The FI life is weird.
The more I delve into all of this, the weirder things seem. What do I mean by that? Each blogger has their own take on things. Some follow Mr. Money Moustache’s rules to the letter, others are doing their own thing. Some have decided the ex-pat life is for them, others are happy living in a full paid off house. Some think getting a mortgage and throwing all your spare change at it is the best idea, others think they should stay in their rental, so they’re not paying for things through their noses.
Basically, each situation is different. Personally, my rent is very low considering comparable rates. My place is around 670sq ft and I pay $913/mo for the privilege of living in one single room. On the one hand, I appreciate making what I make per year, while paying such low rent. On the other, I desperately resent that I don’t have another room to store my art supplies in, or more than one window. I have wanted to own a place for most of my life, but as the years passed, I always found myself either not making enough to buy one, or making enough, but living in a very high cost of living area.
I also dream of owning a place in multiple countries. One of the advantages of being Canadian is, we are allowed to go to the UK without a visa for less than 6 months at a time, we just have to have enough money to support ourselves. We then have to return home for a bit and then can go back, over and over. Of course, there’s some odd rules about how much you have to have as a down payment, as there is in many countries, but the worst part of all is their housing system. Basically anyone can come in and steal your sale if you haven’t signed the final documents and taken possession of the key. Even if that person is only offering a few pounds more than what you are, the seller can change their minds and give the sale to the other person. It does not matter if the first person to have their offer accepted already paid for all the checks to be done, the lawyer fees, and whatever else that is required. You are flat out SOL if someone tries to take the sale from you, and you don’t have any extra money to pile on. For that reason, I’d want to buy in cash. The UK is an extremely expensive place to live, especially in the big towns. You can find cheaper places in the outlying areas, however the exchange rate from CAD to the pound is abhorrent ($1000 CAD is $586.66 as of the date that I’m writing this). So, I’d have to pay double, which makes it remain unaffordable to someone such as myself. Should I win the lottery, I’d be all over it, but since I decided I wouldn’t be buying any more lottery tickets (they are a waste of money and I’d make more putting that cash into an ETF), my chances of that have moved to 0! That’s okay, I think I am okay with just visiting. God knows Brexit hasn’t done a single good thing for them, so perhaps it’s best to wait until they either iron out all the issues, or reverse that horrid decision.
Next up? Panama. It is a South American country that uses the US dollar. I found a website run by 3 people who literally take ex-pats on tours of the country, answer all their questions about retiring there, and once they go home, are willing to help with becoming an ex-pat. I don’t particularly enjoy hot weather, but there are areas that are not very hot that I think I would enjoy. The exchange rate is MUCH better ($1000 CAD is $793.03 USD), but my pension still won’t be enough (they require a minimum $1000 for a single person’s pension, and $1200 if you’re a couple) before they’ll let you retire there. But, I think if I invest properly, and save as much as possible over the next couple of years, I can buy a place there and get a good enough rate while building my side hustle, I should be able to move there within 5 years, even though I’m only 44 at time of writing. Oh, and did I mention, Panama doesn’t charge income tax if you’re earning money from countries other than Panama? Awesome.
Thanks for reading.