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Update: On The Moving to Asia Plan
Way back in June ’09 I wrote about my plan to move to south east Asia. Obviously I’m still not there, but the plan is still in place. The motivation is still there but the reasons for the motivation have changed slightly, before it was the Tim Ferris lifestyle design idea that sold me, along [...]
Tuesday July 5 2011
Way back in June ’09 I wrote about my plan to move to south east Asia. Obviously I’m still not there, but the plan is still in place. The motivation is still there but the reasons for the motivation have changed slightly, before it was the Tim Ferris lifestyle design idea that sold me, along with the fact that the time I’ve spent there so far has been hugely satisfying. There is a lot changing here in Australia and it is setting off alarm bells.
Cost of Living
I live in Tasmania, the island south of mainland Australia, it’s winter, it’s cold and I kind of resent the place. This time of year you leave for work an hour or so after sunrise and get home at sunset, it sucks. I love warm weather, I hear Queenslander’s (a Northern Tropical state) complain about the heat and humidity but give me that over this damn cold any day.
I recently got my motorycle learners permit and a bike, it’s one of the best ideas I’ve had, but the cold and wind makes weekend trips this time of year downright dangerous and less than appealing. Tasmania is a beautiful place… for a holiday.
Australia is stupidly expensive.
Finally the media here has taken notice of what I’ve known for since I first started travelling, Australia is ridiculously expensive. I’ve been renting a basic bedsitter for $800/month. Real estate here is according to a number of sources the most over valued in the world. The bubble is starting to deflate but only the fact that demand is high and supply is low is keeping it from falling into something shocking. There is a plethora of reasons why costs are so high in Australia but relatively high wages, tariffs, rents and simple price gouging is a big factor. Thankfully Australians are waking up and are flooding to online shopping, it’s costing local jobs and killing business but the fact of the matter is enough is enough and people are voting with their wallets. Australia weathered the GFC pretty well, they keep telling us our economy is the envy of the developed world and while I’m no economist to it looks like we are shaping up for a well deserved kick in the stomach. Energy costs are skyrocketing, Tasmania which gets the majority of it’s power from Hydro has been amongst the worst. Somehow this low cost renewable energy has become more expensive than coal.
Further on money, debt was a big thing I needed to sort out in that original post as well as creating online income. Right now I still have debt, mainly because I took out a loan for the bike, but… My online income is looking good, I’m seeing numbers on or not far off my goals. When I’m ready to move the bike will be sold, where I live the market is quite small so bikes tend to hold their value very well. Overall I’m very confident as far as money goes, the only thing that worries me is all of my online income is in one basket so I need to work on spreading it out.
The Cost/Benefit Analysis of Expatriatism
I’ve been reading a bit from people like Simon Black and I think there is a lot of truth in what they are saying, although it has been getting a bit Alex Jones lately and there is some hypocrisy creeping in. I really don’t get the american obsession with owning guns, I’m not anti-government and I think most investors are not productive members of society, they are in fact part of the problem. However he makes an excellent point with this quote.
The idea is simply to be able to choose… to make an honest and complete appraisal of the situation and decide from an entire universe of options– “are the financial and freedom costs I’m paying in this country worth the lifestyle benefits, especially considering the future trends and my international options?” Weighing the options and making a conscious, informed decision to stay in one’s current situation with a solid backup plan is certainly a valid choice. Sentencing oneself to geographic captivity out of ignorance, indolence, or arrogance, however, especially without a credible backup plan, is just plain foolish.
I often hear people say we are fortunate to be in this country. The fortune to me is being from this country and the fact that it can afford me being more fortunate out of it than in it. I think there is something inherently desirable about being an expat. Friends and family who have little or no desire to travel or live abroad boast of their friends and family who do. Come to think of it, that is just more keeping up with the Jones’ bragging. If they are in Europe, US, Singapore, etc they are boasting of perceived financial success. Others in places like Thailand, Vietnam and Central American/Caribbean countries are acknowledged as having more desirable lifestyles.
Anyway the point of this post is to point out that there might be a bunch of reasons to expatriate that we don’t consider. The digital nomad thing is appealing for sure but avoiding increasing taxes, nanny states, rising costs of living tips the pros/cons list too far to ignore it in my book. I’m under no illusion of Australia being the best country in the world, shockingly I feel no allegiance to it because of accident of birth. I know that the alternatives places I choose can/will face many of the same problems. But right now, I’m in a rut and the way out is north.
The final question is where? I don’t want to set anything in stone but Bali looks like a good first stop, ultimately Vietnam and Cambodia would be in the mix afterwards. I’m not so sure about Thailand, but I’m not ruling it out and in reality it will eventually happen.
More new posts? It’s not that I haven’t written any, I have, but I’ve got to the end of them and decided either the writing was just crap or the tone was overly negative. So look out for more coming soon.