How to Prepare to Be an Expat In The Philipines? Reduce Your Debt To Increase Happiness
Traveling to the Philippines over the past two years, really opened my eyes and broadened my appreciation for the world and the joys of experiencing new cultures. I had never been on a vacation where I didn’t look forward to coming back home when it was time to come back to reality, which I called my life. The taxi ride from the hotel to the airport in Cebu (Mactan actually) left an ache in my heart as I stared out the window at the culture and people that I was leaving behind. Right there and then I knew that preparing to be an expat in the Philippines would always be on my mind. As I entered Mactan airport, it felt like I was leaving home, rather than starting my return journey back to the place that I thought was home. Could I really move overseas? Could I really become an Expat and plant my roots on the other side of the Earth?
Should I Move Overseas? How Do I Get My House In Order
There are many things that one has to think about when contemplating leaving your old life behind, with your heart intent on beginning a new life so far from everything you have ever known. How is your health? Can you afford it? Are your kids taken care of? Are your parents taken care of? Do you sell off all of your possessions? The list goes on and on. The moment that you decide that you want to be an expat and actually live in another country, you really need to look at the broad scope of what that means. Think about all of the people and things in your life that you enjoy. What happens if you become homesick and long for your old life? As hard as it may be to transition to a new country, it may be even harder to transition back if you decide that the “grass isn’t greener on the other side.”
Reduce Your Debt as Much As Possible
Remember, your bills and any debt that you accumulated doesn’t leave you once you leave for a far off shore. Coconut trees can only shade you from the sun, and not from bill collectors back home. For me, I have a house payment, a car lease and child support as my big expenses. My daughter is 19 and in college, so I will gladly be paying child support until she graduates.. So, that is an expense that is just written in to my budget…. period…. So, that leaves my home mortgage and car lease as the two big monthly expenses that are intruding on my dream to live care free in my own personal exotic paradise.
Come Up With A Plan To Be an Expat In The Philippines
After much debate, I have decided to temporarily put off my expat in the Philippines dream until I can eliminate most of my expenses that would inhibit this life transformation. I have dreams of adventure, but fully understanding that this dream could turn into a nightmare if I don’t brainstorm a good plan. I think, to plan a move overseas you have to take things into consideration, like your age for instance. I am nearing 43 and maybe in the midst of a mid life crisis. While some may buy new cars, I want to live my life where every day that I step outside I experience things that I never even knew existed. Watching the travel channel can only give you the experience from a “safe” perspective at home. There is something about being outside of your comfort zone that really makes each moment exciting (at least for me).
My plan to move overseas is to first and foremost reduce my debt. I have a computer business that I can work from my laptop online, so I will have a monthly income. I can confidently say that I can make 35,000 to 45,000 while working from abroad. While, that should be plenty to live a nice life in the Philippines, if I have a mortgage, car payment and child support, that can drastically change the quality of my life when I have to pay to live overseas as well.
My Plan To Make My Move Overseas More Feasible
- My car lease is just stupid! I hate, forking out over 400 dollars a month on a car that isn’t even mine to own. Why did I ever think this was a good idea? The good news is that the lease is up in October. If I took out some stock investments, I have the money to pay off the car already, but dipping into retirement isn’t going to ease my stresses as I get older! Live on beans and rice for the next 10 months and have the money to pay off the car in cash.
I haven’t yet made a FULL commitment to live the rest of my life to be an expat in the Philippines or any other country. I have spent a total of 2 1/2 months abroad, and that probably isn’t enough time to fully commit. I’m willing to bet that any other expat in the Philippnes will probably tell me that you need much longer to decide if it’s the life for me. While, I love it dearly, I still love America as well. My ultimate dream is to live 6 months abroad and to live 6 months at home to spend quality time with my family. It would also be nice to have a reliable car waiting for me at home. So having a car paid off in cash is priority #1.. No more car payments for the rest of my life!
Note : I recommend reading Dave Ramsey’s Complete Money Makeover. Personally, it has really changed my outlook and boosted my financial spirits! Best 10 bucks I have ever spent. He really pounds home how debt is just stupid! He has given me motivation when “pinching pennies” to be debt free can get boring and momentarily make your life feel unfulfilling. He always says “Live Like Nobody Else Today, So You Can Live Like Nobody Else Tomorrow.” Life is easier debt free, especially if you plan to be an expat in a foreign country! While the “living debt free” concept is easy, he really helps to get you on board so you can finally live your dreams. I strongly recommend.
- Pay off my house in 2 Years… I will be 43 at the end of December.. I want to set sail within weeks after turning 45.. I owe 30,000 still on my mortgage.. My suffocating debts (car and house) will cost me 47,000. Is that possible in two years if I make 90,000 over the course of those two years? My salary fluctuates, so this is where it gets kind of scary, yet so important to be debt free!
- By the time I am 45 my goal is to be debt free, without dipping into my Roth IRA. I have only been contributing 100% to my Roth IRA for a few years so my retirement isn’t set like it should have been if I was more responsible in my younger years!
So, my plan to move overseas and be an expat in the Philippines in the next two years is totally dependent on my ability to live on beans and rice, and save money like a mad man. All available money after bills, food and shelter will go to my debt. I would LOVE to hear some tips and advice from expats in the Philippines (or Thailand, Cambodia, Columbia, Brazil or wherever!) who have moved overseas and what they would do before they take the big plunge! I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts!
P.S. Be sure to follow my journey as I blog my way through all the trials and tribulations as I begin my journey to become an expat in the Philippines and live my life abroad.