Moving overseas

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
thrifty++
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Moving overseas

Post by thrifty++ » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:48 am

I currently live in NZ and am contemplating moving overseas.

I like NZ. I like the people. I like the nature. And I think it has the most comfortable climate in the world for me. However I find it economically very challenging. The pay is not very high and living costs are significant. In particular housing is very expensive and very low quality. It feels like I am on a never ending treadmill here. Its hard to foresee the end of it. I don't really want to have to leave to be honest but it is hard to imagine ever becoming financially independent here. It always seems a never ending struggle. Which is very frustrating.

I also have another passport to another developed country. I don't want to say which so as to retain my privacy. But I often think of moving there. The place I am thinking of going would see my cost of living cut into about a third or even a quarter of what it is now. Property is about a quarter the cost of what it is here. I could move there and buy a nice property for cash with some money left over. This would still be quite thin. I might only have about another $50k leftover after doing that. Also my career cant segue very easily there. My income would essentially completely collapse and disappear, at least initially, except for my remote side hustle of course, but that's only about $14k a year income. Then I would need to try and very slowly rebuild my income but it would take some time until I am earning the kind of income I am on now, maybe several years. But then it is very appealing that I could buy a nice home and then not need much money. It would be such a weight off my shoulders. I feel like once you have the home debt free the rest is so easy, no more rent, no more mortgage. So I could even have a basic crappy job and still be fine. I also really like it there. The people are really nice and its a nice place. And I find it interesting.

So I guess its tossing up the living here with a high income (alleged high income) and high living costs vs very low income and very low living costs somewhere else with the potential for income to grow in the future - hopefully.

This is an issue I grapple with a lot. Any ideas on this?

I also would quite like to move somewhere else in NZ, in one of the cheaper, but still expensive, cities, where I could maybe get a 30% reduction in living costs and keep the same income. Wont be anything close to the scale of reduction in living costs that would happen with moving overseas but would help financially and make FI more likely. I would also need to try and get the same job though. As if I was staying in NZ I would want my same job as I like it and its a hard one to get. So I cant just jump and move to another city like that, would need to try and get my specialised job which rarely arises.

wolf
Posts: 944
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Moving overseas

Post by wolf » Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:00 am

If you want to move, why not move to Switzerland? I guess, that you will find a great job in your specialist domain there. You will earn a high income (in Swiss Franken compared to NZD). Probably your quality of life will increase too, because Switzerland is one of the best countries to live in (see international rankings). And if you don't like it there, it will be much easier to move (because of the money earned&saved in Swiss Franken).
What's the quality of life in that country you wrote about compared to New Zealand?
And what's about the bias: The grass is always greener on the other side? Have you thought about that as well. Maybe a move within New Zealand could improve your situation as well, and would be less a struggle than a international move?

thrifty++
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by thrifty++ » Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:06 am

wolf wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:00 am
If you want to move, why not move to Switzerland? I guess, that you will find a great job in your specialist domain there. You will earn a high income (in Swiss Franken compared to NZD). Probably your quality of life will increase too, because Switzerland is one of the best countries to live in (see international rankings). And if you don't like it there, it will be much easier to move (because of the money earned&saved in Swiss Franken).
What's the quality of life in that country you wrote about compared to New Zealand?
And what's about the bias: The grass is always greener on the other side? Have you thought about that as well. Maybe a move within New Zealand could improve your situation as well, and would be less a struggle than a international move?
I do like the idea of moving to Switzerland actually. Its expensive like NZ but you actually earn high income unlike NZ. But I am seeking more lower living costs than high income at this stage I think. I want really low living costs so I can build off that.

The quality of life where I am thinking of going is very high. It doesn't have as nice a climate though.

It could be a situation of the grass is always greener. For sure. Its often hard to tell until you have eaten some grass though. Yep and a move within NZ could be anther way to go. I wont be able to buy a house for cash in any of the cities here, but at least I could buy one with a smaller mortgage.

J_
Posts: 628
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:12 pm
Location: Netherlands/Austria

Re: Moving overseas

Post by J_ » Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:34 am

As I read your reasoning, I would say: be much more creative in finding a much cheaper place to live in NZ itself.You know the stories of Jacob's RV and Ego's way to find a good place to live for (almost) nothing. And there are many ways more: living on a boat, living as home-sitter etc. As soon you find such a place your worries are over. You do not have a (costly) move, you use your knowledge of society in NZ, your have the spledid nature of all sorts there...

wolf
Posts: 944
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Moving overseas

Post by wolf » Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:37 am

I guess you don't want to name that country, but I am really interested where you find very high quality of life with costs cut into a third or even a quarter.

Do you have experience with owning a property and living on it? If not, why not experience it first hand, before you commit to it?

In the recent years I found myself also thinking about making a significant change, like moving abroad, moving into a big city, etc. Then I found out, that I could / should try such experiences first, by taking a vacation there, doing this and that, experimenting, visualizing about it, talking to people who do / have done that. It is too easy to dream about changes. Where does the wish come from initially? Well, in the end I have committed to the current status quo (place where I live, job and place where I work) for another four years at least.

What are your motives? Why do you want to move? It's about your high expenses in NZ, I get that. But what else do you want to change? And why? Housing, surroundings, hobbies, people, job, etc?

When I think of changes, I consider big ones (significant and radical) and many smaller ones (incremental). In Japan there is Kaikaku (radical and revolutional changes) and Kaizen (continuous improvement process with many smaller steps) Do like or are you used to one more than the other?

bigato
Posts: 2220
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by bigato » Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:13 am

I like the idea of trying it first. The amount you'll spend on the experiment (like vacations) you can consider to be insurance against big and costly mistakes that could come from a move like this if you get it wrong.

Seppia
Posts: 1141
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Moving overseas

Post by Seppia » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:01 pm

Who said you need to own property though?
Can't you just keep renting (maybe in a different, cheaper area) and stash the money away.
Then, move somewhere cheaper.

What matters in saving is the absolute number, not the percentage.
Why move now to country X where you'll have lower costs but lower income as well?
Just keep stashing away in higher-wage NZ, then move to the cheaper place when your need to accumulate is reduced/inexistent

chenda
Posts: 1202
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by chenda » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:31 pm

Whatever you do I would keep a bolt hole in NZ. It could be a safe zone in an very unstable world, especially for climate change. I like New Zealand, it's extreme isolation and small size has detered me from living there, but that could be an advantage in the future.

Jean
Posts: 1088
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:49 am
Location: Switzterland

Re: Moving overseas

Post by Jean » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:11 pm

I can't help you about getting a high income in switzerland (unskilled work in construction will get you around 4000.- per month), but living there can be quite cheap, like 500.- per month.

thrifty++
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by thrifty++ » Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:35 pm

@J - yeah I think it is a little different here in some respects. Harder than USA to pull off the tricks Jacob did. Any property is just at such a premium. Looking at Jacob talking about hiring little rooms for a low rent, you can hire those but they are still really expensive to rent. I rent mutli bedroom apartments and furnish them and make them nicer and then sublet the rooms for slightly higher rent. This cuts rent costs down but rent costs are still high and landlords increase rent every 6 months. It would be more in rent for me to live by myself in one room. I would look at the van thing but I have a bad sleep disorder which I haven't fixed yet and until I have I cant live in a van. But I mean really, is a van a sustainable existence? Whats the point. Only a temporary fix. If I save another hundred grand while doing it and property prices keep going up in the meantime like they do and its $1.5 million for a shit little house in a shit suburb I don't want to live in then whats the point? Where is the end game

But Ego's plan is a good one with the building manager thing. I made some initial attempts at that one but could probably put much more effort in.

But the boat living thing is actually quite a good one. It is something I have been thinking about a lot. I think NZ is actually a really good place to live on a boat. Despite that its not common. You can buy gorgeous boats here for like $25k. Sailboats. Its bizarre. They are the only thing that is cheap here. I don't quite understand it. I am actually set to commence learning to sail in two weeks. The idea was to see how I like it, and if I do, progress towards owning and living on a boat. I would plan in the 4 colder months of the year to rent a marina birth and in the 8 warmer months put it on a swing mooring which costs basically a token license per year. I think the upkeep would be the mean cost. But I am thinking maybe this is something you can DIY.

@ Chenda - yep I think NZ will be better placed for climate change than most. The climate is so unextreme here. Always comfortable. Despite climate change. A "heatwave" is 26 degrees Celsius. A "cold snap" is 9 degrees Celsius. But that could make it a target for takeover if we are looking at unstable world scenario. I would kind of like a bolthole here to be honest. Even if it were just a one room studio. Problem is that still costs fucking $400k. So that will decimate all my capital. Maybe instead it could be wise to buy a sailboat here and keep it on a swing mooring to come back to when I want, during warmer months.

@Jean - wow my god that is cheap. I didn't think that would be possible. How? Is that living in isolated rural communities? Or in actual cities?
Last edited by thrifty++ on Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jean
Posts: 1088
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:49 am
Location: Switzterland

Re: Moving overseas

Post by Jean » Sat Nov 30, 2019 8:14 pm

It's within biking distance of two full service city, but it would be possible within walking distance too.

ertyu
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: Moving overseas

Post by ertyu » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:59 am

Thrifty, you sound like if it were economically possible, your first choice would be to stay in NZ. So, I would look at how you can make it economically possible. I can relate to the discouragement one feels when one looks at finances that are way too low and don't square, and it seems like there can never be a way out. I'm in the same situation, and it's hard. In no particular order, here are some thoughts.

[1] If your "other developed country" passport is what I guess it is, then it is an EU country that has been suppressed by the eurozone. In the EU there's this thing where the euro is undervalued with respect to Germany and Switzerland etc. so it's really helped them with exports, but overvalued with respect to southern europe (Portugal, Spain, Italy), which has resulted in severe unemployment in the area. If your developed country is not EU, disregard this. If it is EU, the current euro situation is unstable and untenable. I am not necessarily saying that the euro would collapse. I do not want it to, so naively I hope it would not. But regardless, something needs to change in this situation. Germany has said they are willing to pursue fiscal stimulus if there is a crisis, but only if there is a crisis. In a crisis, property prices would also fall. So, strategy one: wait and see another 2-3 years. Stash cash. If and when there is a crisis in Europe, buy your property. As things improve economically and the euro situation is resolved, within 10 or so years your property should appreciate and the economic situation in your country of choice should improve.

[2] NZ

(2.1) One thing I have read and also heard from various podcasts is that NZ and Australia never had their 2008 property price adjustment, and that one might be coming due to how leveraged the NZ+AU consumer is. Last time around, China stimulated and there was strong commodity demand, keeping AU/NZ up. This time, for various internal reasons, China is less likely to stimulate. It could be AU + NZ do get a proper crisis at the end of this business cycle. If that happens, property prices would fall. Stash cash, don't get caught up in a market crash, and buy property at the low.

(2.2) If NZ is so uniquely positioned wrt climate change, it's possible that demand for NZ property would remain strong. In that case, buying property will be worth it even if prices right now are high (I'd still wait for the next recession, but that's just me). I would focus not on the house, but on the land and what can be rebuilt on that land. Once you own a small plot, you could build a shed to live in that has an actual bed and rent out the house proper. Or you can explore other solutions. This will allow you to potentially flip the property.

In your shoes, I would buy a property in country-you're-thinking-of-moving-to. I would then rent out that property, if necessary below market rates to keep it occupied. This will generate at least some cash which can compound in New Country.

In the mean time, keep working, renting, and saving in NZ. This is a place you like, and it allows you to save, so keep doing that. Once your savings are enough to live off of in the property you own outright in New Country, move from NZ to New Country and look at making a life there.

So, this is what I would do, with my limited knowledge of your situation.

chenda
Posts: 1202
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by chenda » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:45 am

@thrifty I'm surprised that property prices are so high. We had some family friends who had about 15 acres of land near Rotorua which they bought for next to nothing, and a house which came in on the back of a lorry (at least nothing compared to UK prices) Admittedly this was the mid 1990s, so things must have changed a lot. Although perhaps you could buy some land in a remote area as mentioned above ? Big flat empty Australia I think is more vulnerable to foreign takeover, although I imagine imported goods are more expensive in NZ.

bigato
Posts: 2220
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by bigato » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:11 am

There’s no guarantee that during a financial crisis, real estate prices will drop. Actually, in the present moment, there are reasons to believe that the opposite will happen.

thrifty++
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by thrifty++ » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:49 pm

@chenda. Things were awesome then. I wish NZ was like it was then - now. I am in my thirties in the wrong era. I would be totally fucking loving life and totally owning it if it were the 90s now. Would be easy for me to live and own a nice home in the city I want to live in and in NZ. There has been a rapid change. NZs population has grown too fast. I remember it not being so long ago it was 3 million now its 5 million.

NZ has been ranked as the most unaffordable country in the world for the last 3 years - https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/20 ... omist.html

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/380 ... affordable

There was another interactive infographic ranking NZ as most unaffordable in the world in 2019. I cant find it though. Either Canada or Australia was ranked second I think. It ranked all sorts of things like most unaffordable, difference between rent and buy costs and level of debt.

@ertyu - Yep I think my preference would be to stay here if I can work it out, but it seems a distant and unaffordable dream. Yes I am thinking of buying something in my other country and renting it out. But was thinking about moving there for a while first perhaps before renting it out and then come back here again to earn. Hard to work it out. Because its also a matter of becoming culturally ingrained in my other country and getting to know more people, getting some income options etc. Am 37 now. So its a tricky one. The sooner I go the more ingrained I will be, the later I go the more money. I kind of want something here and there. I could always wait another year or two, who knows.

chenda
Posts: 1202
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by chenda » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:11 pm

@thrifty Interesting, seems lots of wealthy people are already flocking there as a refuge. We're the same age, I've very fond memories of visiting NZ in the 90s. Felt like going back to pre-war Britain, in good way. So spacious, green, no traffic jams, clean, quite, safe. I think you're right to try and make NZ work, maybe by investing abroad as suggested above.

thrifty++
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by thrifty++ » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:02 pm

@chenda - yeah I wish it was like that now. It is still quiet and green and spacious. But there is definitely lots of traffic jams But the main thing is the cost of living vs income that sucks.

User avatar
Alice_AU
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:42 am
Location: Sydney Australia

Re: Moving overseas

Post by Alice_AU » Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:17 am

Hi thrifty, I totally understand where you're coming from. I rent in Sydney...

On the overall cost of living though, I don't think Australia is too bad. It is only the real estate prices that are problematic. And any kind of services that require a human to get $25-$30-$60+ pay per hour. Haircuts, cleaners, removalists, tutors and laptop repairs for example))) I'm not mentioning lawyers as these are expensive everywhere. Petrol, electricity, gas, water, public transport are cheaper than UK. Healthcare, education, property taxes are cheaper than US. Food - can't be such a big challenge for an ERE-follower? Maybe the same in NZ?

For our family, living in Australia still makes sense financially (we moved from UK 3.5 years ago). Yes we used to pay about $900 a month for mortgage and now paying $3000 a month to rent. But after $36K a year for rent we still have more left over than we did back in UK as our salaries were quite low in the exactly same jobs.

Retiring here is another thing though. I would very much like to stay in Australia, but might not be able to afford to. However there are still some cheaper properties in more remote locations if one doesn't have to live close to a large city for work.

thrifty++
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by thrifty++ » Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:25 am

Hi Alice,
Yeah I think Australia is quite expensive also. For rent or house purchase costs. But the main difference is that the pay is substantially higher in Australia than NZ, like about 40% to 50% higher. Especially in professional and management jobs. Parts of Australia seem cheaper to me too, like Perth or Brisbane, or Gold Coast. Probably one of the reasons why there is something like 650, 000 Kiwis living in Aussie. All of my siblings moved to Australia. and have been able to afford to buy housing. A big part of whey they went there and why they stay is for higher pay. Some would like to come back but don't feel they can afford to live in NZ because they would have a huge drop in income.

Food is actually more expensive in NZ than Aussie because we only have two food sellers here. Australians are horrified when they go to the supermarkets here. I was amazed when I went to Aldi in Aussie. It was super nice. I was stoked at how much fresh produce I could get. And it was so fresh. It seemed like much nicer food than here which I was surprised by. I wish we had Aldi here.

chenda
Posts: 1202
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: Moving overseas

Post by chenda » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:32 am

Tasmania is sometimes cited as a climate change refuge, although to my non expert eye it already looks very arid and flammable. Don't know if it's any more expensive than the rest of Australia ?

Post Reply