One Secret to Really Early FI (That Almost Nobody Considers Doing)

Geographic Arbitrage.

Earn high inflation passive income and live in a location that experiences only modest rises in cost of living (COL).

I think more and more people are slowly but surely getting this concept, especially millennials who are sick and tired of how cutthroat and competitive just “basic living” has become these days…

For all my friends, readers (and myself) who like to complain and moan about how expensive certain areas of the world are (e.g. Bay Area), don’t get mad, get even!

If you already own investments in a part of the world that inflates rapidly, there’s nothing that says you can’t look for an alternative place to live… My Bay Area rentals are anchored there, but not me!


Here’s an all-too-common “first world problems” rant that I ALWAYS hear back home:


Who cares if my property is worth $1-2 million? Who cares if I can rent my home out for $3-5k/month? Dude, why does it matter? I’m living in this house and don’t feel any richer… and if I move and rent out somewhere else in town, it’s just as expensive! Food, gas, just everything is going up like crazy! I can’t win!


Yes, you can win…


You just have to be really fucking open-minded and explore more alternatives, possibilities… which very few people are willing to do.


For most folks, life is all about copying your neighbors/peers/co-workers and following somebody else’s rules.


And playing the role of victim… My ol my how I can’t stand that! Get over yourself! If you’ve got “first world problems” shut the fuck up and stop complaining already! 99.999% of everyone else in the world would kill to be in your position. So be grateful and stop bitching all the time!


I’m here to tell you — Life is finite and nobody lives forever. So you better make the most of it! Forget what anyone else thinks or says, it’s your life and you only get ONE shot at this. There are no do-overs. Go and make your own fucking rules!


Granted, living overseas isn’t for everyone, I will concede that… But, seriously, with the way technology has advanced in recent years, can anyone really argue that most “urban” and “developed” parts of the world don’t pretty much feel more or less the same? I mean, it doesn’t really matter where I travel in the world, I can always find a spot to get: wi-fi, Uber/Grab, Airbnb, burgers (they even have Shake Shack overseas now, like in HK), Starbucks coffee, pad thai, there’s even banh mi and ca phe sua da in Manila!


But being able to live well and not feel like you’re pinching pennies all the time trying to make ends meet?




Or, ummmm, a whole lot less pricey…


The peace of mind is priceless.


That type of “laid back” and “low key” lifestyle is just what the doctor ordered, for some peeps like myself. Hey, take it from a guy who rekt’d his health and nearly killed himself from over-stress and over-work… There’s more to life than just trying to keep up with hamsters and going “guns blazing” each and every step of the way…




No, I’m NOT saying you have to rush out there and go buy a property in a country you don’t know/trust/understand/etc. but obviously another logical (easier) option is just to rent… and try things out first… Much less risky with the latter approach, and if things don’t work out, hey so what, you can always head back home…  and try to figure out Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, etc.


But at least if you try, you’ll acquire some very useful datapoints.


And that’s what I’m working on trying to figure out now…


Fight On!


P.S. Also yes, if you want to be able to travel around the globe with minimal headaches while at the same time invest and own rental properties back home, absolutely go with World Class Tier 1 (i.e. Class A) ftw! The “best of the best” is really your “best” shot at earning passive income via rental properties. The other shit is not that glamorous and a lot more elbow grease is needed… but the turnkey “cash flow baby” marketers/promoters/scam artists would never tell you that…


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Sharing is Caring:
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Hi Jay, Long time reader (since 2013) here. As someone who’s been down this road (California native turned 5 year China expat turned Silicon Valley returnee) I can share what brought me back was that CA is that it’s just too damn amazing a place (weather, capitalism, optimistic culture, fresh produce, sights) to pass up long term. I have no doubt you will enjoy your time in the Philippines but I’m guessing a point will come in your life (for me it was having a family) when you’ll consider coming back. That being said if I had a do over… Read more »

1 year ago

I’m bummed that Jamba Juice wasn’t the secret sauce, but agree with you that if folks had the guts to live abroad, they could really stretch their retirement dollars quite a bit, with assets here or even without them. I call this option plan like M or so. I’d much rather retire here in Cali (SD), but if push comes to shove and I need to get out of the rat race, I’m pretty sure I could pull the plug and go live somewhere cheaper for sure…