Life is expensive. At least, that’s what society wants you think. Work hard, spend hard, repeat. I don’t know about you, but I’ve started to feel like there’s got to be a better way get ahead financially. There’s got to be a way to increase spending power by 300% or more. Teaching online doesn’t require sitting in a cubicle, so why confine yourself to your current locations, especially when the cost of living is making it hard to keep up.
Move to another country.
Yes, that’s what you should do. In so many cases, just being in a location where the overall cost of living is lower can bump you up a couple income brackets without having stretch for that elusive high-paying client or beg your boss for a raise.
It’s not always easy to just pick up and go, but if you’re serious about relieving some major financial burdens, living somewhere where rent won’t break the bank and a sandwich and beer can be enjoyed via the change in your pocket right now, an international relocation should be seriously considered.
There are a number of web-based resources available to help you uproot and resettle (check out Living Abroad and Experts for Expats, for example), so we’re not going to get into the logistics of that here. But let’s dive in to five spots that, according to sources as reliable as The World Factbook from the CIA and NomadList.com, offer a GDP (gross domestic product) per capita that’s much more wallet-friendly than the United States or Switzerland and a cost of living that is much easier for us teachers to manage. As a reference point, the U.S. GDP per capita was $57,300 in 2016.
Pursuing those visions of beachside margaritas and mariachi music is a good thing, especially when looking for a dramatic reduction in general overhead. The average household income in Mexico is roughly 1/3 of that in the U.S.- the GDP per capita is $18,900. As a teacher working online, it is possible to live more than comfortably in Mexico on $2000/month, and you’ll be living the high life at $3000/month. Plus, it’s a quick move for US-based teachers looking for a fresh start abroad. Here are a few noteworthy stats:
- Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment, while varying depending on where you live, remains under $500/month. Maybe not beachside, but a moderate apartment in a decent neighborhood.
- In established cities and resort towns, internet accessibility is good. Electricity and common conveniences are affordable and available.
- Playa Del Carmen is an increasingly popular spot for digital nomads, with good internet options, cafes, and co-working options. Other cities, such as Queretaro and Guadalajara, are good options as well.
Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, is an undeniable Mecca for online entrepreneurs. Co-working and networking opportunities abound, and you can enjoy not 1 but 2 servings of Khao Soi (perhaps the most delicious meal to ever be served in a bowl) for under $1 USD. Similar to Mexico, if you’re brining in $2000/month, you’ll be coasting just fine. If looking to increase spending power while having plenty of entrepreneurial minds with which to bounce your teaching concepts and ideas off, it’d be hard to find a better place to start. Consider this: the GDP per capita is $16,800. That’s less than 1/3 of that in the U.S. Thais are friendly, and the country is perhaps the easiest in Asia for Westerners to adapt to.
- Rent for a nice furnished 1-bedroom apartment in Bangkok shouldn’t run you more than $500, in Chiang Mai that number is closer to $350.
- Internet access and electricity are strong, and while you won’t want to drink the tap water, potable water is easily accessible and cheap.
- Easily connect with other people teaching online within Thailand’s extensive expat community.
Morocco, in northern Africa, offers incredible cuisine, history, and culture, brought together by an incredibly cheap cost of living. The GDP per capita in Morocco is a mere $8,400, meaning your US Dollar is going to go extremely far. Spain is just across the Straight of Gibraltor, meaning training it across Europe is easily accessible. Cities such as Fez and Marrakesh offer strong café cultures with decent internet for working.
- Rent is incredibly cheap – land yourself a nice 1-bedroom apartment for $200-300/month.
- Meals are about $4-5 in a restaurant, add a pint of beer for $2.
- Internet is increasingly easy to find as cities such as Marrakesh and Fez see increases in online workers.
There’s much more to Peru than the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. An incredibly cheap cost of living in the thriving Lima District and its expansive metropolitan area offers good internet and variety of places to work from, delicious cuisine, and a dose of that legendary South American nightlife. If you’re looking to increase your spending power by 300% and live in South America, Peru is the place to be.
- Rent a nice 1-bedroom apartment for under $300-400/month.
- Live in a walkable area. Lima is huge, but by doing a little research and locating prime locations, having a car is not at all necessary.
- Eat dinner out for under $4 and give yourself more spending power to invest in your business.
Vietnam is an incredible place. From the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, filled with whizzing motorbikes and bustling city-life, to the budding entrepreneur and cultural scene in Danang and the nearby beaches of Hoi An, it is nearly impossible to bore yourself here. It’s also difficult to run yourself broke. The GDP per capita is $6,400. Food and drink are cheap – the street food culture is unbeatable – and internet is increasingly available in cafes.
- Year over year, Vietnam is becoming more friendly to entrepreneurs. Since 1986, when the country eased restrictions on the centrally-planned economy, citizens have taken the initiative to start private businesses and digital nomads are becoming more common, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon, as it was formerly known).
- Rent a 1-bedroom apartment for under $450, cheaper if you’re not keen on top-notch location.
- Increase your spending power by 300% or more, particularly if you like to indulge in a bit of travel or find yourself a frequenter of happy hour meetups and dinner dates.
Have you found a country that should be on this list? Let us know – we’re always looking to make our articles as useful as possible.