Timeline to a New Life

Below is a post I first wrote in November 2009. (Whew, how time flies!) I figure it might help a few others with the same questions I had back then.

expat man jumping shipIf you’re thinking about starting over completely new, you may wonder “How long it will take?

Fair question – and here’s my answer: 3 months. Three months is all it takes to drastically change your life, self and all that’s around you. And that’s assuming you have a house, job, perhaps even family as we did. Even as “settled” as we were, it was just 3 months from wondering about getting work overseas to all moved and working overseas.

Continue reading Timeline to a New Life

I Heard You. You Need Step-by-Step

After dozens of consultation calls, I see the pattern. It’s clear…

You Want Step-by-Step

Often I give what I call “big picture advice.” That means what people ought to do next, and why. For me, it’s the “why” that’s really important. It’s the reason, from my experience, it’s just why. But, many people don’t want why; they just want to know what to do. Okay, fine.

Okay, I Am Writing Step-by-Step. It’s Coming

UPDATE: It’s Done. Check It Out Here

I’m writing the step-by-step you’re asking for:

  • how to get over what’s stopping you (debt, job position, relationship)
  • how to write your resume (& CV)
  • how to apply for residency (a few different ways)
  • how to find the good job openings (how it worked for several clients, plus myself)
  • how to apply for the job
  • how to move abroad
I'm Writing a Full "A-to-Z" Plan
I’m Writing a Full “A-to-Z” Plan

You Also Need Tailored To You

Everybody’s unique. That’s why I offer consultation calls. However, not everyone can afford $120 $150 for the consultation.

I figured out how this can work. It works for each person (even you), but won’t cost even half as much.

So I Offer Custom Help as an Extra

Everyone’s situation is a bit different. And yet, the majority of questions are similar.

Still, there are always a few questions that really just need a personal touch. That’s why I’m offering support, after you’ve read the Step-by-Step Guide.

Early Bird Sign-Up. Save 50%

Done – I Did It! Sign Up Now

 

 

My Permanent Residency Interview in Canada

Yesterday was a big day….I went to my interview to finalize permanent resident status here in Canada.

Yes, I should write up a big post about how I got permanent resident status.  But for now, I’ll share how the interview went:

Continue reading My Permanent Residency Interview in Canada

5 Quick Actions To Do Today To Live Abroad

I can write all day, but the fact is, nothing matters, unless you take action.  Here’s a post to help just that.

Here are 9 things you can do, today.  Each thing puts you closer to moving abroad.

Action #1:  Decide “I Stay” or “I Go” (time: 1 minute)

I’ve wanted to move abroad for so long.” or “Ever since I vacationed in X, I dreamed of moving there.”  Sound familiar?

I purposefully made this first action the toughest action.  In crude English, it is time to “shit or get off the pot.”  Decide yes or no.  Decide to stay or go.

How to Decide to Stay or Go

  1. Ask yourself, do the benefits outweigh the costs?  Another way to ask: does being stable now with later regret outweigh temporary upheavel and transition?
  2. Answer and Decide.

Do Benefits Outweigh the Costs?

Benefits depend on where you move, but usually include:

  • you experience new cultures, food, people, and places
  • a better lifestyle, better outlook on life
  • sense of accomplishment and confidence, a.k.a. “I did it!”
  • wider, more open view of the world
  • greater tolerance and openness

Costs largely depend on where you are today in life, but usually include:

  • moving expenses (flights, shipping, temporary accommodations)
  • distance from family and friends
  • temporary upset in life

There are also the “soft costs,” like leaving your (stable?) job, having to say goodbye, having to clean house.  Then again, many would call these things benefits, not costs.

What are the Biggest Benefits?  Feeling a unfamiliar freedom, openness, experiencing new culture/food/people/space.  Kids get enormous benefit, too, way beyond what adults are capable of.  With just a small experience abroad, children benefit for the rest of their long lives.  How about you career professionals?  Professionals will see substantial value added to their CV or résumé.

How?  You decide and believe it will happen.  The “how” will follow.

Why this is important: Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.

** It’s important to take regret into consideration.  Looking beyond today’s costs & benefits … how about in 10 years?  Will you regret your decision?

Continue reading 5 Quick Actions To Do Today To Live Abroad

Why Are People Leaving The US, Part 3

Reason 3: Seeking Better Quality of Life

We already covered two reasons for leaving the USA already: Frustration and Seeking Adventure.  Now, we talk about those of us just wanting a better life.  And that about covers everyone.

Hey, Jeff, that’s vague, what exactly is “a better life’?”  How about a better standard of living.

Does that mean better healthcare?  More personal liberties?  Lower cost of living? YES, all the above.

So, I mean health, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Problem to Fix: Healthcare

I’ll make this short.  Healthcare will not improve in the US for your or your kids’ lifetime.  Sorry it’s a short, sad conclusion.  If this is important to you, move.

Okay, I’ll give my disclaimer.  I don’t know the future, but I do know it would take a revolution to undo the death grip on the healthcare system by the private healthcare industry.  The affordable care act (ACA) is definitely a start, but it will take more than that. They won’t let go for as long as there’s money to be made (and shared with legislators and lobbyists).  Doctors understand this, but they have no say in how it’s run.  And as baby boomers come of old age, health care providers are providing less health and more bills.  Prepare to pay more, or move.

Need an example?  Look no further than the notorious Johnny B Truant.  Johnny’s a Type 1 diabetic and has blogged about it several times, how he overcomes it with great health (though it hindered his 30-day no-carb diet trial).  Healthy lifestyle or not, his insurance premium keeps skyrocketing.  Well, that changed – Johnny quit his health insurance! Johnny said, and I quote, “Fuck this. I’m jumping over the walls to get that carrot.” (you have to read his cute story to get the carrot bit)  I applaud the guy – he broke the rule of “Everyone NEEDS insurance.” and is now saving himself a grand a month.  Nice work JBT.

Problem to Fix: Personal Liberties

Are you a Ron Paul fan?  Keep up with the (ever fun but educational) blog of the Lugwig von Mises Institute?  If so, label yourself a Libertarian.  But you knew that already.

Why do I bring up Ron Paul?  I was at a meetup just last Wednesday.  The organizer casually gave his view on government: “I believe we need only two laws: Protect our own property and protect our liberties.”  I smiled and asked if he’s a Ron Paul fan.  He smiled back.  The organizer echoed the classic tenets that define libertarianism.

Are people leaving the US because of eroding personal liberties?  I doubt it’s the sole or even their main reason.  But I do agree that personal liberties as a whole are eroding away at a faster clip than ever before.  And that pushes more people to think about leaving.

[Here is where my wife steps in and says “Well, don’t just mope about it – do something!“]

If you’re pessimistic like me that things will change for the better, then it might be time for you to leave the US. Find a country that provides stronger liberties. Find a country that offers better income equality.  And find a country that offers free healthcare (because you’re just entitled to that as a tax-paying citizen). 

For all those, the top countries are:

  1. Sweden (why am I not surprised?)
  2. Finland
  3. Denmark
  4. New Zealand
  5. Norway
  6. Netherlands
  7. Switzerland
  8. Canada
  9. Ireland
  10. Australia

The US came in between the UK and Estonia.  (Yes, not even close to the top 10) Here is my source table.  For my list, I used their scoring, plus a bit of my own bias to reformat as a numbered list.

Some last words about personal or civil liberties.  Some liberties may be more important than others.  For you, it may your right to practice a religion, women’s rights, or racial equality.  For me, I focus more on personal privacy of information.  I don’t mind someone looking up my phone number, but I do mind when someone (without my consent) listens to a phone conversation or predetermines my chance for a disease. But that’s me… how do you feel about it?  Leave a comment.

Problem to Fix: Cost of Living

Relying on a pension isn’t what it used to be.  And today, does anyone stay with a company long enough to earn a pension?

Thankfully, a mediocre pension cheque in the United States isn’t so mediocre in many other countries.  Same goes for that meagre social security if you’re a senior, or the humble rent profit if you’re a landlord, or the dividends if you’re an investor, or even a passive income from some online business.  In all cases, the amount goes farther if you spend it in a country that costs less.  (The better case is if you’re earning in that country, rather than exchanging from the declining dollar, but that’s another story.)

Thinking of leaving the country because of your taxable portfolio?  Well, leave now while the going’s good, because there’s likely to be legislation that may follow you abroad.

 

Next Up: Patriotism

Stay tuned for the next (#4 – “Patriotism“) reason why people leave the United States.  There are over 5 million of us abroad – why not you?

Until then, I ask you just one favour.  If you like this post or the others, hit the Facebook Like button below and share it with your friends.

 

Final Word / Final Offer

Yes, this is where I write a plug for myself. If you are getting serious about leaving the US, I can help. Hire me as your expat consultant – the price is overly fair (for now).

 

 

Thanks,

-Jeff

 

International Moves: Difference Between Packing and Slacking

Packing for a move is a big job. It scrambles daily life, be it dressing, cooking or even walking from room to room.

Here I offer a simple strategy for how to pack for international moves.

Continue reading International Moves: Difference Between Packing and Slacking

5 (Bad) Excuses Why People Don’t Move Abroad

My #1 goal on this blog is to share about becoming an expat. I feel that living abroad makes some significant, positive changes in a person. so I guess I feel living abroad is something pretty awesome. Unfortunately, it’s also something pretty scary for those interested. But scary is just an alternative to exciting, given the right mindset.

To date, I’ve helped a handful of people with their move abroad. The most popular help needed is deciding to “go for it.” In my experience, there are 5 big reasons why people don’t follow their dream of living in another country. After each, I tell you why each reason doesn’t really matter.

#1. Work

Number one reason is “I have a job.” People actually ask “How could I leave my career?”

To people who offer this excuse, I say you aren’t hurting your career, you’re helping it.

Continue reading 5 (Bad) Excuses Why People Don’t Move Abroad

What Will It Take For You To Become An Expat?

Yes, I’m Talking to You. Dammit, Pay Attention!

Pull your seat a little closer, sit up straight, close your gaping mouth and listen.

Really. Focus. Pay attention…

You’re sitting there, behind your desk, in front of your computer screen.

Maybe it’s Tuesday today, but that isn’t important. It could be Monday, it could be Wednesday, it could be any work day of the week.

This week, next week, next month. It’s all the same.

Same desk, same PC. Same Tuesday. Same, same, same.

Continue reading What Will It Take For You To Become An Expat?

Countdown: 11 Weeks to Move Abroad

In case you don’t visit often or haven’t before now – I’m moving.
Well, we’re a family of four, so We’re moving.

Today, we’re expats in Prague, Czech Republic, but we will move overseas back to North America. This post is the first of several to show how we’ll do it.

It’s now March 10th.
We have a plan: we’ll leave Prague on May 30th.

The planning after that is a bit of a grey area.
You ask “How gray?…Charcoal?

Let’s see – 10 March to 30 May. That leaves just under 3 months, or about 11 weeks.
For a family of four, I would say that 3 months is cutting it close, about the minimum to make it “not-so-stressful.” But we’re going for it. I’ll write about what we’re up to, in case some family out there may find it helpful, too.

So, what have we done to get ready?

    Last week, we bought flights to Halifax, Canada. We still have our fingers crossed for New York city as well, but it’s still not 100% for certain.

    We signed a contract with a property management company. They will handle our apartment we bought here 2 years ago.

    We drafted a spreadsheet of To-Do items like closing bank accounts, health insurance, selling stuff, packing/shipping our stuff ….those little things, right?

Obviously much more to do – stay tuned!

Moving abroad is big deal, but it can be done. Sure, I’ve moved abroad a few times already, but I still get nervous before each big move.