was 100%.

I do have a Compensation & Pension review next year, they can cut my benefits, but I haven't had any improvement much, just maintaining basically, and there's no way I can work. I still live super frugal, and have 10 years saved up if they cut me off completely, which isn't likely since at 100%, there's no way you completely improved in 4 years. Working out, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and hiking help my physical and mental health. Still have a lot of free time left, that I'm trying to figure out what to do with.

I literally don't understand anything you've said.

BicycleB

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2019, 03:34:38 PM »
I think it's US military speak.

SC probably means service connected, which means that the military determined that the person has injuries or disabilities "connected" to (resulting from) the person's military service. I think they are paid some income benefits because they can no longer serve in the military, or do other jobs. The amount of disability is measured in %; 100% means you can't work at all, 50% means you're expected to earn half your normal income, etc. The income benefit paid is in proportion to the disability. The disability is periodically reviewed to determine whether payments will continue. I will accept correction from any knowledgeable party.

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2019, 08:58:42 AM »
I could go back to the US and turn my dinky $12-25k/year freelance writing business into a $50-70k/year technical or copywriting career, and probably get into project management 5-10 years after that, at which point I'd be looking to retire by 40.

Sounds to me like the project management part is not necessary if you can otherwise make $50k-$70k/year. 

Which then leads me to my question throughout this post, Why do you have to move back to the US for this technical or copywriting career? (where expenses are obviously gonna be higher).  I admittedly know nothing about your field, but I guess I assumed most writing done now was from ones home anyway as no one wants the overhead of offices for these fields where it is mostly unnecessary.   Again, I really don't know anything about the field, I'm just surprised it would be that huge a barrier.

spartana

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2019, 10:24:02 PM »
I think it's US military speak.

SC probably means service connected, which means that the military determined that the person has injuries or disabilities "connected" to (resulting from) the person's military service. I think they are paid some income benefits because they can no longer serve in the military, or do other jobs. The amount of disability is measured in %; 100% means you can't work at all, 50% means you're expected to earn half your normal income, etc. The income benefit paid is in proportion to the disability. The disability is periodically reviewed to determine whether payments will continue. I will accept correction from any knowledgeable party.
Yep you are correct. Its a little more complex (as well as simpler too) but it just means someone has a service connected injury/disability while in the military.  It goes from 0% compensated ( no money but you can use the VA to treat you disability) to 100% and everything in between. Whether or not you need to get reevaluated just depends on your condition. If the VA says its permenant (as mine is) you'll never be evaluated for compensation purposes again - unless it worsens.

I'm rated at 40% SC with the VA and get $618/month tax free. Not enough to retire on (well for me and @BicycleB  it probably is ;-)) but 100% SC can be a couple thousand or more per month. Plus you won't lose the benefit if you work snce you aren't paid it because you are disabled and can't work (although many can't), you are paid it because you are no longer "whole" due to your service injury.

Edited: just realized the OP wasnt the person with the SC VA benefit but someone else.

As for the OP the only potential fail I see is your inability to come back to live in the US in older age without having to work. While at 30 or 40 that may be doable, at 50 or 60 and beyond it's going to be hard. Especially if you won't have Soc Security or Medicare in old age, or a stash big enough to support even a low standard of living in the USA. You might want to consider making more now and then stash it and coast FIRE instead.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 10:35:42 PM by spartana »

Malkynn

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2019, 04:16:19 AM »
I think it's US military speak.

SC probably means service connected, which means that the military determined that the person has injuries or disabilities "connected" to (resulting from) the person's military service. I think they are paid some income benefits because they can no longer serve in the military, or do other jobs. The amount of disability is measured in %; 100% means you can't work at all, 50% means you're expected to earn half your normal income, etc. The income benefit paid is in proportion to the disability. The disability is periodically reviewed to determine whether payments will continue. I will accept correction from any knowledgeable party.
Yep you are correct. Its a little more complex (as well as simpler too) but it just means someone has a service connected injury/disability while in the military.  It goes from 0% compensated ( no money but you can use the VA to treat you disability) to 100% and everything in between. Whether or not you need to get reevaluated just depends on your condition. If the VA says its permenant (as mine is) you'll never be evaluated for compensation purposes again - unless it worsens.

I'm rated at 40% SC with the VA and get $618/month tax free. Not enough to retire on (well for me and @BicycleB  it probably is ;-)) but 100% SC can be a couple thousand or more per month. Plus you won't lose the benefit if you work snce you aren't paid it because you are disabled and can't work (although many can't), you are paid it because you are no longer "whole" due to your service injury.

Edited: just realized the OP wasnt the person with the SC VA benefit but someone else.


As for the OP the only potential fail I see is your inability to come back to live in the US in older age without having to work. While at 30 or 40 that may be doable, at 50 or 60 and beyond it's going to be hard. Especially if you won't have Soc Security or Medicare in old age, or a stash big enough to support even a low standard of living in the USA. You might want to consider making more now and then stash it and coast FIRE instead.

Hence my complete and utter confusion at their reply to my post. Well that AND literally not understanding it.

spartana

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2019, 08:53:08 AM »
I think it's US military speak.

SC probably means service connected, which means that the military determined that the person has injuries or disabilities "connected" to (resulting from) the person's military service. I think they are paid some income benefits because they can no longer serve in the military, or do other jobs. The amount of disability is measured in %; 100% means you can't work at all, 50% means you're expected to earn half your normal income, etc. The income benefit paid is in proportion to the disability. The disability is periodically reviewed to determine whether payments will continue. I will accept correction from any knowledgeable party.
Yep you are correct. Its a little more complex (as well as simpler too) but it just means someone has a service connected injury/disability while in the military.  It goes from 0% compensated ( no money but you can use the VA to treat you disability) to 100% and everything in between. Whether or not you need to get reevaluated just depends on your condition. If the VA says its permenant (as mine is) you'll never be evaluated for compensation purposes again - unless it worsens.

I'm rated at 40% SC with the VA and get $618/month tax free. Not enough to retire on (well for me and @BicycleB  it probably is ;-)) but 100% SC can be a couple thousand or more per month. Plus you won't lose the benefit if you work snce you aren't paid it because you are disabled and can't work (although many can't), you are paid it because you are no longer "whole" due to your service injury.

Edited: just realized the OP wasnt the person with the SC VA benefit but someone else.


As for the OP the only potential fail I see is your inability to come back to live in the US in older age without having to work. While at 30 or 40 that may be doable, at 50 or 60 and beyond it's going to be hard. Especially if you won't have Soc Security or Medicare in old age, or a stash big enough to support even a low standard of living in the USA. You might want to consider making more now and then stash it and coast FIRE instead.

Hence my complete and utter confusion at their reply to my post. Well that AND literally not understanding it.
me too! Seemed out of left field for the thread but then I figure he/she was responding to the idea (not by you but just in general) that no one can FIRE unless they have a stash saved and might be hurting financially somewhere down the road if they decide they no longer want to live the ex-pat life in a low cost country.  The fully disabled (Vet or civilian) who gets on disability isn't exactly FIREd imho although technically I suppose they are. Just like a person who has nothing saved but has a pension they got early that is enough to cover all their expenses can be considered FIREd. Different thread.

My sister did what the OP did and lived the dirt bag climbing and ski bum life from age 18 to 30. Came back home with zero dollars and got a job to save more for her next trip but ended up liking it and staying 20 years. Retired with a small future pension and tons of savings last year. So its doable. The key was she continued to live cheaply once back working full time (and rented a studio apt in a very expensive Cali beach city for very little) and saved a lot of her low income. No lifestyle inflation even when living and working in one of the most expensive areas in the US - maybe the world.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 10:18:54 AM by spartana »

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2019, 10:15:16 AM »
I am also one who did the travel thing early - with no regrets ;)
I taught English in Japan to boost my travel fund, I worked at a hostel in New Zealand for free room, board, transportation and fun. I was a bartender - again, many perks with that job. I volunteered,  I WOOFERed  (Willing Workers On Organic Farms). 
Travelling in cheap countries certainly stretches the dollar, and working or volunteering quickly gets you into the community and off the tourist track to easily make friends and experience the culture.
Chased the sun.
Was open to opportunities that I hadn't even dreamed about.
Slow travel can be very economical.
You are ahead of me as I hadn't finished my degree and didnít really have any skills - but I was having a ball and not giving a thought to my future...until...
the maternal clock/time bomb went off and I wanted BABIES and not in some far away from family country - so I came home at 27, married at 29, 3 kids by 35 and lived THAT adventure.
This is getting long and really just skimming the surface but to wrap it up...
Divorced at 40, found MMM at 47, got my ducks in a row and retired at 49.  Now I'm back in travel mode; explored the East and West coasts of Canada in a vintage VW bus. Spent this last winter in California,  Arizona and New Mexico and gearing up to head South again soon.
ALWAYS live below your means, avoid the mainstream mentality, keep healthy habits, have your optimism gun handy and go for it!  ;)

BicycleB

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2019, 08:36:10 PM »
Yep you are correct. Its a little more complex (as well as simpler too) but it just means someone has a service connected injury/disability while in the military.  It goes from 0% compensated ( no money but you can use the VA to treat you disability) to 100% and everything in between. Whether or not you need to get reevaluated just depends on your condition. If the VA says its permenant (as mine is) you'll never be evaluated for compensation purposes again - unless it worsens.

I'm rated at 40% SC with the VA and get $618/month tax free. Not enough to retire on (well for me and @BicycleB  it probably is ;-)) but 100% SC can be a couple thousand or more per month. Plus you won't lose the benefit if you work snce you aren't paid it because you are disabled and can't work (although many can't), you are paid it because you are no longer "whole" due to your service injury.

Aahhh, that's what it is. Thanks, @spartana!


As for the OP the only potential fail I see is your inability to come back to live in the US in older age without having to work. While at 30 or 40 that may be doable, at 50 or 60 and beyond it's going to be hard. Especially if you won't have Soc Security or Medicare in old age, or a stash big enough to support even a low standard of living in the USA. You might want to consider making more now and then stash it and coast FIRE instead.

I think OP's plan is to earn money while traveling. I think that if OP chooses, he/she could file that income in the US, thereby accruing Social Security benefits. Not disputing that OP should earn enough stash to return to US at will, just seeking to clarify. Article below discusses how Foreign Earned Income Exclusion can shelter income earned abroad from income tax, but still requires paying Social Security tax...and therefore qualifying for Social Security.

https://www.gocurrycracker.com/never-pay-taxes-by-moving-abroad/

For Medicare, if OP is a US citizen, he/she will qualify for Medicare, if I read the link below correctly. Appears to say that if you live abroad and the return to USA, then once you're at the normal Medicare age of 65, you qualify for Medicare as soon as you re-establish residency. Fwiw, I think there is no work history requirement for Medicare, only citizenship + age + residency (some other combinations are also eligible).

https://www.medicareconsumerguide.com/moving-to-us-and-enrolling-in-medicare

« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 08:37:59 PM by BicycleB »

spartana

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2019, 09:29:06 PM »
Yep you are correct. Its a little more complex (as well as simpler too) but it just means someone has a service connected injury/disability while in the military.  It goes from 0% compensated ( no money but you can use the VA to treat you disability) to 100% and everything in between. Whether or not you need to get reevaluated just depends on your condition. If the VA says its permenant (as mine is) you'll never be evaluated for compensation purposes again - unless it worsens.

I'm rated at 40% SC with the VA and get $618/month tax free. Not enough to retire on (well for me and @BicycleB  it probably is ;-)) but 100% SC can be a couple thousand or more per month. Plus you won't lose the benefit if you work snce you aren't paid it because you are disabled and can't work (although many can't), you are paid it because you are no longer "whole" due to your service injury.

Aahhh, that's what it is. Thanks, @spartana!


As for the OP the only potential fail I see is your inability to come back to live in the US in older age without having to work. While at 30 or 40 that may be doable, at 50 or 60 and beyond it's going to be hard. Especially if you won't have Soc Security or Medicare in old age, or a stash big enough to support even a low standard of living in the USA. You might want to consider making more now and then stash it and coast FIRE instead.

I think OP's plan is to earn money while traveling. I think that if OP chooses, he/she could file that income in the US, thereby accruing Social Security benefits. Not disputing that OP should earn enough stash to return to US at will, just seeking to clarify. Article below discusses how Foreign Earned Income Exclusion can shelter income earned abroad from income tax, but still requires paying Social Security tax...and therefore qualifying for Social Security.

https://www.gocurrycracker.com/never-pay-taxes-by-moving-abroad/

For Medicare, if OP is a US citizen, he/she will qualify for Medicare, if I read the link below correctly. Appears to say that if you live abroad and the return to USA, then once you're at the normal Medicare age of 65, you qualify for Medicare as soon as you re-establish residency. Fwiw, I think there is no work history requirement for Medicare, only citizenship + age + residency (some other combinations are also eligible).

https://www.medicareconsumerguide.com/moving-to-us-and-enrolling-in-medicare
I don't know about Six Security if income was earned aboard by a US citizen but I'm pretty sure you need to have contributed towards Medicare to get that. After I got out of the Mitary I had a government job that did not pay anything towards SS so I can't use those years to earn SS benefits. But I did have to pay towards Medicare each pay period in order to be eligible for that once 65.

ETA after a quick Google search it seems you can be eligible as long as your a US citizen and 65. This from AARP sounds like you might have to pay more towards it though:

"So strictly speaking, not having worked long enough to “qualify” means only that you can't receive benefits for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) without paying premiums for them. ... Otherwise, if you're 65 or older, you can buy into Medicare by paying monthly premiums for Part A hospital insurance."
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 09:33:14 PM by spartana »

BicycleB

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2019, 10:00:31 PM »
^ Interesting, I didn't know that.

If the criteria to qualify are similar to Social Security, it seems that OP's plan to earn money while abroad would work for both, if he/she files his tax in the US. That's the key as I understand it - since his income appears to from writing for US clients, he can record year after year of SS and Medicare contributions despite being abroad. Hopefully he'll have the same deal I got working inside the US: 20-ish work years, but enough earnings and contributions to qualify for these benefits as well as build a tolerable stash.

OP, keep learning the details!   :)

PS. Somehow I'm guessing that "buying into" Medicare would be expensive.

spartana

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2019, 12:24:34 AM »
Jeeze my writing is atrocious but I'm a gonna leave it and blame it on spell check. At least it didn't correct to Sex Security ;-).

daverobev

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #34 on: October 16, 2019, 04:11:55 AM »
@OP if you're looking for a good book, I really like

https://www.amazon.com/Early-Retirement-Extreme-Philosophical-Independence/dp/145360121X

from the blog of the same name. I think it would apply in your scenario. I paid for the physical version, no regrets.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #35 on: October 16, 2019, 07:42:41 AM »
That was the book that got me started - and led me to MMM.  Came across it in my library. 

Phillip

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2019, 07:13:21 PM »
@OP if you're looking for a good book, I really like

https://www.amazon.com/Early-Retirement-Extreme-Philosophical-Independence/dp/145360121X

from the blog of the same name. I think it would apply in your scenario. I paid for the physical version, no regrets.

I love Jacob Lund Fisker. He's definitely a huge inspiration.

And thank you everyone for all the tips in this thread, especially Cannot Wait!

HUGELY helpful, for sure.

I do file my taxes in the US, so I should be able to get pretty much every benefit you guys have listed. I'll look into it some more, though. I was recently denied Medicare but I think it was because of some sort of document discrepancy. I'll figure it out when I stop back home in a couple months.

The cool thing about all of this is that I can always go back to a normal job. It's a good thing to remember that this is a first world problem at its core: I know I'm going to be rich one day (I already feel like I am); maybe even rich enough to retire early. The question isn't, "Will it happen?" it's, "How soon?"

And travel really offers some healthy brain food.

I mean, on my way to the gym every day, I pass grown men waiting by the truck yard hoping that someone will need them for some sort of job that day: either moving a truck from Point A to Point B or doing some form of manual labor, I don't know exactly. All I know is that I couldn't be happier or more grateful to be able to bang some keys on my keyboard for a few hours a day and make the same amount of money -- if not more.

That's a healthy perspective I never could've fully developed staying in suburbia. It's one thing to read about global inequality, it's another thing to experience it first hand.

BicycleB

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2019, 08:26:11 PM »
Happy for you.

Quick detail - Medicare is for US residents over 65 and people with a disability that impedes them from working, and does not have an assets test. Medicaid is for US residents with low incomes and, depending on the state you reside in, low assets. If you are fit and accumulating assets, you may not qualify for either one until you're 65. Plus I suspect living abroad disqualifies you anyway. Not speaking authoritatively, just sharing what I've read - sorry if I'm forgetting something about your individual situation.

spartana

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2019, 01:00:16 PM »
There are also some old schooler FIREees that have been living the life it seems you want (as many of us do) for decades now. One is Paul and Vickie Terhorst who wrote a book long ago called "Cashing in on the American Dream: How to Retire at 35". They spent much of their lives living as "Perpetual Travelers" (PTs) all over the world. I believe they are 65 now just celebrated 30 years as early travelling retirees. There are others out there who are doing the same as well as work/travel life. All seem to be successful and happy even if not wealthy by US standards.

Also "Your Money or Your Life" by Vicky Robbins and Joe Dominguez is a good read for FIRE wanna-bees but I don't think it has any travel or ex-pat info.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2019, 01:07:09 PM by spartana »

AnxietyFly

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #39 on: October 27, 2019, 01:29:38 PM »
I just googled Jaco Beach and its beautiful.  Are the hooker hot or nasty looking?

Luz

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #40 on: October 29, 2019, 09:05:40 PM »
Ooh, I have a book recommendation:
"The Art of Crossing Cultures" by Craig Storti was game-changing for me. Really helped me navigate culture shock and start seeing the (Mexican) culture for what it was rather than what I perceived it to be through my American lens.

Is renting a room from a Costa Rican family an option? I lived in Mexico for a few years and if Costa Rica is anything like where I was, you could get a room, laundry washed, and meals cooked for equal to or below what you're paying rent. You'd provide a family with some extra income, save $200 every month, and free up some time avoiding a few domestic duties. Living with a family has the added benefit of giving you a true inside look at the culture. And it will really challenge your Spanish. The food will also likely be delicious!

I was in Mexico when I was 27-29. Kind've on a whim (like you) since I could make enough to live by working remotely. I had an incredible experience. No real plans. What I didn't know was that I would end up meeting my now-husband there. We moved back to the states after deciding to get married since I wanted to go to graduate school (a path that living in Mexico helped clarify) and we wanted him to get a US passport so we could move freely between the two countries. I also didn't know that knowledge of the culture and language would be so important in the field I would choose (I'm in health care and at least half of patients in my Southwestern city are Spanish-speaking). And, even though I now live in the US, I'm forever tied to Mexico (through marriage and having a child who's half Mexican). Might even retire there. So you never know how things will fit together. 

I am not FIRE and don't really plan to be. I do, however, want to be badass with money so it's never a barrier for doing what I want to do with my life. I think that could mean that I've got some coffers so I'm not short money when an opportunity comes knocking. But I think that can also mean that I don't design my life largely around accumulating money (at least not at the expense of doing the things I want to do). You could spend your twenties and thirties cranking it out in a job or location you might not find inspiring, in order to retire in your 40's or 50's, but for what? So you could move to Jaco Beach and write? I think there's a balance to be had. Live your life now while being mindful of money (which it sounds like you do). Time is the most important resource, in my opinion. And you never know how much you get.

Is language learning important to you? If so, I'd highly recommend Synergy Spanish, an online Spanish course. The instructor lays things out in a really intuitive way. It's $20/month, but you'll have extra cash if you change your living situation. And being able to get by in the language is yet another way to immerse yourself in life there. Also, a good Spanish-English dictionary is great to have. They say that knowing 250-500 common words in a foreign language gives you the ability to get around as a tourist and 1,000-3,000 of the frequently used words puts you at conversational level. Here's a list of the first 1,000 most commonly used words in Spanish with their English translation: https://1000mostcommonwords.com/1000-most-common-spanish-words/. Also, if you spend 2 years in Costa Rica and really immerse yourself in Spanish, you'll likely gain fluency. Maybe a longer commitment than you're interested in, but just a thought.



DeniseNJ

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2019, 12:30:34 PM »
Happy for you.

Quick detail - Medicare is for US residents over 65 and people with a disability that impedes them from working, and does not have an assets test. Medicaid is for US residents with low incomes and, depending on the state you reside in, low assets. If you are fit and accumulating assets, you may not qualify for either one until you're 65. Plus I suspect living abroad disqualifies you anyway. Not speaking authoritatively, just sharing what I've read - sorry if I'm forgetting something about your individual situation.
Medicare is health insurance and it does not pay for services outside the US, unless you stop in Canada real quick on your way to Alaska, or unless you have an emergency and the nearest hospital is in Mexico or Canada (like if you live next to the border), or if you're on a cruise ship within a certain number of miles off the US coast.

BicycleB

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2019, 04:03:53 PM »
In the post prior to mine, which I was referring to, poster Phillip applied for "Medicare" despite, seemingly, living out of country. Said he was denied for what he thought was a "document discrepancy". I'm guessing the document discrepancy involves not qualifying for the program.

On second thought, maybe I should confirm premises. Phillip, do you live in the US? And if so, are you over 65?

Malkynn

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #43 on: November 02, 2019, 06:54:14 AM »
In the post prior to mine, which I was referring to, poster Phillip applied for "Medicare" despite, seemingly, living out of country. Said he was denied for what he thought was a "document discrepancy". I'm guessing the document discrepancy involves not qualifying for the program.

On second thought, maybe I should confirm premises. Phillip, do you live in the US? And if so, are you over 65?

He's in Jaco Beach and under 35

Habilis

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #44 on: November 02, 2019, 07:34:07 AM »
Vagabonding, Rolf Potts

Hirondelle

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #45 on: November 02, 2019, 10:55:58 AM »

OP, you have mentioned that you may move to Saigon next year, rent an airbnb for $170 per month and live on 400 per month.

Have you actually been there?  For a decent small apartment, not even in the most central district, you're looking at at least 2x the amount. If it's on airbnb, probably 3x. While it's an inexpensive  city, $400 per month is just survival level there. Don't forget about the cost of visas and visa runs too.

You'll probably need at least $1200 per month on Saigon to be comfortable if you don't waste money going to bars, chasing women etc.

The good news is that it's relatively easy to get a job as an English teacher there and make $20+ per hour.

Dude, have you actually been there?

I used to live in Saigon and spent under $400/month. And that was a luxury life to me full of eating out, coffees and beers (I won't say it was healthy though). A visa is like $50 for 3 months. Then the Cambodian visa costs $25 and the bus there is a whopping dollar or so. All you need to do is ignore the guys who tell you you need help and rip you off.

You're right that $170/month for an appartment is on the low end, but guess what, my rent in D3 (far from a shabby district) was $160/month. Friends of mine got a place around the same price in Phu Nhuan and my boyfriend is paying $170/month for his place in D10. I'll admit that prices around $250 are more common but my friends all happen to be cheap and the OP seems to be like that too :) For someone who spends $750/month now needing $1200 a month in Saigon seems a little much. $1200/month was my budget for a HCOL city in the US which included $200/month just for travel.

OP; if you need any advice on living in Saigon (or elsewhere in 'Nam), how to find jobs or what kind of price levels you can expect, feel free to PM me. Vietnam is amazing :)
« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 12:27:26 PM by Hirondelle »

Phillip

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #46 on: November 02, 2019, 09:02:40 PM »
Sorry I haven't checked this thread in so long. I appreciate all replies and I'll do my best to address every one of them...

I just googled Jaco Beach and its beautiful.  Are the hooker hot or nasty looking?

Nasty.

I'm not into that sort of thing, but on a whim yesterday, for a little adventure, a friend and I went to a strip club for a Halloween show. Even THAT was pathetic and gross. I've been here long enough to recognize the women because I've seen them at the gym before. It was just so weird. You could see in their eyes they didn't want to be there.

Luckily I'm a somewhat charming guy and I live inside of a hostel, so there are no shortage of cute, genuine girls my age coming in and out.

Unless you have some sort of physical or mental deformity that keeps you from actually attracting and interacting with the opposite sex, I would highly discourage you from buying prostitutes.

Ooh, I have a book recommendation:
"The Art of Crossing Cultures" by Craig Storti was game-changing for me. Really helped me navigate culture shock and start seeing the (Mexican) culture for what it was rather than what I perceived it to be through my American lens.

Is renting a room from a Costa Rican family an option? I lived in Mexico for a few years and if Costa Rica is anything like where I was, you could get a room, laundry washed, and meals cooked for equal to or below what you're paying rent. You'd provide a family with some extra income, save $200 every month, and free up some time avoiding a few domestic duties. Living with a family has the added benefit of giving you a true inside look at the culture. And it will really challenge your Spanish. The food will also likely be delicious!

I was in Mexico when I was 27-29. Kind've on a whim (like you) since I could make enough to live by working remotely. I had an incredible experience. No real plans. What I didn't know was that I would end up meeting my now-husband there. We moved back to the states after deciding to get married since I wanted to go to graduate school (a path that living in Mexico helped clarify) and we wanted him to get a US passport so we could move freely between the two countries. I also didn't know that knowledge of the culture and language would be so important in the field I would choose (I'm in health care and at least half of patients in my Southwestern city are Spanish-speaking). And, even though I now live in the US, I'm forever tied to Mexico (through marriage and having a child who's half Mexican). Might even retire there. So you never know how things will fit together. 

I am not FIRE and don't really plan to be. I do, however, want to be badass with money so it's never a barrier for doing what I want to do with my life. I think that could mean that I've got some coffers so I'm not short money when an opportunity comes knocking. But I think that can also mean that I don't design my life largely around accumulating money (at least not at the expense of doing the things I want to do). You could spend your twenties and thirties cranking it out in a job or location you might not find inspiring, in order to retire in your 40's or 50's, but for what? So you could move to Jaco Beach and write? I think there's a balance to be had. Live your life now while being mindful of money (which it sounds like you do). Time is the most important resource, in my opinion. And you never know how much you get.

Is language learning important to you? If so, I'd highly recommend Synergy Spanish, an online Spanish course. The instructor lays things out in a really intuitive way. It's $20/month, but you'll have extra cash if you change your living situation. And being able to get by in the language is yet another way to immerse yourself in life there. Also, a good Spanish-English dictionary is great to have. They say that knowing 250-500 common words in a foreign language gives you the ability to get around as a tourist and 1,000-3,000 of the frequently used words puts you at conversational level. Here's a list of the first 1,000 most commonly used words in Spanish with their English translation: https://1000mostcommonwords.com/1000-most-common-spanish-words/. Also, if you spend 2 years in Costa Rica and really immerse yourself in Spanish, you'll likely gain fluency. Maybe a longer commitment than you're interested in, but just a thought.

This is all AWESOME. Thanks. I've been trying to learn Spanish but I write and read for a good portion every day in English. When it comes to down-time, the last thing I often want to do is study in another language LOL. I'll give it a look anyway. Thank you for your input, though. I agree. I think I've struck a good balance in my daily life, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else most days. Every day is a Saturday, and I'm making progress mentally, physically, and socially. It just doesn't make sense to NOT ride this wave as long as I can at this point.

Happy for you.

Quick detail - Medicare is for US residents over 65 and people with a disability that impedes them from working, and does not have an assets test. Medicaid is for US residents with low incomes and, depending on the state you reside in, low assets. If you are fit and accumulating assets, you may not qualify for either one until you're 65. Plus I suspect living abroad disqualifies you anyway. Not speaking authoritatively, just sharing what I've read - sorry if I'm forgetting something about your individual situation.
Medicare is health insurance and it does not pay for services outside the US, unless you stop in Canada real quick on your way to Alaska, or unless you have an emergency and the nearest hospital is in Mexico or Canada (like if you live next to the border), or if you're on a cruise ship within a certain number of miles off the US coast.

I feel like a moron. I meant to say that I applied for Medicaid (back when I was in the US), but they sent me a request for my last paycheck at my last employer and I haven't been able to send it, so they sent a rejection letter after I didn't respond.

Regardless, Travelex does cover emergency medical. That's better than a lot of people.

I recently got an x-ray for what I thought was a tooth infection. It cost me $40 total, without insurance.

In the post prior to mine, which I was referring to, poster Phillip applied for "Medicare" despite, seemingly, living out of country. Said he was denied for what he thought was a "document discrepancy". I'm guessing the document discrepancy involves not qualifying for the program.

On second thought, maybe I should confirm premises. Phillip, do you live in the US? And if so, are you over 65?

He's in Jaco Beach and under 35

Yes. Jaco. Just turned 24.

Vagabonding, Rolf Potts

Nice, awesome. Googled it and it looks right up my alley. Added it to my reading list.


OP, you have mentioned that you may move to Saigon next year, rent an airbnb for $170 per month and live on 400 per month.

Have you actually been there?  For a decent small apartment, not even in the most central district, you're looking at at least 2x the amount. If it's on airbnb, probably 3x. While it's an inexpensive  city, $400 per month is just survival level there. Don't forget about the cost of visas and visa runs too.

You'll probably need at least $1200 per month on Saigon to be comfortable if you don't waste money going to bars, chasing women etc.

The good news is that it's relatively easy to get a job as an English teacher there and make $20+ per hour.

Dude, have you actually been there?

I used to live in Saigon and spent under $400/month. And that was a luxury life to me full of eating out, coffees and beers (I won't say it was healthy though). A visa is like $50 for 3 months. Then the Cambodian visa costs $25 and the bus there is a whopping dollar or so. All you need to do is ignore the guys who tell you you need help and rip you off.

You're right that $170/month for an appartment is on the low end, but guess what, my rent in D3 (far from a shabby district) was $160/month. Friends of mine got a place around the same price in Phu Nhuan and my boyfriend is paying $170/month for his place in D10. I'll admit that prices around $250 are more common but my friends all happen to be cheap and the OP seems to be like that too :) For someone who spends $750/month now needing $1200 a month in Saigon seems a little much. $1200/month was my budget for a HCOL city in the US which included $200/month just for travel.

OP; if you need any advice on living in Saigon (or elsewhere in 'Nam), how to find jobs or what kind of price levels you can expect, feel free to PM me. Vietnam is amazing :)

God, I love you guys so much. You are my TRIBE! Thanks for offering to help. I'll definitely be hitting you up soon.

I have heard that Vietnam is amazingly cheap, but I didn't want to argue because I haven't actually been there yet so I have no idea.

Right now, I'm leaving for Peru in a couple days, coming back to Cleveland in mid-December for Christmas, and then taking off for Vietnam. I'm planning for about $3k in Vietnam and riding it out for as long as I possibly can -- even if I can't make money (I will, but I like to plan for the worst case). How long could $3k last me, do you think?

I did get a somewhat long-term job as the lead content writer for AirHost Academy, though. It's about Airbnb tips and tricks, and since I live inside of Airbnbs I offer a unique perspective, and I can contact a lot of different hosts. I definitely want to invest in short-term rental properties at some point, since I've worked as a real estate freelance copywriter for so long now and built up some industry-specific expertise (and pretty much all of my family is involved in real estate to some extent).

Check out AirHost Academy (click on some of the recent articles to bump up the traffic numbers and keep me traveling LOLOL):

https://airhostacademy.com/

Hirondelle

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #47 on: November 03, 2019, 12:39:11 PM »
@Phillip sounds great! Spending a year or so in Saigon around your age (I did it when I was 23/24) is perfect :). I just checked my old spreadsheets and I have to crawl back as I spent $430/month on average. I thought is was closer to $400 but my spreadsheet is in euros and back then the exchange rate was more favorable for the euro (Ä350 is $390 now but not back then...). As I said that includes a lot of gas/bike repairs and a lot of fluff like coffees and beers (I was there again this year so my price levels are up to date). My boyfriend's even cheaper than me (home cooking fitboy style, little alcohol, less coffees) and he spends around $300-350/month. If you wanna take a bit of a margin for things like traveling around a bit just assume you'll spend around $500 and you'll be good for 6 months on your $3k.

I know some places where you can get a job easily that pays around $16/hr and offers 4h workslots on the weekends. They're not the most well paid ones (I had other jobs paying $20-25) but they're always looking for people, have many locations all around and you can start immediately. As a native speaker you'll even have more options than I had :).

By the time you're headed that way just shoot me a PM and I'm happy to share you all I know.

EliteZags

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2019, 05:31:22 PM »

My sister did what the OP did and lived the dirt bag climbing and ski bum life from age 18 to 30. Came back home with zero dollars and got a job to save more for her next trip but ended up liking it and staying 20 years. Retired with a small future pension and tons of savings last year. So its doable. The key was she continued to live cheaply once back working full time (and rented a studio apt in a very expensive Cali beach city for very little) and saved a lot of her low income. No lifestyle inflation even when living and working in one of the most expensive areas in the US - maybe the world.


Newport Beach perchance? thought I'd share my situation which is a bit in between hers and OP's, though not that similar to either:

I've been living in a 3 bedroom beach house with 2 friends on Balboa Peninsula which I pay $1250/month for a huge master suite, probably one of the most fun-filled beachside areas in the US, the Peninsula has a more mixed and younger demographic with some more affordable housing that even college kids commonly share on a 9 month winter lease, and our neighborhood is surrounded by Airbnb's for vacationers coming from all over the country.
I live rather comfortably but managed to not raise my spending habits too much since finishing grad school- estimate most months are kept under $2500 total including rent/bills etc.
By strategically gaming(having a beach/party house, many female friends etc) the social system/groups of OC I'm able to do a crazy amount of fun things constantly for very little spend (clubs/tables/lavish parties/boats etc) so on the weekends frequently getting to live on the level of all the "FIRE'd" playboys which composed highly of trust fund kids, young company owners/sellers, dealers, etc that just burn through money on fun all the time.
I'm still able to invest well over half my earnings from a decent(though limited growth potential) engineering job as not spending much eating out constantly (besides lunch at work cafť for convenience ~$5/day) and not chasing luxury items.

In fact mid last year the startup I worked for was bought out and I took a very generous severance(a portion of which was put towards maxing 2018 401K/Roth) and an entire year off of work (a good amount of it searching for my next job so not totally vacationing, but still living on the beach), and when I went back to work a few months ago, with all my investments remaining in aggressive funds and with performance of the market, my net worth had actually risen in the full year away from work, I had cut spending in that time but not by a lot, and since returning to work found it comfortable to not need to raise it by much yet.
The car I had been driving to the ground (04 Lincoln Aviator bought in 2011) conveniently finally gave out shortly after starting work and I bought a 2015 Jaguar XF with low miles $20k cash (prob my biggest splurge ever, tho with stock payout $) plus another $2300 for 5yr/75K aftermarket warranty,  about time since I'm getting about double the gas mileage than with the SUV (my commute is ~30 miles/day).

Not really sure what the point of writing all this is, suppose just to put out another type of living situation out there, maybe to illustrate that you can live in an "expensive" area and have lots of fun while still building towards FIRE at a good rate, though the main key is staying single (both for the fun and economical aspects lol).

Although if it were feasible with my career track I'd be willing to take a year of reduced earnings in exchange for getting to travel and live in exotic places, can't really put a value on getting to do that while you're still young (and again, single) enough to fully enjoy it



« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 11:07:51 PM by EliteZags »

spartana

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Re: Living by the Beach for ~$750/month TOTAL
« Reply #49 on: December 05, 2019, 02:23:03 PM »
Manhattan Beach a mile from the beach so just as fancy and expensive. I think she started at $650/month for a studio with private entrance and bath all inclusive, and it was $850/month when she left last year. Nothing fancy but a great deal for her own little slice of paradise with a private patio and garden in front. She saved a ton of money too even though not highly paid (under $50k).
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 02:24:43 PM by spartana »