Funding Your New Life Overseas
The equity in your home is a fraction what it was four years ago, your 401(k) has been reduced by half, your investment portfolios have taken a beating…
Meantime, the pages of the calendar continue to turn. Retirement approaches.
How are you going to be able to afford it? Maybe you should defer the idea altogether…keep working for five or six or more years longer…
Nah, that’s not the answer.
As I explained to the crowd assembled in Orlando this week for our Retire Overseas Conference, don’t put off your retirement because you’re worried you can no longer fund it. Find a way to generate more funds.
Getting a job in another country as a foreign resident is no easy thing. Often, it’s impossible. But, at this point of your life, do you really want to go to work for someone else anyway?
Much better to start your own thing.
Those of us who’ve grown up in the developed world have a serious leg up on the local competition in the developing one. Show up in a place like Belize, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, or Panama, and you’ll notice all kinds of market gaps. Products and services you’d be willing to bet would be welcome are missing altogether…and others that are available are fulfilled so inefficiently and unreliably as to, again, leave big niches wide open.
So start a business. A messenger service (as did a friend a decade ago in Bucharest, where he noticed that all the local messenger services were unreliable…his is today the biggest in town)…a self-storage facility (as did another friend years ago in Nicaragua, again very successfully)…or, thinking bigger, a lending service (in most of the developing world, it’s not possible for a foreigner to borrow locally for the purchase of real estate…a friend noticed this in Belize eight years ago and established a lending agency that has developed into a bank)…
Or, if a bricks and mortar operation (and all the hassles that go along with one), doesn’t interest you, go virtual. Teach long distance over the Internet. Consult. Coach. Process forms for a bank or a tax agency long distance. I know people doing every one of these things right now to earn an income in places where they decided they’d like to be but then realized they couldn’t quite afford.
You could also earn your way around the world as a travel writer, a copywriter, a photographer…
Or maybe start a franchise.
As an attendee at this week’s Retire Overseas Conference in Orlando pointed out, being self-employed or having your own small business is great…until you’re unable to work for some reason. Get sick or go on vacation, and the income disappears until you return to your laptop.
So, in our Funding Your New Life Overseas Workshop in Orlando, our panel also addressed more passive ways to build a revenue stream for yourself…such as starting a franchise.
When we moved to Panama City, one of Lief’s first thoughts was, “Let’s open a Taco Bell!”
Lief likes Taco Bell. There wasn’t one in Panama City when we arrived on the scene. So Lief began looking into franchise opportunities with the king of fast taco food…only to discover that, in fact, the franchise for Panama had been purchased and the first Taco Bell was to open soon.
It did. Today there are at least five across Panama City, all doing very well as far as we can tell. Certainly, Lief does his part to keep the taco revenues flowing.
This is the route our daughter has chosen, too. Not fast food…but an Internet-based franchise relevant to the fast-growing expat market around the world.
Kaitlin graduated from university in New York in May and moved to Panama City in June. Her fellow graduates were disillusioned, discouraged about their job prospects even before they began pounding the pavements in search of gainful employment. The president of Kailtin’s school addressed the situation in his commencement remarks.
“It’s understandable if you’re afraid,” he told his graduates. “These are uncertain times. Now that you’ve worked so hard to earn your degree, will you be able to find a job? And, if not, what will you do? These questions must be weighing heavy on your minds…”
Kaitlin’s response? Rather than worrying about finding a job, she’d start a business. In Panama.
As she and we have discussed, the web-based franchise business she’s chosen to invest in will be a lot of hard work for the first year at least. If she’s able to establish the base she’s planning, though, starting in years two and three and then looking ahead indefinitely, she’ll be able to look forward to a very healthy revenue stream.
Eventually, she could hire someone to run the business for her day-to-day…while she moves on to a next project.