Not having the money you need is no reason not to retire to the location you find most tempting. In today’s world, it is easier than it’s ever been to go where you want and have the money follow, regardless of your schooling, experience, age, budget, or any other circumstances.
You can create the life you imagine in the location of your choosing and then make a plan for generating the cash flow to support it. I know many dozens of expats and retirees who have taken this approach and who are currently earning income in interesting places across the globe, in some cases working as little as four or five hours a week and investing in nothing more than a laptop to get started.
These strategies work for retirees with some retirement income but not quite enough, as well as for 40- or 50-somethings looking to retire early, and, with a few exceptions (a franchise, for example), they work anywhere.
Here are the six best ways to earn an income to support yourself overseas in 2019:
#1: Teaching English
Teaching English is perhaps the most accessible gig for income-seeking expats. However, until recently, if you wanted to teach English overseas, you needed a bachelor’s degree and teaching experience. Usually, this second requirement was fulfilled by taking a Teaching English As A Foreign Language (TEFL) course.
Today, though, because the demand for English teachers is big and growing, while, in many parts of the world, English teachers, especially native speakers, are in short supply, those requirements are less critical. If you don’t have a degree or don’t want to invest in a TEFL program, it’s possible to make money teaching English even if your only qualification is that you speak English as a first language.
The most flexible approach is teaching online. The income potential is solid, at $15 to $20 per hour, more if you are able to tap into a niche, and it can be reliable and long term, as, after you sign up a student, you’ve created steady cash flow for months or even years.
The cost of entry is low. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses can require a heavy investment and entail risk. You can get started teaching English on a shoestring. You can work from home, so you don’t have to go out in bad weather or hassle with a daily commute. No commute means no transportation expense and no time lost between students. You can schedule consecutive classes without gaps between them, allowing you to teach more during peak periods.
Perfect grammar isn’t a prerequisite. Teaching English as a foreign language isn’t the same as teaching high school English, for example. Classes could include listening to songs and interpreting the lyrics or reading contemporary novels with your students.
#2: Consulting, Coaching, Or Teaching—Online Or On The Ground
Teaching English can be the easiest way for a native English speaker to earn an income overseas. However, you have other skills that could translate into an income in another country. Consulting, coaching, and teaching, both virtually and one-on-one, are growth markets worldwide, and, coming from the United States, the most sophisticated and competitive marketplace in the world, your professional and life experiences have value.
I know expat retirees making money as tax advisors and swimming pool consultants, as well as one expat whose post-retirement career for cash flow is tutoring the children of well-off families from around the world on how to pass U.S. college entrance exams. He’s flown first class to the families’ homes, all expenses paid, and earns six figures a year.
Vlogging is the new blogging. By 2020, it is expected that online videos will make up more than 85% of all U.S. consumer internet traffic. To date, most vloggers have been Millennials, but there is an emerging market for retirement-related vlogging content, including retire-overseas vlogging.
Vlogging requires some technical competence and enough confidence to get in front of a camera. This could be a dream retirement hobby for someone who enjoys travel, as it’d mean getting out and about, researching, scouting, interviewing, and filming. Vlogging for income means soliciting sponsors and advertisers. The easiest way to do this is as an affiliate marketer.
#4: Buying A Franchise Overseas
A franchise is a system and a trademark. Buying one as a source of income overseas means not having to figure out how to run a profitable business. You’re taught how to run a profitable business.
And, once you hang out your shingle, you’re not on your own. You have the franchisor behind you, as well as fellow franchisees all around the world. Owning a global franchise means becoming part of a like-minded and supportive community.
Franchising today is more than burgers and fries. Options now include franchises to teach children how to write computer code and franchises for tutoring students for college entrance exams. Some franchises are home-based.
Before investing in an international franchise, review the Franchise Disclosure Document. The franchisor may be reluctant to share this, but it’s possible to access these free online.
The biggest downside to a franchise can be the big upfront cost. Some require initial investments of $200,000 or $300,000 but not all. Online franchises come with the lowest upfront investment fees, as little as $25,000 or $30,000.
#5: Freelance Writing
You don’t need formal training to make money as a travel writer, but you need to be able to express yourself, to tell a good story, and you need to be able and willing to travel. This is the ideal moneymaking strategy for someone who wants to see the world and make a little money on the side at the same time.
You can live anywhere and you can move around as much as you want as a travel writer. The more you move around the better.
The trouble is that there are lots of travel writers out there. Competition with editors and publishers is fierce. In addition, you’ll have to cover your own travel expenses, and your income will be small, at least in the beginning.
#6: Manage Rental Properties
Growing numbers of North Americans are buying vacation and investment properties overseas and need competent rental and property managers to look after and market them. Well-established tourist destinations have developed rental management industries. However, less-established markets, including some of the best places to think about living overseas as a retiree, present an opportunity, and AirBNB and Booking.com make promoting rentals anywhere in the world easier than it’s ever been.
As a property manager, you’d be responsible for repairs and maintenance of the rental; paying utility, tax, and other bills; cleaning; and accounting for the property’s contents. As a rental manager, you’re responsible for marketing the property, booking renters, and then checking tenants in and out.
Property managers typically charge a flat fee, from $100 to $200 a month, depending on the market. Rental managers earn a percentage of rental income, from 15% to 25%, again, depending on the country.
A successful property and rental manager likes people and is well organized and good with details. Schedules can be demanding in high season, but you control your day. You could spend mornings surfing or swimming, then manage property repairs, cleaning, and check-ins in the afternoon.
How to get started? Advertise your availability on social networking sites and online forums for expats in the place where you’d like to take on clients.