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Bound for Mexico
Old 12-10-2011, 10:19 AM   #1
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Bound for Mexico

I'm not a frequent poster, more of a reader of the forum, but I wanted to share some good news and a big change in my life.

When I joined in 2008 I hoped to live frugally and be FI if not FIRE by 2015. I'd reached the point in my career where I wasn't interested in the small talk, facetime and politics necessary to advance higher up. The number of jobs get very few the higher you go up the ladder and they are highly competitive.

As fate would have it my employer has decided to establish a new joint venture in Mexico. Luckily I have the most business experience in Mexico and have taught myself Spanish over the past 4 years. I'm in the right spot at the right time and managed to secure the promotion and a 3 year expat package.

I'll be on loan to the JV to ensure HQ sees it get up and running (we have to construct a facility) and will retain my employment with the parent company.

My father's worried about the company guaranteeing a spot back in HQ after the assignment is over. I haven't told him that I'll be FI (hopefully) by then.. and the expat package will only help me reach my goal.

I may very well continue working after the assignment is up and I reach FI, who knows. I'm just so happy that I've found an exciting project to occupy my time with until I reach the finish line. The assignment will be very rewarding and will make me so much more professionally marketable that I'll have less to fear from a MegaCorp downsizing.

Can it be true? Sometimes the quiet guy wins?
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:28 AM   #2
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Go for it, and good luck! (I spent 7 years, 6 weeks, and 2 days in Saudi......lots of travel, and when it was done I quit working....at age 46. Never looked back!)
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:30 AM   #3
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As someone once said, "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity"...and it sounds like you're there!

Congrats and "buena suerte" in Mexico!

From my many years working in 3 mega-corps, your Dad's misgivings are "spot on". Often, corporate HQs seem to conveniently forget that the ex-pats need jobs when returning back to the fold. The best solution I've seen is to keep your HQ connections active the entire time you're an ex-pat. Keep them continually apprised of your activities AND the timeline for your return, so no one at HQ can act surprised when you pop up at HQ after your 3-year absence looking for a job. That should help insure that there's (hopefully) a ready-made job awaiting your return.

Now whether you choose to take that job or decide to RE? Well, that's your choice to make.

omni
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:34 AM   #4
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Congratulations on the great opportunity. I hope it works out well.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:53 AM   #5
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Go for it, and good luck! (I spent 7 years, 6 weeks, and 2 days in Saudi......lots of travel, and when it was done I quit working....at age 46. Never looked back!)
But who's counting.

When it's up I'll be 43, not too far behind you when you finished in Saudi.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:58 AM   #6
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As someone once said, "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity"...and it sounds like you're there!

Congrats and "buena suerte" in Mexico!

From my many years working in 3 mega-corps, your Dad's misgivings are "spot on". Often, corporate HQs seem to conveniently forget that the ex-pats need jobs when returning back to the fold. The best solution I've seen is to keep your HQ connections active the entire time you're an ex-pat. Keep them continually apprised of your activities AND the timeline for your return, so no one at HQ can act surprised when you pop up at HQ after your 3-year absence looking for a job. That should help insure that there's (hopefully) a ready-made job awaiting your return.

Now whether you choose to take that job or decide to RE? Well, that's your choice to make.

omni
I think you're absolutely right.. Fortunately this project has a lot of visibility to our CEO; it's the first of its kind for the company as we prefer to go it alone without partners.

If the project succeeds I'll be highly sought-after. If the project fails - I could take the blame
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:59 AM   #7
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As fate would have it my employer has decided to establish a new joint venture in Mexico. Luckily I have the most business experience in Mexico and have taught myself Spanish over the past 4 years. I'm in the right spot at the right time and managed to secure the promotion and a 3 year expat package.
Make sure you have a tax equalization package!
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Old 12-10-2011, 01:52 PM   #8
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Wow, that's awesome. Sometimes things work out perfectly. What a nice way to spend the next few years, and you'll have a nice addition to your resume if you want to keep working (perhaps for the same company, perhaps for another firm that has Central American opportunities!).
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:09 PM   #9
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Wow, that's awesome. Sometimes things work out perfectly. What a nice way to spend the next few years, and you'll have a nice addition to your resume if you want to keep working (perhaps for the same company, perhaps for another firm that has Central American opportunities!).
+1

Congratulations! This also sounds like a terrific way to add to your nestegg, as well as to enjoy all aspects of another culture while being paid to do so. You're on your way!
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:10 PM   #10
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Congratulations -- sounds like a great opportunity and an interesting adventure.

If you are open to alternative approaches, try to live your life as much like a local as you can and you will be able to save TONS of money. Even simple things like changing to a more local-style diet rather than eating a lot of imported stuff can help you save a lot of money.

We look forward to hearing about your expat adventure and the effects it has on your road to FIRE.
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:34 PM   #11
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Congratulations FreqFlyer! Great opportunity for you. Go get 'em!
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:42 PM   #12
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Congrats. Hope everything goes well and would enjoy hearing about your experiences living in Mexico.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:59 PM   #13
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Congrats, enjoy the experience, live the dream

When I went on an overseas assignment with my wife and children I also was warned about the difficulties in finding a job to return to, and it can be a real problem.

However, 4 years later I was a lot more experienced with a new set of skills, and had several other positions in other overseas locations with the same Megacorp that appealed to us much more, so returning to HQ was never a problem.
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:20 PM   #14
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Maybe you will want to stay in MX, too.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:31 AM   #15
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Freqflyer, congrats on creating your own opportunity. Mexico is a great country for a work location because it has excellent low cost domestic tourism and can easily keep you busy for 3 years. Your spanish will help in that respect as well.

Everyone has the "will I have a job when I get back" issue to deal with, and it is probably greater today than ever before, so your dad's concern is valid. From my point of view a greater concern would be spending all the money. Many expats I've know do that. Not intentionally, but that's how it ends, either because they have a difficult time adjusting or they lose sight of their goals.

My SIL's husband was assigned to Mexico for 4 years. Before they left (back to China) they bought a house and consider it a likely retirement option. It really is a unique country. What city will be your base?
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:06 AM   #16
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Everyone has the "will I have a job when I get back" issue to deal with, and it is probably greater today than ever before, so your dad's concern is valid. From my point of view a greater concern would be spending all the money. Many expats I've know do that. Not intentionally, but that's how it ends, either because they have a difficult time adjusting or they lose sight of their goals.

My SIL's husband was assigned to Mexico for 4 years. Before they left (back to China) they bought a house and consider it a likely retirement option. It really is a unique country. What city will be your base?
I'll be based on Guadalajara. I've visited and worked in Mexico many times the past few years but I'm sure it will be different being there full time. Currently I have a team of people in Mexico City that report to me so I hope my experience will help me avoid some cultural pitfalls and adjustments. Mexicans office workers tend to be more formal and take more time to develop mutual trust than Americans.

Fortunately spending shouldn't be a problem as I save 60 to 70% of my take home currently.

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Maybe you will want to stay in MX, too.
Hi Ed! We've talked in the past about foreign retirement locations. You're right. I may not want to come back because I've been wanting to relocate to Mexico, Guatemala or Ecuador (shortlist so far). This opportunity will be a great test to see it the Mexican life is for me.

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However, 4 years later I was a lot more experienced with a new set of skills, and had several other positions in other overseas locations with the same Megacorp that appealed to us much more, so returning to HQ was never a problem.
Wow, what was your favorite location and what was the most challenging (location-wise)?

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If you are open to alternative approaches, try to live your life as much like a local as you can and you will be able to save TONS of money. Even simple things like changing to a more local-style diet rather than eating a lot of imported stuff can help you save a lot of money.

We look forward to hearing about your expat adventure and the effects it has on your road to FIRE.
I hope to follow your suggestion. Mexico can be just as expensive as the US if you try to recreate a US lifestyle. I'm looking forward to the fresh local produce. I want REAL tomatoes and not the artificially-ripened stuff the major chains sell here. Good think I love tacos and tortas.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:50 AM   #17
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Guadalajara is sweet. (It's where I learned to drink beer.) Well located, great local culture, much more livable than DF. Well done, FreqFlyer. Make sure to get an apartment with an extra room or two, so we'll all have a place to stay when we go down to visit.

Seriously, though, if you are considering Mexico as a retirement location you are very well placed. Who else gets an employer sponsored 3 year all expenses paid opportunity to look and see if the fit is right.

Your hard work is paying off in many ways.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:52 AM   #18
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Please keep us posted.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:07 PM   #19
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Can it be true? Sometimes the quiet guy wins?
The beauty of this is that you cannot lose.
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Old 12-13-2011, 01:13 PM   #20
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Great news, congrats! Yes, it's sort of fun when people question your decisions (as your dad has), yet since you know some things they don't about your future plans, you just smile and nod and tell them you'll consider it...I'm finding that happen more and more each day.
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