Expat Finance: How Working Abroad Set Me Up for Awesome
I’ll be going back to Canada in less than two months after ten years teaching English in South Korea. There are various reasons, but mostly I’m just tired of teaching and tired of living abroad. I need a change, in a serious way.
What I’m going to talk about today is money, and how you can turn your time teaching abroad into some financial awesome for yourself. I’ve talked a bit before about it in this post: How Working Abroad Set Me Up For Financial Awesome, but I want to get a bit more in-depth with some specific numbers, which are now more clear the closer it gets to the time I’m leaving.
Basically, after ten years teaching in South Korean universities, I’ll be going back to Canada with around $220,000 USD, or around $22,000 savings per year in Korea. Now, I certainly realize that people back home who are engineers, or doctors, or work in the financial industry certainly save a lot more than that. However, for an English teacher? It’s quite impressive, especially considering that I get 20 weeks of paid vacation, have an extremely stress-free job, and the exotic trips outside of Korea that I’ve taken 2-3 times a year.
How did I Save so Much Money?
It was a combination of a few things that did it for me, including:
- Upgrading my qualifications and using networking to get myself better and better jobs.
- Working a lot of overtime, sometimes up to 15-20 hours a week of it (at an average of $40 USD/hour). You can see that this clearly adds up quickly.
- Investing a ton of money in the stock market after the crash of 2009. Those stocks have now doubled.
- Frugal living. Despite making quite a bit of money, I still live pretty frugally most of the time. I’ve only eaten vegan at home for many years. I eat out and drink far less than the average expat in Korea.
- Passive income streams. I’ve been making between $200-2000 a month for the past few years from my dividend paying stocks, HubPages, AirBnb, Ebooks, websites, etc.
What am I going to do with the Money?
That’s kind of the big question and I’m pretty indecisive about the whole thing. Perhaps more dividend paying stocks, but it’s not an ideal time to invest and more than 1/2 my money is already allocated this way.
Perhaps buying some websites and kicking my Internet business into high-gear. But, I do have the skills to build and monetize websites myself from scratch. Plus, I don’t want to spread myself too thin, especially since I just bought a new domain that I have big plans for in terms of affiliate marketing.
That leaves property, either to live in myself or rent out. This is seeming like the most appealing option, but like one of my wise aunts told me, taking some time to make a decision is never a bad thing. See: What would you do with $80,000?
What’s the Moral of This Expat Finance Story?
Anyway, the moral of this story is that you also can turn your time teaching abroad into some financial awesome. While you may not have factor #3 going for you (stocks are at record highs right now), you certainly can do the other four things such as working overtime, living frugally, etc.
I’m totally and completely convinced that any English teacher in a place like Korea or the Middle East can put away $20,000 USD a year by working hard and smart. It’ll also require some long-term planning and sacrifice in the short-term. But, anyone can do it. No more excuses. Think about your medium to long-term future and how much better that will be when you have some serious money in the bank.
Expat Finance Awesome: The Wealthy English Teacher
If you’re looking to turn your time abroad into some serious cash, then you’ll need to read this book I wrote just for you: The Wealthy English Teacher. There are 10 steps you can follow including things like:
-choosing a job wisely and advancing your ESL career
-paying off all your debts and recommendations for how to do this
-investing in the stock market, and mistakes to avoid when doing this
-building some passive income streams
-and so much more!
You can get the book on Amazon in both digital and print formats. The (cheaper!-I know you like frugal) digital format can be read on any smartphone, tablet, Mac or PC by downloading the free Kindle reading app. It’s expat finance made easy!
p.s. Also check out the website: Expat Finance for English Teachers.