As many of you know, I am an expatriate person living outside my country of citizenship. I have been living in South Korea for over 14 months now. As expatriates from our respective countries, it is easy to sometimes be stuck within the confines of our work – which in many cases is our only motivation for living abroad.
With all the hassle of visas, contracts and language barriers, it often seems like there is no way to flourish financially beyond our employers’ fixed resources.
This article is devoted to creative approaches to generating extra income while living, working and studying outside your home country.
1. English tutoring
English is a hot commodity in many parts of the world. Assuming you understand what is written here, you certainly can teach English to native Dutch with skills ranging from low level to fluent. However, before posting flyers in your entire neighborhood, make sure to check the laws in your country regarding the employment of foreigners. Especially if your visa is linked to your employer (ie: you are in the country with a work visa), make sure you know the laws that apply to your search for additional employment sources BEFORE pursuing anything. Depending on what you find, you may be free, or you may need to make a calculated situation to see if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and the possibility of getting caught (and deported)!
However, if you do decide to take English tutoring, know that it is a lucrative market depending on where you are in the world, the saturation of native English speakers in the market and the host country’s economic situation.
This is obvious, but getting a promotion in your current job can be a way to earn extra money while living abroad. However, being promoted from abroad can be difficult, especially if your boss or supervisor may not even be on-site, or on the same continent.
However, being promoted in any organization starts with demonstrating more value for the current situation you are taking. Adding value to your workplace can be so simple, from taking the extra hours no one else wants, communicating effectively and being a source of positive energy in a negative office environment. In general, it never hurts to try!
3. Start a business
Starting a business has become easier than ever with today’s technologies. Besides, starting a business can provide a long-term solution to your financial woes. Depending on the flexibility of your business – whether or not it can be run without your physical presence, you may even be able to take your thriving business with you on your next overseas assignment, or back to your home country when your employment ends. Starting a business can also give you certain tax breaks, depending on the regulations in your country.
Again, do your due diligence regarding laws on foreigners owning companies in your respective host country. Also, know that companies will incur costs that you will bear as a sole proprietorship. Therefore, an initial investment is imperative if you are strongly considering doing business abroad. It is advisable to start a business that is more or less automated to avoid having to deal with problems associated with having employees and that the opportunities are managed remotely from your home country (if you are from plan to ever go home or travel frequently on business). Plus, cutting costs can be key to your financial success, as many countries also don’t easily offer bank loans or lines of credit to foreigners, which puts the weight of spending on you alone.
4. Financial investments
Expanding and diversifying your investment portfolio while living abroad can be a great way to spend extra money for you while also working hard. Depending on the amount of money you want to invest, it is determined which financial instruments you are eligible to use.
Finding a good financial advisor who speaks English is your first task. After that, be sure to consider the length of time around each investment product option and how they coincide with your immigration situation. For example, opening a 2-year certificate with high interest (CD) is only a good idea if you are on-site in the host country in 2 years. I’ve always been wary of signing papers in a language I don’t understand, especially when a large amount of my money is at stake. Working with a company in your own country is possible, especially if you often travel to your own country, but it can be very difficult to communicate with time differences and coinciding with office hours.
Investing for the future is a necessity, but if you don’t have the money set aside that you can live without ever seeing it again (remember there is a risk involved) then this might not be the option for you. However, if you have really saved your pennies by taking advantage of the cheap cost of living in your host country while putting more money in your pocket than you spend, a financial investment may be just what you need!
As you read this article, I hope you’ve received some useful resources to help you get where you see yourself in your financial future. I hope to see you at the top!