How to Not Fail at Retiring Early Internationally

This report describes how to not fail at Retiring Early Internationally.  

Do Your Initial Research Identifying Your Top 3 to 5 Places

Most people spend a few years researching where they want to retire early internationally before they make a final decision. That is great, nothing wrong with that. However, be careful not to form a mental block that stops you from taking action.

Let me explain. If you are like most people, you are reading about 5 or 10 places and you can’t decide which is best for you to retire early for cheap in paradise. So you keep reading, but you just can’t decide for some reason. Every new video you see or article you read either confirms what you thought or raises doubts in your mind. You just are not sure which one is best for you to retire early cheap.

You should stop that immediately. You will be paralyzed from overthinking and you may never be able to make a decision. Here is how I think you can stop yourself from overthinking.

You see, the research you do before you fly away has only one purpose. That purpose is not to pick where you will retire. Your early research has a different purpose. You should not be so focused on picking the best place. Your initial research is only to help you identify the top three to five places in the world that you think, that you merely guess, are best suited for your early retirement. These top 3 to 5 are merely your best guesses of where you will be happiest on your budget. Your initial research is done. Now it is time to do your exploratory visits.

Do Your Exploratory Visits

Once you have done enough research to identify your top 3 to 5 guesses that are most likely to be your happiest life on your budget, no final decision is necessary or required yet. It is too soon to make that final decision. Once you have your top 3 to 5 most likely informed guesses, it is time to do your exploratory visits. Here is what you do next.

It is time to put your feet on the ground so you will know how to not fail at Retiring Early Internationally.

Visit your top #1 guess destination. See if you really feel what you thought you would feel when you imagined yourself living there. But you also need to do your on-the-ground research while you are there. What do I mean by on-the-ground research?

Rent: You have to verify that you can rent something that you like within your budget. What are the rents for a place you would be happy living? Visit 5 to 10 potential apartments or houses you could rent if you decided to move there. See them with your own eyes. Not just Airbnb pictures but long-term rentals at cheaper local prices. You also have to see the neighborhoods for each place. Walk around and ask yourself, could I live here at $300 a month or would I want to get the fancy place for $500 per month? What I can live for, or what other ex-pats can live for makes no difference. You have to see it with your own eyes. It is work you have to do on your exploratory visit. Here is my technique for finding places I can afford all over the world.

Groceries: You have to verify that you can afford to eat for your projected budget. Would you be able to buy your food in the local’s cheap open-air market? Or would you need to shop in the expensive air-conditioned ex-pats grocery stores? I am not judging you, but you need to know, so you can figure out your budget. You have to know before you make any decisions. I am sure you have read the comments we get on our Youtube videos we post about the Philippines when ex-pats living on $2000 a month say it is impossible to live on $800 or $1000 per month. Why do you think they spend so much? They live in western style apartments, shop in western-style grocery stores, and eat in western style restaurants. There is nothing wrong with that if they have the money. This is your life. But many of these ex-pats living like this have almost no contact or understanding of how the locals live on so little money. They can’t relate at all to how locals live on less than $500 per month or how some ex-pats are able to live more simply on %500 per month in the provinces or $1000 per month in the cities. And why would they understand if they have never tried to live like a local? So you have to go to the locals market if you are living like a local and see if you are comfortable there. You have to see what food costs and do the math. Can you live on your projected budget? Could you get yourself to buy food supplies in a large crazy open-air local market or would you have to shop in the expensive ex-pat grocery stores? After you decide that, you have to do the math on whichever place you would actually buy groceries. Will your projected budget hold?

Restaurants: I am sure you have read the comments from ex-pats that say they spend $6 to $10 dollars per meal in the air-conditioned ex-pat restaurants and $2 per beer. They go out to dinner 5 or 6 nights per week and they buy rounds of drinks for friends and ladies they meet in the bars three or 4 nights per week. There is nothing wrong with that if that is your thing. All the power to you if that is your idea of a good time. I am not judging anyone here. But you need to go to the local restaurants in the markets and decide if you are happy with $2 dollars meals before you can confirm your budget. If you don’t like the local food, can you cook at home, and what would your groceries cost? Maybe you will want to splurge nice a week and cook at home mostly. Maybe you will want to eat in local restaurants or food carts half the time and cook at home the other half of the time? You need to see all of this with your own eyes and make the calculations. Your exploratory visit should include all of this plus open-eyed calculations.

Talk to Both Locals and Expats: Take the ex-pats living there (you found on Facebook) for coffee and ask them what they spend on gas, electricity, internet, etc. Get a real feeling for what living in their life is like, what it costs, and whether or not you are willing to cut any corners and live like a local. Talk to the locals you meet in the market and ask them what the same things cost, if they buy them, and see if you would be willing to live in such a crazy different place. Maybe you could get a few of them to show you where they live and what all of their living expenses are living there as a local. It is only with this real-life experience, seeing it with your own open eyes, that you will be able to overcome your valid doubts armed with information to actually decide if you could live in this place on your projected budget. What I or anyone else spends per month doesn’t really matter. This is your life.

When you do your exploratory visits, you will really have the information you need to decide if this life is for you in this place, and whether or not you can live on whatever budget you have set for yourself. Plus, you will understand that you have a choice. You won’t think you have to spend $2000 per month no matter what, like some ex-pats will tell you is the absolute minimum, nor will think you can live on $500 per month like the locals if you are unwilling to shop, live, and eat like a local. Knowledge is power.

But You Still Need to Do More

There is still something more you should do before making a final decision so you know how to not fail at Retiring Early Internationally.  You see, if you decide after just visiting the one place–and you move there and set up house, a nagging feeling of uncertainty may start to arise in you after about 6 months.

One day the thought will occur to you, “What are the other places like in this country?” You will naturally wonder whether you picked the best place. Do other cities have better food choices, better shopping, better nightlife? Are other cities cheaper because of fewer ex-pats? Are other cities less crowded? Do other cities have better hiking trails nearby, closer more beautiful beaches, or more waterfalls? You will naturally wonder what else is out there? This is how people think.

But you have just spent 3 months getting settled so you let the thought float by and get back to your daily life. But it keeps coming up again every few weeks or months. Believe me, you don’t want to struggle with those thoughts for a few years. Here is how to stop that.

So after you finish your research on the first place, and while you are still in this country, go see some of the other places that you learned about. You see, if you slow travel around in that country for a few weeks or months before making a final decision, then that nagging feeling is less likely to come up. You will be living in a place that was your favorite of the 4 or 5 places you visited. With that experience under your belt, those doubts won’t come up as often.

It is kind of like dating. If you date a few places before you pick your favorite, you will be more confident in your decision, and fewer doubts will arise later. The surprising thing to me was how little it costs to travel around in many of these retire cheap in paradise countries. Like when we were in the Philippines, we just lined up 6 or 7 places we wanted to see and they were just a $10 or $20 ferry ride apart.

So we were able to pick a favorite with confidence. Also, the research gets easier for each town you visit in the same country. Many of the expenses you spent time developing in the first place will be very similar. You will still need to verify the similarities, but you won’t need to recreate all the same data for each place once you verify similarities.

Do You Really Want to Be Sure of Your Choice?

There is one last thing you can do to not fail at Retiring Early Internationally.  And I believe you should do it before making a final decision. You should visit a few of the adjacent nearby countries. It may not be as expensive as you would think. Here is why.

To fly to SE Asia, you are going to spend a big chunk of money. You may spend up to $1000 USD per person just for your airfare. But once you are in SE Asia, do you know how little it costs to hop around to adjacent countries?

It may cost less than $100 USD to fly to an adjacent country. You may even find a bus or train that will take you there for half that price. Do you think I am kidding? Do some research. We are able to fly from Malaysia to most parts of SE Asia for under $100 USD. The same from Bangkok to adjacent countries. Buses and minivans can be half that price.

Do you know another reason that you should do this even if you are positive about the first country you visit? Because then you will know all the fun places you can visit near your new home for so little money. It will blow your mind knowing how many cool places you can visit for so little money, especially if you grew up in a place like the USA when visiting new countries meant 8-hour flights and $500 airfares.

Plus, you will be certain you have found the right place when you make your final decision. Nothing wrong with that.

One Final Benefit of Hopping to Adjacent Countries

Can I tell you one final benefit you may find if you decide to jump to adjacent countries and continue your exploratory visit? You may discover that you are more suited to be a slow traveler like me.

You see, after seeing 65 countries and understanding via personal experience how little it costs to live my life as a slow traveler. I have decided that I prefer to continue moving forward enjoying the world.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. That sounds really expensive, right? But you may find out what I have slow traveling the world. I spend a few months in each country and then move on to discover the adjacent countries. Since I generally visit a country next door when I move, the airfare, train, or bus, isn’t that expensive.

So I really get to know a place for a month or two, just long enough to fall in love with a place. But then the world calls to me and it is time to move on. It is not for everyone, but what if you discover it is for you. Maybe you are like me?

Maybe the world is your oyster instead of one town. If you are curious about what I spent in 2020 slow traveling the world, read my report Our World Travel Expenses for 2020. Also, make sure to grab a free copy of my eBook, How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 14 Years.

Thanks for reviewing this report, How to not fail at Retiring Early Internationally.

This is Dan of Vagabond The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?

2 thoughts on “How to Not Fail at Retiring Early Internationally”

  1. Well Dan, my time for jumping off and leaving the US is coming quick. And your video’s are great do not get me wrong, but there are a couple of nagging questions I have as I get closer to leaving. And in all the video’s I have watched I do not remeber you addressing them. If you could send me an email, I will explain to you what I am getting at, and you can decide for yourself whether to answer them in a video or say, “look stupid, I have right here.”

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