I’ve mentioned before that living in a foreign country is something I’m considering as part of my plan to retire at 50. Based on my past experience of living for three months on $450 in Guatemala I know that living in a foreign country can be substantially cheaper than living in the United States.
I am also considering living in a foreign country before retirement. This is not just to save money but because I like living in a different culture. This could be done as a geoarbitrage type situation. I currently make $300-$400 a month online. Not enough to live on here in the U.S. but it would be enough to live modestly in Guatemala and a few other countries. If I did this the most likely scenario would be that I would work in the U.S for a few months to build up savings and then live in Guatemala or elsewhere the rest of the year. I wouldn’t build up savings during that part of the year but I wouldn’t be depleting my savings either.
Another thing I’m considering is joining the Peace Corps. Financially, it doesn’t make much sense but that wouldn’t be my motivation for joining. That would be 27 months that I most likely wouldn’t be saving any money. On the plus side I would be totally immersed in a foreign culture and get to help people. They do have programs that would allow me to put my student loans on hold while serving and the time would count towards the 10 years of public service for loan forgiveness also. This is something I have to study more in the future.
Living in a foreign country is more practical than many people think. If you live in Mexico or Central America a plane ride back to the U.S. is about the same as flying from one coast to another. I most likely won’t be living within driving distance of most of my family if I continue to live in the U.S. so I’d be taking a plane trip either way. As far as friends I’ve found that I meet more people and am far more social when living in a foreign country. There are other things to consider when living abroad but it isn’t nearly as difficult as many people think.