Author Topic: Would you run away to a cheap country?  (Read 19528 times)

limeandpepper

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Would you run away to a cheap country?
« on: April 04, 2013, 08:29:26 AM »
As per the title, how interested are you in living in a country where the cost of living is significantly lower, where your 'stache would go further, and there is the bonus of the excitement of being somewhere different (for those of you with wanderlust)?

- If you have done this already, tell us your story!
- If you want to do this but haven't yet, what's stopping you? What are your plans to achieve this?

Personally, this is something I'm interested in doing (I'm thinking somewhere in Asia - I have the background so I feel comfortable with it), but I just haven't taken the leap yet. I think I would like to in the next few years, however. I'd like to build up my 'stache a little bit more, and my partner wants to find more ongoing freelance work which he can do from anywhere in the world.

ETA: Just want to add that I don't mean for retirement, as my 'stache isn't that impressive yet. This is more of a sabbatical or working holiday kind of idea.
ETA again: Oh, and the digital nomad kind of thing as well, of course!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 04:29:51 PM by limeandpepper »

kt

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2013, 08:48:17 AM »
If I were single or if my boyfriend were likely to find work that interested him abroad then I would definitely consider it. I work with languages and am a freelancer so living in another country really appeals to me. Vaguely contemplating a mini-sabbatical / extended break in a few years (5-10) and would certainly hope to spend some of that abroad if it transpires.

Reepekg

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2013, 10:37:20 AM »
What nobody tells you is that there is a period of excitement for about a year with your new adventurous life, a period of 3-4 years where it is a daily grind to become integrated into your new culture during which time all your friends and family back home sort of forget about you, and then at the 5 year mark you realize you'll never be completely at home in your new country. In social situations, you're always that foreigner who is slightly off. At this point, most people who chose to live abroad for fun get homesick and want to move back. Those who left for economic opportunities, etc. tend to stick it out since there isn't a better choice.

I really enjoyed the experience of running away to a different country for a few years after undergraduate, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a permanent life plan, because people often get caught up in the romance of it without factoring in the realities beforehand.

Edit: I didn't see your sabbatical part. 1-2 years could be quite fun.

superheropunk

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2013, 11:04:28 AM »
I have thought about it but think the risk are too great for me. Have lived in the US and more specifically Texas my whole life. There is risk I guess to living anywhere.

Jamesqf

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 12:12:45 PM »
I'd consider it, but the major stumbling block is that I can't think of any significantly cheaper countries that have decent climates & mountains.  (Maybe parts of Siberia?)

I have lived & worked in countries that are more expensive than the part of the US I live in now.

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 12:18:03 PM »
When I look at some of the measures being passed in European countries right now, I would probably move to a foreign country if it got that bad in the US. Of course it's all hypothetical, like claiming to move to Canada depending on who gets elected president; hard to say if I would actually follow through with it.

I'd consider it, but the major stumbling block is that I can't think of any significantly cheaper countries that have decent climates & mountains.  (Maybe parts of Siberia?)

I have lived & worked in countries that are more expensive than the part of the US I live in now.
The South American Andes are some pretty big mountains, and you can live in Peru or Ecuador pretty cheaply. Chile and Argentina have more glaciated mountains but the cost of living is comparable to the US in the parts I visited.

Starstuff

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 02:51:03 PM »
I came very close to getting a TEFL certification and moving to Thailand. But, like kt said, I didn't want to leave my boyfriend for a new life abroad. And I was afraid I wouldn't love it quite as much as I though I would....

miss snow

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2013, 04:04:56 PM »
We went to SE Asia to travel for 4 months in 2011. We absolutely loved it and plan to early retire there in about 10 years. Maybe Thailand, Laos or Cambodia.  Our stache should go a lot further there, although we will probably get some work so our investments can just grow.

Jamesqf

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2013, 05:10:59 PM »
I'd consider it, but the major stumbling block is that I can't think of any significantly cheaper countries that have decent climates & mountains.  (Maybe parts of Siberia?)
The South American Andes are some pretty big mountains, and you can live in Peru or Ecuador pretty cheaply. Chile and Argentina have more glaciated mountains but the cost of living is comparable to the US in the parts I visited.

But AFAIK Peru & Ecuador are pretty tropical, except perhaps at really high altitude.  I wouldn't want to live anywhere that didn't have decent winter snow.

The southern parts of Chile & Argentina would be decent for climate & mountains, as would New Zealand's South Island (and Norway, Sweden, & Finland), but my perception is that, as you say, the cost of living isn't significantly cheaper than the part of the US I live in.

jrhampt

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2013, 05:25:25 PM »
This is something I wanted to do in my twenties.  I have a TESL certificate and an MA in TESL, actually.  I spent a summer teaching in central America and had a job offer for teaching English in Japan after finishing grad school, but I decided to stay here with my now-husband.  I do wonder how different my life would have been had I chosen otherwise, but I did a lot of traveling in my twenties to get the wanderlust out of my system. Now I have a much more lucrative career and a home that I love, and am probably at least more financially stable than I would have been.  I find myself becoming more of a homebody in my thirties who is happy to hike the nearby trails in the summer and read my library books.  So I no longer think about running away to a cheap country (although I wouldn't mind more short-term stints - the traveling I have done has taught me that a few months at a time is plenty for me).  I do, however, plan on retiring to a cheaper state.  And I did briefly consider losing my return plane ticket after a couple of weeks in Thailand last winter...

destron

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 06:19:16 PM »
Personally, I am not considering it.

I _would_ recommend living in a foreign country for a few years to enjoy learning about foreign cultures and to give you perspective on your home country. I lived in Japan for a few years in my 20's. I had a blast and grew as an individual. I wouldn't give up that experience for anything.

On the other hand, as another poster mentioned, it is difficult to live abroad for an extended period of time. One of the problems is that you will never truly fit in and others are very aware that you are different. A good portion of your interactions will focus on how you are different. This may not be as big of a problem in a more similar country (such as Western Europe), but then that wouldn't be cheaper now would it!

I also think it is dangerous to think of how much cheaper it is to live in a foreign country because the US is already AMAZINGLY CHEAP and there will always be costs associated to living abroad. Unless you truly live a third world lifestyle in a third world country, you will end up spending quite a bit of money on "luxuries" such as electricity, cars, etc... I think that one could do better by moving to an inexpensive part of the U.S. if your goal is just to save money.

limeandpepper

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2013, 07:15:41 PM »
Thanks for all the responses so far!

kt, my boyfriend is also a freelancer, he loves travelling and is keen on the idea of being a digital nomad. For me, I would like to do it as sort of a half-sabbatical, to pursue my own interests (which may or may not make money), but still hope to do some work, just so I don't have to dip into the 'stache and hopefully continue adding to it.

Reepekg (and Starstuff) - I do worry about escaping from one rut only to fall into another. So yeah, I'm thinking maybe a few months or a year in one country (depending on how much we enjoy it there), then moving to another, interspersed with some time back home, might be ideal, if that is possible.

misssnow (and jrhampt) - Southeast Asia can be tempting indeed! Probably at the top of my list for our plans.

destron - sorry, maybe I should have provided more context. I live in Australia which is very expensive (though I do appreciate the safety net benefits we have). I also grew up in Malaysia and I've found that many Asian countries feel like home to me, and to some extent I can live like a local - say of the middle class demographic. My boyfriend is not Asian, but he's travelled to many Asian countries and is even better at "roughing it" than I am. We both have wanderlust and would like to do this while we're still young-ish. ;) And it really depends on the individual(s) I guess. Some people get over the novelty fairly quickly and some want to stay in their new home, or continue travelling, for much longer. But whichever group we fall into, in the end we'll still have Australia to come back to, if we choose.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2013, 07:24:53 PM »
I fully intend to spend a alot of my ER in Baja.... I can easily live on $1500 monthly there.

directionseeker

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2013, 09:53:02 PM »
My situation is a bit different here in Singapore. I came from Malaysia and obtain a Singapore permanent residency. Singapore is a safe and beautiful country to live in but the cost of living here is not insignificant to most of the people.

Most of the people I met here and talked to before think they will never be able to retire, at least not in the near future.. Those who are in their retirement age now continue to work (how irony is this?) or want to find job to support themselves. I do met some optimistic people (mostly youngster at their twenties) here but they consider retire at 60 is a blessing or even 65 is good enough.

For myself, I hope to retire before 40 years old (I am 33 years old this year) after reading all the articles here in MMM blog. I probably will move back to Malaysia (the neighboring country of Singapore) once I accumulated enough stash to support myself and my parent.

My current plan will be save up and start to invest in Exchange Traded Fund in Singapore after I cleared my student loan. On the side I started a blog as a side project to build another stream of income outside of my regular job.

I am lucky because I love my job and I enjoy going in office every morning and have no problem working late to solve customer problem. It was enjoyable for me to learn new stuff on the job and get to talk to new customer every now and then.

So, to answer your question, yes. I have taken serious consideration to move to cheaper country to stretch my stash further unless there is significant change in Singapore policy that can lower the cost of living here to a satisfactory level for me to stay.

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 10:57:35 PM »
Hi, limeandpepper (your name got me thinking of Thailand),

I'm American and met my British better half shortly after arriving in Korea a decade ago. We have bounced between low-to-high-cost areas of the Asia-Pacific ever since. Cambodia, Thailand, western Sydney, Hong Kong, and currently Beijing. The digital nomad thing is completely do-able for many. I did it with projects for a while. First two months anywhere are the most expensive - staying in one place for 6 months or more means you have time to move to a lower cost of living. We tend to be based in one place for about two years at a time.

This hasn't been great for building our stache, but has been good overall for our careers. We're now looking at how to build our stache while abroad. Singapore and Hong Kong (again) look to be our next destination. Because we're from different countries - and have no plans to settle in either long-term - every place is a new negotiation of cultures. We're used to being foreign now.

Anyway. Cambodia was a great spot for a low-cost lifestyle, but Northern Thailand is v. popular with digital nomads. It's become something of a cliche. Getting a student visa and registering for Thai classes is a great way for many who live there.

Lina

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2013, 07:30:55 AM »
I have lived in three different countries, whereas Canada was the cheapest in my opinion. I think US is generally a pretty cheap country excluding some cities on the west and east coast.

I got so much from living abroad, especially a much broader perspective on things and life in Sweden. If you haven't traveled you usually have a much more home centered view of things. Many people have a view that it is easy to immigrate to another country and thinks that people love to come to their respective country just to take advantage of different benefits. I have a much more nuanced view of immigration after my stays abroad and I had money and insurances to smoother my way.

Even though there is difficulties with living as a foreigner in another country I could definitely live in a cheaper and a warmer country. When thinking about moving you can't just look at the costs for food and housing but also have to look at health insurances etc which isn't normally a problem in many western countries, excluding US.

limeandpepper

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2013, 08:28:23 AM »
directionseeker - I know where you're coming from (literally). Malaysia is my potential back-up plan for retirement, if I can't afford it in Australia. It's cool that you love your job!

expatartist, I love your story, it seems like you two lead such exciting lives. Thank you for your insights. I would like to be able to build my 'stache abroad if I can, but if I'm not overseas long-term I'm also okay with just treating it as a sabbatical, as long as I don't have to dip into it too much and can rebuild it once I get back to work. For whatever reason I'm leaning towards Vietnam at the moment.

Lina, health and safety is definitely one of my biggest concerns. I'd definitely be researching things like international health insurance, etc. Hopefully they're not too crazy expensive.

destron

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2013, 10:50:54 AM »
destron - sorry, maybe I should have provided more context. I live in Australia which is very expensive (though I do appreciate the safety net benefits we have). I also grew up in Malaysia and I've found that many Asian countries feel like home to me, and to some extent I can live like a local - say of the middle class demographic. My boyfriend is not Asian, but he's travelled to many Asian countries and is even better at "roughing it" than I am. We both have wanderlust and would like to do this while we're still young-ish. ;) And it really depends on the individual(s) I guess. Some people get over the novelty fairly quickly and some want to stay in their new home, or continue travelling, for much longer. But whichever group we fall into, in the end we'll still have Australia to come back to, if we choose.

No, it's my bad for assuming you were in the States! I think you have a solid plan because it is not dependent on you moving to a new country forever because it will be cheaper to live there. There really are a lot of difficulties for foreigners in a country, it isn't easy, but it is hard to appreciate without experiencing it... like so many things in life.

ace1224

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2013, 11:32:30 AM »
i don't think i could do it.  i'm super close to my mom and dad and i threaten them all the time that i'm going to move next door! (trust me i would in a heartbeat) and they are very close with my son, so unless they could come with me i don't want to go.

my mother is actually from panama, which is always listed as one of the top ten places to retire to, so i feel like i get my wanderlust in by visiting family every couple of years for 2-3 weeks.  i'm always super homesick though.  i dislike change.

meadow lark

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2013, 12:48:26 PM »
I want to do "slow travel" all around the world, and my plan was to have an RV in the US when we came back to visit.  Seemed like a pretty inexpensive plan.  However, now my wife has decided she needs her "retirement house" now.  Honestly that will be pretty inexpensive too.  We own it as a rental now, we are just waiting until our kid moves out, our current house is ready to sell, etc.  I still want to do a lot of travel though!

joyful girl

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2013, 02:11:46 PM »
When I look at some of the measures being passed in European countries right now, I would probably move to a foreign country if it got that bad in the US.

We are considering moving away from Ireland now. Every year the taxes and other deductions go up and benefits and interest go down. Property prices are also very high and rental prices are through the roof. Canada looks pretty stable. A little expensive on the west coast but my family is there.

limeandpepper

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2013, 10:12:44 AM »
Just resurrecting this thread because I've been running figures and if I move back to my home country I could potentially be FI there, or close to. It's tempting. The only problem, is, of course, I'm still far from being FI in Australia, now my second home country which I also love. Still... it seems like there are possibilities I can explore here.

mlipps

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2013, 10:46:15 AM »
I think we would actually consider doing the opposite once we are FI. I would love to move to Australia, NZ, Europe, etc. for a few years once we're FI. We've talked about going there once our stash is in place & continuing to work. Then the higher COL wouldn't be a big factor as we wouldn't need to continue to add to the stash, just let it grow. Maybe that's crazy.

limeandpepper

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2013, 10:55:03 AM »
I think we would actually consider doing the opposite once we are FI. I would love to move to Australia, NZ, Europe, etc. for a few years once we're FI. We've talked about going there once our stash is in place & continuing to work. Then the higher COL wouldn't be a big factor as we wouldn't need to continue to add to the stash, just let it grow. Maybe that's crazy.

No that sounds fine if you're continuing to work. Your wages will pay for the lifestyle here. And Australia is a nice place to live, I think so anyway. ;) 

I myself am keen to take some time off work in the form of a sabbatical, or scale back to part-time work as a traveller or digital nomad, so going to cheaper countries hold quite a bit of appeal to me.

renbutler

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2013, 11:15:22 AM »
I would like to visit more places, but I really like where I live, and I'm one of those rare people who really gets along with my family. And pretty much everybody in my large family lives within a few miles.

Also, I happen to live in an area with a good standard of living, great for raising families, but with a low cost of living. I don't see myself moving anywhere else any time soon. Maybe a second home somewhere warmer in the winter (man, I'm getting old).

arebelspy

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2013, 11:27:21 AM »
The wife and I are thinking about having an orchard/farm in Belize at some point.  Maybe Ecuador.

I wouldn't ever FIRE on a budget on a budget insufficient for here but sufficient for a different area, in the reliance on always staying there.

I'd get enough for here, then go live in a cheaper place to try it out (or get enough to go there and do so with the plan of working more later if necessary).

Before settling in a place like that though, we're planning on being nomads for at least a few years and constantly moving around the world.  Maybe we'll find a place we really like and want to settle there.
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SwordGuy

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2013, 11:55:37 AM »
I spent a bit over a year in Ethiopia and enjoyed it. 

The real key to making serious money overseas is to get a job that pays American-style wages in a 3rd world country.  And, if possible, negotiate furnished living quarters, a car, two trips home per year, etc., as part of the compensation package.

My American wages went up by $30,000, or 25%.  I didn't have to pay federal income tax on the first $90,000 of that income, so that was another $10,000 raise.  I had a furnished home, a gardener, night watchman, maid/cook, and a driver, all paid for by my employer. 

Had I chosen to eat locally grown food all the time, my food cost would have been somewhere around $50 a month - and that's with the double or triple the prices 'cause I'm a rich foreigner scam that was all too common.

There were plenty of really nice, interesting people to meet and hang out with, both locals and other westerners. 

I would recommend doing something like this for several years to anyone!

For longer, though?  Air travel to/from the States was brutally long and frightfully expensive.   If you have strong family ties that would test them for the long term. 

However, there are plenty of neat and affordable places much closer to home.






SnackDog

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2013, 11:59:09 AM »
More significantly, running away to a country where your employer provides you with significant financial benefits, such as cost of living adjustments, housing, transportation, utilities, and telephone such that you can save well in excess of 100% of your salary.  This is the fast-track to FI!

simulatedsanity

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2013, 02:15:01 PM »
My husband and I would love to do this, although we're not close to ER yet. For all you "digital nomads" would you mind sharing more details(like job titles)? I would love to find a job I could do from anywhere. Are you all computer programmers/web designers? Freelancers or are you tied to a company? Any info would help as I would like to pursue something with remote potential and I would like to know where to put my energy. Thanks.

citrine

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2013, 03:16:26 PM »
DH and I open to running away to another country.  I used to think India would be a viable option later in life (I am Indian), but after my last visit there in 2012, it is definitely off my list!  We are looking at Cozumel, Costa Rica, Peru, and Brazil.  We have been to Cozumel and absolutely loved it.  Hopefully, we will find something in the US, but it is good to keep options open.

Albert

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2013, 03:45:34 PM »
I have already run away albeit to a more expensive place, but it's quite likely that I would eventually move back to my native Latvia. Currently I live in Switzerland which is high income and very high costs place. I like it here (particularly the mountains), but it's unlikely to be my place of retirement.

2527

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2013, 06:46:40 PM »
I think I have some things to say on this concept.  I was overseas with the military for 9 years, 4 in Germany and 5 in Turkey, and I considered retiring to Turkey.  In general, I would not recommend retiring to an inexpensive place for many reasons people have already mentioned.  I'll add some other things. 

Inexpensive places sometimes aren't very inexpensive.  For example, in Turkey, gas is more, electricity is more, cars are more, appliances are more, electronics are more.  Vegetables are less, haircuts are less, car insurance is less.  Buying all new stuff or moving stuff overseas is very expensive.  Plane tickets to go back and forth are expensive.

Also, inexpensive places have a way of developing economically, and then the fixed income expat is stuck, with no connections in the US or viable job skills.  I've seen it happen to people.

If you ever have children, you will need to fully plant them in the new country. They can't have one foot in both.  I've seen many people try it.  It almost never works.

I do recommend a year of living abroad for a young adult, such as teaching English.  It will probably be the time of your life, but don't do it forever.  At some point you would outgrow it.  Some kind of inexpensive long term vacation for those who don't work any more is a good idea too.  House swap, whatever.  Long term vacations at mid-priced hotels on the Turkish coast in the off season is quite reasonable too, for example.

Also, there are civil service employees of the DoD who spend their lives moving around overseas and they have the best of both worlds.  Living overseas with the US support system, and they usually live quite well too.

A person doesn't have to leave the US to drastically cut costs.  It is possible to move to an inexpensive small town and buy a small 2 or 3-bedroom house and achieve much the same effect.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2013, 06:55:58 PM by Jeff L »

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2013, 07:22:18 PM »
I lived/travelled overseas for almost ten years - which was a great experience.    That said, no way I'm leaving again. 

I am so happy to speak my first language, hang out with friends and family, know how everything is done, and not be a foreigner.  There is no place like home, even after more than ten years straight in the same place I grew up.  I appreciate it every day.

limeandpepper

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2013, 07:33:23 PM »
SwordGuy - that sounds like an excellent deal! Ethiopia would be such an interesting place to explore, too.

I wouldn't ever FIRE on a budget on a budget insufficient for here but sufficient for a different area, in the reliance on always staying there.

I'd get enough for here, then go live in a cheaper place to try it out (or get enough to go there and do so with the plan of working more later if necessary).

It's a slightly different case for me because I consider both countries to be home. However, since I am very fond of Australia and will probably want to return, I don't plan on quitting work entirely/forever. But it would be lovely to have a sabbatical and I now increasingly feel like I am in a better position to do so.

My husband and I would love to do this, although we're not close to ER yet. For all you "digital nomads" would you mind sharing more details(like job titles)? I would love to find a job I could do from anywhere. Are you all computer programmers/web designers? Freelancers or are you tied to a company? Any info would help as I would like to pursue something with remote potential and I would like to know where to put my energy. Thanks.

I know a computer programmer who moved from US to Australia and he continued to work remotely for his company.

My boyfriend is a freelancer in computer graphics and already does most of his work at home, though some jobs have required him to be on location. Overall, it is quite feasible for him to be a digital nomad. He just needs to build up a more consistent stream of work.

I am in market research and pretty much all my work is done with a computer, so if I want, I can probably arrange to continue to work remotely for my company even if I move. I have colleagues who have done this.

I have already run away albeit to a more expensive place, but it's quite likely that I would eventually move back to my native Latvia. Currently I live in Switzerland which is high income and very high costs place. I like it here (particularly the mountains), but it's unlikely to be my place of retirement.

This sounds like me, I came to Australia and I appreciate the higher income, though taxes and the cost of living is also high. However, I like it here and haven't really decided where I will retire yet, I am keeping my options open. I have resident status here and have still retained citizenship back home.

In general, I would not recommend retiring to an inexpensive place for many reasons people have already mentioned.  I'll add some other things. 

Thanks for the many thoughtful points! Fortunately I don't think most of these things apply to me, not at this stage anyway. Also, for me, I wouldn't be moving purely to cut costs - I want to run away for a sabbatical, to explore possibilities, to travel and have fun! For at least a few months, maybe years, who knows.

I am so happy to speak my first language, hang out with friends and family, know how everything is done, and not be a foreigner.  There is no place like home, even after more than ten years straight in the same place I grew up.  I appreciate it every day.

Heh, English is actually my second language, and Australia is not where I grew up. Yet, I am so comfortable speaking English (it's probably morphed into being a first language after living in Australia for so long), I have more friends here than back home, my family is scattered all around anyway, and I'm probably more familiar with how things are done here, these days. So, it can go the other way. Having said that, when I go back to my original home, it still feels like home. Maybe I have the best of both worlds.

Christof

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2013, 12:11:07 AM »
My boyfriend is a freelancer in computer graphics and already does most of his work at home, though some jobs have required him to be on location. Overall, it is quite feasible for him to be a digital nomad. He just needs to build up a more consistent stream of work.

I'd challenge this assumption... I participated in a few outsourcing projects as a consultant, and there wasn't a single one that turned out as easy as was anticipated. To only focus on graphical freelancing stuff:

The way your boyfriend currently gets work is most likely through recommendations of people he knows personally. Initially you take your network with you when you work abroad. Over time this network (and any other relationship) weakens and recommendation drops. It's harder to get new clients, because most clients want to meet in person first and then are happy to work remotely with you.

Of course, there are ways to get work in the graphic business all around the world. elance.com would be a good example. However, this means you are competing with other artist from inexpensive countries on their local wages (a lot artists on elance are from India, for instance).

Not to mention the difficulties of handling international transactions. Your clients need to accept international invoices. Most small business in large countries have never done this and have no clue about tax implications, and the like. You need to deal with payments. Within a country that's no problem. But internationally it can be challenging. Not all countries have PayPal. There's money laundering laws, taxes, and all that.

If he thinks he can get new work while living abroad, give it a test run while still being comfortable at home. He keeps working from home, but dedicates 50% of his time to clients in the US. Being in Australia he might not know many people there and certainly can't just come and visit. See how much he can make when he's not relying on his local network, working remotely and charging Australian rates to customer who can pay them. If within six months he's making as much as he does now, you are good to go. If not he should ask himself how he want to sucede when there's not another 50% of guaranteed income and a less reliable, more expensive infrastructure.

Virtually every successful outsourcing/living abroad project that I've seen involved either having a local contact in the client's country and remote workers in a different country, or adapting to local rates based on high demand of one's expertise.

pom

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2013, 07:20:06 AM »
My wife is from Eastern Europe. We have had small talk about moving there, for me the conditions would be that we are FI from a developped world perspective so that if things don't work out we can always go back to France, Canada or the USA. The main idea of FI for me is freedom so I want to be able to change my mind.

What is keeping me from doing it is that I am in my best earning years yet and should reach total FI soon. It would make no sense to change course now.

Most people here dream of total financial freedom to live a good life without being restricted by the need to earn a living ... ever, by that I mean FI. So from my perspective you need to do the pros and cons of taking a sabatical. If you do that you will likely realise that a one-year sabatical will push your FI date a few years back. I think the most mustachian thing to do is work hard until FI and then take a life-long sabatical.







arebelspy

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2013, 09:32:30 AM »
I think the most mustachian thing to do is work hard until FI and then take a life-long sabatical.

I wouldn't say that.

I personally would rather work full time for 3-4 years than part time for 10, but that may not be the case for everyone.

Semi-ER is a common idea that many like (as they don't want to stop working completely, but would like some more time with family, to travel, whatever.)

The most Mustachian thing is to evaluate for yourself, and not give a hoot what others think.  ;)
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limeandpepper

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2013, 10:23:20 AM »
My boyfriend is a freelancer in computer graphics and already does most of his work at home, though some jobs have required him to be on location. Overall, it is quite feasible for him to be a digital nomad. He just needs to build up a more consistent stream of work.

I'd challenge this assumption... I participated in a few outsourcing projects as a consultant, and there wasn't a single one that turned out as easy as was anticipated. To only focus on graphical freelancing stuff:

Thanks, Christof! Quite a few things to think about. I'll definitely forward your thoughts to my boyfriend. I guess the other option is that we can move wherever he can find on-location contract work, which may or may not be easier.

I think the most mustachian thing to do is work hard until FI and then take a life-long sabatical.

I wouldn't say that.

I personally would rather work full time for 3-4 years than part time for 10, but that may not be the case for everyone.

Semi-ER is a common idea that many like (as they don't want to stop working completely, but would like some more time with family, to travel, whatever.)

The most Mustachian thing is to evaluate for yourself, and not give a hoot what others think.  ;)

Yeah, it would be nice to reach FI as soon as possible, but for me that isn't the be all and end all. Also, I would likely be exploring other possibilities for making money / career changes during the sabbatical, which could perhaps lead to interesting opportunities and a job I enjoy more. Or the lifestyle shift could give me some kind of epiphany, who knows. At the end of the day, the goal is to lead a more fulfilling life.

hybrid

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2013, 01:27:30 PM »
No.  I am older now and have deep roots in my not very expensive city.  I think this is one of those things that is a lot easier to do in the early or later stages of adult life, but not right in the middle.  On the flip side, I have often said I would not move to a different city for twice my salary for the same reasons.  There are many things money can't buy, and once you have them you don't want to walk away from them.  Great idea for some people though.  My son is about to turn 18 and I would love for him to join the Navy or Air Force and see the world.  It would be a great fit for him, especially since he is not mentally ready for the rigors of college yet.  He should go have an adventure and bank military benefits toward education later when he is better prepared for it. 

Hugh H

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #39 on: June 19, 2013, 03:22:00 PM »
Thinking about doing this in the Philippines… they speak English and cost of living / properties is SUPER low.

meadow lark

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #40 on: June 19, 2013, 04:10:24 PM »
One reason semi-ER is so attractive to me is my wife's age and health problems.  Postponing trips and activities for 5 years may be the difference between getting to do them or not.

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2013, 05:53:18 PM »
In my situation, I'm taking advantage of the difference in the living costs between Switzerland and my country, Portugal. The first is in average four times more expensive than the second, same proportionality can be applied to wages. So I moved to Switzerland to reduce the necessary years of work to achieve FI, once I get there, I will return home. Basically, one salary in Switzerland is more than enough to cover all expenses I would have in Portugal during a period of four months. This way, by being the most frugal among Men and saving all I can, I will retire much sooner than if I stayed in Portugal. To make things even better the EUR/CHF pair have helped a lot in the last two years, the Swiss Franc was never so strong before.

I absolutely think that running away to a cheaper country can be a smart way to reach FI sooner, then, wait for the stache to grow by itself and return home once it's possible to afford the living costs there.  Also, I think is good idea to move temporarily to another country to get a higher salary.

For those looking for nice and cheap places to go don't forget about Portugal!

expatartist

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #42 on: June 19, 2013, 06:40:10 PM »
This is a great site to get started on thinking about finances abroad: making them, spending them, whatever you plan to do: http://www.expatexplorer.hsbc.com/

@Metallising - Agreed! Living frugally in an expensive country with high salary is a great way to go for a period of your life. The savings are maximized, and you can add to your stash quickly. We are looking at moving to Singapore at some point for that reason.

@Meadow Lark Yes - there are times in life when it's best to do things NOW. Also, have you considered medical or theraputic tourism as part of your travels? I'm not prying into your wife's health problems, but this could be another benefit for basing yourselves somewhere affordable, with high quality western and Asian healthcare. The per diem of basing yourselves somewhere vs. traveling tends to get really cost effective at about 2-3 months.  Thailand (Chiang Mai or Phuket) has excellent facilities at very reasonable rates. There are wonderful massage therapies available, glorious street food too! You can get a longer-stay visa by enrolling in Thai courses at a language school.

expatartist

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #43 on: June 19, 2013, 06:42:44 PM »
Another site that gives very basic c-o-l comparisons between different cities around the world: http://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living

Take with a grain of salt, expat standards are rarely very mustachian.

Zikoris

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #44 on: June 19, 2013, 07:13:39 PM »
My boyfriend and I plan on taking up residence in a variety of countries for stretches of time after our early retirement, some more cheap than others(we recently did some travel in France again and I fell in love with Marseille, also we love London... uh oh). I don't think I'd want to stay in one place too long - we would definitely plan to keep coming back to Vancouver between adventures.

Hamster

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Re: Would you run away to a cheap country?
« Reply #45 on: June 21, 2013, 08:04:31 AM »
My father did this. Worked for a corporation for most of his life. Did the math and retired early (in his 50's) to Central America. He has moved around a bit in the Caribbean and S America. Now he's old enough that he gets Social Security and could probably cover his costs in the US. But he feels pretty settled in SA and got remarried so I doubt he'll move back to the US.