How Long Does It Take to Move Abroad?

Quick question:How long does it take to leave?
Answer: about 3 months.  Three months from decision to your new country.

This is not the same as how long before I board my flight (airlines require you arrive 2 hours before your flight …okay, a small joke)

But seriously, how much preparation time do you think you need? If you already made the decision you want to live abroad, then it takes 3 months, from start to finish. That’s my experience and I see no reason why anyone else couldn’t have a similar experience.

Below is our timeline when we moved from the US to Prague, Czech Republic:

Our Timeline:
23 March: Initial inquiry about a couple jobs
03 April Telephone interview w/manager
02 May Face-to-face interview in Prague
05 May Offer tendered and accepted, to start 3 July
26 May Wife’s last day of work
31 May House on market; luckily sold soon from real estate boom
21 June House sale ‘closed’
5-11 June Jeff & friend went apartment shopping in Prague
30 June Jeff leaves for Prague
3 July Jeff starts first day at work

Okay, that’s 3 months and a week. But it’s way faster than 6 months. And definitely not two years, or even 1 year.

The next 20 years will fly – don’t you think it’s time you did, too?
Don’t live with regret for not trying, not going for it.

moving to london
Linked to where I help


Still Stunned & Still Overwhelmed

It’s been one month since Trump, the POTUS, took office. I’m still shocked, stunned and amazed.

Disclaimer: this post is shallow, political, and self-promoting. If you want real advice, then just write me or get with the program (“Gin1Year”).

Still Stunned

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Hillary Clinton. Bernie should’ve been the party pick. But all that aside, in the final race, HRC was the lesser of two evils. She was the clear choice over Trump.


Still Overwhelmed

Right up to about midnight on election night, I knew Hillary would become the next president. “surprise!” My mouth has been gaped open ever after.

Every day since, I watch the news. I watch it more than I ever did, like some addiction. Do others do the same?

Still Reading?

Look, I’m not here to say America is fucked. I’m not crying “you’re all doomed!” But…

Please know your situation in the US today, and over the next 4 years, is likely far worse than what you could have in a country more like you.

Lots of websites say “GO” but no one says “how”. I’m here to show you how.

Get with the program.

Student Loans Deferred Longer in Canada

Student loans grow out of control during those 4+ years of university. Then you’re expected to repay loans, starting the day after graduation. But with what?

Student-loan-debt1The result? Newly graduated, bottom-rung workers get themselves into serious financial strain.

Sure, some students get lucky with a job offer in their first year. But I think the majority (what, like 80-90%?) of students don’t walk into their first big job right after graduation. [if definitely over 80%, tell me; I’d love to know.] Instead, students take whatever job they can, to scrap by however they can. The first paycheck is not as big as they wanted, but the loan is still demanding payment.

Student Loans Deferred – Until You Can Pay

A new law just passed: students here in Canada can wait to pay back government loans until they are in a good position to do so. Instead of payments starting after graduation, loan repayment starts after you make the minimum salary. Starting November 1st, that minimum is $25,000. That might not seem like much, but it is an income. For most students, just having an income is a big deal.

If you read the article, you’ll see other benefits from this law, namely increased loan amounts. This is good, provided you need it.

Is There a Catch?

It’s not free deferment. There always seems to be a catch, right? The catch here is, interest continues to accumulate. You probably could have guessed that.

So, you don’t want to defer your loans forever.

Then again, you also don’t want to earn under $25,000 forever.

How to Take Advantage of This?

If you’re considering moving to a foreign country to have lower student loans, then Canada just rose in the ranks, didn’t it? I can help you move here. Either through the “Gone In One Year” program, or by phone consultation.

Do these work? Yes, very well. There are several of my clients now living, working abroad as a result.

Yes, I know… “my case is special”? Each one is, that’s where I’m most capable. I think outside the box, come up with the right way ‘out’ for you. Give me a call. Or check out the monthly program to be out in a year.

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

Sail Away From the Safe Harbor

It’s time.

Every so often I write a very simple post. Like this one today.

It’s time for you to sail away from the safe harbour. As Mark Twain is often cited, with his full quote overlaid a pretty picture here:

Sail Away Mark Twain
Become an Expat Yourself – Sail away from your safe harbor

Interaction is Key

I’ve been promising to write a “how-to” guide for you for ages. The trouble is, an “info-book” is not really helpful, not like real interaction. (In fact, I know someone selling such a book – but it turns out to be just a “how to make money online” guide, in a “travel anywhere” wrapper. Little smarmy in my opinion, but that’s his gig.)

Info-books do not help, as real interaction does.
That’s why consulting works well. However, consulting is pricey ($150/hour) for some folks. Finally, I fixed the price problem!

The solution: general consulting, in e-mails. New material sent every few days. Packaged in a full 1-year program: Step-by-Step Expat Consulting. Very cheap monthly fee (Trying it out – will likely raise down the road)

Sneak Peek

Yes, you, gone in 1 year, guaranteed or money back. The 12-month program is called “Gone in 1 Year” (heehee!)

Here is a sneak peek at it.

Interested? I’m officially launching in a few days, but sign up is open now.


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



How to Get Into Canada Using New Federal Skilled Worker Program

Yesterday Canada announced it is re-opening the Federal Skilled Worker and Skilled Trades Program.

If you want to get into Canada, this is great news for you.

Getting Into Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker

This is very exciting news for people who wanted to immigrate into Canada, but didn’t want to marry a Canadian to do it.  LOL Continue reading How to Get Into Canada Using New Federal Skilled Worker Program

330+ Days Outside The US = No Income Tax

If you are a US citizen, living outside the US, then all your income may not be taxed. Yes, if you live as an expat, then at tax filing time, you can file the “Foreign Income Exclusion” form, number 2555.

But, there’s a catch. (Isn’t there always a catch?) The catch is, you must really be living outside the United States for 90% or more of the time (that works to be 330 days or more). It doesn’t mean just calling your expat home your “Primary residence.” It doesn’t mean come home again for “just” the summer months. Nope, for your income to be excluded from tax, you must stay clear of the US for 330 days or more.

This is on my mind because someone just wrote to me asking the same questions. She asked how (or if) they can visit the United States and how it affects their taxes. I answered her, but then I thought others may be wondering the same thing. So, here is my reply:

Yes, about spending 35 days in the US, it’s true, unfortunately. If
someone spends 35 days in the US, they are then ineligible for foreign
income exclusion. It’s part of the physical presence test and I agree
it stinks.

I think the actual IRS text reads that you must be outside the US for
330 days, but it’s the same. It’s more important to understand that
those 35 days are cumulative and not consecutive. Also, understand
that the 35 days is over *any* span of 12 months, not just calendar
So, as a detailed example, someone fails the physical presence test if
their vacations were:

  • July 2011 – 5 days
  • December 2011 – 20 days
  • May 2012 – 10 days
  • June 2012 – 5 days

—–that’s 40 days within 12 months, failing the test. My wife and I have been super careful in counting our days spent over the past 6-7 years outside the US. We never go over 33 (including the entry/exit days in travel). One flight delay could cost us thousands, as you

Of course, I have to add that I am not a financial expert. All the above comes from years of experience as an expat, but not as a financial planner, tax attorney or some other professionally licensed money guru.

Hope this can help at least someone else out there.

Lastly, here’s a flowchart graphic I stole from the IRS. At least it’s less confusing than the 7000 pages of tax code.




Expat Program Released: Gone in 1 Year

If you or someone you know wants to move overseas, I just launched a program guaranteeing success. Based on years of consulting, I created a step-by-step program: tools, guidance and ‘homework’ (consulting). By the end, you’re moving overseas, employed and secure, or money back, guaranteed.

Check out “Gone in 1 Year” here.

Dubai a Magnet for Thousands of Expatriates

Maybe you’ve seen them in action on YouTube? The window cleaners of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest man-made structure. The iconic Dubai skyscraper stands more than 2,700 feet tall and its estimated 24,000 windows spread over 206 storeys take around three months to clean using nothing more than good old fashioned soap and water. Incredible. Frightening.

Dubai is a modern city like no other, a metropolis fringed by deserts and the deep blue seas of the Persian Gulf. It’s a magnet for both the tourist and expatriate alike and little wonder. You want to shop in the largest mall in the world? You got it. Or shop 124 floors up in the Burj Khalifa’s At the Top boutique? You got that, too. Want a choice of the best of personal banking from multinationals you already know and trust? And be able to apply for a credit card, loan or open a current account? You’ve got all of that and more.

If you can’t go there in person, YouTube is also the place to see Dubai’s spectacular dancing fountain. The fountain, which literally basks in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, is one of the most spectacular water displays to be seen anywhere. Covering a distance of more than 300 metres and combining water, light and sound, the fountain sprays 22,000 gallons of water into the air at any one moment. Some 6,600 lights and 25 colour projectors create the variety of heart-stopping patterns for which the fountain has now become so famous.

Looking out across the vast expanse of the city, it’s not surprising visitors find it hard to believe there was only desert sand to be seen a few short decades before. No Burj Khalifa. No modern gleaming steel, concrete and glass structures. No man-made islands. No highways. No businesses or banks. No HSBC credit card or cash machines. No tourists or first class hotels. No homes or people to live in them. Oil changed everything and propelled the United Arab Emirates (UAE) into the modern world. The UAE has never looked back since.

If big banking has made a home in Dubai, then so has international business, encouraged by a government fully aware the country’s vast oil wealth cannot last forever. So diversification has been the watchword for quite a number of years now. And with diversification has come the development of a taxation and regulatory regime which has encouraged thousands of international companies both large and small to set up in the country.

And why wouldn’t they given that there are no direct taxes levied on corporate profits or personal income and full foreign ownership is allowed. Other benefits include low or zero customs duties; 100% repatriation of capital and profits; and no foreign exchange controls, trade quotas or barriers. Visa regulations are relaxed enough to allow expatriate workers to be hired with relative ease.

Add to all of that high quality infrastructure, low levels of crime, a clean environment, excellent weather, and a friendly, tolerant and cosmopolitan population. Is it a wonder then Dubai is such a popular destination for the thousands of expatriates from around the world? Hardly. Click here to see the window cleaners of the Burj Khalifa in action. Only those with a strong stomach should watch!

Does my iPhone 5, iPhone 5S / 5C Work Around the World?

I was mere seconds away from buying the new iPhone, but then I wondered…

Will my iPhone Work Abroad?

Will the iPhone 5 work when I travel?” is a question I was asking myself a lot before I’m ready to pay $600-$800 for it.

A global-ready phone is more important to me than having a bigger screen, so I had to know. I investigated… and here’s what I found out.

Apple Provides Different iPhone 5 Models to Different Countries.

To work on different LTE networks around the world, Apple had to make 3 (yes, three) different iPhone 5 models.  If you want to browse the web with that super-fast LTE speed, wherever you are, you should read how these models differ. First, a ultra-quick mention how phones talk to your phone company…

A Techie 10-Second Primer on Phone Communication

There are two technologies for phones to talk to the cell tower: CDMA and GSM.  From an expat’s view, the whole world uses GSM, except for the US and Japan, who use CDMA.  (Yes, like the metric system, the US stands apart from the rest of the world.)

If you need to read much more about GSM/CDMA differences, click here. Otherwise, read on about the iPhone.
So, Apple had to manufacture 3 different iPhone 5 models to accommodate the different LTE networks around the world.  The models dictate what technology (GSM/CDMA) they use.  This is different than the iPhone 4S, which could utilize both GSM and CDMA.

So, What iPhone 5 Do I Have?

Continue reading Does my iPhone 5, iPhone 5S / 5C Work Around the World?