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View Poll Results: Why do people FIRE or Retire as an Expat
To become FI (can't afford to retire at home) 22 31.88%
Culteral emersion and adventure 26 37.68%
Can dramatically increase lifestyle (money goes farther) 43 62.32%
Climate 18 26.09%
Spouse or other family ties 5 7.25%
Other (describe in comments) 4 5.80%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 69. You may not vote on this poll

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FIRE or Retire as an Expat
Old 08-24-2008, 03:19 AM   #1
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FIRE or Retire as an Expat

What do you believe if the major reason people FIRE or retire and become an expat. This would include Perpetual travelers that do not maintain a Residence in their country of origin.

I put retire, because that is how some people become FI.

Please answer the poll and comment. The poll allows multiple selections because one could have several reasons.

If you are an expat please comment specifically about your motivation... Many of us that are not expats will only be stating our opinion.
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:55 AM   #2
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I have never considered the expat lifestyle but I do enjoy reading about others' adventures, such as Lance, MJ, Billy and Akaisha, and Kramer.

They must be having fun, we haven't heard much from them lately!

I voted for the adventure and improved lifestyle choices, just guessing from what the posters say who have done it.
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Old 08-24-2008, 11:33 AM   #3
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I encourage all young dreamers to at least do a stint abroad either study or work. I have been out of the USA for the last five years and have really enjoyed the experience. I met my fiance, I have travelled to some crazy places, and met a lot of interesting people. I voted for your money can go farther. There are some places out there where you money can go a lot farther then most people think, but you still have to be frugal. You can get an awesome place in Indonesia, but if you have two maids, satellite, etcccccc, it will equal out. Will I come back to the USA? I don't know, but I just took my fiance to NYC for the first time and she is in love with it, so you never know.

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Old 08-24-2008, 12:24 PM   #4
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I love foreign exotic places - especially Tonganoxie, Kansas. But then after thirty years in New Orleans a lot seems foreign - starting up north from Slidell on.

I vaguely remember some cultural shock in 1974 among a few of us who transferred down from Denver.

heh heh heh - Canada, Mexico, Carribean, Europe I was always a tourist so I don't think that counts. .

P.S. Chicken and sausage Gumbo tonight(she's making it from scratch) here north of Kansas City tonight.
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Old 08-24-2008, 04:17 PM   #5
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We are assuming we will spend a lot of time as expats once we totally FIRE. However, we have been expats for the past 20 years, so it will be a continuation of our life as it is now but without the work.

Personally I could not imagine staying in the same place/country for the rest of my life. We have lived nearly 3 years in our current location, and that is the longest stint I have had in one place in the past 30 years. That said, if the right opportunity presented itself we would probably move tomorrow.

I think some people enjoy the expat lifestyle whereas for others the unfamiliarity without their friends around makes it difficult for them to move. I see the same thing with those who migrate, it works for some but not for others - you see people hungering to go to their old familiar supermarket to buy their groceries or 10 years later they are complaining about the quality of underwear in their new locale. It's really just a symptom of migration not being the right thing for them.

For me, I totally love the expat lifestyle. The adventure, something new, the sights and smells of a new country. Meeting new people and getting totally out of my comfort zone.
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:01 PM   #6
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where are you based DangerMouse?
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:10 PM   #7
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I, too love the stories of our expats, but maybe it is my southern roots, but I could never imagine not returning "home" from our various adventures. We really enjoy traveling but the coming home part is great, too. I think we figured that about 6 weeks of somewhere different is our comfort threshold, and after that we want what passes for "normal" in our lives.

I'd like to think this provincial quality would change with time, but I am a creature of habit, and I like the routine and ordinary things allowed me at home. Grocery store, library, friends, scenery, etc.

Plus family being here is really compelling--my sister was in Germany this past summer (her husband got called up), and we emailed constantly but missed our Sunday morning phone calls a lot!
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:23 PM   #8
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I put cultural immersion/adventure and increase lifestyle, in that order.

It is hard to believe but I have almost become a PT now after firing about 1.5 years ago. I am down to about 8 boxes of possessions plus my bike. I am leaving for Thailand in 2 weeks for possibly a 6 month stay. I have no genuine home base except for my extended family.

Since I moved shortly after FIRE, my friends are scattered everywhere, including around the USA. I have never owned a home, so I don't really know what that is like.

I am retired but it seems like I am busy. One of my major activities, I discovered after monitoring myself, is keeping in touch with new friends around the globe. It takes a lot of work!

That being said, I am still looking to build a life, so to speak, around some steady communities overseas (i.e., returning to same location regularly). I am leaning toward spending part time each year in Thailand and Latin America, and stopping in America in between to visit family and friends for several weeks a couple times per year.

I am still not committed to this. My trip to Thailand will be the first time I have gone somewhere more to live than to travel around. I am hoping it is a fun experiment!

Also, I am single and realize that I could get married along the way. I am not sure what would happen then, maybe I would settle down.

This sort of uncertainty about the future does not bother me. It is possible that in the long term I will create a cheap home base in the USA. I think the USA is a great place to live, too.

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Old 08-26-2008, 12:11 AM   #9
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I also voted cultural immersion/adventure, I just hope the food is acceptable to me when I get out there.

Question for Thailand travelers
What airline and route did you use to travel to Bangkok?

Seems like leaving from LAX will allow for the least amount of time in the air, any feedback as to which airlines and the amount of travel time.

Purchasing a one way or round trip ticket?

Approximate costs?
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:44 PM   #10
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Thai airways if you want the fastest. Direct from Lax, probably expensive. If you want to connect, Singapore or JAL. What frequent flier program do you belong too?

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Old 08-26-2008, 12:54 PM   #11
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Thai airways if you want the fastest. Direct from Lax, probably expensive. If you want to connect, Singapore or JAL. What frequent flier program do you belong too?

Billman

Some miles with American not too many.
Thai Air appears to have some comfortable seating but the fares are pretty high.
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Old 08-26-2008, 01:13 PM   #12
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I have seriously considered PT (at least for a few years). Cultural immersion and Adventure would be first, then "dramatically increase lifestyle" would be second, followed by spousal/familial ties in third.

I will likely FIRE with school age children, and I think it would be an awesome experience to be able to see the world for extended periods of time (for me and for them). To be able to have enough time to actually settle down and experience a place as a resident instead of a tourist.

Plus, DW is from SE Asia which is high on the typical list of low cost expat communities. We could really stretch a buck there and live a nicer lifestyle than stateside for the same cost. And it would give our kids a chance to see their cultural heritage personally.

At this point I have not been able to obtain spousal buy-in, so PT is a no-go at this point. We might be able to pull off some 4 to 6 week trips together in the future. DW and I did six weeks in a latin american country in our younger days (when she was D GF). A life-changing experience I'd like to do again someday (with more money this time). But you do yearn for some comforts of home after a while. Comfort is easy whereas traveling can require you to think a little.
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:08 PM   #13
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Some miles with American not too many.
Thai Air appears to have some comfortable seating but the fares are pretty high.

I would fly Signapore or Cathay Pacific. With Cathay Pacific you could get miles on American. Both airlines are top notch. You could also have a nice stop over in any of the cities.


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Old 08-26-2008, 04:04 PM   #14
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Regarding flying to Thailand, I just go for lowest fare. If a flight takes 4 hours longer because of a layover, I don't care if it is also $150 cheaper.

Anyway, I ended up getting a one way ticket on Cathay Pacific for $665 from LAX to Bangkok (BKK) in early September (stops for maybe 2 hours in Taipei). But starting in October, I think, Cathay is cutting number of flights from LAX to Asia because they are not making money.

There were round trip tickets (LAX->BKK) on at least one airline for as cheap as $1100 or so. Most were in the $1400 to $1500 range. I have no idea when I am coming back, or even which way (east or west), so I didn't want to commit to round trip, knowing I would also have a change fee. I have a Thailand tourist visa valid for 6 months, so I can fly with a 1-way ticket, no problem (I checked).

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Old 08-26-2008, 05:17 PM   #15
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last i checked for my future budgets i found roundtrip flights from fort lauderdale for about $1,700. seems reasonable especially if planning to stay for 3 or 6 months or more at a time (& i would never fly that far for just a few weeks). i thought a first exploratory trip might involve at least 4 to 8 months with a month or two in pattaya, bangkok, phuket and chiang mai. from my studies of the place i could get along with speaking english there and those cities have relatively large gay & expat populations.

an expat life abroard is my 2nd plan though i don't consider it a plan b. my first inklings about what to do after work involved sailing the world with my best friend, yachting through poverty in areas rich in the diversity of people and natural beauty of land & seascapes. his death killed plan a, at least unless i find someone new.

so i then started thinking about living the expat life as a wandering landlubber and i have since devoured every bit of information i find on the topic.

my reasons multi-fold and evolving, i started thinking about an expat life as a realization of my lifelong dream of travel. even my favorite childhood halloween costume was the homeless hobo. i can spend hours letting my imagination run wild while studying maps or thumbing through pages of national geo. i’m glued to television shows featuring places i’ve never been. with the internet i’ve been scouring travel blogs and expat forums. i visit miami or new york to hear the multitude of accents, walking city blocks of southbeach, taking in the smells of ethnic restaurants and grocery stores, the checkerboard colors of faces passing by, struggling to eavesdrop on conversations i can not understand but only to gather an imaginary sense of what the topic might be.

i can imagine a life of that. while i am by nature a homebody, i'm happier out of the house. so i guess my main reason for considering an expat life is culture & adventure. but the big part of getting out of the house actually has more to do with becoming even more introspective. i want to see what travel does to me. i don't see myself as just exploring the world, but exploring how my exploring the world effects me.

i'm doing it for health benefits. i can't imagine a better way to stave off dementia than to stimulate brain development by removing myself from my comfort zone and out of the aisles of my local supermarket where i have long since memorized the placement of every item on their shelves. i'd rather think about my meals each day than continue shopping weekly like a zombie.

what better way to stimulate development of neurological connections which might keep me in better shape into my future. sure, i could learn some more subjects from a book, even actually try to understand finance; but there is something about emersion, about learning with your entire body, not just with your eyes, but with your lifestyle which i believe will produce for me a better brain.

financially yet just coincidental to prior planning, i hope the life will afford me capacity to gain back some of what i lost to the bubble. but i won't be hiring maids or cooks or gardeners. i won't be living in luxury that i don't have now. rather than improving my lot in life as far as comfort goes, likely it will not be as comfortable as i have it today.

also i want to do it for the opportunities i suspect it will present me. getting to know new friends i'd otherwise have never known, maybe help someone who otherwise would have gone unnoticed, maybe work with animals like elephants which i think would just love, maybe, sadly, come to terms with what i suspect will be a lot of poverty and pain in the world, from which i am isolated here & now as a homebody.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:14 PM   #16
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There are those who are expats because they are evading the law...or the taxman....
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:52 PM   #17
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There are those who are expats because they are evading the law...or the taxman....
Shh...there is no need to out every ulterior motive. I was hoping some Asian hottie is going to mistaken me for a rich American.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:25 PM   #18
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where are you based DangerMouse?
We are Aussies currently based in the US. To date we have lived long term in the US, Australia, UK, France, Switzerland, Mexico and Pakistan. I would love to add Holland, Belgium, Vietnam and Thailand to that list amongst many others.

I think the expat lifestyle works best for those who are not too strongly tied to their families. If you can't get thru the day without conversing or seeing your family members you are more likely to struggle.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:14 PM   #19
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Climate for me as I live in Edmonton and its cold and dark up here for 7 months of the year, although I like my city so it wouldn't be for life. Just a few years to 3 months each year. I have been mulling over teaching diving in Thailand for a year. I spent 7 months in Hungary and Croatia in 2000. 11/2 years in Cyprus in the 80's.
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:50 PM   #20
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We leave for PV MX in October. First time driving. Leaving the car there. Switching to satellite TV here so we can use it there. Planning on winters in PV (7 months), summers in Vancouver (3 months) and 2 months travelling. Have the VOIP service which we are taking to stay in touch.

I put down Climate. We are FI at home but we also enjoy the alternative culture and the inexpensive living there. We are less stressed by the market meltdown, knowing we are reducing the "nut" by 30% or so.
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