Long Term Life Change
So here we are, 40 something, and quickly getting over the grind. Our son is turning 17 this year and has started developing applications and games. Mostly self-taught at the moment, much like the way he taught himself how to play guitar. Youtube! Well maybe its time for us to learn something new too and do something different. It won’t be quick, or easy but hopefully it will be worth it. This page is a part of that vision. No we don’t expect to be the Mark Wiens of travel, and we are not about to become some lifestyle guru. This page is not a map to changing your life. Or becoming someone or something else. This blog is really about some basic travel tips, some of our adventures past and present and of course this part, the Long Term Life Change.
Where we are at the moment
As already mentioned in the briefly almost scribbled down first post: Beware, change is coming! We are 40, not getting any younger, getting to the point where we are over our professions. Technology in my case, and Law in my wife’s case. We have a fairly large asset in our house and a smaller asset in the two almost paid off cars, we have some retirement funds (more on that later) and looking at the country we are in, it may not be enough for a decent future.
This leaves us with some options, probably very similar options that you may have if you find yourself in a similar position.
1. Work Harder, Save more, spend less, live less now. But retire at 65 in a better position. Depending on where you live your mileage may vary based on economy, inflation etc.
2. Carry on doing what you are doing and hope for the best, that’s probably not an option
3. Move to another country?
Seems crazy but what if it’s not.
10 years ago most things cost half as much if not less, never mind 20 years ago. I see more and more often that people entering the job market now, seem to earn less that I did 20+ years ago. and that is based purely on the number not adjusted for inflation. So if I earned R10000 about 20 years ago as a junior network engineer / helpdesk support agent, that’s what someone with the same skills and are would be offered now in many companies, but the price of a new car has increased by possibly 200% or more, never mind, rent or mortgage etc. So where does that put us in 20 years or 25 years time.
Now look back on the retirement funds? Not enough sunshine.
So maybe “3. Move to another country” isn’t that crazy but you have to use your imagination a little.
Well I am not sure about you, but there are some factors. Do I want to sell up everything where I am so that I can go live in the USA, UK, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, an EU country?
Am I going to go work for another company there, buy a house, get a mortgage, have a retirement fund, buy some cars, Wait!! that’s what I have done here for the last 20 years, why would we do that again? remember that saying about Insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
So what if we look at something totally different, a part of the work that people go visit but only a few seem to make it their home. What about the many countries out in South East Asia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Or Central and South America, Venezuela, Paraguay? Cheap to live in, decent infrastructure, Money goes a lot further. There are ways to start-up businesses. I will get to those things later on, probably in other blogs. lets just say that If we sold everything we had today and moved to a country like Thailand we could survive well for about 15 years without having an income or even interest on our nest egg. That is about 10 years longer than where we are now.
So what country, well that’s up to you and your choices. Look into it and look into it properly before you leap.
Ok so how do I do this?
Well I am still figuring out how to make this happen. There are some very obvious things to do. Get rid of debt, and start your Long Term Life Change
These are longer term goals, I would say 3 to 5 years. it sounds long. and if you can manage to do it sooner, then do it.
Get rid of debt:
Pay off store cards, pick one and pay it off, then use that money to pay off the next one, and the next one. currently we have no debt on store cards and only keep them because the give us a good credit score.
Pay off your credit cards. As above pick one, the one with the least owing and pay it off, take the money that you where spending on the store cards and use them on your Credit Cards,
If you have a mortgage try to pay it off sooner, If you can free up cash and have a good renovation idea in mind that will increase your property value by more than what you would spend doing the renovation, then consider doing it.
Don’t buy a new car, in fact don’t buy a car unless you really have to. if you have a reliable runner no matter how bored you are with it, keep it until you are ready to sell up and ship out.
Seriously look at your retirement fund. I have paid into on for 11 years, at about 10% of my salary and the funds in there would not cover 6 months. I understand that Retirement funds increase in value the longer they exist. However if you can stop your fund, and take that 8 or 10% of your salary and use it to pay off debt, cars, mortgage etc. you may be in a better position soon.
Don’t spend money on things that you don’t need. Yes you want to spoil yourself and your family once in a while, otherwise it will be one hell of a long run until your next destination. Save up for a trip or two. the travel won’t be a bad thing.
Find other ways of earning
Try to earn extra money somehow. This isn’t always an easy one. Depending on who you are, what your skills are what your background is you probably have skills that you could use to make more money. Start an online business in drop shipping, or FBA Fulfilment by Amazon, these two options are with considering because you can use it to generate income when you have already left your home country. Maybe you are a great photographer, consider selling your pictures via online sites like shutterstock.com. There are a number of options to look into.
Ok what if I change my mind and decide to stay?
At the end of all of this you may change your mind and decide after 5 years. The basic lifestyle changes you have made may have improved your life substantially. In that case you have no debt. Your mortgage is being attacked by your extra funds. Your cars are paid off. Then fire up that retirement fund again, and load it up with extra money. Consider purchasing other property. Like with everything in life look before you leap, but don’t be afraid to leap. Check with your retirement fund. What options do you have available to you. In many countries that money although yours cannot be removed from the fund until you are at least 55 or leave your country of residence. So don’t expect to use it as a lump sum until you leave. In the end your Long Term Life Change might mean staying where you are.
Ok to whats the plan?
We not 100% sure yet but we have some time to figure it out. We have some loose plans. Like buying a yacht or catamaran. Maybe opening a lodge or dive shop. What about scooter of bike rental places. Who knows 5 years is a long way off and everything could change including the destination we choose. All we can say is plan ahead. Plan for bumps in the road, plan on changing direction if you need to.
As we make progress on our Long Term Life Change we will add more to this in other posts.