Do you dream of enjoying the adventure of a permanent holiday lifestyle, but then fear suffering from the “same crap but different country” syndrome?
The high energy and enthusiasm you feel in the planning stage and on arrival are destined to wane if you do indeed find you are living the same life as before with more sunshine but less friends. Mistaking the holiday experience and lifestyle for the Expat lifestyle is a common mistake, the major difference being budget. No one spends year round like they spend on holiday (Or vacation for our American readers)
The fresh start where you are going to live the life that most can only dream of might have fizzled a little and your outlook is graduating from euphoria through to doubt as time passes.
Perhaps you imagined that: you, your partner and your kids are going to have new once-in-a-lifetime experiences, you’ve vowed that you will learn the local language, you hope your children will meet a new group of well-rounded friends by sending them to a local or international school in a foreign country, you and your partner will meet “locals” and integrate yourselves. Sound familiar?
Ultimately, though, the dream is to live a holiday lifestyle while trying to fit in work to finance this into reality. Isnt it?
Its not all doom and gloom though! Many are living great lives in their new countries but its not a given. I can certainly relate to you if you are in the position described above as I have personally experienced the somewhat made up “same crap different country” syndrome. Fortunately this is now a distant memory and I have graduated into “a permanent holiday lifestyle” – and I know which I prefer. This is most expats dream, but even those brave enough to make the leap from one country to the next do no always get to live it.
MY EXPAT REALITY
Look, no matter how well your company supports you, how much your friends encourage you or how much social media circles cheer you the reality of life soon kicks in. You might say that reality is amplified if you have not the comfort of a supportive employer and work independently as I do.
I have lived abroad as a single dad , working throughout Europe, the Middle East and SE Asia (Japan).
This was really a test of my resolve as bouncing from country to country myself and my kids never really managed to fully embed ourselves in our local community as we were always looking to the next destination.
- New location
- Different customs
- A new geography to learn
- What are the traffic rules this time?
- Another round of getting the basics in place (Power / transport / and so on)
- Oh yes and new languages, SO MANY LANGUAGES and do I speak a dozen languages?
My meltdown generally took around 6 weeks to really feel ready to hit me, but it did consistently and all I could do was swear in the local language and nothing more. But it was ok, a new location was on the horizon so if a new country or location was not exactly filling me with joy at least I had another to look forward to where I could go through the same process again.
So I would consider myself to be a pretty experienced Expat, however, whether it’s something as simple as setting up a new mobile phone number, renting or buying a car, or the more complicated process of trying to understand the local mountain off often illogical bureaucracy to obtain the correct visas, driving licenses, bank accounts etc. – all things that in your home country would be relatively easy – suddenly these become a mammoth task.
Not to mention, a simple trip to the supermarket that starts with the gung-ho intention of buying what the locals do, soon deteriorates into moans and groans from the children and the agony of trying to decipher the labels using Google translate (yet again) with a final hands in the air white flag sigh of “shall we out again tonight?!”
To top it all off, the budget that you’d put together prior to leaving, all the Facebook groups you’d joined to get “helpful advice”, the blogs read, the research done, pretty soon all go out of the window. Even if you’re on an expat contract that at one time was extremely lucrative, all of a sudden the pay raise that should have more than taken care of all your needs, has been consumed with incidentals that we hadn’t thought about.
This was true for me when my eldest daughter’s first school trip at her new school came up. Rather than going to some worn out museum as it would be in the UK, it was instead a week in Paris starting with a trip to Versailles. Bearing in mind we lived in Brussels at the time, the school gave me a week to drain my account of “1000 euros, please”. Having just paid a term up front, it didn’t get cheaper from there.
Fortunately, now, after 15 years of having the privilege of living and working in some amazing places (and some not so) I live in Italy, with my second wife whom I met and married on the way. We live in an idyllic spot in Italy. My children have since left home and, funnily enough, both are now living in different countries. Perhaps seeing their dad suffer paid off.
I no longer have the motivation to work for someone else. To receive our visa in Italy, we needed to show a passive income. As a 51 year old, retirement income wasn’t an option and besides, isn’t a passive income what we’d all prefer – sooner or later, at least? I know I’d rather be lounging by the pool and still earning cash.
Money may not make you happy but it oils the wheels
How did I achieve this passive income?
Simple really – I have a background in financial services and saw the way clients perhaps didn’t always receive the maximum returns they should – so I put together a regulated financial product that generates 7% on average per month.
This was done to solve our own requirement to demonstrate a passive income of about 3000 euros per month for our visas. To achieve this, we need to have invested about 45 to 50k into this financial product at minimum; however, we decided to put in 100k and now receive more than is required for us both to live each month.
The result was that we easily met the visa requirements to stay while still taking into account the ongoing incidentals that can unexpectedly rack up month in and month out, particularly as heating prices continue to sore (roll on the warm weather please).
If you really want to experience a true passive income, I would be happy to speak with you and demonstrate the results that we are currently achieving, simply fill in the form below to organise a chat.
As I write this, the Winter/Spring sun is setting, the temperature is about 13’. My wife is still reading her book outside and a glass of red wine, or maybe white, is waiting. Do I love my passive income life? You bet!
This commentary may be usefu for UK citizens in the post-Brexit aftermath, as consulates can set their own criteria. Personally, I am not as famiiliar with the situation with consulates in the U.K.
However, most of the ten Italian consulates in the U.S. are wanting to see passive income that comes from a pension, social security, or an annuity. A few will accept other sources like rental income or investments. Its really the luck of the draw, as you can’t shop around. The burden of proof is on the applicant to show a history of stable, predictable, regular amounts. Its totally their decision to accept it.
Its also worth noting that, in the last 5-6;years, Italy has dramatically decreased all forms of immigration. Work Visas now have a very low annual quota. Criteria for all visas are getting tougher, not easier. What someone might have been able to do ten years ago may no longer be possible.
Generally a very good article. However, the passive income requirement can vary widely by consulate, both in type and amount. The suggestions may be valid in the UK: I don’t know those consulates. However, most of the ten consulates in the U.S. want to see a documented record of passive income that is stable, predictable, and regular in quantity. Pensions, social security, and annuities easily meet this test. Other sources, not so much. Some will accept rental income if well-established. A few will accept other investments and dividends. The burden of proof is one the applicant and the consulate has the discretion to accept or reject other sources. Indeed, at our appointment we witnessed several applicants who were turned down on the spot. Its not merely checking a box; the consulate wants to see your total financial picture.
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