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Beginner Tips for Moving Abroad to Latin America

Published August 20, 2020 in Personal Stories & Opinions - 0 Comments

I remember when I first started traveling around Latin America….

Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Dominican Republic, etc, etc…

Back then, those were just trips to Latin America…

I wasn’t actually living down here…

But then I spent my first year actually living in Latin America…

In Mexico City about 3 years ago…

And back then, I had a rough sum of money saved up but for sure was not no millionaire…

As you can read here

I blew through that money in the first year and ended up quickly working my ass off to make sure I had food to eat and roof over my head.

Even if that roof was shit as you can read here

Suffice to say, I wasn’t very mature for when I moved abroad…

Especially as I was quite young…

And, perhaps one older than me could fairly say…

I am still relatively young and not the most mature compared to some guy in his 50s or so…

Point taken.

But after some time living down here…

And looking into my earlier years of living down here…

The question sometimes comes to my mind – what would I have done differently?

Because, keep in mind, I basically jumped in feet first into the water without any real preparation or vision into the future…

In a way, I had some vision into the future as I had this “I’m going to work hard and make money online!” idea that was very vague and not absolute….

But, in practice, that quickly dissolved when I started enjoying life down here…

A bit too much…

So if I could give advice as to what people should do before they jump into the water of living abroad…

Well, keep in mind, this is all based on reflecting on my own experiences.

As, I wrote about here in the About section of my website, every foreigner down here is going to have his or her own different experiences.

Which then changes what we perceive as important.

So just keep that in mind as I give advice to – I guess as of now – my younger self if he could read this.

What should Matt have done differently if he could start things over differently from stage 1 of living abroad in Latin America?

Let’s look into that with some of the hindsight I have now.

Tip 1: Ask Yourself Why

When I first started traveling abroad, it was mostly to experience life abroad while I was young…

And some other very personal reasons I won’t go into here as of yet…

But I ended up learning that life abroad can be quite easy – especially if you can earn USD.

As you can read about here.

But regardless of your reason to live down here…

No matter how superficial it might be…

I would encourage you to ask yourself if that reason is legit and if you truly cannot find it in your own home country.

Right, I get it…

Some online guru sold you on the “live abroad and escape the west, bro” bullshit.

Or whatever their selling point is.

Despite some of the dumb mistakes I have made in life…

I’m glad I was never retarded enough to believe into that bullshit they are selling you all about life abroad.

Either way, I will just tell you – don’t base your entire decision to move abroad based on some bullshit online guru who is looking to make money on your desperate retarded ass.

Think for a second – is this person trying to make money off of me?

Nothing wrong if they are trying to make some money – but do consider their intentions at the very least..

And their claims…

Some of the claims of these folks selling false dreams online are so ridiculously fake that you’d have to be an idiot to fall into it.

So just use your head for once and don’t be so naïve into thinking that life abroad is some magical key to all your life problems.

Because it isn’t.

Tip 2: Control Habits

Now this is where it starts to go into where my younger self should have be listening…

If I could speak to my younger self…

One thing I’d definitely say is “control your habits.”

Keep in mind there is no shortage of folks who like their fair share of liquor in my family tree from what I know…

And I like a bit of liquor myself as well…

Unfortunately, it is very easy to drink yourself silly and pursue gratification with women down here when cost of living is so low…

One piece of advice I would tell myself is to not lose focus on the bigger picture and to place the more important things in life – like pursuing a purpose or making money – over drinking and having fun.

Nothing wrong with having all of that in your life but make sure to know which is more important.

Tip 3: Investigate

Before you do move abroad, make sure to investigate a bit different areas of Latin America…

Starting with all the information you can find online…

And then taking occasional trips to different countries that have most of your interest…

I say this because Latin America is a very big region…

And much of it is very different from each other..

So do you research ahead of time as to which areas are best fitted for you based on what you want in life abroad…

And visit those areas before moving abroad before making the move.

Fortunately, I was able to visit a lot of Latin America before my move abroad.

But, until this day, there are still things that I learn that make me reevaluate where I want to end up down here in some years down the road…

Tip 4: Savings

Looking back at when I moved abroad…

I had an alright amount of savings…

Enough to make it last and be successful initially…

But I blew it because I didn’t have the maturity to keep those savings while getting to work right away.

Granted, I had a lot of fun in my first year living down here..

But that came at a (relatively small because I didn’t have a million in savings obviously) price…

Either way…

I would suggest, in best case scenario, that you have 2 years of savings plus moving costs at least before you move abroad.

So let’s figure that out now roughly…

Moving costs?

Well, you will need a laptop if you don’t have one already…

So that’s, let’s say, $400 bucks for a decent one that is OK.

Plus the airfare…

And given airfare can be very different depending on where you are coming from, let’s say $800 USD.

While also a week of living abroad in a hotel while you look for an apartment….

That is, let’s say, 40 bucks a night or $280.

Plus, you need food for that week – so $140 let’s say roughly (since you are probably not cooking at a kitchen in a hotel).

And then a deposit – maybe $500 bucks.

Plus, miscallenous fees of let’s say $50 bucks.

Total: $2,170 USD.

Of course, that is a very basic number that doesn’t likely reflect your circumstances and is going to vary heavily depending on your circumstances…

Could be less or more than that…

Then let’s add in 2 years of savings…

And this again varies by where you are in Latin America….

If you live in Rio of Brazil, cost of living is going to be a bit higher than say in a normal neighborhood of Cochabamba, Bolivia…

And your standards for what you want in life are going to vary..

Either way, in Mexico City, I only spend around $700 to $800 USD a month on top of my head and I feel comfortable enough down here..

So let’s say $1,000 USD a month for your living expenses…

Again, that number is probably not going to reflect your actual cost of living but is just a rough guess as I don’t know where you are going, how much experience you have down here and what you want to spend in life on a monthly basis…

Either way…

The number is easy and good enough to go with..

If we assume 2 years of living expenses into your savings at $1,000 USD a month, that is $24,000 USD.

Now if we add the $2,170 USD…

Let’s add another $2,030 bucks into that for good measure for a cleaner number (and more miscellaneous money in case stuff happens…

And we can say that you should have $28,000 USD for how much you should, in an ideal world, have for moving abroad…

Granted, I had much less than that and still made it but you should be good with that much money behind you down here…

Tip 5: Passive Income

In the future, I will go into much more detail on what this “passive income” entails.

But, as some people explain it, it involves making “money in your sleep.”

In practice, from what I understand given my limited (but moderately successful) approach to it…

Is that it essentially involves making a brand online where you have an audience…

Be it from a blog…

Youtube channel….

Or whatever else…

And you make money from content you already put out there.

Such as with affiliate marketing for example…

So, as you can see, it’s not really passive initially…

As you have to put in effort to actually get this content out there…

And you have to know what people are looking up so you know what to make content about that will get attention..

Plus you have to look into the competition…

And what products you can promote…

Among other things from what I understand with my limited experience in this…

But based on my experience, it can definitely be profitable…

And if I could speak to my younger self…

I would definitely encourage my younger self to get the “passive income” more well established before ever moving abroad to Mexico.

Life would have been a little bit easier from the beginning of that was the case…

As it takes real effort and some years of work to get this “passive income” to work.

Especially if you are new to it.

Tip 6: Active Income

I’m not actually sure if anyone uses this term “active income.”

Probably people do.

But where passive income is more about being paid for your results than the specific hours you put into some type of work..

Active income is more about putting in the hours to produce something for some other employer with the extra time you have.

I’d recommend you pursue this outside of our passive income..

Especially as your passive income is no guarantee and can diminish over time….

There are different paths to developing an active income…

But basically it involves having a marketable skill that can be done remotely by people and companies willing to pay you for the skill to be done remotely…

Just the other day…

I was talking with a friend of mine from North Carolina who is an accountant…

And I was asking him “is it possible to do accounting work remotely?”

I am not an accountant and have no experience with this field of work..

But he said that it can be done and the money is there..

That is one example then I would suppose of a type of active work that you can do remotely.

Another thing might involve coding perhaps.

Either way, you want a skill that doesn’t involve competing with bums from shit neighborhoods of Colombia and Bolivia where people will work for $2 USD a day…

And where the skill is marketable and can be done remotely…

Because there is no winning and having a fun life abroad when your work involves a race to the bottom with folks who are willing to work for so much less than you.

Tip 7: Maturity & Financial Stability

Finally, if you are moving to Latin America…

If you are quite young like I was, keep in mind the maturity issue…

But it’s not just a matter of age…

I have known guys in their 30s or older who have gotten sucked into the “drinking and getting laid” lifestyle where that is all they focus on….

And they lose focus on making money and end up near broke or struggling…

But I imagine this issue would be even worse for someone in his 20s…

So, again as a word of caution to my younger self…

But also to everyone reading this…

Regardless of age…

Don’t lose focus on the bigger picture of making your life abroad financially stable.

Yes, life abroad can be very fun.

But as our friend Tony Montana says here….

About “booze and concha”

Tip 8: Shut Your Mouth

One last tip now that I am thinking about it.....

Also, don’t talk too much.

Don’t go into too much detail about what and how you earn your money online with most folks.

Because you don’t know where that info is going even with people you trust…

And how someone around the corner catches wind of what you are doing and tries to outcompete you.

Nothing wrong with maybe talking very briefly about it or giving a TLDR of it…

But careful with that too…

And with most people, just keep it to yourself.

Whatever you do to make money though – it probably isn’t novel.

But it could be the case that not too many people are doing what you are doing specifically…

And talking about it too much can bring in unneeded competition.

So keep your mouth shut.

Tip 9: Don’t Delay Too Long

Though having your savings and income established online is important…

Don’t hesitate forever in making the move abroad.

Nothing is going to be perfect.

And yet, despite all the bullshit mistakes I made in moving abroad…

I still managed to do so.

With a lot less in savings than $28,000 USD and no passive nor active online income established.

Granted, it involved an ass kicking but I made it.

So if you have everything I recommend above…

And the maturity and discipline…

You will probably do fine.

But the other mistake I feel some people probably make is always thinking about moving abroad…

But never actually doing so…

Because it is such a heavy decision and they simply never make the jump…

At some point you are going to have to do it if you want to live the life abroad..

So don’t hesitate too much but don’t jump in when you are not prepared….

Overall…

Hopefully you enjoyed this article.

This article was more meant to help give some very basic advice on making money online while living abroad in Latin America…

And also some general tips for moving abroad in general….

If you have any advice of your own, leave a comment below.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks!

Best regards,

Matt

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