Feb 09

Do you really need Loads of Money to retire?USD 1 Million? 2 Million? 5 Million? Or just 200.000? Are you kidding me – how can I *retire* now!?

How shall I finance my retirement? I will need *loads* of Cash, Gold, Insurance or Credit! I need my Hummer, the BMW X3 for the wife, my penthouse for the mistress, the Wanker’s Club Membership and my Arian German Sheppard!

Oh really?

Poor you – because if you’re really thinking of retiring early in your life – the question shouldn’t be: “How much do I need?”.

Better ask yourself: “How little do I need to retire now?”. You would be surprised, what answers you’ll find out. You can even retire in your early 30’s, with a little bit of planning early on and just some kind of discipline.

Do you know that owning a house for yourself and several cars on loans is not a sign of financial strength and wealth, but merely a sign of character weakness, dependence tendencies and bar ego extension (not that you have to be a guy for that one).

Basically you are in bed with the banks every day; tightly tied up. But seriously – it’s only you who get f*cked hard until unconsciousness! ;-)

The globalised economies in the US, Europe, Australia and other developed countries these days are built around the so-called “Rat Race“. You are held to work constantly and consume & purchase endlessly – and pay for it. With your life.


You basically will buy your whole life stupid things you’d never need, but clever marketing of Multinational Companies tells you to do so. Flat Screen TV’s (what’s wrong with the trusted old ones?), “Body-Workout Machines” to trim your fatty tummy, Gaming Consoles, >USD 200-Branded Jeans, Clown Dresses and other Show-Off-Costumes, Dog&Cat-Trainers, Super-Hyper-Multi-Kitchen-Gadgets, Monster-Gas-Guzzling-Cars, Double-Decker-1.000-sqm-Houses, Mountains of Jewelries for your loved ones and “soon-to-be-ex-loved-ones”. You will need to work more and harder to pay for all that stuff. Divorce rates hover constantly above 50% in those countries, you will pay for your divorce as well – with your money, soul and heart blood. Everyone will suck you dry, until dust and debt is everything what’s left. Are you happy to live like that?

On top of that you spend already USD 5 for a coffee several times a day at obscure experience restaurants named “Star*ucks“, “Coffee Boobs” or “Spineless“. Isn’t that crazy?

Don’t bet on your government to fix this b*llsh*t cycle any time soon within the next 150 years or so. In the times of sky-high defence budgets and exploding taxes – they are not on your side. They even want you to work more and longer!

Why not start learning to live with less? Do you really need more reasons for it?

Retirement in low-cost countries is affordableThe Caribbean, Latin and South America, South-East Asia or other low-cost regions are waiting for you! Better weather, pristine beaches, less pollution and a way slower pace of life will do a great deal for your health and your quality of life.

Can you still remember how it feels to get out of your bed in middle of the day, just only when your body – not your alarm – tells you to wake up?

You can live in low-cost countries like a King, from what you have right now and what interest, rent, dividends or other income streams you would earn in the future. You can even save on your Healthcare Bills; by simply getting treatment elsewhere – not in your overpriced home country.

Did you know, that you can

  • buy a pair of jeans everywhere in the world for less than USD 15? (If you really need one in constant 100 F-Degrees weather).

  • drink a coffee for less than USD 1?

  • have a meal (I don’t talk fast food here) for 2-3 Dollar?

  • rent a (western-standard) house for 200 Dollar a month or less?

  • fill-up the tank of your bike for less than 4 Dollar a week?

So, what are you waiting for?

Assess your situation, downshift now, sell all your useless sh*t to someone more stupid, invest in active income streams, find out where you want to stay, go travel and leave the other working drones and your cubicle behind!

Your Life is what you make it!

Easy like that? No? Yes! ;-)


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written by Chris

197 Responses to “How much money do you need to retire?”

  1. CanadianSwissNo Gravatar SWITZERLAND Says:

    You’re absolutely right. Unfortunately, we are often “programmmed” to do it the other way around and realize too late, that we could have enjoyed life much earlier. Then I guess it also takes a bit of courage to believe that it can be done and then to take the decision.

    I have a high respect for those who made it happen and planned early.

  2. RheaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I like your approach to life and will keep reading you! Wanna trade links?

  3. ianmackNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    i agree — for those people that have discovered the ability to telecommute, the possibilities are limitless for where you can work. but even if you can’t make a living from a laptop on the beach, someone could stop buying useless crap at home, move into a smaller house, and cut the junk out of their life, and be able to live on a smaller income.

  4. NealeNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    LoL We gotta meet up some day, most people have not figured out one tenth of what you wrote :)
    even today I was convincing myself that a new car is something I need LOL & I’m off travelling in 18 months thanks for the reminder.

  5. JureNo Gravatar SLOVENIA Says:

    I agree about that. On how much do you live in Bali?

  6. JayNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Makes sense and there are people out there aware of the rat race. I’ve been to some of the low cost countries you infer and would love to live there like a king. But two of the biggest challenges are 1. You parents, siblings, and friends are not there so you are going to want to return to your home country frequently (big $$ and then you have to live as a guest in their home while they are still running around in the rat race) and 2. Once you get out of the rat race it is tough to get back in at the same place you got out…

  7. zeeNo Gravatar BRAZIL Says:

    I m one of those people who keeps thinking how much do i need to retire early while running like a mad rat at the same time.
    So wat if i win a rat race, i m still a RAT. Wat a knock in the head!

  8. Maryam in MarrakeshNo Gravatar not found Says:

    I have been living overseas for years. And so I understand your philosophy. And I telecommute from an olive grove in Marrakech. But not working just doesn’t seem like an option right now.

  9. JameelNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I agree with dropping the materialism, but Jay is right, family over rides location. You must be single with no kids or pretty selfish, or young. Who is going to take care of your parents when they get old? Most people in advanced countries with kids want them to be well educated in a western university, which generally takes lots of rat-race dollars. Not to mention the fact that the kids don’t want to live in Costa Rica or Bali either.

    Then there is the fact that things just work better in advanced countries. Ever been to Etheopia? or India? What a mess! They need a slower pace of life there so that they can have time to deal with all the inefficient BS that goes with screwed up governments and weak infrastructures. There is a reason people generally move from the third world to the advanced economies – because they work better and provide more opportunities.

  10. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I read it over and over again, decide to comment later after I can digest all of it. You’re absolutely right, Chris. But for me, an Asian who is living in a third world country where daily living is a constant survival of the fittest, I can’t make it possible by now.
    I do agree with your idea. I wish I can do the same. Personally, I also have a few local areas just nearby in my present location which is my prospective retirement place…. soon…. I hope I can make it….

  11. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Guys, thanks a lot for the many thoughtful comments!

    I agree that this life isn’t for everyone, as Jay and Jameel put it. Sometimes there are circumstances (especially family) which prevent you from living freely without any responsibilities. But then – you are responsible for your own life as well, so everyone has to find its own way somehow.

    Some like Maryam don’t even want to stop working, as traveling for work can be rewarding too. It all comes out to personal preference. It has to fit for you!

    Dodong has a good point as well. As a citizen from Europe, US, Australia or any other region with higher salaries and cost of living, I have naturally a better chance to save money and plan retirement in a low cost country.

    If I live there already, things don’t look so easy. It could be an option to live a few years overseas and work in a high salary country, saving what I can and book the whole episode as life experience. A few places have low unemployment rates and pay well for qualified staff.

    (Rhea and Jure, you got mail regarding your questions)

  12. Jim StyersNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Moved to Thailand in late 1999. Never looked back! Living on 1/5 the costs of back home (America). I visit for two weeks every other year and can’t wait to get back on the plane to Thailand. I believe so much in this concept that I’ve produced a web site to discuss the pro’s and con’s. http://www.whyretireinthailand.com Hope you will visit soon.
    Jim Styers

  13. Mike JohnseyNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    My wife, who is Indonesian, and I spent the first 10 years of our life together in and around Indonesia. We returned to the UK only when the schooling of our daughters dictated it. We always said we would return to Indonesia one day. Our daughters are now 29 years and 22 years and its time to get back to our dream. We are in the final stages of selling our flat, when that goes through we are out of here.
    Over the past 20 years back in the UK we have managed to save nothing, the bastards just will not let you keep it, so I guess we’ll end up with a £100k or so from the flat sale. We reckon it will be enough to buy a decent house and start a small business, which will do us.
    Its scary, we are a lot older now and far more venerable to life’s knocks. And naturally there are all sorts of emotions flying around, but you just cannot have everything perfect in this life. We do love Indonesia, and have been back to visit often over the years. There are some negatives, but I do think it will be a good life. On the other side, I think if I was to grow old and poor in England, I’d slit my wrists.
    Our girls already have their first visit planned this year, we are all going to visit Bali together, and I personally cannot wait to feel the sun on my back and the sand between my toes.
    Here’s to life and adventure.

  14. JennDZNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Wow! There is a lot to think about here. As I agree with a lot of the concepts that Chris lays out, I have to agree with some of the other comments. At first glance I would love to pick up, sell all my crap, including my life (like some Aussie recently did on ebay, no joke!) and just “go bamboo”. But there is so much more to consider, like family and friends, etc. But I think there is a compromise in all of this. Live as small as possible. Get rid of all the crap you don’t need that just keeps you bogged down in the rat race, pay off those credit cards and never use them again, and use extra money you have to get out there and do the things you love, like traveling. Make room for the stuff you want to come into your life by getting rid of what doesn’t fit anymore.
    I have to make some life changes soon, and figure out what I want from life in very specific ways, but I am not sure what they are yet. It was great to come across this blog to continue my line of thinking on this.

  15. iamdeadnowNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Why even retire with money? I am just dropping out at 25.

  16. IvanNo Gravatar SWITZERLAND Says:

    Ur so right in many things^^ Im now 36, travelled as well a lot 20-33, America, Asia, Caribbeans, Europe..now I got my own house in Switzerland Zurich (from my mom that died). I set a 2nd base of life in Hungary and Bulgaria (great countries), BUT it feels fine 2 have the finance security and health insurance in Europe, in Switzerland. If u live in the countries u r right now, then it might b great. But I dont c wher u mentioned what u do when ur sick, I mean really sick…so travelling is fun, but only if ur on the sunny side of life:-)Why so many ppl of the countries u mention move 2 Europe/America? Coz they have no future at home. Consider this in ur articles plz, would b interesting 2 read about:-)Best regards

  17. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:


    regarding the thing with sunny side and insurance – there we just might have different point of views. Most people (not YOU!) use this excuse to never move.

    Do you subscribe to the concept of insurance? I don’t. Why? Because in insurances my experience is that the insurance taker or customer never wins. I can’t recall a single case in my last 35 years, where I, my family, relatives or anyone I know got more out of insurance then what one paid in. Still the insurance companies boast huge profits, was there ever one of them going bankrupt?

    So why pay in in the first place? Most forced insurances in Europe/America like health, unemployment, retirement securities or insurances don’t work at all and are always at the brink of collapse. Why support a system like that? For instance health: I’m really not the 100% healthy person, but even though; I can survive better without insurance than with. It’s just a matter of calculation and perspective, no? If you feel better with insurances and else, get them! There is nothing wrong with it.


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  19. clauNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    well, good writing is judge by the emotion is stirred and you stirred up quiet a bit of buzz. I really can’t believe you left everything behind to travel. The good thing is you can see honestly the pros and the cons of many things and that is respectable. I think it comes down to comfort and how much are people willing to pay for it. It would sure be nice to have a washer and dryer in my house but you can’t beat 5dollars at the laundry mat. It would be nice to retire to Colombia, but I dislike the government structure and I wonder how safe the little eggs I’ve worked hard to get will be there. Just a thought, thanks for the add. –clau

  20. ArtNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Work to live – not live to work.

  21. TashandChis'MOMNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi. I am an Argentinian mother of two. I am 40 years old and have been living in the US for the past 34 years. While I am greatful for living in this country because here I have been able to live and save for my retirement at the same time, my plans are to retire in Argentina. I have not have set a date for such retirement. What holds me back is that I have my two kids(ages 9, 4)….so, it is hard because of the schooling issue. But, I must say that I agree with the idea that is westernized countries life is a “rat race”, and mostly due to consumerism. I have always questioned…”do we need so much”. I’m very much a frugal person and have lived a very little(and for me it was not a sacrifice…it was desired). But when my kids came, the spending got somewhat out of control…you know kids…they want more and more. I am slowly starting to help my daughter who is 9 to understand my way of thinking and I think that she being a person like myself in many ways will come to my way of being. I have personal experience on what life is like in another country because I have the chance to go there and actually experience it. I think what is very beneficial in living in a current country is the currency exchange rates. Coming with dollars, puts you at a great advantage. Being the frugal person that I am, I have done comparison analysis on prices of all types of things between prices here in the US and in Argentina. Let me begin by telling you that healthcare is very cheap in comparison to here in the states. My mother for example pays $50(that is US dollars) a month to have an insurance policy that covers everything(except cosmetic procedures). She has access to top notch doctors at top notch hospitals…….yes, the infrastructure is better here…but upper healthcare facilities over there are very very good. And many Argentine doctors are trained here in the US. My brother in-law that live over there with his wife and 3 kids, let me go through his bills….he pays for example $35(US dollars) electric bill a month. Water they pay every two months(about 30 US dollars every two months….for a family of 5 bid you.)……and life is definately much much slower…you see people strolling through parks, friends gather often at each others homes…family, and friendship have time for each other. The country is not perfect of course…and we know something must be not right for so many people from Argentina and from other countries to be leaving for countries like the US, and Europeans countries. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???????? if they have it so good do they leave. And here is the reason….low paying jobs, high unemployment and corrupt politicians. Many many leave…but MOST return…after they saved so that money is no longer an issue. I love the USA because I came here as a little girl, and I am greatful, but as many other I am of the belief that money is and material possessions are not happiness. I think that one idea I’m going to work on when my kids are a bit older is starting a website or ever perhaps some kind of a buisness for native Americans with limited or no Spanish and who need guidance on how to navigate the Argentine system so they could live there. Look up Argentina everyone…it is a beautiful country….many call Buenos Aires the little Paris of Latin America.

  22. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I can only agree with what you wrote and probably most of the people around you haven’t got a clue on what you are talking about. They are stuck in the Rat Race and will probably work and consume what the Media tells them until they fall into their grave. But this is the way to go for you and me and for a lot of other persons these days.

    Work in Strong-Currency-Countries and spend later in Low-Cost-of-Living-Countries.

    I also have to agree with your remark about Buenos Aires – even though I was there only once for 2 days a few years back with a commercial business delegation (before the financial crisis).

    It *IS* the little Paris of South America, so many small Cafe’s, the vibes and atmosphere and the lively and friendly people – it’s simply great to be there! The climate would be right for me too. I liked the Salsa/Flamenco Bars as well and still remembered my embarrassment when I was asked by a professional dancer to dance a round with her on one’s stage, even though I couldn’t dance at all. Have you seen the colour of a Lobster in cooking water? Exactly! Have to catch up with my Spanish probably for the next trip. ;-)

  23. JoeNo Gravatar BRAZIL Says:

    i am 33 and plan on shifting down at 35. i am a american working in brazil. i am in a unique position of earning a very generous salary getting paid in both dollars and reias. i am saving ever dime and investing in hopes of securing a steady stream of work free income. there will always be a challenge to make the dream life match with the reality. its easy to say forget it all but if you knee or back (i have problems with both) goes out expenses can easily go upwards of $20K. I agree its not fair or right but it is the reality. so my plan is to save it all run the race a bit squeeze what i can out of them and then start of on my own. if you buy the used car instead of the new one the little tv instead of the huge one, you can still have nice things in life with out being to wrapped up in in it all. i am confident i can do it all right by 35 and be comfortable, but the problem is family. one day i would like to get married and have kids. and of course provide for them all they need. also as others have mentioned i have parents that will eventually need my help financially and physically. here are some things to think about: cdb’s (equivalent to cd’s in the usa) earn about 14% a year in brazil!! stocks and mutal funds, more risky, earn even more. a investor visa can be obtained with a $50,000 investment in a brazilian business, could be your buisness. i plan to start a small bed and breakfast live in it maybe make money mabey not. surf all day and drink beers in my hammock. ocassional trips to the city to spice it up. i would love to hear more about visa issues, investment/income ideas, etc from others in other locations. i got two years to figure it all out…

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  25. MikeNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    very nice article! bravo!

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  27. MMNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Hi All,

    Retiring is really about your personal level of contentment. And that again is a very personal definition. What I call contentment, someone else might call laziness. What they call ambition, I may call Greed!! In the end everyone should do whatever they want without worrying about their peers.

    I was lucky enuf to work in New York during the good years of the late 90s…..made a little bit of money, not huge but enuf to come back to my hometown…Bangalore, India. What did I discover when I got here much to my shock?? That ALL my peers on average earned a MINIMUM of $100,000 or MORE!!@# Remember, this is India I am talking about, not the US. The economic boom that India is going thru is evident just from looking at my group of friends who were not more than middle-class when I left India. Now, they think nothing of a trip to Europe or the middle east for a vacation. They think nothing of spending $10-15 on each cocktail drink at any of the city’s many lounges 3 day a week. Each meal in a good restaurant in Bangalore costs about $50 for a couple. But in exchange for all this….they all work very very hard….read 60 to 70 hours a week with tremendous amounts of stress, in order to meet the cost saving targets of their american or european bosses. One look at this and I decided….I will live within my means and do something to just earn enuf to satisfy MY living stardards…to hell with keeping up with the Jones’. And its worked out great for me….the kids see a lot of me as I work from home, I get to fight with the wife all day long as we are constantly in each others faces (LOL), never have to wake up to go to work, and every one and I mean EVERY ONE of my wealthy friends is envious of me because they all want what I have, but dont have the courage to take the radical step of walking away from the rat-race. So what was the point of this long rant? Anyone can retire when they want….but be sure that you can deal with the fact that you will have less money for conspicious consumption compared to all your peers.


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  31. SanNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Surprise surprise !!!!
    I am not the only one who thinks this way. What a relief.

    Some people may think this is some kind of negative thinking, but to me this is the most positive thinking.

    I have been a big fan of “living simple life” and to some extent admire Mr. Gandhi (Indian freedom fighter, “Bapu”) who would even make his cloths with his own hands using simple home made tools. No dependencies, live as you like to live and not as your boss or others want you to.

    But the fact of the life is, you can certainly leave behind people you don’t know or to whom you are not related, such as your boss, co-workers etc. but you can’t… I repeat you can’t leave your loved ones behind. You will be lucky if all your loved ones will share the same thoughts as you and are willing to get out of the rat race and join you, which I doubt. In your early age of life, early 20s or as a teenager, you don’t care much about the loved ones, but as you grow older, you realize how much you love and need your loved ones such as your parents, just as much they love and need you.

    Some times “Life sucks and then you die…”


  32. STNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Hey MM, I read your post and I feel like I am reading my own story.
    I was in the US for 7 years, came back lasts year and now started my own IT business and work from home.
    I fight with wife, become a child and play and fight with my daughter, never worry about getting up early if I think I need 30 mins more sleep, take weekends off and sometimes even take one or two weekday off as well if I feel like. I do work but at my own pace so I don’t get bored sitting idle and feel like a looser altogether.

    I came to this post to find out how much money should I really have to retire comfortably and I have discovered more than needed info reading everyone’s opinion.

    MM it will be a pleasure knowing you. I am in Mumbai. NautankiDrama@gmail.com is my email


  33. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    ST, I sent an e-mail to MM regarding your request, if he might contact you. Please check your mail and I would be really happy, if you could continue your interesting discussion here as well. ;-)

    San, I partly agree with you – it’s hard to leave other people behind, especially loved ones. But then – you are responsible for your own life as well and both, Gandhi and Mother Theresa died already. Some people, including loved ones don’t even want to be helped or see things completely different than you. So why not fulfill you dreams, while watching out for your loved ones from time to time. Too selfish? ;-)

  34. DavideNo Gravatar ITALY Says:

    I’m not the one that found a good reason to live in working for a company.
    I’m also not the one that can live with the “minimum” like poor people do. If I were that kind of person I can find a half day job here in north Italy and so spend my free time doing things I like more than working for a company (considering that you can do really few things if you don’t have good money in the “west side” of the world).
    To buy a 80 square meter apartment for a small family the price in the peripheral of Milan is 300.000,00 Euro and this means it needs to make a mortgage of 30 years with Banks and become their rat race slave.

    One of the risk in going to live in a poorest country (because this is the only point that makes the difference) so that your saved money can have more value, is that globalization is alligning every countries to consumerism. This means that in few years what in Argentina costs 1/3 in 10 years will cost like in Europe or North America today! So it’s not possible to stop to work also if I move to a poorest country.
    Merrill Lynch has calculated that in Milan a family of 4 people can live fine without working only if it owns at least 2.8 Millions Euro and invests them in good different way. This doesn’t mean have helicopter or other kind of luxury cars etc. Just a good life with private school for children and good vacations. With less money they will finish in some years.
    On a different scale the same happens going to live in a poorest country.
    You start thinking you are rich compared to the life cost and in few years you can’t live without working, earning less money than I did in my own country.
    If in Argentina you can live with 1/4 this means I need at least 800.000,00 Euro (1.17 million $) to live there without working hard and with a Family.
    Yes, because having a family (wife, children etc.) it makes a big difference!
    Suggestions? :-) Greetings!

  35. Iklan Baris GratisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I Agree about Robert T. Kiyosaki Theory.. he tell me about “pasive income” theory.. that we must do the money so they can working for us, not we working to get money.. and also he said (as i read from the book), dont decrease the expenses but increase the earning..

    So for me is how to get financial freedom, and i can life anywhere not only in country with low currency power but i can life in most highest currency country too..

    how much we need money to be a retire men? depend.. when we want to buy something and we doesn’t have to thinking where i can get money to get that? you’re in financial freedom step and ready to retire…

    If we now already have business, we must find the next leader so we can do travelling around the world and never worried about our business again because we already have people to take care our business..


  36. Andi VickyNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    True if you are from wealthy countries (Europe, US, Australia etc) but what about people just like me who are Indonesian or other developed countries.. :-?

    I am a nomaden since junior high school, now I work for the government in Jakarta (to earn some money for living… :))). I love to live in small city or in the village not big city like Jakarta. For 3 years I am not nomad anymore.

    I have live in several Indonesia city like Palembang, Cirebon, Cimahi, Bandung, Sukabumi & Jakarta also have travel to many other city. But is hard for me to live or travel to other country (I hope I can do that in the future).

  37. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Andi Vicky – I agree. This article I mostly wrote with my fellow western brethren in mind, who work off their behinds every day in their cubicles and believe that it’s the only way they can go until retirement. It’s actually naturally easier for them to let go and do what they want. But still most of them prefer to run in the hamster wheel, because their whole life is programmed like this, by their parents, teachers, society and politicians.

    I admit as well that the whole idea behind retirement is much more difficult for someone from developing (most Asian) countries, as there are other problems, values (especially the whole family support topic), the financial and economical basis.

    But as Dexno/Iklan Baris Gratis put it, the same rules apply here too. Just the path is more stony…

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  39. 9 surefire Strategies NOT to Retire Early | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

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  40. mixxyNo Gravatar NETHERLANDS Says:

    By the way, great blog you have here!. It’s no coincidence I found your blog. It’s great to find another like-minded fellow who knows it is POSSIBLE to leave this so called treadmill of useless hardwork to compensate for our materialistic lifestyle. It’s something one can actually realize if one stops and think. We know there is a place out there where we could do this and we already planned on doing so, in the Philippines where I was born. Yes, it is possible to retire in your 30’s, provided that you first free yourself as a slave of your house and car(s) and stuff :-). I just started my blog about this last week.

  41. JustinoNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I’ve lived the nomadic lifestyle for several years – working remotely for IT companies while in Spain (when it was cheaper for US citizens) Colombia and Puerto Rico. I dislike the work and I hate the isolation. I’ve completely burned out on it and can no longer force myself to concentrate. The being burned out and isolation from peers contributes to a feeling of isolation from others in general and starts to be psychologically harmful in the form of increasing doubts and anxieties, so be careful how you structure your remote-work life if that’s the path that you choose. Maybe with a wife and kids at home it’s different. After much reflection, I’ve determined that the life of value to me is a life of purpose, not of retirement and withdrawal to some exotic, cheap location. I’ve seen bad and good expats, and the bad are really bad, troubled, desperate people and the good are doing something that they value and are surrounded by people that they love and have the ability to go back to their home country at will. If travel is your purpose for being free, then more power to you. If you want to sleep in every day and do nothing for a while, let me tell you how old that gets. “Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” Nothing truly good is acheived without purpose and dedication, and the whimsical nature of travel doesn’t usually allow for that. Sure with money and freedom you can skirt around the world collecting pleasurable experiences, but if you do it alone you will only share these experiences with transient friends, and you will be unlikely to form lasting relationships, as maintaining them at a distance becomes increasingly difficult as time passes and you don’t visit or have time for adequate correspondence due to focus on your new location. The best life path is having a vocation with clear focus and purpose – to “do what you are” and to grow in ways that you value. Being free is not an end in itself.

  42. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    mixxy – thanks for the heads up and all the best for your blog! I visited it already a few times and it looks better and better!

    Justino – you got a good point there! This life is not for everyone. But then – what life is, if what you do is not what you like and you are locked in your room with few contacts outside your work world. If you can find the right balance though, to do what you like, earn money with/from it and enjoy your life outside work; it might well pay off and work out. I admit it’s not an easy task but once you get to know yourself and find the right way, you would never go back. It took me 14 years and lots of thought, frustration and unhappiness. But finally I realized what I wanted and found the power of just doing it. Never looked back. For me it was more a psychological path towards developing the necessary attitude and confine in myself than anything else. Once you get rid of the fears and worries, it’s easy. You can go out, meet other like-minded people and do your thing, looking back realizing that only your mind played some tricks with you. ;-)

  43. julius p. bantigueNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi–I think you and I have the same idea about life, and not afraid to go out on the limb. Check out my site sometimes. Maybe we could share ideas and experiences. Till next time….

  44. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    julius p. bantigue, thanks for the heads up! Your site looks very good, plenty of great content and nice interviews and insights. Will read a bit more and yep, maybe we can collaborate on something in the future.

  45. SudzNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    How true!! Got a friend who hadnt changed his mobile phone the last 5 years and still reachable whilst Ive changed a zillion times! I now have a PDA touch screen, MP3 playback, high resolution video recording, 24×7 connected to personal and corporate email – Gosh, the rats have won the plate!

    Visiting your blog, I think the cup is still up for grabs.

    To help you Chris, for dreams from developing economies such as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), its a bit tricky – economy inflating faster than my kid could do a ballon. I have a plan though. I spend 1/10th of my affordable income, thanks to IT boom in India, on hiring services – electrician, carpentor, house maid, painter and a chauf driving me to work!! Bit of inspiration from the western world, I guess if I learnt to paint my house, fix some wires, nail the wood, vacumn the house, clean and drive my car, I would save that 10%. No matter how costly it becomes the next 20years, I keep saving 10%. Saving is earning, how easy!

    Family and health. Uh god, no idea what I am paying the insurance folks. A little bit of yoga and decent vegetarian diet beat the docs by miles. Age old adage – Prevention better than cure. Besides, alternative medicine is fast catching up and are very inexpensive and affordable.

    I planned to early retire at 35 when I was 32. Gave it an extension to 40 and I am running 39 now. I strongly believe my plan would work this time next year. The rats will be shown their place. Cheers.

  46. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sudz, that sounds like you are really on a good track. The laws of attraction work in your favor. When I was a teenage, my initial plan was as well to retire when turning 30, but it took another 4 years. But hey – I didn’t cry about it. So I believe the earlier you start planning and working towards it, the better are your chances. ;-)

  47. RWNo Gravatar UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Says:

    This is a great blog. I think its really important for people to understand that there is a whole big world outside their own small realities. I am an American who has been living overseas for 7 years. Whenever I go back to the US I am struck by how little awareness there is among my fellow countrymen that its really possible to leave the US and improve your standard of living. One thing that has not been touched on much is the impact of taxes in building up a nest egg. The US is a very high tax place to live when you consider (a) federal income tax; (b) State Income tax; (c) FICA/Social Security tax; (d) real estate taxes; (e) sales tax etc etc.

    I’m not sure how many Americans are aware of the fact that they can live and work in zero tax countries and turbo charge their savings rate. True, being American means that (unlike most nationalities) that even if you leave the US you must still file a US tax return. BUT you are entitled to exclude $85,700 from your income (as of the 2007 tax year). This means that if you live in a zero tax country like I do, that your first $85,700 in income is absolutely tax free (or $171,400 if you are a married working couple)!! And since you do not reside in a State, there is no State income tax either. Think about how many years you could save in building your nest egg if you didn’t have to spend the first six months of each year paying Uncle Sam! And the list of zero or low tax countries includes some nice places to live that also have great job opportunities — Think Dubai, Cayman Islands, Monaco, Switzerland (low not zero). Another big consideration for retirees is property tax. Many places in the US have sky high property taxes. I have relatives in NJ who are paying $24K per year even though their house is paid off!! The US has a very screwy idea about funding local tax bases via property taxes. Most countries in the world do not subscribe to this philosophy and charge zero or very low property tax. You can own a house in Central London — one of the most expensive cities in the world and literally pay zero property tax! You can own a little Finca in Spain or a Mas in Provence and pay $100s not $1000s each year in tax. Plus if you establish residency you can get excellent health care for practically nothing. Hmm, nice quality of life, great food, good climate, low taxes, good heallth care. Now what is wrong with that picture. Oh and I’m sure the relatives would all love to come visit too!

  48. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    RW – thanks for your detailed comment. There is really not much one could add. We can just hope that more and more people realize, what you just said. It’s really a bit sad, that most people think they have to live the lives that their government, enterprises and advertising showing them for the ‘real’ life. But then, everyone should be old enough to make ones conclusions and live the life one want. What else sets us apart from cattle, no? :-?


  49. SimonNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Great article
    I’m 32 and you’ve got me thinking.
    I reckon its about time to retire :D

  50. CWNo Gravatar SWEDEN Says:

    Great article, (and comments)
    I just found it, just coming home from a 3 months trip to asia (most Indonesia and Bali). Since my first travel to Bali in 2000 my mind have being set on early retirement. But its the last years that made me more decisive, earlier it was more of a dream. Very interesting to read all the comments. As i have noticed here (Sweden) many people talk about doing that (leave the rat-race). I was talking to a friend who is also on to move to Indonesia. He keep saying that he need the same income there as here, so he cant go. And i answer him : “ok, maybe you dont want it enough…” I think thats a typical “problem” for people who thinking of make life changes. You want to have the cake and eat it! If you se giving up some (false?) security as a sacrifice, maybe you are not ready? For me, i se more about the higher quality of life. And still be able to live as good as here for a 1/4 of the cost (material standard). This last visit also gave me input for biz in Bali (no not furniture or clothes :-? ). So, there you go. What am i waiting for??? Well i think its going to take some time before i can close everything here and relocate. But the thing is, i have made a decision! Good luck to everyone else who´s thinking in those terms!

  51. Link Love and a Virtual Weblog Award UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Nomad4Ever is written by a German blogger who left the rat race five years ago and has been living, working and traveling in Asia ever since. Chris presents a variety of reflections, including bits on work/life balance. […]

  52. JuulchinNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    My answer to how much do you need: probably less than you think. I quit working 3 years ago and as long as I stick to my budget, I will never have to work again. (I am now 42).

    How to figure out how much you need? There is no one number that is going to work for everyone. It doesn’t work like that. It depends on your lifestyle. What you need to do is carefully track your expenses and plan a budget. Then, measure that (accounting for inflation and changes in the value of your investements) against how much money you’ve got. It sounds simple, and it is, but the math is complex.

    Check out http://personal.fidelity.com/planning/investment

    You need to create an account to use the tools but you do NOT need to have money with Fidelity to use the tools.

    The retirement income planner will probably take 4-8 hours of work to gather and input all your data. But after that work, you get an incredible 20 page report that tells you the likelihood of your money lasting until you pass into the next world (where presumably we won’t need money, right?).

    The tool takes into account a vast array of variables, including estimated lifespan, current value of your assets and liabilities, your optimism/pessimism about the value of your investment over time, your monthly budget, etc, etc, etc.

    Literally at the end of this labor you will get a yes/no answer – do you have enough TODAY to quit working. If not, the system will present several options for getting where you need to be, including, among other things, cutting your expenses.

    HSBC also has a site devoted to us early retirees living outside our home country. I don’t know how good that site is, but the Fidelity site rocks. And not just because I got the answer I wanted.

  53. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Simon, thanks for the positive feedback and best of luck for making up your mind! ;-)

    CW, don’t wait too long, otherwise it will be just like your colleagues – just kidding! You made your decision already, that’s plenty more than the rest of your friends can ever say of themselves! The next step is simply relentless execution! ;-)

    Juulchin, thanks for the information about that retirement income planner. Can’t hurt to give that a try!

  54. RWNo Gravatar UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Says:

    One thing that we should all also consider is that the concept of “retiring” overseas doesn’t necessarily mean that we will never again earn another penny. One of the things that I have discovered in my several moves around the world — London, Moscow, Dubai is that there are all kinds of incredible people and opportunities awaiting you once you step off the “treadmill”. In fact I have earned much more living overseas than I ever would have had I stayed in my routine in the US! I can now “live like a king” anywhere I choose. If you are open to new opportunities and can see where niches need to be filled, the world is literally your oyster. And then you can fly your family over to visit!

  55. JanetNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    @Chris –
    I think I came upon your blog for a reason because for the past few months my husband and I have been contemplating “dropping everything” in the US and moving to Europe. We have hesitated and haven’t jumped into any decisions due to the fact that we have a 5 year old and own a business that keeps us stuck in Denver. We have come a long way since 2006 as that was the year my husband and I stopped participating in the official rat race and started a business. However, now it seems almost the same as a normal “job”. If we can find a solid way to make money online or passively (which is why I started a travel blog), we would make the move in an instant. It wouldn’t even be a second thought if that were the case. We don’t have much money in savings (about $12,000 USD), so we view it as a risky venture unless – like I said..we make online or passive income.

    @RW – I am interested in picking your brain about the types of opportunities you speak of and how you made the leap from the US to Europe.

  56. RWNo Gravatar UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Says:


    First congratulations on stepping out of the rat race. Well done. Its funny I have a cousin who lives in Denver named Janet. But no relation.

    In terms of how I did it. Well I started doing consulting and later private equity investing overseas when I lived in DC. The firm I was with at the time set up an office in London and I moved over with the group. I then set up my own investment company with the backing of some investors from Europe.

    There are obviously different paths for different people and depending on what your particular expertise is I am sure that you can find a way to make it work wherever in the world you want to be. For resources and ideas I would recommend http://www.internationalliving.com or http://www.escapeartist.com Both cater to the expat lifestyle.

    There are so many aspects to moving abroad that I would suggest you start blogging with people who have done it, read International Living, and pick up a book or two on the topic and/or attend a conference on the subject. There are now titles available for virtually any country you would want to move to or general titles on being an expat. In a globalized world one of the benefits is that you can shape exactly where and how you want to live. Good luck!!

  57. JanetNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    @RW –

    Yes believe me, I’m working on it… I have a couple ideas – one of which I think has a great amount of potential. I am implementing it as we speak.

    I view my journey as a series of stepping stones. I have stepped on some of them already: leaving the rat race, starting a business that has made it past the 2 year mark, cleaning up my state of mind… Now on to the others. I’ll make it. I have no doubt. I know this is not something that can be decided or accomplished overnight. I’m 23 and I have lots of time, but I’m glad to be working on it now rather than later.

    Thanks for the resources and advice. I will be sure to check out the websites and continue reading. I’ve already done a lot of reading, but there is always more I can do.

    Thanks again!

  58. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    RW, that’s what I’m talking about! A good stepping stone to a successful early retirement could be to make the most buck beforehand in a location with low taxes/higher incomes. For instance in a place like Dubai, Moscow, London, Singapore, Hong Kong etc. It opens new perspectives as well and you’ll see the world with different eyes.

    Janet, congrats on your decision and your ideas towards your future! What area in Europe are you planning to move to? Just one thing I would like to mention is that Europe isn’t probably the best spot to settle for an easy life when coming from the US. The Costs of Living are probably even higher and you would need a steady stream of income to support your lifestyle. Your Purchasing Power is lower in Europe as well, as your small base nest egg will be worth less there than back home. So it could be easier, to settle in a cheaper country (which Europe still has as well), but making sure, that you have some income streams which support your move or grow your nest egg further.

  59. JanetNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    @Chris –

    We are considering Monaco, Spain or Greece. Another possibility could be China since my husband fluently speaks Chinese as well as Taiwanese and Japanese.

    We don’t plan to “retire” at this point since we are still young. With our current income, we could make it nicely anywhere in the world (except California maybe – LOL!) so we need to merely figure out how to convert our sources of income into something mobile. Like I said, I’m working on that one… :D

  60. QuickrouteNo Gravatar ARGENTINA Says:

    I’m seeing a lot of folks head down here to Buenos Aires to escape the “crisis” and for good reason – it’s about a fifth of the cost of living in the US

  61. JanetNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    @Quickroute –

    Hmm… Maybe not a bad idea. I want to get our remote/passive sources of income going before I decide though. Fortunately, the economy hasn’t hit us too hard personally (so far) and I’ve been able to pay off over $20,000 in credit card debt over the past 5 months from extra income from our business. Now we’re in saving mode and not “in the hole.”

  62. QuickrouteNo Gravatar ARGENTINA Says:

    @Janet – if you could telecommute and be paid in US$ here you’d be on the pigs back!

  63. JanetNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    @Quickroute –

    I’m a self-employed IT consultant and I’m required to be on-site at customers’ locations, so telecommuting with what I do currently isn’t possible. To be honest, I plan on completely switching industries. I am also not ruling out real estate investing. :-B

  64. MaeNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    But Janet-
    There are IT consulting companies in every major city around the world. Just to name a few that I have lived in: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Hanoi, Vietnam, Bangkok, Thailand, certainly every city in China, Singapore. You can do very, very well in the IT field working overseas. Real estate investment, on the other hand, is general NOT a good idea. It is full of pitfalls for foreigners who don’t know the local language, customs, and laws, and who are often prohibited from owning property, or the land that the property sits on. There are lots of scams out there, too, promising to make you millions on real estate overseas, and lots of people have gone bankrupt this way. Buyer beware.

  65. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Quickroute, Janet and Mae, great discussion here! Spain or Greece sound very interesting, about Monaco I have a mixed opinion. Income-wise it could be great, but costs of living are probably a killer. I’ve only been in Argentina once for a week, but it looked like a nice place to me. I just somehow connected more with Asia than South America. Hmmm. :-/

    Also I would agree with Mae, that Real Estate in a foreign country can a big trap if you are just getting started there. There are people who know the area way better than you and work/live there forever. I know of some friends in Bali who thought similar and sunk quite some money there.

    Other did already so in Spain, Thailand, Philippines or elsewhere. As the foreigner coming to a country with the ambition to work in Real Estate, you would probably have to find a way to find plenty of “stupid foreigners” with more money to cheat them out of it for overpriced projects to make the best (and a good living) out of it. For me that would feel somehow unethical and I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, if I’d have to frame my fellow country men or anyone else for a living. But just my thoughts, everyone has a different opinion about that and there are surely others who struck the mother load doing so. ;-)

  66. JanetNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    @Mae and Chris –

    By real estate investing, I mean doing it here in the US while I’m away. Obviously I would get everything set up beforehand and then when I’m ready – leave. Doing it overseas… I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’m confused even thinking about that. I think I wouldn’t be allowed to buy anything in many places. I’m too lazy to research all that. ;;)

    Yes it’s true there are IT consultant companies everywhere. What I meant, though, was that it would be hard to do the same exact thing I’m doing now with the same business name unless I shut down operations here in Denver and start it up elsewhere. That might not be a bad idea, but I hesitate doing that because what would be the difference? I would still be tied to a location (granted, it might be Spain, etc.) I still wouldn’t be free to travel where and when I want. I want something mobile or online. So I have a lot to do and a lot to think about.

    @Chris –

    I definitely agree about clicking with the culture you live in. That’s what happened with me and Greece/Spain. I absolutely love it there. I interact well with the people and make friends easily, the scenery inspires me beyond measure, I’m a fan of the food and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be. It truly has always been my dream to live there.

  67. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Janet, ahso! Now I understand your background a bit better.

    What I see is that you are on the right track to fulfilling your dreams with ease. With your own business (and the skills you possess) you are more independent than many and the ability to move it to another country is maybe just a start to becoming completely location-independent. If that’s what you need some day. But thinking about it and doing the first steps, like you did already obviously, I bet it gave you already a tremendous boost to pursue your dreams even further.

    Many thanks for sharing and giving ideas to other people who want to find a similar path through the jungle. ;-)

  68. Kevin (Virginia)No Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    OK, young adventurers, can you think of something you would be willing to do for a couple months a year that could support a fun lifestyle in the off-season? Would you live in a campground and work construction for the summer and take your 5k USD overseas for the other 9 months? It is possible. Lack skills but not work ethic? How about drive a truck? How about Buy a truck and hire a driver? Could you sell just 10 high ticket items on Ebay a month (no touch/ drop ship) to earn 1000USD a month? These are not “get rich” ideas that someone will charge you for, but REAL solutions to having a life. GO FOR IT

  69. JanetNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    @Chris –

    I do hope I’ve given some useful ideas to at least *one* person out there. It’s not easy getting what you want, but it’s definitely easier than settling for less or doing nothing. Doing nothing is a choice.

    Hopefully by this time next year I’ll be able to come back here and tell you I’m there. ;-)

    This is a bit off-topic, but what is the plug-in called that you have on the comments that shows our location with a flag? I thought it might be fun to add to my blog.

  70. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Kevin (Virginia) and Janet – thanks for the motivating words! That’s right, doing something is better than doing nothing on the way to fulfilling your dreams. And there are so many options to surviving on the road. I’m also sure that there are more than *one* soul out there who is interested in guidance or needs just some encouraging words to start going. So yeah, why not?

    Janet – the Plugin is called EasyIP2country. It tries to solve the country by the IP Address range you are using and seems to be fairly accurate.

  71. Julius P. BantigueNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:


    Nice to be touching base with fellow nomads on this blog. I’ve changed my blog address from http://www.philippinevoyager.com to http://www.philippinevoyager.org. Please tune in for more exciting articles on how I live my life as a nomad. Regards.


  72. raviNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Christian, While I appreciate the spirit behind your intention , I would like to comment on the present state of affairs of the “paradise lost”. I am from an asian country perfectly happy and ease with my life . No great ambitions of becoming a maverick business tycoon or billionaire. But the remedy you have suggested is slowly vanishing from this part of the land.

    You know the rent for a good 1500 sq.feet flat was just Rs.5000($100) a few years back in many class 1 cities of India . Now the same apartment cost not less than 15000($300) . This is only an indicator. The education , Food clothing all have undergone a change a change for the worse. The younger generation mostly lured by the IT bubble is moving in limousines and BMWs eating Junk out in “posh” restaurants and speaking in borrowed accent and acting as a foreigner on vacation here.

    But the problem lies elsewhere. Like any other European or North American cities, the cities here are getting polluted , crime rates get added and westerrn living is making visible changes in the health and phsique of the individuals here. This is no more a paradise ! I am appreciative of the developed countries since they do not ape ,and the culture they follow is puerly theirs though faulty.

    What we require is a global renaissance of values , simple living , respecting ones’ own culture, language, food, clothing and more. We need to be more natural “we”. The economic theory and the fortune of the far east has become a mirage as proved in the recent recession and aftermath.

    Let us be natural , simple, indegenous, and make a wonderful world of variety in culture, language and life styles and not a land of apes and jokers. I join you in your pursuit and urge the young to think differently, and also not to bother about early retirement. Work ,earn and live simple . If anything is left, help the neighbour. I am reminded about the old saying” What I saved, I lost, What I gave I gained”

  73. RichardNo Gravatar UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Says:


    Great post. I am an American living in Dubai who loves India. I have traveled and done business there for 15 years and I relate to the changes you describe and it makes me sad. The last thing the world needs is another faux USA. One authentic USA is quite enough. Your words really resonated with me. If the global downturn has a bright side maybe its that it will help people all over the planet reconnect with what is truly important. Lets hope.


  74. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Ravi and Richard, great comments! And very wise words indeed, many thanks! I noticed that development as well. While India for me was before a very spiritual, mystic place – I’m starting to see things different since I’m actually here. Never met so many business/money-oriented (or should I say ‘addicted’) people in my whole life. To everyone you are merely a business opportunity, which is to be pursuit by all means as aggressive, selfish and rude as possible. Capitalism as its worst. Cut-throat competition for your few tourist dollars. Where are the smiles on people’s faces? Where is a simple ‘Thank you!’ or a friendly chit chat? I’m trying to get as much out of the tourist areas as possible, but even in the rural areas things don’t look much better. It’s basically Rip-off-country. But then, what did I expect? People have to survive, they need money for it and India is a very poor country with low living standards. So yeah, maybe understandable. And no, India is not the only culprit here, this development takes place all over Asia with increasing speed.

    It’s funny, that us Westerners dream and look for that paradise with friendly, unselfish, non-material people – enjoying a simple, yet peaceful and fulfilled life in a developing country, while the developing countries see their paradise in the West, promised by endless advertising and seen on western TV shows and else. The grass seems always greener in neighbors garden. In the end all will probably average itself out. Meanwhile both sides are ruining their environment, destroying what little paradise it left somewhere. Maybe it is a good idea to not communicate if you found your own paradise somewhere, as others soon will follow and the cycle will start again? :-/

  75. ryan ZoupNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    WOW =D>maybe i am the young one of this chat.but CHRIS always well to do it better haha funny.in those blog what you write for retire and living for cost “DO YOU KNOW that you can”is only BALI,INDONESIA the cheapes live and enjoyment.you are talking about retire early sounds so disgusting,i mean you retire in 30 but in the ends you are worry with your money “i must do some income,i must do some income”so you are try to do with website or other blog to support income.what wrong with work you still enjoy around the world in your day.haha dont so FOOL if you can work just enjoy it when the time is over you can relax hoohoo ME, i am 21 i enjoy with my study and small business in indonesia i have boat and one cafe in my hometown lampung,inadonesia and i happy being work the people who said retire early is LAZY,i think just looossserr to want enjoy and in the ends they are look so stupid want to do SOME INCOME, SOME INCOME.so you guys i respect your opinion about retire early but DONT cry when you are old you lose and you need income haha :D

  76. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    ryan Zoup, great that you think like that! Nobody will stop you from continue to working and enjoying your life as you grow older. ;-)

  77. ryan ZoupNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    yes dude,because i still young i must work. =D>

  78. NautankiNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    I am 37 years age. Married. Have a 7 years old kid. I live in Mumbai, India. I own 2 BHK apartment at decent locality and also own a car. My monthly expense runs into 40,000+

    I hear and see practically so much about inflation etc. recently and the need to save for tomorrow. So how much should I really have in my bank, so that I can live off of bank Fixed Deposit interest payments and also beating inflation and preserving that corpus in bank. I also have to think for my daughter’s higher education and her marriage.

    Can someone please help :-?

  79. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Nautanki, that will be harder for you and also depends on your demands and lifestyle. It’s definitely more difficult with kids and the older you are. Only relying on fixed banks deposits wouldn’t probably cut it alone, you might want to diversify your savings into other investment forms as well (high dividend stocks, other forms of passive income). You have an apartment already, which could bring you rent as passive income. But if you live in it yourself – fine, you will save on your own rent – but it won’t bring you any income.

    I must admit, that the above article was initially written for Westerners, as it would be easier for them to save in their high-salary countries and live off their saving in low cost countries; living off their hard currency income streams as passive income.

    For you growing up in a lower cost country it will be naturally more difficult, as where can you likely move to enjoy even lower costs of living? Purchasing Power Parity wise, India is already in the lower 5-10% of the world. Sure, you can move to the countryside or out of Mumbai – but then in India itself the difference in costs isn’t probably that great, than moving from Europe, the US or Australia (from 100-110% Cost of Living areas) here.


  80. adventuresaddictNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Generally Chris makes a good point saying that one should hold his income-generating assets in hard currencies and to spend in weaker currencies. But we seem to be living at a turning point in financial history now.

    The US govt is churning out trillion of dollars in paper money to battle against the once-in-a-generation financial crisis. This means that the hardest currency may soon soften. On the other hand, if you are able to keep some money in Chinese yuan in a Chinese bank account, and you do spend some time in China, it might be a good plan to keep some of your money in yuan. And, the hardest currency isn’t US$, but Gold. While paper notes may be churned out, gold can’t be.

    So, keep some hard assets like gold (maybe 10-20% of your assets) to safeguard against devaluation of paper currencies and inflation. If you want to travel long-term, it’s also important that you don’t tie too much money into non-income-producing assets like gold.

    You need some income in the form of dividends, interests, rental or annuity income to survive. So, ideally, you should have a variety of sources of income, including a property that can be rented out for regular income (providing you can repay the mortgage asap), a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds (eg. mutual fund or ETF), and a few (2-3 insurers, in at least 2 stable currencies like Swiss Franc, Singapore Dollar, and Japanese Yen which had strong surpluses for years) fixed annuities. I agree that you need passive sources because you can’t need to work for survival when you want to travel globally.

    Insurance seems to be left out in your game plan. IMHO, you need Hospitalisation, Critical Illness, Personal Accidents, Long-Term Care and Travel insurance policies. These risks are real. About half the population will suffer LTC after 65. A quarter of us will suffer from cancer, another quarter heart diseases, and another quarter from one of the other critical illnesses. Medical inflation is higher than overall inflation. As a frequent traveler you also are at exposed to risks covered in a typical travel insurance. Having fun is good, but if you don’t plan ahead, you may suffer when some of these events occur.

    I allocate my savings for perpetual travel into 3 accounts: Liability Account (for repaying mortgage and loans if any); Insurance Account (for paying insurance premium for the above-mentioned policies) and Income-Generating Account. Let me explain them below.

    I am buying a low-cost property which mortgage can be repaid in 5 years after I kick-start my early retirement, solely with the rental income. Since 5 years is not a long period, I can expect that the rental income will flow in smoothly to pay off everything I owe. I reduce my liability by opting for the cheapest roof which can turn into an 100% income-producing asset in 5 years, instead of expensive properties which need longer repayment. I also limit my property holding to just 1 unit, to reduce my aggregate liability, because the future is really hard to predict: we can’t expect the rental market to be as good in 10-20 years as it is today. So, in this Liability Account, the plan is to reduce the aggregate liability, and have a viable plan to clear the loans asap.

    Next, the Insurance Account. I opt for limited-premium policies. The concept is the same: I want to reduce my aggregate liability in the future. I won’t know whether I can still afford the premium 20-30 years down the road. So I opt for those that become totally free after I pay the premium for 10-20 years. By so doing, I reduce my risk of losing coverage when I am old as a result of not being able to pay the premium. To do this, it is important not to over-insure. For example, I opt for the most basic coverage for hospitalization (ordinary ward), critical illnesses (with benefits just enough to help me get the treatment and recuperate for 5 years) and travel insurance. This account should have around 3 years worth of premium dollars and be ‘topped-up’ from a reliable income source from the Income-Generating Account (IGA).

    IGA should consist of annuities, stocks, bonds, real estate, cash, and commodities. Having a fixed annuity gives you peace of mind because the income is guaranteed and not projected. But too much annuity will eat into your other holdings that offer higher returns in the long run. My annuity holding is 10% of my portfolio in annuities in 2 strong currencies whose issuing-govts have a net surplus instead of deficit. If you retire early, you should have a big proportion in stocks which provide higher returns in the long term. I have 40%. Bonds 10%. Property around 30%. Gold 10%. This is just an illustration of my target allocation but not recommended for anyone else because everyone’s situation is different.

    Of these, the property and annuity holdings provide sufficient survival income after the mortgage loan is repaid in years. I spend less during these 5 years by living in low-cost countries like Thailand, China, India and SEA. As you can see, I don’t need the stocks portion to sustain my expenses. I have the time-frame to wait for its recovery.

  81. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    adventuresaddict, interesting ideas, I’m with you 95%, although we don’t agree on all details. Myself I don’t believe in insurances, but can surely understand why you would like to see that area covered.

    After all, personal finance is mainly one thing – personal. Everyone has to find his/her own way to feel good about it and there are many puzzle pieces to consider for financial independence.

  82. adventuresaddictNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    You are right: everyone has his own means of getting to the same end. Since I am trained in Finance, I naturally take a more structured route to systematically analyse the components of risk and transfer them.

    You may be able to shop around for the cheapest healthcare providers globally (eg. in Goa) and self-insure your medical expenses. But a few things which I see as potential risk to all of us who want to retire early are:
    1) terrorist attacks (eg. Bali)
    2) Long-Term disability (due to age, accidents or illness)

    If you can afford to buy an insurance to cover these, try to. We will all grow old one day anyway.

  83. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Hi Chris, I just created a blog at http://halftimeadventurer.blogspot.com/ in which I shall share about the planning aspects for aspiring nomads. My personal view is those who aspire can start by becoming ‘half-time adventurer’ (HTA) and gradually increase their time for traveling as they build up their wealth by systematically building up their financial independence, something which I shall touch on also.

  84. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Sunny, sounds to me like a structured approach to long-term travel? Why not. Best of luck with your site – meanwhile I’m waiting for more articles from you. ;-)

  85. SarkadanNo Gravatar not found Says:

    Sometimes it’s not just about the money….you keep working because you don’t want to stop…and hey if you’re making money while doing it, then why not!

    Marrakech Holiday Apartments

  86. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    The question can be simply answered with ‘what do you want in life’ or it can be philosophical. Aristotle asked why we work. We work because we want happiness. And, happiness to him comes from knowledge and development of human potential, doing what you enjoy doing and can best perform. So, it’s really depending on what you enjoy. Some people work because they enjoy doing it and would even do it without being paid. Ask Buffett why he still works when he can never finish using even 1% of his wealth is he retired yesterday. But for most of us, working is not enjoyable, because in most of the developed world most people are in a rat race. We thought that inventing machines and computers would lessen human race’s stress, but the truth is it makes the world more competitive, and we work much more than our ancestors did, and most are under more stress. In fact, there are more people suffering from psychological problems resulting from stress. So, to relieve ourselves from this, most would rather leave the rat race. Of course if you are the lucky few who are not suffering but enjoying working, then you should continue to work till the last day in life.

  87. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Sunny – truer words were never spoken! In the end, everyone has to make his/her own decisions. Although, many people have problems even with that… ;-)

  88. EarlyRetiredNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Living in Andheri, Mumbai.
    Married and have a 8 years old kid.
    Retired 3 years back @ the ripe age of 33 :)
    Working from home (freelancing) to meet monthly expenses and save a bit for the future.
    Don’t believe in working too hard, just enough to make the ends meet without touching retirement corpus.
    Retirement nest egg is sufficient enough to stop working yesterday :)
    Living way below our means, believe in sort of “cheap” living.

    Any like minded group of people who have lots of time at hand and like to hang around in the evenings or even go on short vacations with/without family, hiking, biking, go see different places in India?

    Only restriction is low to reasonable budget no show sha, orelse I will again be forced into rat-race, where I hate to go back and I also hate to work too hard..me lazy ass :D

    Interested chaps, do drop me an email at EarlyRetired@gmail.com


  89. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Great job done, Mr. Early Retired at age 33! The problem I found with meeting like-minded people is that they are always on the run to some other place. If you found some really good friends you will most likely stay in touch electronically for a while until you meet again. :-/

  90. SergeNo Gravatar FRANCE Says:

    Thanks for this great article. I totaly agree with you, a lot un person a really fucked up by their banks and they like it.

  91. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Hi Chris,
    One thing I am certain is I am not going to settle down and have children to worry about. The main advantage of becoming financially independent is one could choose wherever he wants to be, and whatever time he chooses, if and only if he is single. I guess your blog is going to become a good virtual meeting place for like-minded people who are nomads. It’d be good to learn about the experience of fellow nomads and share tips about the challenges facing us. We come from different industries, so we could contribute different ideas. For example, you come from the IT industry, so you could advice us about the latest communication technologies that help us get connected. I come from the finance industry so I can share some insights into the strategies to plan our finances so that we can be financially secure while living a nomadic lifestyle.

  92. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Great idea again, Sunny. Although I worked more in sales and customer-related functions – I’m less of a tekkie. I agree that financial independence is very much easier achievable, if one is single and without obligations, debt or bank loans.

  93. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I think you had explained the method for achieving Financial Independence young in concise terms elsewhere. However, for those who are keen to know more, perhaps they should read some books (meant for laymen) about the subject also. Some important topics include:
    1) The habit of regular savings
    2) Thrift and cutting back on discretionary spending
    3) Invest the excess in income producing assets that generate a stream of passive income (income that will be generated without you having to actively manage the assets or business)
    4) Insurance to safeguard against uncertainties
    5) Calculating how much you need (monthly expenses), which varies according to WHERE you intend to live
    6) From the above, ascertain when your passive income can exceed your expenses. When you passive income exceeds your expenses and you have some emergency fund (liquid cash), you are theoretically Financially Independent because you don’t have to work a day to survive.

    A very simple model might be:
    1) You have a job paying US$5,000 after-tax salary.
    2) You pay off your debts asap. So the $5k can be used to pay for your expenses + savings
    3) You reduce your expenses and set a target saving rate, say $3,000/m.
    4) You invest your $36k/y in assets that generate passive income. For example, stocks, bonds or property.
    5) You ascertain that you want to live in Southeast Asia most time, and that you need US$10,000/y.
    6) To derive the $10k/y, you could, for example,
    a) own a property costing $150k and rent it
    b) keep a stock and bond mutual fund of $250K and withdraw 4% pa from it
    c) purchase an annuity with a single consideration of $180K, for which the insurance company promises to pay you a guaranteed $10k/year for as long as you live, plus a variable bonus

    Of course, the above 3 examples differ in their levels of effort and predictability. The first option may require some effort from you to find the tenants, collect the rental, fix the property, etc. unless you hire a friend or estate management firm to help you do these.

    Option 2 requires less effort. You can park your mutual fund in an online brokerage and instructs it to remit the withdrawals of 4% electronically to your bank, and access the money with your debit/ATM card from any major town or city with an ATM machine. But the 4% is projected, not guaranteed, to be sustainable, based on historical data.

    Option 3 is the most predictable because you are guaranteed the $10k every year plus some bonuses. But you may not be able to withdraw the fund for emergency use like you could if you had invested in a mutual fund instead. But it may also be its most important advantage since you do not want to play with your income source. If you could withdraw it, you may spend it away and lose the goose that lays the golden eggs.Similarly, you can instruct the insurance company to pay the annuity pay-outs to your card-linked bank account and withdraw that income wherever you are.

    Having dealt with the income, you might, of course, want to save a little more which you can use for emergency. But if you want too much emergency fund, you may procrastinate the transition to nomadic lifestyle.

    After reading the blogs of several nomads, it seems that it is quite manageable for them to live on US$10k/y, so the above examples may give you a clue as to how much you really need to become a nomad yourself. Perhaps $180k in an annuity plus some allowance in mutual funds and money market funds (cash-like investment) could work. Of course, knowing that the US$ is likely to depreciate due to the enormous debt the US is having, it’s more advisable to park your annuity in one or two countries whose governments are fiscally responsible and sound, and whose currencies are likely to appreciate over time. Good examples would be politically neutral & stable small states such as Switzerland & Singapore. With a Swiss or Singaporean annuity, some investments in a balanced and globally diversified mutual fund and some liquid assets like bank deposit, you could be assured of a steady stream of income for as long as your live, plus some allowance for emergencies. If you also have some insurance, you would have additional protection.

    Many experts have suggested that the past decades of growth had been sustained with US debts, and that the coming years may see a depression to correct the irrational exuberance. This forecast is economically sound. So, I’d play safe by parking at least half if not all of my income producing fund into a low-risk investment like annuity in order to secure a guaranteed stream of income. If growth will be slow in the coming years, then my investment in mutual funds may not be sustainable if I withdraw 4-5% every year from it for years. It may shrink, and I may be forced out of retirement in this worst case scenario.

  94. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Wow – great tutorial to gain Financial Independence, Sunny! I wish that everyone would read that. The earlier one applies your steps, the earlier one can retire for sure. =D>

  95. ErikNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hey Chris,

    I also sent you an email – but I wanted to take a second to thank you for such an interesting and thought provoking website.

    I’m 18 months away from the nomadic dream – currently own a real estate agency and a decent investment portfolio. At 28 years of age, it’s difficult imagining ending the cycle of 72 hour working weeks.

    It was great to read through your blogs, and I (as I’m sure everyone seeking an escape from the day to day grind), appreciate you sharing your life.



  96. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Erik, thank you for the compliments! That makes it all worthwhile. And I’m sure you will have a blast once you reach your goals also! You are still very young and it’s great that you are already in this position, so you definitely made a lot of things right. Maybe you can share some of your insights here, when you have a bit more time?! :D

  97. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Hey, Chris, I wonder what kind of accommodation you use. For example, do you stay in hostels sharing a room with several others, or in a private room? What do you think about sharing a room with others?

  98. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I’m definitely too old for hostels, need my privacy. Usually I rent a small apartment on a monthly basis, Sunny.

  99. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Haha, I think I will also be too old then when I become a half-time adventurer, my concept of an alternative to nomad. Correct me if I am wrong. I think I am quite lucky to be in one of the 2 rare spots on Earth where people can become a half-time adventurer. I looked at the world map and asked myself where else on Earth is there such an opportunity. I can’t think of any now.

    To become a HTA, we must:

    1) Live and work in a place where we can save a lot of money regularly even by working in an ordinary job. It should be at least US$1000/month net of your taxes and expenses
    2) The country where we work preferably has low tax rates, stable financial system and good business environment. This is important for those who want to create a passive income. They can invest in stocks, funds or property and expect to receive a stable stream of income that is not subject to high taxes.
    3) work in a country situated in a region where the costs is low. It usually means you can fly there, live there and play there cheaply and quickly.
    4) be in a region that is politically stable and safe to travel
    5) be in a tourist-friendly region and where it’s easy to obtain VISA or the passport you have has VISA-exemption to most countries in region.

    I think the 2 places are:
    (1) HK
    (2) Singapore.

    Taiwan would have qualified if it doesn’t have political problems with mainland China. It’s not easy for people in Taiwan to travel to China now. Little direct flights.

    Now, imagine you work in HK or S’pore. It’s not impossible to save US$1k-2k/m and invest it regularly in a mutual fund. As I illustrated, if one does this consistently, has cleared his debts and is sufficiently insured, he could have saved up enough to become financially independent in 10y.

    Now, if he’s in HK or S’pore he can conveniently, cheaply and quickly fly to any country in Greater China, India, and Southeast Asia where the cost of living is as little as 30% of that in these 2 cities.

    This gap (70% cost of living) is important. And rare. If you work in Germany or UK, you can find so many interesting places around you with such a gap. There may be Eastern Europe or Southern Europe that are less costly, but the gap is smaller. Also, the tax is high. That’s why I said that HK and S’pore seem to be very unique in this respect.

  100. IgorNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I agree with your analysis. Its MUCH easier to save and build wealth iof pesky taxes are minimal. I would add DUBAI to the list. Zero taxes, great lifestyle, excellent airport with easy access to lots of fascinating places, and despite the recent negative hype there are still lots of high paying jobs.

  101. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    You are right. Dubai is a tax heaven. But I am uncomfortable with the Muslim laws there. I’d rather live in a city that adopts the common law. And, there is one big difference. You don’t have much choices if you work in Dubai on traveling on a budget regionally. So it may be a good place to accumulate wealth but not to become a half-time adventurer, who is a person who works part-time and travels to regional destinations monthly. If you work as a consultant, journalist or salesperson in HK or Singapore, you could combine a high income with low-cost traveling. In Dubai you can’t. If you wish to travel, you probably need to give up your job in Dubai or be earning such a high income that you may afford to travel to further places regularly.

  102. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Right. The other problem with Dubai is that they know very good how to suck the wealth your are trying to accumulate out of you again. Some Costs of Living there are unreal and completely out of this world. The huge difference between Singapore or Hong Kong and surrounding countries are a fact which definitely works in your favor.

  103. IgorNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I disagree that you cannot travel cheaply from Dubai. A new cheap airline just stared up last year call flydubai that goes to Asia, Turkey, Middle East and other interesting places for not much. Also the Sharia laws are not an issue especially if you work in a free trade zone like the DIFC. I have lived there for 2 years and it has been very lucrative and fun. There are over 200 nationalities there and its a very dynamic place. In fact I think MUCH more interesting than Singapore.

  104. EarlyRetiredNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    You are like a role model for many people who are wanting to retire early.
    If it’s not too personal, will it be possible for you to share some numbers?

    What age you retired and with how much?
    For how many years you worked?
    Since how long are you retired now?
    How much do you spend on an average per day, including everything?
    What are your sources of Income?
    Are you married? If yes, any kids?

    Hope I am not being too nosy, if so, please feel free to remove this message :)

  105. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Igor, no worries – if Dubai works for you – great! I recommended it also in various other threads, if you want to make money in a short term and can control your spendings, what’s then not to like about it. Myself I would prefer Singapore over Dubai anytime.

    Early Retired, thanks for the compliments, but still I can’t share everything here. In general I retired at age 34, that was 3 years ago. I worked before 14 years in sales-related functions in the same MNC, but in several cities and countries. My income derives from interest, rent and dividends; expenses vary, but per month it’s roughly around 800 USD. No, I’m not married, no kids and don’t plan to (both). ;-)

  106. EarlyRetiredNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Thanks for sharing those details. Roughly 800 USD is what I spend as well as family of 3 ppl. Although the difference is that I own an apt. so don’t spend on rentals. Ans since I am married and have a kid who goes to school, travel is very limited (for now).
    Assuming there are not too much legal hassle since you are not a citizen of that country. if you plan to stay at a place for atleast a year or more, why not buy a small property and sell it off at the end of the tenure? Buy a property in the area where actual (for own use, instead of investors) demand is always high such as most places of Mumbai. Just a thought…

  107. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    That’s the problem with SE Asia, that almost anywhere here (maybe with the exception of Singapore) the property laws are not in the favor of foreigners. In fact it’s so uncertain, that I would no recommend to buy property here, as those laws can be changed anytime and only you will loose. But hey – I’m no authority on this area, so if you have enough money and are adventurous enough, why not? ;-)

  108. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I think renting is more practical. It is too time consuming and costly and buy and sell properties.

  109. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Thanks Chris for sharing your personal methods for attaining financial independence.

    As Chris has shown us, it is possible to accumulate sufficient savings within 14 years if one were to work in a richer country where the salary is higher. Germany, France, UK, Italy, USA, Australia, Canada, HK, Singapore, Japan, Scandinavia, Taiwan and New Zealand would qualify. The point is, to be very specific, at the end of every month, after paying all your bills and setting aside an amount to pay for the taxes, you are still left with US$1-2k. To be safer, US$1.5-2k/m. That means in the region of US$18-24k of annual savings, which you invest for the long term, which means you can afford to take good risks by investing in stocks, bonds and property which fluctuate in value in the short term but which generally perform much better than bank deposits in the long run.

    As a general guide, one could reasonable expect to gain an inflation-adjusted returns of 6% per year for stocks, 3% for bonds, and 2-5% for property (due to easy credit property price was pushed very high so you may not necessarily make much returns if you bought at high prices in recent years). This may seem to be small, but consider the power of compounding interests. Remember also that by inflation adjusted I mean you get better off in terms of purchasing power every year.

    Let’s assume you save the middle- range amount of $18k/y and compound it at the respective 6% (stocks), 3% (bonds) and 2% (property) at the end of the following number of years:

    Stocks Bonds Property
    1 $19,080 $18,540 $18,360
    2 $39,305 $37,636 $37,087
    3 $60,743 $57,305 $56,189
    4 $83,468 $77,564 $75,673
    5 $107,556 $98,431 $95,546
    6 $133,089 $119,924 $115,817
    7 $160,154 $142,062 $136,493
    8 $188,844 $164,864 $157,583
    9 $219,254 $188,350 $179,095
    10 $251,490 $212,540 $201,037
    11 $285,659 $237,457 $223,418
    12 $321,878 $263,120 $246,246
    13 $360,271 $289,554 $269,531
    14 $400,967 $316,780 $293,282

  110. EarlyRetiredNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Are there anyone else here who has smaller kid(s) and has taken the plunge?
    Can you share your experience so far? And how you are enjoying your early retired? Did you move to cheaper countries? Are kids liking it?

  111. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Good advice again, Sunny – thank you!

    Early Retired, there are people out there who retired with young kids, but it’s definitely more difficult or costly. It would probably help to move to other shores with a paid job and your kids first to check out how it goes. And yes – kids usually love other countries, different cultures and adapt easier than us grown-ups. :D

  112. CarlosNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    GREAT conversation here! I recently have returned back to work after having to use all of my retirement. I am 36 yrs old and make 73K a year. NOT after taxes. I TOO want to retire early and plan to live simply. I want to get rid of my car (which eats up 400$ per mth incl gas, pymt, ins, prking, and maint), don’t have a tv, no cable bill, but i do have a laptop and internet (23$/mth). Those are some of the things that I have been able to do in order to live simple and save.

    Unfortunately, I live in DC and it’s a little expensive and I read a lot of you who say that living overseas would be really cheap. Don’t forget that there are places in the US that are just as cheap. For example, South Tx in the Rio Grande Valley, you can still get a full brick home for about 40-60K. Almost new. Food is cheap, mexico is right next door, and the weather is nice. That’s where I am headed in 15 years…that’s my goal to retire..Can I do it? We will see.

  113. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Carlos, best of luck to reaching your goal! Yup, there are probably places in the US, which are just as cheap as Asia or South America. But don’t forget, that not everyone here is an American or simply can move to the US to live cheaply there. Also, when you are used to travel other continents you might find out that the US is the last place where you want to return to. Just joking! :D

  114. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    There are a few things that one needs to know to prepare for retirement.
    1) Taxes
    In Carlos’ case, if he is a US citizen, he has to pay taxes to the US govt wherever he lives in. So, if he is planning to retire and doesn’t want to continue to pay taxes, he should plan to renounce his US citizenship and acquire a new one. For example, if he becomes a Canadian or Australian, and does not live nor have assets in Can/Aus, it is possible not to pay any taxes at all to these countries. But as an American, he doesn’t have this option. Even if he parks every single cent of his retirement fund overseas and never steps into the US again, he still has to pay taxes to the US. Worse, due to its bailout packages, the US will likely increase taxes to cover the widening deficits. Solution: Acquire a new citizenship, renounce US citizenship before retirement, park all money overseas beyond the reach of Uncle Sam.

    2) Medical Costs
    While the housing and living costs may be indeed low in rural places in the US, the medical costs are not. The insurance premium will increase and it seems the US govt is unable to bear the burden due to its deficit, so more of the burden will be pushed to the tax payers. Unless you are an immortal, you do get sick someday. That of the premium may eat into your retirement fund. Solution: Buy an overseas (in a country which has reasonably high standard in medical services and lower costs, such as Thailand, India, Malaysia, Singapore) medical insurance when you are still healthy, renew it without lapse.

    3) US$ May Weaken
    Moreover, the US$ is expected to shrink as the US govt has increased the US$ supply. It is overly valued. So, when the balance comes it will mean inflation. More US$ needed to buy the same goods you import from China. Solution: diversify your portfolio internationally.

    4) Do you want to live and die in a small rural town till death?
    That may be quite boring to me. With the same budget you could have enjoyed travelling to many different places like Chris is doing. Solution: make enough to retire like Chris did. As we discussed, for every US$10k/y of income you need, you should plan to have US$250k in your nest egg. So you may plan to save up US$250-400k then do like what Chris is doing now, hopping around the Asian region and enjoying the freedom.

  115. EarlyRetiredNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Darn, why did I get married?
    Now no escape from this ultimate Maaya Jaal, so called the Matrix ;-)

  116. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    The Matrix? Nice comparison to marriage. At least you took the right pill already. There definitely is no spoon! :))

  117. IgorNo Gravatar UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Says:

    Sunny. I agree that the US tax system is very unfavorable, especially for permanent expats. The only good news, for now, is that the first $90,000 of income is excluded from US taxation if you live overseas. So if you live in a zero tax jurisdiction (like Dubai) or a low tax jurisdiction (like Singapore) you can get at least $90K or $180K if married filing jointly free from US tax. So no need to renounce US passport if you earn less than that amount. BUT I would always advise having a second passport as the world is very unpredictable these days!

  118. sunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    The problem with the US is that the deficit is growing, and once the Chinese no longer buys US bonds, then the US$ will shrink, hyperinflation will come and taxes will have to go up. The Democrats might like to tax the rich, but when the Republicans come into power one day, they may reverse the rules. So, why should one who’s planned to retire overseas still keep a US passport? This country is seriously indebted.

  119. VineetNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I used to think the way it has been written above, i feel glad that u have proved that this kind of life is feasible.I have been thinking like this for quite a while, and now for some time i have started planning the finance in such a way, that i can afford this kind of nomadik life. If more people with this kind of views are seriously thinking this way then i think lets have a community . You can also conatct me at vineets23@gmail.com

  120. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Vineet, there are definitely more people out there, who think and live their lives like that already. I’ve met quite a few on the road. The problem with those Nomads is, that you can’t settle them in certain communities, as it becomes boring after a while. But it’s interesting to stay in touch via social networks online these days and nice also, to catch up after a few weeks or months on the road with fellow soulmates in a different country. Best of luck for you plans! ;-)

  121. GemmaNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hi Chris,
    I like reading all these coments and ideas on how to retire early and have always the time to enjoy life, and not be slave to work forever. Structured planning of personal finances which many us are very poor when it comes to this arena.This should never be the indicator whether you get the best of life here on earth, because its false.

    People will never stops wanting of something whether you come from poor or rich country, we all have different mindset and cultures and values in life, some are happy to live in a tent be contented in life…some are just cannot get by without buying and having that something. anyway..

    I agree in simplifying life when one gets older, I will not probably know how much is enough for me when I retire oneday, the good thing is that if I decide to go home to my country of birth “Philippines to retire” i am still very much adjusted of our village lifestyle ,,, very simple, not much money, but lots of friends and relatives around.. lots of laugh.. i dont even think of the time,,, I still eat the just fish and vegetables and rice everyday, go to the beach anytime and so i will probably go back to where I were accustomed to live when I was a child.No health insurance of course but good to have something for emergency,
    the only thing that worries me is that my partner and children will probably get bored because they are not use to live in a simple things of life.

    There are loads of great things that comes from the hardworking countries, lifestyle and ways of enjoying life, wether you want to live in Nepal or Japan, whichever, life is about choices and your style and taste of something you like to have.
    So I will think of saving now that I am working and if its not much so be it… so long i still have that place, love ones and environment that i want to slow down and share my life with.

    . .

  122. ChrisNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    A real quick comment on all of this ‘expert’ talk on passive or semi-passive investing as a way to retire, especially when you want to be a nomad instead of, lets say, an on-site landlord or active asset manager (usually meaning that you are buying and selling relatively often and with great skill and insider information).

    Its a fools path, in my opinion, unless you are lucky (yes, I do mean lucky, not skilled) enough to ride a trend of quickly increasing value upwards and then sell at the top. A lot of this talk is regurgitation of everything ever written aimed at the multitudes of proactive stock, bond, and real estate investors out there.

    Those multitudes lose much more often than they win. Unless you can readily point to a personal advantage that will enable you to out-compete them, and the much more connected people who do win on a regular basis, than your chances of winning are not in your favor. Despite all of the propaganda meant to keep your money in the game long enough to lose it, that is the truth.

    And being ‘smart’ is not an advantage. Many, many people vastly smarter than you have never come up with a way to win long term through passive investment in the free market of stocks and bonds. I’m talking MIT caliber scientists and mathematicians.

    Why is it a fools path?

    The first obvious hurdle is inflation, which eats away at your principle, relentlessly year after year. Therefore, you must earn above the rate of inflation year after year, and if you have a losing year, must catch up to the year in which inflation eroded your capital with impunity. But there has been a claim that a good investor can earn 6% above inflation every year, and so I will ignore this hurdle for the sake of discussion. While an incredible obstacle, its not the overarching point of my post here.

    What obstacle is even greater than that of inflation?

    Information, and, in particular, insider information. ‘Winning’ the investment game beyond variations in luck alone, requires information that the general market doesn’t have. Price always adjusts to the information that the general market does have, quickly eliminating low risk profit margins beyond standard deviation (luck). This holds true for any prediction of low risk value increase in the future, as the price will adjust to eliminate low risk profits. Therefore, once the price adjusts, even if your investment advisory of choice is still promoting the investment as the next big thing, its already too late to make profits beyond the chance that you will have of doing the same in the casino. At least in the casino, you can quantify your risk. The more the risk, the more the chance that you will lose money over the long run. In the world of stocks, mutual funds, and bonds, your risk is unquantifiable and could be 100% without you even knowing it.

    The game is not rigged in your favor. On of the first rules of life is not to play losing games whether in relationships, work, or investments.

    Real estate is OK, if you know what your doing (most people don’t), but is much more high maintenance that people like to talk about. Don’t try to be an absentee landlord.

    If you want the nomadic lifestyle or a good chance of early retirement, business is your only real good chance of achieving such. I suggest you work on internet sources of income.

    Sorry for the rant, but the know it all starry eyed uber-capitalist neophyte advice givers get to me.

    Chris, I would hate the new capitalist culture in India that you describe. I have had intimate dealings with those people, and you cant trust them as far as you can throw them. It makes me sick when the asian/central asian brand of anything goes business culture manifests itself here in the USA. Some of us still believe in the power of someones personal promise and the sanctity of legal contracts and by extension the social contract. We are a dying breed.

  123. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I think that’s a very misguided view containing many contradictions. This subject has been rigorously studied by scholars for decades. Living on passive income is not a new invention. For example, in a university study, it was found out that a Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR) of 4% is sustainable from a diversified portfolio of roughly 60% stocks and 40% bonds. That is, even if a person had invested just before the recession and his fund plunged the following year, the rate would still be sustainable. And we are talking about the unluckiest person here. For the rest of the investors, this SWR would, of course, not be just sustainable but conservative. Of course, here, we are selecting a rate that would work even in the ‘worst case scenario’ and assuming that there is no other expenses involved. However, we usually pay fund management fees, transaction costs, etc. or even taxes. So, to play it even safer, we could:
    1) enter the market after a big slump (such as 2008 financial crisis)
    2) choose a tax friendly financial centre like Singapore and Hong Kong.
    3) Withdraw a lower rate (e.g. 3.5%).

    The point is to be:
    1) consistent (save regularly)
    2) disciplined (stay invested and maintain the allocation rate despite market ups and downs)
    3) diversified (don’t speculate on any stocks or country. Spread your investments across countries, industries, asset classes).

    But, of course, living off one’s passive income needs not mean that you must invest in the stock market. As I explained, if you are very risk adverse, you could buy a traditional insurance policy that works by bonus declaration. The bonuses declared every year consist of a guaranteed amount and a projected amount that is based on the underlying life fund’s performance. However, once a bonus is declared, it becomes guaranteed, so your cash value cannot fall below whatever had been declared. When you are retiring, you can buy an annuity that guarantees the monthly pay-out. Traditional insurance policies and annuities are less volatile than direct market participation by investing in mutual funds, stocks and bonds for these reasons.

    Suppose you are aged 50, and the rate of annuity pay-out is 5% of your lump sum investment, then, for every $100,000 you use to buy an annuity, the insurance company pays you $5k/year, regardless of the market ups and downs, for until you die. If you want a Guaranteed Income of $10,000/y, what you have to do is to buy an annuity with $200,000. Whether the market goes up or down, your $10k will be paid every year for as long as you survive. Some annuities offer additional pay-outs that are non-guaranteed on top of the guaranteed amount. This gives you more income during the good years. Annuity should be considered by those who are either risk-adverse, ill-disciplined or not confident of their investment skill. It gives them peace of mind. They don’t have to suffer sleepless nights whenever the market becomes volatile. I guess many nomads would appreciate such stability and predictability offered by annuities. When they have retired, they don’t want to worry about their financial future anymore. What they want is stability and predictability that the $10,000 will be available every year so they can continue to live well.

    Of course, when you are considering to buy an annuity, you should look at countries with sound financial regulatory framework, strong currency, low inflation, and unrestricted international flow of fund. You don’t want to place your money with an insurance company that is poorly regulated and hence may collapse any time. You don’t want your pay-out amount to shrink in purchasing power quickly. You don’t want to have problems accessing your money due to legal restrictions.

  124. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I’m 100% with Sunny on this one. If you invested regularly over a long period of time, have a diversified portfolio of several income streams (rent, interest, dividends) and use a conservative approach towards spending (without negative debt and spending less than what you earn), you can sustain that indefinitely. I only retired 4 years ago, but if I look at my savings now, they didn’t get less, but actually increased by a significant percentage, with the worst recession in decades in between and me doing nothing like daytrading or heavy buying and selling. It simply works. But yeah, maybe that’s just me being lucky. Lucky me then! ;-)

  125. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I am glad your portfolio has performed well! I think the subject of investment has got many people confused. Many still don’t understand the difference between investment and speculation. But fortunately, for those who don’t really understand this subject, there are products that make their life easier. I have mentioned 2 above: Traditional Insurance Policies and Annuities.

    Another product that is more volatile but investor-friendly is mutual funds with a targeted date of retirement. For example, if you are 20 years away from intended retirement age, then you could choose a mutual fund with ‘2030’ (2010+20=2030). It will adjust the allocation between stocks and bonds for you automatically, with more allocation being put on bonds and less on stocks gradually. This will reduce the volatility gradually. You could purchase and accumulate units in such a fund gradually. Instead of you adjusting the allocation every year, the fund manager does it for you.

    For those who are investment savvy, they could buy stocks or mutual funds themselves. Generally, if you are young and are at least 20 years away from intended retirement age, you should focus on equities. Perhaps 50-80% in equities and the rest in bonds, depending on how much volatility you are prepared to experience. As you are nearer to your retirement, you generally don’t want to be upset by a major unexpected financial crisis, so you may gradually reduce the stocks %.

    But whether you buy mutual funds, traditional insurance or pure stocks, the point is you are doing something, and saving bit by bit.

  126. PatrickWNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Let me first say that I’m impressed with the level of conversation that is going on in this blog response two years after the original blog posting date! @ Chris: Thanks for posting this great blog.

    @adventureaddict: As another finance guy, my take on insurance such as disability and LTC is that they insure against the insured person’s potential loss of future earned income. If the insured person is already early retired and do no plan on earning much future income, then the need for these types of insurance is minimal — unless one projects that the daily cost of being disabled or in need of long-term care to be much greater than being retired early and traveling. However, I still would get a very high deductible health insurance policy. It’s really not a health insurance as much as it is a portfolio insurance against being wiped out by a major hospitalization.

    @Sunny. I have read on various Thailand retirement forums that a comfortable level for retirement in Southeast Asia is $2,000 USD/month in today’s dollars. I haven’t lived in SE Asia since coming to the U.S. as a teenager, but if we use Chris’ budget of $800/month as a baseline, I think $2,000/month may not be that far off if one wants a condo with a gym and a pool and nights out on the town.

  127. PatrickWNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I’m probably breaking Netique left and right by leaving two consecutive blog replies in a row, but what the heck, you only live once!

    @Sunny, good for you to point out that not everyone wants to live in Small Town, USA. I, for one, don’t want to live in a small town USA for the rest of my life. I have already done it once in Colorado. It was a fun time for me at time because I was really into bicycle racing, and Colorado has a great cycling culture, but beyond cycling and skiing, there isn’t that much diversity or fun. That’s why I moved back to the East Coast. It probably will be fun to bum around a ski or cycling friendly state for a year or two, living out of an RV or a cheap rented apartment, but to be permanently tied there? No thanks.

  128. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    PatrickW, no, you are not breaking Netiquette here and your comments are very much appreciated! Please, leave some more on other posts also!

    And yup, Health Insurance, other Insurances and ones budget are highly subjective issues. I don’t comment on every request here anymore, as some items are more agreeable for others. But that’s just life and everyone should find his demand, how much or little one want to be insured to feel save enough to live ones life – small town in the US, beach life in Thailand, Bali, Boracay or wherever. Life is simply too beautiful to stay worried all day. :D

  129. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Hi Patrick,
    1- “my take on insurance such as disability and LTC is that they insure against the insured person’s potential loss of future earned income. If the insured person is already early retired and do no plan on earning much future income, then the need for these types of insurance is minimal”<—-For Disability Income (DI), yes, it's to insure against loss of ability to earn your income. But for LTC, it's different.

    For an early retiree, the worst that can happen is he becomes disabled not occupationally but in terms of Activities of Daily Living (ADL), meaning he can't perform 3 or more of the 6 essential activities that we healthy people usually need no help with: transfering, dressing, showering, toileting, feeding and mobility. Now, when a person needs help with these, he may need to hire a maid or to be sent to a nursing home, and this costs money.

    So LTC insurance to to insure the financial loss to his retirement nest egg's depletion caused by ADL disability, not financial loss due to him not being able to work and earn an income.

    Which is why I mentioned LTC insurance, not DI and Critical Illness (CI). People who are down with cancer, for example, may not be able to work for a few years, and the insurance for CI is meant to cover the income loss during this period plus treatment costs that are not covered under a typical Hospital and Surgical insurance (H&S). H&S may not cover all outpatient treatments.

    Now, when a person has retired, the two most important insurance would be:
    1) LTC (explained above, it may deplete his nest egg)
    2) H&S (same reason as above).

    The need for CI would be less because the need to cover risk of temporary loss of earning ability is less, since the retiree would presumably no longer be required to work for an income. As for DI, he would not be eligible if he has no occupation as a retiree.

    Now, the problem with those who retire in USA is both LTC and H&S insurance are very expensive. So, if you had read my comments, I suggested that if the retiree relocates to Asia like Chris did, then buying both these insurance from an Asian insurer may be financially sound if the premium is low and the retiree is still healthy, hence insurable without exclusions. If the premium is under US$1,000/y, it would be quite affordable. Fortunately, the premium rate may be this low for basic coverage in both areas in certain Asian locations like Thailand and SIngapore. In the USA, the premium should be much higher.

    In both Thailand and Singapore, there are high-quality hospitals and nursing facilities. But as I also suggested earlier, a nomad might consider investing in a long-term VISA programme in one of the Philippines (SIRV), Thailand and Malaysia (MM2H). The reasons, beside those I mentioned, include the option to be nursed or treated there should LTC or serious hospitalisation be needed. Among these, the Philippines seems to be the best. There are good hospitals and nursing facilities near Manila. They speak good English. Cost is low.

    SO, you might be interested to get a long term visa there and look at LTC and hospital insurance available in the Philippines. Worst come, you can use the insurance to cover for your hospitalisation and nursing care there. If the premium is within the range of US$1,000, I think it is stilll affordable.

  130. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I think LTC and Hospital and Surgical (H&S) insurance are particularly important for a few reasons.

    While a person who is working and still needs to work in order to accumulate enough savings for retirement needs to protect the ability of him to continue working, a person who had retired would need to protect against LTC depleting his retirement fund. That’s the difference between Disability Income insurance and LTC insurance. LTC insurance is different from DI in this fundamental aspect.

    The same goes for H&S: protect against medical expenses depleting one’s nest egg.

    Now, should a nomad have both insurance? It depends on whether the premium is excessively high. If the premium is under 10-15% of his annual retirement income, I think it’s worth considering, For example, for a nomad with an income of US$12,000/y (e.g. from a nest egg of US$300,000 generating 4% per year), if the premium for both insurance is below US$1,200-1,800/y, leaving US$10,200-10,800 per year for other expenses, then it is worth considering.

    But in certain countries like US the premium for both insurance is very high. It may eat too much into the regular retirement income and leave too little for his expenses.

    That’s why I suggested considering to buy insurance from an Asian country like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand or the Philippines. The premium is usually lower. Also, a nomad in this region usually needs medical care or nursing home here, so it makes sense to be insured by an local insurer.

  131. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Having explained about Long-Term Care (LTC) and Hospital and Surgical (H&S) insurance, let me explain a few other different kinds of insurance which are often confused.

    1) Disability Income (DI):
    This protects against loss of ability to continue to perform one’s current occupation or any occupation which is appropriate to his level of education, skills or training (Occupations: e.g. Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, Accountant, Professor). So, for example, if a surgeon is diagnosed with stroke and cannot perform any occupation that is appropriate to his level of education, skills and training, and if he bought a DI covering US$7,500/month of benefits, he file a claim for US$7,500/month until the expiry of this insurance, say when he reaches age 65. If he may perform another job, say lecturing or consulting though he can’t perform surgery, he may file for a lower level of benefits, say US$5,000/m instead of the full $7,500, because he is earning a reduced income. Certain DI policies also offer an escalating level of benefits of, say, 3% increase per annum. Most DI also have a waiting period like 3 or 6 months, meaning an insured can claim only after 3 or 6 months of continued occupational disability.

    As such, DI is usually needed to protect against loss of income earning ability by a person who needs to work in order to accumulate more retirement savings. That’s the reason why I didn’t suggest that nomads —those who had accumulated enough savings, are not working, and are not concerned about their ability to work for more income– consider DI. But for aspiring nomads who are working towards the goal of accumulating enough savings, they should consider this insurance which protects them against not being able to work in order to accumulate the targeted savings.

    2) Critical Illness (CI):
    This pays a lump sum upon diagnosis of any of a list of CI such as Major Cancer, Heart Attack, Stroke, etc.. This is taken primarily to:
    1) replace one’s salary when he is down with a CI because he may not be able to work for a few years or even longer.
    2) pay for medical expenses or medical expenses not covered under typical H&S.

    Should nomads keep CI? I think it is good to keep a small one to cover part (2). Since he is no long needed to work, there is no salary to replace.

    3) Life Insurance (LI):
    This is create an Estate that has not being accumulated yet. So, a person may not have accumulated $1m, but he may buy an insurance with a death benefit of $1m to create an Estate of $1m. If he dies, his family or charity may get $1m though he had never earned that much.

    Does a nomad need Life Insurance? It depends on whether he has any dependants and whether he wishes to give a legacy to any cause.

  132. EarlyRetiredNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Just a thought.. Go for a full body cleansing, like Panchkarma (they do it very well here in Kerala, India and I am sure many other parts of this world).

    The entire course runs for a full month. You literally get admitted to Ayurvedic hospital for the entire duration. You follow a strict diet and they go through different massage and cleansing processes.

    Also learn a few yoga and keep yourself safe from periodic allergies and even long term terminal diseases.


  133. JonathanNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I agree with every thing you say, except I like living in America and don’t want to leave. So I guess I can’t retire early in my thirties if I want to still live in a developed country. That kind of makes my sad, even though I want to retire extremely early. Does anyone else feel that way?

  134. PatrickNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:


    What is so special about America? It has its pluses and, if you are at least somewhat honest, its minuses.

    If it’s simply Western-style creature comforts such as supermarkets, packaged foods, and McDonald’s, you can get all those or their equivalents anywhere else. Electronics are not much more expensive elsewhere. You can get computers, TVs, and everything else.

    You’ll make new friends. With time on your hands, you’ll get to meet more people and the friendships that you make aren’t constantly strained by your work and their work.

  135. MickeyNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    How much do we need for a family of 4 to retire in a place like Malaysia? Say the couple is age 40 and with 2 kids age 5?

  136. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Ask yourself Mickey! How much would you need? How much do you spend now on food, accommodation, transport, utilities, internet and entertainment. It would surely depend on your demands, but you can live in Malaysia on much less than in the western world. I would say, that a family of 2 can survive on about 1.000 USD a month there, but your mileage will vary. Kids can also be quite a cost driver, but there is no general answer to that. You might want to check out the Cost of Living Spreadsheets for Bali, Phuket, Goa and Philippines. Unfortunately I don’t have any for Malaysia yet, but it should be right there with its ‘neighbors’ in Asia, except Singapore (which is of course more costly). ;-)

  137. RockyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Am a big fan of you..wish I could do what you have done..
    am orginally from india..so know how to live cheap..but in singapore its impossible..cost of living is too high,even with frugal living…

    Wish I could leave this damn place to somewhere nice .. no job.. no tension.. no slavery..

    Do you mind sharing..how much asset u had when u decided to call it a quit..

    Am at 200,000 USD in assets…but dont think will rising inflation and currency depreciation the figure is enought.. Dont think u can retire with this kinda money..even for cheap countries like india/phil/thailand etc ..its not enought anymore…costs are rising so much everywhere…

    I am still 29..so I guess will need to work atleast till 40 to retire … guess will need something like 1M figure at that time..

    Need to keep on working like slave till then … :-(

  138. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Rocky, your total assets sound interesting already for your age – although I agree with you, that inflation, currency uncertainties and other effects could probably deplete its value over the coming years and it might not be enough in the long-run.

    The key might be to diversely invest your assets, so that they will grow and also generate passive income for you, which compensates and outgrows inflation over time.

    Easier said than done and the investment mix will surely be different for everyone, but rent, interest, dividends should be your first passive streams of income to look into, working in a part-time business that you like and would not consider as work could also be a way. Also your location of retirement would play an important part in your decision, so consider wisely and actively check out possible options, while you still have the monthly cash flow to afford that painlessly.

    Wish you all the best for your plans, it definitely looks like you are on a good track! ;-)

  139. Ryan OlsonNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    I think it all depends on how materialistic you are and what you need to support your demands. Unfortunately most people are going to live by the rules and die by the rules. (Get a 9-5 job and retire when your 60) I think people need to think outside the box a little more. Also, I think people are scared of going after their dreams. I know that sounds stupid, but it’s the thought of failure which scares them. However, pretty much every successful person has failed atleast once on the journey to success, it’s part of the learning curve.

    Here’s a pretty inspirational article if you need motivation.

    How To Retire At 40

  140. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    My suggestion is you can start to acquire skills and contacts for a part-time business now. For example, writing, photography, make-up, web design, blogging and teaching English. Get an internationally recognised certificate in one of these or more. Develop an income source from it. Then start to gradually reduce your workload. By the time you have US$300,000 you could be ready for retirement. The calculations had been provided. To cut it short, 4% of $300k is $12k, which is $1k per mth. This is sufficient in cheaper countries like Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. Next, if you want to have a permanent visa, you might need another $70k for Malaysia’s Malaysia my Second Home or SIRV of Philippines. If you don’t, you could do without any and travel from one country to another in this region like what Chris does.

  141. GiordanoNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    hi sunny,
    real estate in malaysia offer about 8.5 yield with 300.000USD you can definitely make about 20K per year. this is what im going to do.
    Im an italian living in China, and im going to buy house in two places:
    if my calculation are OK i can get about 2K per month

    interesting is another way my friend did, however can sound more risky.
    he bought multiple houses in Malaysia (2), HKG (2), Italy (1), and he is planning to buy in china. he doesnt have much more than me, but he opened several loans with different banks making sure the Rent could cover the Loans of about +30% . please keep in mind he kept in the bank about 200K and 100K has been spent for down payments and to buy home transaction cost.

    in this way he has been able to keep money in the bank and own several apts. helping him to have an income of 1.5K to 0.8K depending on the situation. but his point is when he will be 50 he will own 5 apts and the incoming will increase

    to me this sounds a great idea…unfortunately he did never showed me number…im trying to figure out in excel and optimizing a system based on this concept

    please share your thinking, I think helping each other and optimize our life is the key


  142. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    If you are retired you can’t afford too much risk. What you want is predictability and stability. Putting all your money into ONE property is too risky. What if there’s some political risk or economic crisis? So if you are investing your retirement fund, consider the following 2 forms of investment, which we had discussed.
    1) Annuity
    2) Balanced fund consisting of 50% diversified stocks and 50% bonds.Withdraw around 3.5-4% of it annually regardless of market ups and downs.

    Annuity is the most straightforward option. You pay an insurance company a lump sum. It agrees to pay you a fixed income (plus bonus if any) every month until you die, regardless of market ups and downs. If you are 50 or older that might give you around 5% of your capital. If you pay it US$200k, it agrees to pay you roughly US$10k/y, or US$800+/m. This could be used as your survival income. You could invest the other US$100k in a diversified fund and make occasional withdrawals where necessary or emergency use. If you are single, you should be able to survive on US$10k/y in many parts of Southeast Asia. Chris had done that before. You can hop from one country to another as your VISA expires. For example, you might be given 30 days in each of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China.

    You can travel from one to another each month and repeat the cycle indefinitely. You could rent a bed or a small room in a hostel for US$200-300/m. That should take around 1/3 of your monthly budget. Another 1/3 could be used for food. The last 1/3 could be used for other purposes like VISA, passport renewal, health screening, medical consultations, insurance premium, transportation, internet and phone, etc. If you rent or own a foldable bike or motorised scooter, you can travel within cities economically. You can spend most of your time relaxing, reading books, enjoying the sceneries and beaches and socialising with locals. You pace of life can be slowed down significantly.

  143. GiordanoNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    wow SUNNY thanks a lot, if I really can achieve this, I will come to visit just to say thanks!

    so far I havent found any annuity which guarantee me 5% per year…but I keep searching; I’m 31 and not over 50 :P

    saturday im going to check with my advisor for mixed founds (stock/fonds)

    I have some questions since my current insurance is issued through my company therefore when I will resign it will be cancelled.

    I understood your example and I may not need DI/LI but only CI for point 2. and I agree, just in little percentage….
    now do you have any idea for a good insurance in ASia for H&S and LTC?

    im going to make sure it wont be more than 10% of my annual incoming.

    cheers :)


  144. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Annuities typically pay 5% only for those above 50, If you are younger you may either not be accepted into any or offered a low rate. So, in this case, if you plan to retire in your 30s, annuity isn’t a good option. You should opt for Plan B, which is Balanced Fund, as described. You can also switch from Plan B to Plan A when you grow older. For example, invest in a Balanced Fund when you retire at 35 and withdraw 3-4%/yr from the fund’s value every year. Then, when you become 55 –20 yrs later– withdraw a portion from this Fund to buy an annuity that pays you the required amount of monthly income (at around 5% of capital), and keep the difference in the Fund. By then, you might consider to invest the difference in a retirement VISA in a country where you want to spend most time in. You might already have this country in mind. For example, if you plan to retire in Thailand, then your insurance policies should ideally be bought from insurers in Thailand. Otherwise, you might want to purchase from a politically and economically stable and advanced nation like Singapore where the financial institutions are well supervised and whose currency is considered strong. This ensures that 20, 30 or 40 years down the road your insurance policies will still be good and that your benefits will be denominated in a strong currency that preserves the protection value you desire.

    You must shop around for insurance in Asia. Beside CI, I’d suggest H&S and LTC. In terms of importance, the order is:
    1) H&S
    2) LTC
    3) CI.

    The reason is H&S is something you need whether you are young or old. You may need hospitalisation not for major illnesses but also for food poisoning, dengue fever from mosquitoes, accidents, natural disasters. LTC is the next most important because the worst that can occur when you are retired is you become disabled (not dead) and need whole-life nursing care. Can you US$10k be sufficient? Lastly, CI is good to have though the most common CI claims-cancer, heart attack, & stroke-would have been covered under an H&S when you go to hospitals for the surgeries, chemotherapies, follow-ups, and warding. You want CI just to primarily have more cash to pay for those costs not covered under H&S, such as out-patient consultations.

  145. GiordanoNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    HI Sunny, my knowledge about balanced founds are really basic, however what I can’t really understand is the risk for example compared to buy properties and rent them out for which I’m more familiar, however I need ot agree with you that is much a big burden especially for whom want to be free to travel around the world.

    I have found a Fixed Monthly Return Investment Plan which sounds kind amazing however I would like -for me- but also for the other guys like me reading, how to understand the risk level and the things I should check and ask to evaluate the plan.

    I just take one I have found which has a good monthly plan; how to analyze better these kind of plan? on the network there are many

    I wish to know more about the topic; I figure out how important are these subject…but im too old to study now the topic

  146. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    One thing that goes often unmentioned, but Sunny emphasizes on it a lot, is your Visa. These days it’s mostly an overlooked, but fast increasing cost and time factor. In Indonesia (also in Thailand) there is a whole industry growing around that, adding extra costs to an already expensive part of your overall calculation. Depending on your visa, it can cost anything from 25 USD to 100 USD/month, just for the right to stay in the country of your choice.

  147. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    You are right, Chris. They have learned to profit from the growing number of travellers to their countries. But unless you want to live in just 1 country-for which you could obtain a permanent VISA such as MM2H (Malaysia) or SIRV (Philippines) to cover once and for all-it’s quite difficult to avoid paying these fees. The exception, though, is the APEC Travel Card, which is good for VISA-free travel to a few dozens countries for 1-3m. Many countries among the participating group allow you to stay there for 2 months. The trick, though, is how to qualify for it. You might want to try to set up a company which provides journalism or photography services. This might qualify you as a businessman who ‘needs’ to travel often to countries in the group. Otherwise, you might want to travel to those countries which offer VISA-free entry to your country’s passport-holders.

    For example, Singaporeans may travel VISA-free to a few countries in the region. There is an online guide (http://www.ja-travel.com/visa.html) that advises on whether there is any VISA requirement. Singaporeans could travel VISA-free to:
    1) Cambodia
    2) China (14 days)
    3) HK
    4) Indonesia
    5) Malaysia
    6) Philippines
    7) Taiwan
    8) Thailand
    9) Vietnam
    10) Japan (high cost!)

    Supposed you are a Singapore passport-holder, and you start the year from Singapore, and you want to travel mainly by land transport, paying NO Visa fee, you might do this:
    01 Jan Singapore-Malaysia (stay in Malaysia 01-30Jan)
    01 Feb Malaysia- Thailand (stay in Thailand 31 Jan – 28 Feb)
    01 Mar Thailand-Cambodia (stay in Cambodia 01-30 Mar)
    01 Apr Cambodia-Vietnam (stay in Vietnam 01-30 Apr)
    01 May Vietnam-Cambodia (stay in Cambodia 01-30 May)
    01 June Cambodia-Thailand (stay in Thailand 01-30 Jun)
    01 Jul Thailand-Malaysia (stay in Malaysia 01-30 Jul)
    01 Aug Malaysia-Singapore-(short ferry for Batam or air for other Indonesian cities) Indonesia (stay in Indonesia 01-30 Aug)
    01 Sep Indonesia-Singapore-Philippines (air, stay in Philippines 01-30 Sep)
    01 Oct Philippines-Malaysia (air, stay in Malaysia 01-30 Oct)
    01 Nov Malaysia-Thailand (stay in Thailand 01-30 Nov)
    01 Dec Thailand-Cambodia (stay in Cambodia 01-30 Dec)

    Using this plan, the total number of days spent in each country would be:
    1) Malaysia: 90
    2) Cambodia: 90
    3) Vietnam: 30
    4) Indonesia: 30
    5) Philippines: 30
    6) Thailand: 90
    with some days in Singapore for transit

    You might want to limit the total number of days spent in a year in any country to 89 in order to avoid becoming a tax resident. To do so, increase 1-2 days stay in Singapore or another country. You could also pamper yourself with a week to a month in a big city in China, Singapore, HK, Taipei etc. taking an extra air trip to round up your the year. It might be a good idea to spend 1-2 weeks in HK/Singapore each yr to do your shopping since you can buy most quality products in these cities at a reasonable price. You might want to keep a bank account or insurance policy in these cities since their financial regulatory systems are much, much sounder than their neighbours’.

    As you can see in the above example, you would need to take only a plane on 2 occasions: 1) Singapore to Philippines; 2) Philippines to Malaysia. Both flights could be booked with Airasia or Tigerairways, the leading budget airlines in the region. The 2 tickets should cost around US$250 only.

    All those countries have low cost of living. You should be able to survive on US$25/day. That means around US$9,000/year. Add the land transport and air tickets, that should be within an annual budget of US$10k.

  148. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Wow, that sounds like a great idea, Sunny! Do you know who can apply for this APEC travel card? Is that only for residents of Asean countries or everyone? Maybe I have to consider again taking up Singapore on its citizenship offer…..or not? :D

  149. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Ah, I found some more info regarding the APEC card, here some more general info and here the participating counties. Unfortunately no European members (probably due to Schengen obligations), but nevertheless an interesting option if you hold a passport of one of the countries mentioned.

    It seems that for Hong Kong it would be enough to be Permanent Resident, it’s not needed to be also Passport Holder. I just sent an e-mail to ICA Singapore, to inquire if a similar rule applies to Singapore PRs. That would be cool for sure! ;-)

  150. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Hi Chris, it’s only for citizens of countries participating. Most are in ASEAN or Asia (http://www.businessmobility.org/key/ABTCArrangementsMarch2006.html), so as a German you couldn’t apply. The examples above are not applicable to APEC holders. They are applicable to Singaporeans holding ordinary passports. For you, you might want to find out which countries in the region allow you as a German to enter VISA free. Then plan around these countries. Move from one to another so that you don’t stay in any for more than 89 days in a year, and so that you can avoid becoming bored with any country. Try to use Malaysia as your travel hub and Singapore as your finance/shopping/medical hub. AirAsia is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur. From KL you can travel cheaply to all the countries in the region. Singapore’s banks, insurers, hospitals and IT malls are the most reliable in the region.

    The above is just what I will do when I myself retire. I will try to obtain an APEC card because I love China (Thailand also!), With this card I can stay 2mths on each entry instead of 2 weeks with a Singapore passport.

    That means with this card I’d be able to save on traveling cost. With 2-3mths in each country, I only need to move 4-6 times from 1 country to another in a year. An example might be, if I had this Card:

    Jan 01: Singapore-Malaysia (2m in Malaysia)
    Mar 01 Malaysia-Thailand (2m in Thailand)
    May 01 Thailand-Cambodia (1m in Cambodia)
    Jun 01 Cambodia-Vietnam (2m in Vietnam)
    Aug 01 Vietnam-Cambodia (1m in Cambodia)
    Sep 01 Cambodia-Thailand (2m in Thailand)
    Nov 01 Thailand-China (2m in China)
    (at Dec 30, take a flight to Singapore to start the cycle again for the following year after doing some shopping in Funan IT Mall, some banking in Shenton Way, and probably a yearly health check-up in any public hospital).

    Singapore: less than a week
    Malaysia: 2m
    Cambodia: 2m
    Vietnam: 2m
    Thailand: 4m (under 180 days’ stay, which is a measure for tax residency in Thailand)

  151. peterNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Thanks for your post. You remind me today is a friday and the lotto price is 35 million CAD. And I need this money to retire. But if i hit it tonite. I will come back and give u 20% of it because your post remind to buy lotto ticket. so Do you think 20% of 35million CAD is enough for you ?

  152. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    peter, no worries to share your lottery win with me. I definitely don’t need that much. You can keep it all for yourself! More money usually means also more worries. I prefer to be worry-free! :D

  153. PatrickWNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Still going strong. Perhaps this thread needs to be broken out into a site of its own.

    Sunny, can you suggest some of the internationally known certificates for teaching English?

    I have quite a bit past the minimum bank roll discussed about here, but even at 40, I’m still debating if I should just give the bumming around a try. The scary part is letting go of the self image as a professional for the past 15 years. The other scary part is the fear of running out of money even though every on-the-ground report from all the sources tells me that $1500-$2000 USD a month is a life of plenty of relaxation, good food, and fun whereas that same amount of money back in the States allow me only to sit in my apartment, go out dancing once a week, and go to work and pay for all the work-related expenses.

  154. PatrickWNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hmm…as opposed to uprooting and traveling every 90 days, wouldn’t it be cheaper to stay in one place for a year or more? You can get a cheaper apartment or a better apartment for the same money because you can sign a longer contract. You also will meet more locals and know where to find better deals. You also will save on all the traveling costs though you probably won’t be able to skip the visa run costs.

  155. PatrickWNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I must be in an expressive mood! However, if Chris can remove the 2nd of my two duplicate posts regarding the duration of stay in each location, I would appreciate that very much.

    For those of you wondering how much is enough, I would highly recommend http://www.firecalc.com which simulates your likelihood of achieving your early retirement goals using the investment returns from the past 100+ years, your spending needs, and your portfolio mix. It also has provisions for simulating part time income. It’s not surprising that even an $8000 USD/year job can significantly reduce your risk of running out of money.

    This part-time-work approach is one that I would take longer term. I’m not saying that I won’t be spending the first 4 months of my early retirement lying on a beach somewhere. I will, but after 4 months, I think I will have recovered my will to live again, and it will be time to get a TEFL certificate and start working at least 20 hour a week.

  156. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    PatrickW, thanks for your thoughtful comments. They are very much welcome here! Sorry for the late reply, as I was on the road the last few days.

    You are right in many points, of course it’s cheaper to stay longer in one place than traveling around all the time. It just depends on your personal preference. For me I prefer all-year round in warm climate, maybe avoiding the wet season which brings more rain than usual. So currently I’m commuting during rainy season to a country with opposite seasons (easy to do around the equator in Asia). But everyone has his/her own strategies in that regard. You still can use your visa runs to get a different scenery once in a while.

    Regarding your finances: if you currently can bring in 1.500 to 2.000 USD per month, that should be more than enough by most standards. Yes, inflation is high in cheaper countries, but the Costs of Living are still affordable and will probably stay that way for a long while to come. After all, it’s not that easy to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty and not every country has the resources and spirit that China has in that regard.

    So, what I want to say is, with your savings you will be fine and your worries will ease, once you do the step. And yes, there is always the chance to earn some little money on the side, be it with a local, online or import/export business. Opportunities are endless… :D

  157. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Cambridge does offer an international cert in tefl. Inflation should be well contained for reason Chris mentioned: hundreds of millions of poor people willing to work for US$1/hour. Could they survive if prices are raised? Or do they have the buying power to push up the demand for goods rapidly? Not possible. But there are however a few risks. Natural disasters, political/civil unrest, collapse of US govt, and epidemic that are always not taken into considerations by finance guys. If everything goes on normally, US$1k/m is enough. But what if something drastic happens?

  158. JocelynNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Chris, so is this how you can travel so much? I suppose with your internet business you can earn a good living even in the poorest of countries.
    But although it may cost more to live in the US, England, Canada etc. I think its probably safer. I think thats what you sacrifice when living in other countries, (of course this is very generalized). But correct me if I’m wrong, for I have not done much travelling at all.

  159. AJHInterNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    with all due respect, I think you are a package holiday zombi, i can asure you what ever you do where ever you go in world there humans if you show the aspect to life and others then you will be accepted even in war zones if you are neutral to all sides, obviously you have not so much experience, I must inform you that you are missing out of course its your choice, but give it a try i am sure no one will bite you.. and you will be as safe as houses.
    That means safe for sure………….

  160. ChrisNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Jocelyn, although I wouldn’t formulate it as hard as AJHinter, I agree mostly with his statement. Safety is a subjective impression, especially the societies in western countries try everything to put a fear ‘to lose safety in the world out there’ in everyone. So that nobody tries to swim against the stream and is a willing tool to contribute to their societies with their man power, years of life, health, youth, earned money through taxes without revolting.

    I don’t think I sacrifice anything by traveling to other countries, maybe except sacrificing my 9-5 job, heavy tax burdens and a deteriorating health due to heavy workload and burn-out syndrom. But then, that’s only me and some others, so your mileage may vary. ;;)

  161. TDNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    God! Am I relieved to see I am not the only person who thinks to retire early and relax! Been to US for quite sometime, saved approx 3,000,000 INR. But do you think this would be enough? If I FD it and assume only 7% interest – I will get approx 200,000 per year. I will avoid all big cities and will join my parents in our small township. We are both 33 and have a kid (3 Yrs). What kind of work from home option I could consider? Right at this moment (or even after 5 years) I can manage with that interest money every year – but I cannot forecast after that.

    Cheers to all!

  162. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    TD, don’t worry – you are not alone! Although I have no idea, if you could survive on your 3.000.000 INR. For a small family of 3, it sounds very little – but yeah, it would depend on the location you retire to, your style of living and if you can generate some extra income on the side. Good luck for your plans! ;-)

  163. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I think you should stay out of those areas that are blacklisted by the State Department of the US or its equivalent in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. That’s not many places that fall into this category. Most parts of the world are quite safe and lawful. Most countries in Southeast Asia are safe, except for places like Burma, parts of the Philippines where terrorists harbour, and the Muslim-majority provinces in Southern Thailand.

    Is 3,000,000 rupees enough? I don’t think so. You should work towards at least 2.5 times of this amount (7,500,000INR). Additionally, for retirement income, consider to invest a portion in stocks and bonds (through unit trusts/mutual fund; ETF; or insurance linked funds) rather than just bank deposit, which doesn’t give much returns. If you are so young, you should consider to work longer until you earn 7500000 in today’s value (inflation adjusted).

    Be prepared for drastic increase in living costs if you are living in a small town, as consumerism takes effect in more rural and suburban regions in India.

  164. AndrewNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Well I’m 21 now, I think I could live off £500,000 with a decent interest rate :P

    Will I ever make £500,000? Maybe one day!

  165. TDNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Thanks Sunny for your honest opinion and advice. I will surely try to save more (in case I can earn more than I am doing right now, or can go abroad for a long spell) – but don’t you think MF/Stocks/Bonds might collapse in case there comes another recession/depression like the recent one?
    Yah, your last point is very true; we used to have cheap vegetables/poultry/fish when we were young. But everything seems on fire nowadays. And I am quite sure it is going to be hotter every passing day.
    Somewhere I read that we should save at least 25 times of our annual income as our retirement nest egg. That would be around 1.25M INR – I am not very sure if I would ever be able to amass that amount (and retire).
    Take care.

  166. EarlyRetiredNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Kid is taken off the school, she is now being unschooled. She does whatever she likes with her time, no restrictions. It’s her life, we can only guide but she has to decide about her life.

    Finally about USD 800 is what I also earn now every month, without lifting a finger (a.k.a. bank FDs) Although I spend most of it, but hoping to move out of Mumbai soon and travel across India to small/big cities/rural areas. Also save some of this bank FD interest and invest that in pure stocks/MFs.

    Rest of family and friends thinks I have gone insane ;)

    You get only one life to live.

  167. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Wow! Some serious progress, EarlyRetired! Congrats and good luck with all your decisions! =D> You are definitely not insane!!! :D

  168. EarlyRetiredNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    I can’t believe I had commented on this same post exactly about a year back, in this same month.

    I will reiterate…
    You are like a role model for many people who are wanting to retire early.

    Congrats for having such a rocking blog.

  169. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Thanks again, EarlyRetired. Reminds me, to write a few more articles to keep it rocking! ;-)

  170. TDNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hey EarlyRetired,

    Awesome man! I really am liking you every passing day….I even tried to email you but that bounced. I too have same kind of feeling towards my daughter – also I dont believe in education anymore….
    Anyways, congratulations! Move to some small township of liking and you should be ok. Also, yesterday I was reading an article about some small island country somewhere which is very cheap to retire…check yahoo – I could not find the link anymore.
    A bit of caution though…800USD = 35K INR, so be careful because inflation will hit you someday , and you should always save some money out of this to take care of that….
    I wanted to talk to you more on different things, asking advise :-) if you don’t mind. Could you please send me an email at tamaldutta@yahoo.com?

  171. Thomas StintinoNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Nice one earlyretired… good motto… one life, LIVE IT.

  172. PatrickWNo Gravatar DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Says:

    Chris, I’m writing this from a small beach resort in the Dominican Republic while giving my early retirement a test ride. The scenery is beautiful. Just lying on the beach today was relaxing, and being able to go out for beers without feeling like 1/2 of my paycheck is being pissed away is relaxing in and of itself. My head feels clear for the first time in a long time.

    It didn’t start all peaches though. The first day here, I almost told the taxi driver to drive me back to the airport because the hotel wasn’t even up to par of a US motel. There were a couple of stray dogs lying in the lobby, and the vacant lot across had three vendors cooking chicken in converted oil drums. The hotel bathroom had a cockroach going through its death throes. When I finally dared to poke my head out the door, a couple of hookers across the way called out, “Chino!” No, I didn’t yell back, “Cuanto cuesta?” After recalling that not everything went well on every one of Tony Bourdains’ No Reservations, I ventured outside. Let’s just say that it took every last bit of fortitude for me to walk down to the beach and back to my hotel. During that short trip, I was offered the following: illegal drugs, legitimate massage, beer, not-so-legitimate massage, girls and more girls.

    Three days later, I have gotten used to moto guys and pretty much every other person trying to sell me something by simply powering ahead to where I want to go, and the vacant lots, well, that’s just how it is with the zoning laws around here, and the dogs turned out to belong to the hotel. The chicken actually tasted pretty good, and I didn’t even get stomach problems. (Knock on wood!) The girls, if you ignore them long enough, will stop bothering you. However, if I had gotten back into that taxi, I wouldn’t have expanded my perception of what is perfectly acceptable living condition.

  173. PatrickWNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Regarding the distance to siblings, relatives, and friends that someone wrote at the start of this long chain of replies, I’d say distance is not what matters but what matter are mutual schedule and mutual interests that you share. I have a sister who lives in New York City, and we hardly get together more than twice a year even though I live in Boston. We used to get together every weekend to play paintball when I lived in Philadelphia and she lived in northern New Jersey, but then we both got tired of paintball. I also have a long-time friend in NYC from back in the days when I lived in Colorado. He and I talk on the phone maybe 3 to 4 times a year. Everyone is busy working and doing mundane stuff that makes life possible, so does it matter where I live? I share more with my friends with whom I go Salsa dancing with here in Boston, and once I move to my early retirement destination, I’m sure that I’ll make new friends through language classes, surfing, and dancing. I believe that as long as I have hobbies that involve social interaction, I’ll find new friends.

    Of course, I’m not saying that early retirement means complete isolation from family and old friends, so this is why I still think distance matters somewhat for those holiday trips home. The Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia are much more convenient to people from North America than Southeast Asia.

    Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic also have fairly open retirement visa policies. The Dominican Republic in particular has no age limit whereas the other two require me to be of a certain age even if I can prove economic viability. In any case, if I quality and if I don’t want to make a visa run, I don’t have to.

  174. JanetNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Not sure if you remember me, but I think I left a comment on the blog post back in November 2008.

    Well…. time for an update! At the age of 25, I am officially retired. I’ve been retired for quite some time, but didn’t get a chance to update until now.

    I still “work” but all of my income comes from online sources, which allows me to live anywhere. Currently I’m in Denver again, but will be going to Peru in January! Can’t wait!! ;-)

  175. Ken BurnsNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I remember after one of my very first trips to the Philippines, back in 2005. It was an eye opener for me to say the least. I had been to Thailand many times prior to my first trip to the Philippines. I had bought some new furniture, and a few other things that I really didn’t need, but WANTED back in the states. Upon returning back to the states from the Philippines, I called the places that I had purchased (financed) these things from and told them to come and pick them up. I basically told them I don’t need it, sorry, get it out of here. Since then, I have made many trips to the Philippines, got married (filipina) and now squeezing every penny I can out of a dollar for the big move there. Of course I will have my company pension, SS and 401k. I’m 50 now, so hopefully I can take an early retirement at 55. I have only been with this company for 11 years, with no prior savings except for the usual SS with holdings. Hopefully it will all work out for the good. The only other thing I can think of for income there, is that I’m lucky enough to know how to work on Harley’s seeing I have always owned one since I was 21, so I know how to work on most of them. I know there is a demand for this type of work in the Philippines. I might even come up with a moped/motorcycle salvage/junk yard. I have never ever seen one in all of my travels in the Phils. Thanks for reading and do not hesitate to comment.

  176. PatrickWNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Here is another take on asking others how much money or when can I retire. To sum it up, don’t ask others. Some, like financial advisers, have vested interest in never seeing you retire. Some are jealous, some are fearful, and some just have more expenses than you do. You are the only one who knows when it’s time for you to pull the plug.


  177. DavidNo Gravatar FRANCE Says:

    Funny how I happened to read this post, just after I made a prepayment for my Home Loan, the Banks have been living of my interest, which just keeps getting higher. Been spending all my money on my girl friend I hope she does not turn out to ex like in your post, that would be a disaster, I could have paid my home loan long back but could not because of the cost associated with maintaining my relationship.

  178. martinNo Gravatar URUGUAY Says:

    Hi, i’ve read this, it’s so goooood, im from uruguay, one of those “low south american cost living country” i just want to say that Uruguay is most expensive for living than the US since ive been there a lot of times and i know how it goes, anyways this opened my eyes… i need to apply for college and i don’t want to get trapped in the cycle..

  179. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    martin, that’s great that you could take something out of it for your own decisions, on what path you want to set your life on! Keep us updated on how it goes, please! ;-)

  180. RahulNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi Chris

    this is third time i am going through your blog. I started thinking about this two years back and going to implement very soon. :)

    I am from India. its very rare to think and do in this country but i have decided to jump now. lets see. any other Indian who already did it please send me his contact details and some hints to make my ride smooth. ;-). mine email is rahulk789@hotmail.com

  181. DiNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    Hi Chris and everybody!
    I came up to this site and read advices, tips from Chris, Sunny, PatrickW… Interesting! I am about to move to Singapore next month, living out of a suitcase?
    As the discussing topic here is also about making money in high currency value country to finance for living in weaker currency value one or make some local side money during nomad life, I hope Chris allow me to post some questions here, as I am not reached to the fully retirement yet, only semi-retired or off season . I need some advices about nomad life in Singapore (though I’ve been here twice, only short stay). Where is good value accommodation? (I don’t mind to share with decent people.) How to find a job as a foreign seeker? I am looking for job as a cashier, customer service, or banking teller…or open for any type of jobs if I can handle that land me to stay in Sing, or I am open for business opportunities. So any nomads out there had or having experience living in Sing can help me, or give me some advices, please?
    I ‘m female, had BA in Business Administration, don’t speak Chinese. What are effective ways to find a job? Any good job agency? Any contacts, connection? I’ll be much appreciated. Thank you.

  182. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Rahul, no problem. Wish you all the best for living your dream and may lots of other Indians, who are in a similar situation like you, get in contact with you! :D

    Di, good decision! Singapore is a perfect example for that strategy, high salaries, low taxes and somewhat affordable Costs of Living (especially food/clothes/internet). I was in a similar scenario way back in early 2003, when I arrived in Singapore. Back then I lived in Chinatown just off Clubstreet, next to or even in the CBD area – a small apartment was there around SGD 1.300/month. Nowadays the same apartment costs around SGD 2.500/month. The Property market in Singapore really has exploded over the last 5 years, some even speak of a bubble, both in rental and investment real estate.

    For sharing places, there might be some more options, I remember that a lot of flight attendants of various Airlines usually share bigger apartments in the Changi area, but no idea on how to find out about vacancies. Areas have usually cheaper accommodation options, the further away they are from the CBD area. So most likely you should look into Bedok, Changi, Woodlands and everything west of Clementi. Although you should consider living close to a MRT station, the public transport system that most likely would bring you to your work place every morning.

    Not speaking Chinese should be okay, as long as you apply for global, multi-national companies with a subsidiary in Singapore. With a current unemployment rate below 2%, it is actually easy to score a job, if you have the required skills and some years of practical experience. Banking/Cashier I’m not so sure of, although every major bank in the world definitely has an outlet in Singapore, just I have no idea about the current state of that industry.

    Customer Service is always in need, that’s one of the most important sectors in Singapore actually and pretty much future-proof – there should be open positions in that field in most successful and profitable international companies currently.

    A tip: Logistics companies usually have their outlets around Changi or near the harbor and also in Jurong, so when you can score a job with them and accommodation in that area also, you catch 2 flies with one hit – you could easily reduce the time spent you need to get to/from work each day and your place should cost below the current average.

    Okay, I hope that helps a bit for a start of your research, maybe others can add some more ideas? ;-)

  183. DiNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    Thanks Chris for your quick reply. I’ll try to stay in China town this time, cause last time I was in Balestier, and Clarke Quay. Hmm, $2500/month’ll be quite dear, especially if fall into S pass. Then the strategy of earning in Sing and high living expenses wouldn’t work, right? Plus, the renting apartment price‘d be nearly the same as staying in a budget hotel, like $79/night, the value Thompson. Do you know is there like weekly rate in any hotels?
    And this time I aim for the recruitment agencies, so if anyone know information how to score a job for foreigners through which job agencies, please let me know. Thank you.

  184. LuDoNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Vietnam was a top choice for me 5 years ago. I just went back last year and boy have things changed, the cost of living in Saigon has shot up immensely. I guess due to the big influx of tourists from US, and UK the price of food & beverages has increased. Homes in Da Lat are now in the 300k range, which is more then many places in the US!

  185. лечение в израилеNo Gravatar ISRAEL Says:

    Lots of cash $ – that’s what i need to retire

  186. Johnny evansNo Gravatar SPAIN Says:

    Very inspiring post! I am working to do just that, sell all my useless crap and live basic again – i am getting to the stage where i hate clutter and only need my laptop and access to wi-fi so i can continue to do my internet marketing stuff to pay by bread and beer! oh well back to it, great post by the way. unfortunately too many people are programmed to think “i need this job for security” …

  187. Jared SeahNo Gravatar NETHERLANDS Says:

    Hello Chris,

    You inspire me! I’ll be retiring from “formal work” in 12 months’ time when I hit 44. I’ll use Singapore as my base, and take frequent excursions in to the surrounding regions. My aspiration is to be the Singapore Man of Leisure!

    Life’s too short. I’m midde-aged; but better late than never!

    Jared Seah

  188. BamaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Actually the last few days I’ve been thinking about this and reading this post has strengthen my thoughts. Although I work in a bank, I feel that we all shouldn’t live and work like this. There is something missing here. Your thoughts definitely worth telling the world!

  189. RolandaNo Gravatar not found Says:


    There is a lot of sense in trying to live life the way you want and not what is dictated by society in general. A few years back I decided to leave England and relocate in my native Accra and although it is not all that cheap living here the pace of life is much slower. I can’t apprecaite how people can go on being tied to mortgages and lifesyles which they are forced to work and pay for all their adult lives. It pays to plan and take an early retirement, travel the world, see other places, enjoy life to the full without having to stick to the rat race. Well done. Your article is immense inspiration. I hope you continue to enjoy yourself.

  190. MarkNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    I sometimes wish, that asia would respect a little bit more western hippi culture ;)

  191. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Thanks for all the updates and thumbs up! It feels good, that a lot of people can relate or even actively pursuing a similar lifestyle. That means, we really can learn a lot from each other and live alternative lives to the corporate and society-dictated scheduled frames, that people think that’s what their lives are meant to be.

    I didn’t get the comment with the hippies, Mark, can you please explain? ;-)

  192. MarkNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    Did you find them ? ;)

  193. DaveNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Stumbled on this blog and it has been quite an interesting read.

    Well, as for the Rat Race, it depends from where you are from. People from my side of the world want this sort of lifestyle,

    Your blog entry reminded of my korean friend who once asked me when i was visiting some cities- what is the specific purpose of my visit? ( I generally dont have a purpose, i just go and see)

    Keep up the travelling. ;-)

  194. Felisa BillyNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    If you take a look at history you will see a revolution against slavery on each and every few hundred years. I think now is a good time for another one against the monetary system but without blood this time. Get involved, take action!

  195. sherylNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    love this post :)

  196. SanjivNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    I am in North A for 8 years and reading thru the blog felt like my dream being read out.In India,there are umpteen smaller places with friendly climate to live on 1/10th ,if not 1/20th cost.Long to be there.It has given the momentum to my thought process of de-cluttering my life.

  197. steveNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    This article is so true about retirement. Do we really need a bunch of useless stuff? Take it from this retired 19 year old…..http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FBjGYXJWSHM

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