Even though fall is barely halfway done, the snow has started to fly here in Alberta. In between cursing at Mother Nature and huddling somewhere trying to keep warm, I’ve had to go sell some potato chips. My typical day goes a little something like this:
a) show up at the store
b) go inside, do my order
c) go back outside, get the order ready
d) take order inside, put it on the shelf
e) repeat for about 9 different stores
I work inside for the majority of my day, but at least a couple hours out of my 8-9 hours are spent in the back of the chip truck. When it gets below freezing, it isn’t exactly pleasant back there. I like being a chip guy, but that’s definitely one of the worst parts of my job. Freezing my ass off isn’t exactly my idea of fun. What’s a fella to do, besides request a transfer to Florida? Put on a coat? Screw that.
If you’re serious about avoiding winter, it’s really not as hard as you’d think, assuming you’re willing to move to somewhere other than the U.S. Do you want to know how? Of course you do.
First Step, Passive Income
The first step towards avoiding winter is to figure out the best places to spend your time. Not all of these places are created equal.
There are several countries that’ll let just about any moron move there, provided they make a set amount of money every month, with some sort of certainty going forward. As an example, Costa Rica will let a foreigner relocate to their land of milk and honey for a mere $1000 per month in guaranteed income. CPP will give a retiree more than that much on a monthly basis, making Costa Rica a popular place for old folks. The socialized medicine doesn’t hurt either.
Getting $1000 per month isn’t the easiest thing to do, but isn’t impossible either. All sorts of online businesses easily generate $12k per year in profits, including your blog, providing you don’t suck at it. If you have $240k invested in a generally safe portfolio of bonds that yield 5%, that’ll generate the $12k needed. A couple of paid off rental houses would easily get you over the threshold. It’s not easy getting $1000 per month in guaranteed income, but that’s all it takes to get your foot in the door. Once you’re down there, you can either find a local job or ramp up your online earning efforts.
Next Up, Pick A Country
There are all sorts of countries that cater to folks avoiding winter. It’s a win-win scenario. The country gets a new resident that will stimulate the local economy with their spending. The government will be able to collect taxes from their new citizen. And you get to wear shorts in January. It’s a win-win scenario.
Let’s start with Costa Rica. As mentioned, you’ll need $1000 per month in guaranteed income. You’ll want to live close to the major center of San Jose, since infrastructure deteriorates as it moves away from the capital. A small apartment can be rented for just a couple hundred bucks per month, but you’ll probably want something a little nicer, at a price of around $500 per month.
As with any developing country, there will be sacrifices. While high speed internet is available, it probably won’t be as fast as you currently have. Power outages will happen once a month or so. A lot of the highways generally suck.
One of the things that separates developed countries from developing ones is the ease to do business there. As a result, you’re going to want to research the HELL out of your prospective location. In Thailand, to use another example, foreigners can own property, but not without cutting through all sorts of red tape. And, since the government is a military junta, they could, in theory, take that property away from you at any point. This isn’t unique for Thailand, many countries have foreign ownership restrictions.
Another thing, no matter which warmer climate you move to, you will be viewed as a rich foolish foreigner. This isn’t such a bad thing if you’re going to, uh, sample the local cuisine (wink, wink), but it can get expensive. You may end up paying more for stuff than locals will, blissfully unaware because of significant savings compared to what it costs back home. Plus, struggling locals will be jealous of the successful outsider, even if the outsider isn’t nearly as successful as appearances would suggest. They will try to rip you off. Racism exists in other countries too.
The more I research other countries for avoiding winter, (not that I’m serious about this, I just like to do my research for you guys) the more I hate the idea. Every single country I’ve looked into has all sorts of problems. Infrastructure sucks pretty much everywhere you’d consider. Some countries have ridiculously high fees for things like owning cars or operating a business or getting even a simple building permit. Others limit foreigners in all sorts of ways. It turns out that, to live in your paradise, you have to make a few sacrifices. If anyone has experience living anywhere else in the world, feel free to share some stories in the comments.
As for me, I guess I’ll stick with cold, cold Canada. Does anyone want to cuddle?