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This post is originally found as a guest post on Mustard Seed Money. Head on over to get the full version.
Do you want to travel the world and learn a new language, but money concerns keep you from pursuing it?
I know the feeling. The expat job may be the answer. Lots of people want to travel the world and experience a new way of life, but taking years off of work or even just 3 months off is not feasible.
An expat job is one where a company sponsors you to move to a new country where you live and work for a period of time. The time period can be anywhere from 1 year to as long as you/they want. It all depends on the specific job.
I know I mostly talk about here, how to leave your job behind, but the expat position that I hold has afforded me many opportunities and I want everyone to know how becoming an expat is awesome! It even greatly accelerates your path to financial independence and retiring early.
Since there are so many excuses for not taking the expat job, let’s go through the benefits of taking an expat job.
Money should not be the only motivation for taking an expat job. If you are only moving around the world chasing the money, then you will be miserable. If you are not personally miserable then you will likely drive your family to be miserable.
However, there is no getting around the sweet deal that is generally offered as part of the expat package. How else are they going to get people to give up their comfortable life?
There is no better way to pursue financial independence than to take an expat job. You get a huge raise and the company will cover many of your normal living expenses along the way.
2. Learn A New Language
Chances are, if you are reading this, that you are a native English speaker. Speaking English means we can travel through most of the world and get away without speaking the language. However, if you do this, you will never make very good friends with the locals and you miss out on much of the culture.
There will never be a better time to learn a new language than when you are surrounded by it and can use it on a daily basis. So take advantage of the time you have in a foreign country to learn a new language. Your company will probably pay for language lessons, so there really is no reason to forego the opportunity.
3. Travel The World
My personal reason for taking the expat assignment was because I wanted to travel the world. The US is a long ways from everything, so travel tends to be more expensive. When you move around the world, wherever it is, it will be closer to more foreign countries than the US is.
I really cannot express how cool it is to travel to foreign lands and get to see all the cool sights and experience the food and culture. No matter your disposition, city or rural, you will find something cool to go experience in a new place. You can take the experience home with you and have a more well-rounded sense of the world.
4. Experience A New Culture
You really cannot overstate the benefits of living in and experiencing a new culture. Living in the US is like living in a bubble. You really don’t understand all the different ways that people live in the world. When you get a chance to live in a new culture you get to experience their way of living.
5. Gain Worldwide Friends From Many Cultures
You will be taking a job in a foreign country, but chances are that you will be moving to an expat area where there are many others like you. We all give up living at home to come and live abroad which helps to create a strong sense of community. You will be making friends with all kinds of new people from countries all around the world. My parents still stay in contact with friends they made in Kuwait 30 years ago while on an expat assignment.
6. Resume Boost
If you are pursuing FIRE then you are looking to maximize your earnings and your savings. When it comes to maximizing your earnings there is no better way long term than to build your resume and be able to negotiate for that big raise or promotion. Maybe the money from the expat package will be enough to make it to FIRE, but you may need to return home after your contract for a few years. Having an expat job on your resume shows that you are willing to do what it takes to succeed.
7. For The Challenge
An expat assignment will be a challenge. There is no getting around that. You will be cut off from your family, living and eating in a new culture, working hard and also just trying to live. It will all be a challenge.
So embrace the challenge.
Take the opportunity to prove to yourself and to others you have what it takes to succeed. You will grow along with the experience and everyone will be better for it.
8. Bonus: Get Your Family To Travel The World
Since you are now living on the other side of the world, you become a destination for your family to come and visit. We have not had too many people come to visit us, but the ones that have been all appreciative of the chance to come to China. They would never have traveled here if not for us.
So move across the world and have your family follow. They are sure to enjoy it.
There are many pros and cons to taking an expat opportunity and they have to be weighed carefully before committing to the contract. It is a decision that should be made as a family because it affects all of you, including the kids.
There are so many positives to the experience that you simply cannot have while working back home. Taking the expat assignment will open doors in all parts of your life.
Are you an expat? Looking at becoming an expat? Let us know your thoughts about the positives of expat assignments in the comments.
The expanded version of this post is found as a guest post on Mustard Seed Money.