Why do you live where you live?
Is it because you were born there?
Is it close to your family?
Did you go to college there and decide you loved the area?
Or did you just kind of get stuck there?
Some of us carefully chose where we lived: perhaps our industry is strong there and we want to maximize our options, or maybe we actively decided that we want to be close to our loved ones. Either way it was a mindful, conscious choice.
But some people only live in a place because, well, they never really gave much thought to moving. They’re comfortable where they are. And, hey, it’s not so bad, right?
But we’re not aiming for a life that’s “not so bad.”
We’re actively building a remarkable life.
If you’re not tied to a particular place…
If you’ve been contemplating the idea of working from wherever you have wifi…
If you’ve been craving more adventure…
Consider combining geo-arbitrage and remote work to fast track your early retirement / financial independence.
Geo-arbitrage is the practice of intentionally moving with a place to a lower cost of living to improve your quality of life by paying less for the same amenities. This can be a domestic move (like NYC to Charlotte, NC) or this can be an international move (Atlanta, GA to Chiang Mai, Thailand). Assuming you don’t inflate your style, you’ll be able to increase your savings by 10%-75% depending on the area.
Let’s say you earn 100k and you live in New York City, where the average two-bedroom apartment is about $3,800. By moving to a city, like Charlotte, where the average two-bedroom apartment is $1,550 instantly adds another $2,250 a month (or $27,000 a year) to your pocket.
If you’re adventurous, you can 10x this impact by using international geo-arbitrage. Even if you live in a lower-cost-of-living city, like Atlanta, where the average 2-bedroom apartment is $1,820/month, and you want to experience Thailand, a city like Chiang Mai where the average 3-bedroom apartment is $400/month, you’ll add $1,400/month (or almost $17,000 a year) back in your pocket.
And this is just housing -- you’ll also pay less for things like food, gas, and amenities, and (in the case of an international move): healthcare costs.
I’ve personally combined geo-arbitrage & remote work to get to a 90%+ savings rate. As I've written before, 90% savings rate = less than 3 years to retirement. So far, the places I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing this first-hand (where I meticulously tracked my spending to test this model) are:
As an unexpected bonus, I’ve also engaged in a bit of medical tourism, spending only a few hundred dollars of cosmetic procedures that would cost thousands in the US.
Next year, I’m shifting to Europe and looking forward to detailing the (surprising!) low cost of living in places like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland and parts of Eastern Europe, like, Croatia, Montenegro and Bulgaria.
“Yeah, that sounds great, I don’t know where or how to find remote work? And shouldn’t I be grateful to enjoy have a job in this economy?” I’m building a comprehensive resource on this topic, covering everything from traditional work to entrepreneurship to passive income to freelancing. My book is also available for pre-order, and I will be detailing strategies and (negotiation, sabbatical, etc.) scripts in it.
But don’t forget to constantly test your assumptions, or dissect the scripts that your mind tells you.
Assumption #1 that I tested this year? My job will never let me go remote to travel the world; the management consulting industry values face-time too much to let that happen.
If you’re a top performer, the rules don’t apply to you in most areas of life – more on this soon.
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