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i was wrong actually college degree does not equal freedom thats 4 years of wasting time
why do that when i could use 4 years to become financially free forever?
there are plenty of ways to do this its just trying to shut up the people
who criticize me for dreaming big dreaming huge.
before i venture off into the world i don't never ever have to worry about money
that is my goal.
and then... i could finally could own a nice peaceful small house in the country
no cars, bus trains constriction, just wake up with the birds singing, and cool crisp
clean air. ahhh thats the life i want.
belize is perfect for this US citizens are welcome foreigners could buy a house
and the houses are CHEAP at least to US standards it is sure there are issues with crime
but no place is perfect.
Try it man... give us a field report... I felt the same way you did when I was in my early 20's... later on you might want that degree. Right now just relax and enjoy yourself [Get your TESOL though]. Also like I said before, take your degree online and you can stretch it over a couple years. Do the courses at your leisure.. I'm attending this place (Online): Athabasca University.
It depends on what your goals are. If you plan to work for corporate America, you need a degree or else they will not let you ascend up the corporate ladder.
If you want to be an entrepreneur you don't need a degree. Many successful ones didn't have one.
If you plan to go overseas, then you should try to get a TEFL degree if you can.
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"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
Are you young? If so, be grateful, anything is possible. Your life is ahead of you.
This is what I would do. Figure out a way to make as much money in as short a time as possible in a legal way. A criminal record will ruin you both at home and abroad. All you will be able to do then is more crime.
If your family is rich and you are a trust fund kid, lucky you. But...I take that back partially at least. If you don't earn it yourself, you miss accumulating the life knowledge such experiences provide.
Get on a fast track - Good first degree, a top flight MBA maybe, then I-Banking, VC, consulting, or at least a good paying engineering job. Bust into 6 figures, slave your ass, and save + invest (diversify your funds across currencies, asset classes, and global equity markets). Try to accumulate your first million in USD, then Euros, then UK Pounds if possible. There is a good chance you won't achieve any of this while you are young. But do your best. When hit your 30s, weigh your net worth against the amount of burnout you are suffering. The more money you put away, the better your life abroad will be. But, don't give up all your youth to just keep saving more. Jump off that ever speeding treadmill by the time you reach 35 if not before unless you really enjoy your job and life at home. When you leave the rat face, start your second childhood as a kid in a candy store. 30s with a solid cash yielding asset base can be a wonderful experience in many parts of the world.
Its much more risky to take off with no money. Granted, if you are really young, you can take a year or so off after graduation to get a feel for the world. But if you remain overseas with no assets and nothing from the family, your options at for making first world money at home will evaporate over the next few years. English teaching pays subsistence in many places and will never enable you to save much retire properly. I've seen many white guys on the streets of Bangkok or Pattaya scraping by as an English teacher or even begging. I've been told that many of them started out with perhaps $100-200K USD, got sucked into the bar and whoring lifestyle and pissed away all their fund within a few months to years.
I will disagree with almost all that Rock posted.
I earn 5500 CNY a month. $850. I save $800 of that because all is paid for.
If you land in Bangkok or China and you haven't spoken to at least a half a dozen close friends and family members before hand then you are self-destructing and an idiot.
Talk to your friends and family. Tell them what you are doing. Keep them in the loop. They won't let you beg on the streets of Pattaya, they will wire you a plane ticket home. Get out, go sleep on their couch for a year, work at McDonald's if you have to, get your shit back together. So you have a safety plan in the event of total disaster. Social contacts are essential in a world with no .Gov safety net. If TSHTF here in China I could sleep on the floor of my assistants room, use her computer and internet and phone, set myself up with a train ticket to the airport, contact folks back home. She and I get along very well. No I am not f***ing her because a breakup would destroy that social network. I also make friends with others in town and the other teachers and such.
If you want to be a loner and move to Asia, Asians will happily accommodate you and let you starve to death, homeless and a loner.
Next you should have $3k minimum on hand at all times. You need to be able to take the train to Beijing and buy a one way ticket out with the money in your pocket. This will cost only $500 but keep $3k as a minimum. If you go below this you should think of your net worth as ZERO or negative.
Teaching ESL in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, SK and Japan will pay handsomely. You will be able to save a huge percentage of your income. Keep your expenses under control, don't travel like James Bond, don't whore around like Tommy Lee, and you will be fine. You should be able to save 3 or 4 months expenses for each month you work. One year equals several years savings of basic expenses.
If you are expatting and you cannot control your spending habits, or if you have any sort of addiction, then you should not expat.
Children should not venture out into the world of Adults.
Living costs should not exceed $500 a month for Asia, $1,000 a month for Latin America and Mexico. If you must live like people on TV live, you are delusional and living in a fantasy world. I spend $150 a month. That is living very very well.
$100k / 500 = 200 months. That's 17 years. Once you get down to 2 years savings time to look for a job.
Globetrotter, you must be quite good at value for money living. Do you plan to live like that for the rest of your life? Or do you have other options? I will have to review your posts to learn more. So far, I've been amazed by all the great info packed in Ladislav's blog.
I have a friend here in Taipei who, during the 6 months a year he is here, spends NT$12,000 per month (about US$380). But most locals and foreigners I know could not stand to live in his hostel or eat that type of food he eats. A minimal single person budget in Taipei is more like NT$25,000-30,000.
Now he earns a about US$2,200 per month teaching kids so he's profitable. And the rest of the year, he enjoys life spending in Pattaya. But, now that he's hit 40, he has been told by his schools that they will probably not continue to give him work future years. The parents (clients) just really prefer an energetic 20 something. His saving grace is his father is willing to support him as he gets older. But not everyone is so lucky.
I've learned that costs can rise dramatically as a country develops or circumstances change. In 2003, when I lived in Rio, US$800 would cover a decent studio in Copacabana, meals, and basic local transportation with some beer and fun money left over. Today, the exact same lifestyle would run about $2,000. Part of it is due to a very strong local currency and the rest is due to a high rate of local inflation.
Another example is Taiwan. Nominal salaries for foreign cram school teachers have hardly budged in 20 years. The pay they earned way back in the old days were a big deal. Today, its about the local median for a 28 teaching hour week.
Bangkok used to be a lot cheaper. After the Asian Financial Crisis, they were almost giving stuff away there. Your right about spending control. Easier said than done though for many, at least in a place like Thailand.
I am 50. I have lived the upper middle class, corporate, 6-figure, married to my mobile phone life.
No f***ing thank you. I consider the USA a dead horse and there is very little there for me to go back to.
I have had all the toys, I took weekend trips every single weekend, staying in hotel rooms from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Large luxury sedan, ate out all the time. It's an empty, dead life.
It sucked. I completely hated it. I have less than no interest in accumulating 'stuff' ever again. I like living on someone else's dime. Rural China is cheap cheap cheap. No one wants to come here, a bumfuck nowhere city of 50,000 surrounded by farms and hicks. Teachers want to go to Big Cities, or at least Bigger than this one.
Maybe one day I will tire of this and want to go back to killing myself so I can make someone else rich, go back into debt, buy a bunch of useless shit, and shop at vacuous Socal shopping malls, so that I can be a USA 'Success'. Should the urge strike it is easy to earn 5X my salary in Shanghai teaching private business people.
But not today.
Thanks for the info and I hear you, loud and clear.
Since you worked hard and made good coin, did you accumulate a decent savings while you were married to your cellphone, or did it get taken away by the other kind of marriage? Reason I ask? Well, rural life will probably always be cheap. Even in Taiwan, its about half the cost of living in Taipei. In countries like China, the urban/rural cost differential is even more skewed. But if you ever need serious medical attention, you would at least want to go to an urban hospital which could cost a lot if you don't have insurance.
My point before was simply that the big job is good for one thing - building a substantial asset base to reduce or eliminate financial dependence (the need to work for a living) as soon as possible. The life itself really sucks unless you're into that sort of thing. Some guys build their egos around it. A job that pays $150K per year and provides lots of first class travel, 5 star hotels, etc. is great. But the pure money job (say a sales trader on the European desk) which may pay $500K++ after bonus but does not have the frills and prestige of the first job is much much better I believe. I take the rate race for what its worth, a means to escape mandatory lifetime employment.
Generally, I'm on your page, just not as extreme. Its hard to imagine living in rural China. But I prefer the second tier cities to the Big 2 or 3, mainly due to the people. Of course, region plays into this as well. I prefer the north easterners but I hate the cold weather up there.
Hey, how do the people treat a laowai in the Chinese boonies? Are you a hot prospect to the ladies? I remember back in the day when everyone rode bikes, we were like moving tourist attractions. Where ever you walked, large crowds would stare and sometimes even follow.
They still stare a little, but not as much. After a few months they acclimate. People buy me lunch, take photos, give me beer, offer smokes, thrust babies into my arms for photo-ops, the works.
Kids, on the other hand, are still obsessed with Americans.
People still ride lots of bikes here. There are bikes, e-bikes, motorbikes, 3-wheeled trucks of all sizes, vans, cars, and the usual assortment of modern vehicles.
I saw my first Mercedes today. An R 300 L. A 40k to 60k Euro car. In this small rural city. 60,000 Euros is lifetimes earnings. It will pay for your 2 kids college ($14k for both for 4 years), a house ($43k), and some savings. Or it pays for you to retire. At 20. For life. Payscale here is 1500 CNY per month. $220.
Many people here pay 100 CNY a month for rent. That's $14.64.
Then if you go to Shanghai it's like Tokyo - a massive increase in price.
A plate of food that is 75Â¢ here costs $3 in the next largest city and $6 in the next one up. I am sure Shanghai is $10 for the same dish.
man screw it all... im just gonna leave with no money i have a TESOL english certificate
everyday being in this country is draining my strength my soul my hope, everything,
gosh i hate living here! its always about being number 1 and being better then the next guy im sick of it!
why can't people be at peace with eachother here? who cares who has the best car the best house the best
I made it in Toluca, Mexico for 5 months on $800 US (But I had made a contact here before I went, she set everything up for me)... I don't know your background but really Ham, I would recommend going the EASIEST route. Going somewhere without ANY money is crazy and you are likely to get yourself into a lot of unnecessary trouble.
The simplest route I can think of:
Get a Forklift License [$100 to $200 and 1/2 Day long seminar].
Work 6 months, everyday if you can get it, and save everything you can... eat macaroni and cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner if needed.
If you make $2000 a month and can bank $1000 a month, you are doing well.
6 Months x $1000 = $6000 3 or 4 years in Mexico (or more if you go with a TESOL)
Honestly dude, don't rush things in this regard... I am in agreement with Globetrotter... always have a backup plan ALWAYS. I got thrown out of a girlfriend's apartment in SP, Brazil and was walking the streets with 4 huge bags. Not good... not good at all. I had nowhere to go and noone to help me and I could see quite a few bad people were taking an interest in me. I ran into an internet cafe and emailed home... luckily my parents were nice enough to lend me the money and arrange a flight for me that night. I stayed in the cafe till a cab came... I had about $2000 in Travellers Cheques on me, so I wouldn't have been completely fvcked but you get the idea. ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP.
Rock: That is WAAAY too long to wait to go overseas. I started when I was 24 just after graduating from Police College and realizing the force wasn't my cup of tea. I had next to nothing in the bank and my father lent me the money to goto GLOBAL TESOL and the recruiters were pretty anxious to get me into Korea. You don't need much to travel... certainly not a Degree, Masters in TESOL, CELTA, MBA or a million dollars...that's crazy... if I ever had more than 50k in my bank account, I would retire instantly.
Ham doesn't want to work too hard and I don't blame him... if you are like me and getting into University wasn't an option for you then all you really need is a couple thousand in the bank, a backpack and a TESOL.
What WILL piss you off though is that when you eventually return home, you won't get the 'star' status and treatment you'll get while teaching ESL overseas. When you are used to making large local $$$, having icecaps brought to you while the vice president of a bank calls you professor, you'll find that it ROYALLY SUX going back home to do factory work and being called " HEY YOU! "... make the best of your situation for the next 6 months to a year... get really INEXPENSIVE certifications and micro educations that will at least land you a semi tolerable temporary job when you get back. I've worked in enough factories and crappy restaurant jobs to tell you that it is NOT fun to have to return home from teaching $50 classes at Microsoft and Telefonica to have to compete for a job as a $10/Hour cook in a restaurant while the management hums and haws at your 'previous work experience'.
Some cheapish education you can get that will give you almost immediate results are (Canadian Rates):
Forklift $100 (1 Day)
Truck License (called CDL in the USA) $4000 (6 Weeks)
Carpentry $Earn as you go (2 Years)
Pharmacist Technician $10K (1 Year)
Heavy Equipment Operator $2K to $10K (6 Weeks)
Accounting $5000 (1 Year)
Bar Tender License $200 (2 Months)
Payroll Administration $5000 (1 Year)
Bicycle Mechanic $1200 (2 Months)
Welding $2200 (1 Year)
Go to your local community college and ask about courses you can take that are under a year... I'm sure you'll come up with lots of other options.
I got my truck license.. the average company driver makes between 40K and 60K/Year. Really you could work 6 months then quit and vacation 6 months with a huge amount of $$$. I just intend to pay off my student loan and get my degree while I drive, but it's always nice to have something to fall back on... and it keeps me away from the factory floor...although I also have a forklift license...totally worth it... those things are a ton of fun to drive around and you can pull in about $25 to $30,000 a year.
I don't know about Globetrotter or Rock or any of these other 6 figure earners, I'm just an average joe who makes a middle class wage but I don't intend to wait around until I make a million to start enjoying life.
i would do all those things no issue its just.. well
i don't have a high school degree or GED
i tried to get my ged but i failed the math part kicked my ass
you can only take it 3 times a year so i can't take it agian untill
2011 sheesh and you can't do most things without a high school/ged
so yeah i messed up
Yea, my original advice doesn't apply to you. Just get that GED in 2011 so you can develop some solid first world money making skills via courses or other means. That's your back-up.
Also, it is possible to earn decent money as an American outside the US. Ladislav talks about the Middle East as one source. Here in Taiwan, you can make nearly $3,000 / month if you really bust your ass as an English cram school teacher, probably teaching mainly kids. Test preparation cram school teachers who become famous teaching at the mega schools (100+ students in a class) can make a lot more than this. Latin America has many fun and cool places to live. But I think its generally tough for an American to make real money there.
Being young is great. In many places, you will frequently be pursued by local women as long as your personality and looks are not a disaster. Some attractive western guys even use their exotic appeal to hook up with hi-so or wealthy women. I've heard of this happening in Bangkok, Shanghai, and even Taipei. But it can backfire. A long time foreign DJ here married a very rich Taiwan lady several years ago. When she eventually found out he was gay, she used her power to pull strings and had him kicked-off the island.
Your advice is more specific and relevant for his case. Mine sounds like a pipe dream.
But more generally, if someone has the opportunity to enter into a fast track to high pay as a young person, they should think carefully before giving it up. Consider yourself in 10 years from now (around 32 yrs old) if you leave the States immediately (Option A) vs. if you earn big bucks for a few years (Option B) and then leave.
Option A likely scenario: Very well traveled internationally, fluent in at least 2 foreign languages, dating like a rock star but not married (if you are wise), but forced to work and live a fairly frugal life as your savings are minimal (under US$10K)
Option B likely scenario: Travel experiences limited to what you saw on business and maybe very short vacations, no foreign languages, not married (if you are wise) and little or no dating now that you are an old man (over 30), perhaps quite stressed out from your workaholic lifestyle, but you have socked away some real money US$50K-250K or more.
With Option B, you loose 10 years of fun as a young man about the world. But, you gain a more comfortable existence for the future years (most of your 30s and beyond) with little or no work pressure, at least for the first few years. That's what your enhanced savings buys you. Its simply delayed gratification. The trick is, you have to have the guts to walk-out on everything you built-up over those 10 years and give up the even bigger money you could make in your 30s as a seasoned professional.
Which Option is better? It depends on the individual, his educational and career options, etc. But it is prudent to at least factor the longer term prospects into the decision.
Finally, I have a non-rhetorical question. Which countries and/or cities do you believe generally confer 'star' status or give VIP treatment to ESL teachers?