Help to plan my financial future

Hey all.

I have been planning to move to Taiwan this year but I have been over-thinking my financial future a lot and would like some advice from some of the long-termers and anyone who has something to add.

I have a pretty good job in Canada in insurance but since I lived in Taiwan for a year 3 years ago, I really wanted to return.

I am 30 now, and my plan is to retire at 50 or 55, hopefully in Taiwan. It appears I will be taking a huge pay cut to make this trip, and so I am quite concerned about the future.

A few questions.

  1. Can one in 20 years make enough to retire in Taiwan (specifically the south, Kaohsiung or Taichung)?
  2. How much would one have to save to be comfortable in retirement? I am a pretty simple person and don’t mind living simply. When I was in Kaohsiung before, my rent was $150 Canadian/mo including heat and water.
  3. At what age do companies stop hiring someone due to age in general (in English teaching or other fields)
  4. Can one get enough hours in the English teaching field to save up to retire or is it hand to mouth?
  5. Any investment techniques any of you use to secure your future or any suggestions to do so that I haven’t thought about? (e.g. Marry a girl from a rich family :smiley: )
  1. Is it stupid to want to move here permanently or is it a good life choice?

Thanks in advance… Hopefully I can hear everyone’s plans.

-Dan

How is your Chinese?

Which part of the insurance field did you work in?

What are your goals for retirement (just get by, retire comfortably or retire wealthy?)

Dan,

I’m no financial planner, by any means, but here’s what I’d say based upon what you wrote.

Firstly, probably the largest deciding factor at this point in time will be any savings or investments you currently have. They could make it a whole lot easier for you. What would you project them to grow to by your desired age of retirement?

I’ll answer your questions out of order in what will probably be the easiest order for me to answer them.

  1. In English teaching, unless you’re in a niche field or you are in the government school or university system, you’re basically looking at a rapidly dwindling number of years of good employment. Working in a buxiban or kindergarten here is a young person’s game, both in terms of the energy required and also in terms of what they’re looking for. Blonde chick in her mid 20s = :thumbsup: , slightly overweight, balding guy in his 40s or beyond = :thumbsdown: for a whole lot of reasons, most of them irrational. If you were to come back to teach English, I’d suggest either come here with a Masters, some sort of teaching licence for back home (so you could teach in a government school) or have a pretty clear route for getting yourself into a niche field.

  2. Again, for those in the buxiban and kindy field, I wouldn’t fancy my chances. Taiwan has declining fertility levels. America is, for the forseeable future, really screwed financially and many college graduates can’t get (decent) jobs. Wages have been stagnant or declined for as long as anyone on this board can remember. That means fewer students, more “teachers” and wages going nowhere whilst being eroded by inflation. I don’t fancy those odds, personally.

  3. Well, I have someone else, who runs his own value investing fund, looking after most of my money. He seems to be doing pretty well with it. I’m not sure how detailed you want this to be. How long is a piece of string?

  4. Well, that depends upon a lot of things. Ultimately, unless you marry a local or get permanent residency, you’re always going to be one talk with a buxiban laoban away from having to leave the country. Getting married or having permanent residency gives you the ability to actually really be secure in staying here, though of course, it doesn’t gurantee a job. Then it depends upon the degree to which you could actually really see yourself building a life here and earning enough money to do so. I used to live in Taoyuan City and hated it. I also hated my job. If you look at my posts from 2009-2010, they were pretty bitter. Now I live in Taidong County and love it. My present job is also pretty good, though not perfect.

  5. It really depends upon how much you need to live the kind of lifestyle you want, and whether you plan to have kids. If you didn’t have kids, 50,000NT/month would see you living quite comfortably in the south and you’d be able to take a trip or two to elsewhere in Southeast Asia every year. My wife and I live off less than 30,000NT/month, but we live quite frugally, don’t have kids, etc. Realistically though, let’s say 80,000NT/month in order to really blow some cash or have kids. That’s basically 1 million NT/year. If you could get 5% above inflation, which might be a bit of an “if”, then you’d basically need 20 million NT to not be touching your principal. You’d probably want a margin of safety greater than that though. Let’s say 3.3% above inflation, which would make it 30 million NT, or about 1 million USD.

  6. Would it be possible to get that amount of money in the next 20-25, you ask. I don’t know. It would basically depend upon the rate of return of your investment. Let’s say you could get 5% above inflation though.

I used this and fiddled around until I got 20-30 million NT, all at 5% yield, until I got approximately the required amount within the timeframe:

math.com/students/calculator … mpound.htm

20 years to 20 million NT = 48,700NT/month

20 years to 25 million NT = 60,900NT/month

20 years to 30 million NT = 73,000NT/month

25 years to 20 million NT = 33,600NT/month

25 years to 25 million NT = 42,000NT/month

25 years to 30 million NT = 50,500NT/month

Bear in mind that those figures are the amount you’d need to save each month, not earn. Let’s look at that side of things.

If you were working in a buxiban and kindy and getting a total of 30 hours per week, in one month you’d be earning 30 (hours) x 4.3 (weeks) x 600NT/hour x 0.9 (I think tax works out to be about 10%) = 69,660NT/month, assuming you didn’t miss any classes. You could quite easily spend 30,000NT/month just living, so that would only allow you to save about 39,660NT/month. Based upon the above compound interest calculations, you’d only be able to actually achieve the one I have bolded (though you could, if you pushed yourself a little, get to the one directly below it).

That’s all assuming you could get those kind of hours over that time frame, that things wouldn’t change radically here, and that you would only spend that much per month. I don’t know. You could adjust your expectations downwards and say you’d only want to be getting 50,000NT/month in retirement, and that would make it easier, in which case, you might only need 12-18 million NT. That would certainly make it a lot easier. Let’s take 15 million NT as an example.

Over 20 years, you’d need to save 36,500NT/month.

Over 25 years, you’d need to save 25,200NT/month.

They would both be doable in the above 30 hours per week, 600NT/hour scenario.

Obviously, there are a lot of variables involved, probably the biggest two being how much money you already have and what sort of return you would actually get. I wouldn’t bet on the above scenarios necessarily being any better though. To be honest, I’d say that realistically, you need to be thinking ten years in English teaching unless you could get into the public sector, a niche field of the private sector, or another field all together. Being 40, you might not want/be able to do it and they might not want you anymore or the whole field might have changed dramatically and all the buxibans been legislated out of business or gone out of business due to some change in the mainstream educational system. You’d need to run a similar kind of analysis as I have above with your current job (and where you think you could be in 20-25 years). It might make more sense to earn and invest your money there and then retire here. I really can’t say anything for sure.

[quote=“llary”]How is your Chinese?

Which part of the insurance field did you work in?

What are your goals for retirement (just get by, retire comfortably or retire wealthy?)[/quote]

Hi Llary…

I am now an underwriter of home and auto insurance. Before I was a broker.

Chinese is at a basic level (I took 8 months at Zhongshan) but not good at all. I have plans to improve this though.

For retirement, I would say retiring comfortably would be important (just get by works as well), but being wealthy is not really a huge consideration.

I’m not posting this to brag (and I probably shouldn’t post it at all) but for purposes of your opinion, I have saved about 3.2 Million NT dollars already after conversion, so I know I can buy a condo in the Taiwan South outright. The other option is to invest that money and just rent for a few years to grow the money, or I can buy a condo and then use the money earned to buy other properties.

The goal would be to get out of teaching as soon as I could, but I’m not sure of how feasible that is.

-Dan

You will get out of teaching!

Unenployment!

But I have seen some 40+ who stil manage to get jobs teaching children.

Of course I already have one foot of the door. I enjoy Taiwan but the future is hopeless!

Hi Guy…

Thanks for the long detail.

A few answers to your statements…

As mentioned previously, I have about 3.2M NT saved up now. I have just recently tried my hand at day trading by going all in and trading on the swing volume and I have been lucky a few times but also lost a few times. I don’t really have a strategy per say.

I am now 30 but just slightly overweight and balding is still a few years off :smiley: You are right though about the energy because as one ages, one doesn’t want to be dancing around in front of kids with a sticky ball.

To get a masters would take a long time as currently I have a college diploma with TESOL. I would have to go back for a bachelors first so that’s out.

You commented that Taiwan isn’t doing well financially. So from speaking to the local young people, do you know what type of plans they have for retirement or are they just drifting along hoping to eventually get money willed to them or to immigrate to another country for a better job?

In terms of where you live, Taidong is a beautiful place and I know why you liked it there. When I traveled there for a week, i remember thinking that I would love to live there, if not for the trouble to get a job. What did you end up doing over there or did you start your own business?

That calculation you drew up seems very good. When I was in Taiwan before, I had a roommate and paid $4000nt a month for rent including utilities and lived off $7000nt a month so yes, I’m pretty cheap :smiley: I would probably budget like you and say 20000NT/Month and that would be living it up for me.

I could probably work with the 20 years to 20 million NT = 48,700NT/month figure as it seems doable with a lot of scrimping.

And my fear of not having a job at 40 is just what you said… I may not want to do it, or they don’t want me. So the goal would be to get into something professional or start a business. I am motivated to move and stay in Taiwan, but I don’t want to make poor financial decisions and then be an old beggar on the street. :smiley: (spare change Mr? to all the foreigners I see)

Have you checked if there is any market for your services here, or perhaps even somewhere nearby such as HK?

If you want to do something other than teaching English then being able to communicate is vital. Some people will probably disagree but most of the successful expats I know without a specialist career (lawyer/doctor/professor) speak good to fluent Chinese.

Where have you got your money, is it doing something useful or just sitting in a bank account?

I’d say that’s your most important objective right now because it’s the only way you will be truly happy long-term.

Dan: Is a college diploma plus TESOL enough for an ARC? Does anyone know?

To be honest, I really wouldn’t get into day trading. Maybe some people make money off it, but I wouldn’t take my chances. I’d suggest you go down the route of really finding out about something like value investing, or at least learning enough to put your money with someone who did something like that. That’s probably what you want to do. You need to be able to get to a point where you can assess if someone else managing your money 1) understands what you want, what you’re comfortable with, etc. and is on the same page as you without simply giving you some crap multiple choice survey and then applying a formulaic approach to your situation, 2) is following through with that and performing reasonably based upon the parameters you two have established. Treat it like you would in dealing with any other service provider, be it a doctor or a mechanic. Does he know what my problem is and how I want it solved? Has he solved the problem reasonably well based upon that? Two very simple questions, but they require you to know what your problem is and how you want it solved before you go and ask for help.

Another option would simply be to try to build up a portfolio of shares in good holding companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, though obviously, you’d need to know what you were doing to some extent and try to get them when they were good value. Failing all that, then I’d simply suggest you stick your money in ETF or several ETFs.

If you were to put your current 3.2 million NT into something and leave it there for ten years, without adding anything more and if you got 3% above inflation, you’d end up with 4.32 million NT (in today’s terms). If you got 5% above inflation, you’d end up with 5.27 million NT (in today’s terms). Obviously, contributions beyond that would help and be necessary. Let’s say you could save 30,000NT/month. After ten years, in the 3% above inflation scenario, you’d end up with 8.51 million NT (in today’s terms). In the ten year, 5% above inflation scenario, you’d end up with 9.93 million NT. Still, obviously, those scenarios are still inadequate, and you really do have to face the distinct possibility that you really only have ten years in EFL here. So what’s your exit plan, and how feasible is it? What could/would you do after teaching, how successful could you be at it, and over what time frame would you need to be able to do it to reach your number?

Again, I seriously question whether coming here soon would be the right financial decision. Perhaps it’s where you want to be and a whole lot of other emotional reasons, and that’s fine, but you would have to be quite honest with yourself that coming here would be based upon an emotional reason, rather than a financial reason. On the other hand, if you have been able to save 3.2 million NT in three years (did I read that correctly? It seems pretty good, unless that also includes savings from the time before you were in Taiwan for a year) in Canada, then it might be worth holding off moving here for a few more years. If you’re basically saving 1 million per year, then think of this:

Starting with 3.2 million NT now, investing that and getting 3% above inflation, plus adding 1 million per year (83333/month), if you did that for just three more years, you’d have 6.64 million NT. Obviously, you would simply have a much greater capacity to save money in Canada and so it would be a more efficient use of your time in that respect. I suspect that the 3.2 million NT was saved over a greater time span (i.e. including the time before you were in Taiwan), in which case, you’d need to look at how much you can save each month in Canada compared to how much you could save each month here and see if that’s worth it.

[quote=“GuyInTaiwan”]Dan: Is a college diploma plus TESOL enough for an ARC? Does anyone know?

To be honest, I really wouldn’t get into day trading. Maybe some people make money off it, but I wouldn’t take my chances. I’d suggest you go down the route of really finding out about something like value investing, or at least learning enough to put your money with someone who did something like that. That’s probably what you want to do. You need to be able to get to a point where you can assess if someone else managing your money 1) understands what you want, what you’re comfortable with, etc. and is on the same page as you without simply giving you some crap multiple choice survey and then applying a formulaic approach to your situation, 2) is following through with that and performing reasonably based upon the parameters you two have established. Treat it like you would in dealing with any other service provider, be it a doctor or a mechanic. Does he know what my problem is and how I want it solved? Has he solved the problem reasonably well based upon that? Two very simple questions, but they require you to know what your problem is and how you want it solved before you go and ask for help.

Another option would simply be to try to build up a portfolio of shares in good holding companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, though obviously, you’d need to know what you were doing to some extent and try to get them when they were good value. Failing all that, then I’d simply suggest you stick your money in ETF or several ETFs.

If you were to put your current 3.2 million NT into something and leave it there for ten years, without adding anything more and if you got 3% above inflation, you’d end up with 4.32 million NT (in today’s terms). If you got 5% above inflation, you’d end up with 5.27 million NT (in today’s terms). Obviously, contributions beyond that would help and be necessary. Let’s say you could save 30,000NT/month. After ten years, in the 3% above inflation scenario, you’d end up with 8.51 million NT (in today’s terms). In the ten year, 5% above inflation scenario, you’d end up with 9.93 million NT. Still, obviously, those scenarios are still inadequate, and you really do have to face the distinct possibility that you really only have ten years in EFL here. So what’s your exit plan, and how feasible is it? What could/would you do after teaching, how successful could you be at it, and over what time frame would you need to be able to do it to reach your number?

Again, I seriously question whether coming here soon would be the right financial decision. Perhaps it’s where you want to be and a whole lot of other emotional reasons, and that’s fine, but you would have to be quite honest with yourself that coming here would be based upon an emotional reason, rather than a financial reason. On the other hand, if you have been able to save 3.2 million NT in three years (did I read that correctly? It seems pretty good, unless that also includes savings from the time before you were in Taiwan for a year) in Canada, then it might be worth holding off moving here for a few more years. If you’re basically saving 1 million per year, then think of this:

Starting with 3.2 million NT now, investing that and getting 3% above inflation, plus adding 1 million per year (83333/month), if you did that for just three more years, you’d have 6.64 million NT. Obviously, you would simply have a much greater capacity to save money in Canada and so it would be a more efficient use of your time in that respect. I suspect that the 3.2 million NT was saved over a greater time span (i.e. including the time before you were in Taiwan), in which case, you’d need to look at how much you can save each month in Canada compared to how much you could save each month here and see if that’s worth it.[/quote]

Hi Guy

Yes a 3 year college diploma and a TESOL will get me an ARC.

I have been making money day trading, but I think it is more sheer luck… I have ordered a few books that explain the detail behind it to be able to make correct decisions.

You are right, my intention to move is strictly an emotional one. I don’t mind the loss of revenue as long as I can retire at 55 as that is my goal. If I must live more simply, that is OK with me. My 3.2 M was saved over about 5 or 6 years in Canada. While I might make a lot more money here, the tax rate is ridiculous at 35% - 40 of my income. With Taiwan’s tax rate of 10% or so, I may be able to sock more money away due to lower costs but that would be still to be determined.

What do you think of the plan just to drop the money on a condo outright, and then just save going forward? At the very least I would have a paid for place to stay and some equity.

As far as my exit plan, I was thinking that since I am 30, I could go for up to 5 years and try to get myself established. If it fails by then, i would still be young enough to go back to Canada and get back into my field as I have all my certifications already.

Its a large move so I appreciate your suggestions. Your figures have given me a good estimate as to what I will need to do if I go.

Have you checked if there is any market for your services here, or perhaps even somewhere nearby such as HK?

If you want to do something other than teaching English then being able to communicate is vital. Some people will probably disagree but most of the successful expats I know without a specialist career (lawyer/doctor/professor) speak good to fluent Chinese.

Where have you got your money, is it doing something useful or just sitting in a bank account?

I’d say that’s your most important objective right now because it’s the only way you will be truly happy long-term.[/quote]

Hi Llary

As far as a market for my services in Taiwan, I tried in 2009 to go to all the insurance companies I could find online in Taipei and went in person to see if they needed anyone for their foreign business. I was able to speak to a few managers who indicated that the local people handled all the international business but I’m not sure if anything has changed by now.

As far as getting fluent in Mandarin, I was thinking of continuing my courses for a year or two to become proficient. But I will have to find a way to balance my time to do so.

Currently the money is just in an investment account that I use for some loose day trading (as said in my previous message, I have been working off sheer luck)

So to sum up the goals.

  1. get proficient in Mandarin to get by in conversation
  2. save up enough to retire before 55
  3. plan an English teaching escape :smiley:

The implementation will be the hard part.

dan: Then you’d need to do the rent vs buy calculations. I don’t have access to that kind of data. You’d need to look into it.

To be honest, I think with your plan that there are too many variables to say there’s anything resembling a clear outcome. I think as long as you’re aware of that going in, then there shouldn’t be a problem.

In terms of working here outside of teaching, you would basically have to have some kind of skill that someone here doesn’t have. Otherwise, you’re basically talking about competing with some fairly stiff competition, and from all I’ve read on this board, in many cases, trying to break into a particular field here will entail much harder working conditions and far less pay than you would in teaching English. You’d basically have to start your way at the bottom and work your way up. Given your short time frame with English teaching though, it might be better to just try to make relatively quick and easy money in that industry and get out within ten years. I don’t know. You’d have to do a lot more research about any other kind of job here, and (as has already been pointed out) you’d probably want to have very good Chinese. I think that means more than just conversational, and I’m not sure that you could get to that level without it being a very major focus in your life (more than making money, and it’s worth pointing out that if you were working in buxibans, you’d learn essentially zero Chinese) for several years. I think people often assume they’ll come here and just become fluent within a year or two at most, as though it will all just fall in their laps.

[quote=“GuyInTaiwan”]dan: Then you’d need to do the rent vs buy calculations. I don’t have access to that kind of data. You’d need to look into it.

To be honest, I think with your plan that there are too many variables to say there’s anything resembling a clear outcome. I think as long as you’re aware of that going in, then there shouldn’t be a problem.

In terms of working here outside of teaching, you would basically have to have some kind of skill that someone here doesn’t have. Otherwise, you’re basically talking about competing with some fairly stiff competition, and from all I’ve read on this board, in many cases, trying to break into a particular field here will entail much harder working conditions and far less pay than you would in teaching English. You’d basically have to start your way at the bottom and work your way up. Given your short time frame with English teaching though, it might be better to just try to make relatively quick and easy money in that industry and get out within ten years. I don’t know. You’d have to do a lot more research about any other kind of job here, and (as has already been pointed out) you’d probably want to have very good Chinese. I think that means more than just conversational, and I’m not sure that you could get to that level without it being a very major focus in your life (more than making money, and it’s worth pointing out that if you were working in buxibans, you’d learn essentially zero Chinese) for several years. I think people often assume they’ll come here and just become fluent within a year or two at most, as though it will all just fall in their laps.[/quote]

Furthermore without a least a B.A. in the field you want to work, I don’t think that the Taiwanese government will give you a work permit to work in any line of work.

Do you have a Taiwanese wife?

A few years ago I bought an investment plan in an insurance wrapper from a guy I met at a Forumosa business meet. I felt I got some decent advice without the local trick of pushing whatever product they get the best commission on this month. I would like to buy term life and income insurance right now because I’m self employed and the sole earner in our family, but the local insurance companies are such a pain in the ass with terrible products and the foreign companies are either too expensive or won’t insure me.

The point is that there are a growing number of expats like me with insurance needs and there might be a way you could earn some side income from that. I doubt there is enough of a market for you to do that full time and I have no idea about any regulatory issues but if you built up a network of trust you could could make some decent freelance commissions.

These companies might think they are fine letting local salespeople handle international business and expat clients, but I think they have missed a trick that you could get in on.

So we’re about the same age and we have similar longterm plans. Mine is more of a nomadic teacher but not terribly different. but I can tell you for absolute certainty that depending on the buxiban as your primary or even secondary plan is terrible. First, the buxiban system is shrinking already and will continue to do so. This is leading to more and more part time jobs for your non credentialed English teachers. So you might be making 30-40000NT/mo which doesn’t allow you to save a substantial amount. Second - buxiban pay tends to flatline as you gain experience so you’ll probably be making about the same amount 10 years from now. Third - ageism could hit you hard at a bad time and you won’t have anywhere to go since it’s been so long since you worked in your primary field and you don’t really have any real teaching qualifications. Fourth - I would go insane working in the buxiban system for that long.

My plan is to likely head to Korea this summer for two years since most of the available jobs here haven’t been that good as far as guaranteed hours and have still been highly competitive. I’ll save up some money while exploring a new country/culture and then return to the US to get a teaching degree (math). After a couple of years in the US I’ll restart my nomadic life with some interesting place with semi-decent pay (int’l HS’s, middle east, hong kong, uni position) while probably doing a distance MA (or taking a year+ off in a foreign country to do a MA). Imo if you want to make a career out of teaching then you want to have some solid teaching credentials so you can get above the buxiban type job that any college student can do (and cheaper). :2cents:

Getting an M.A. and working at a university might be better than working at a buxiban but not much better in my opinion. You are always on a one year contract and have no security. What if you decide to setting down with a local wife? You may not may not have a job next year.

[quote=“Abacus”]So we’re about the same age and we have similar longterm plans. Mine is more of a nomadic teacher but not terribly different. but I can tell you for absolute certainty that depending on the buxiban as your primary or even secondary plan is terrible. First, the buxiban system is shrinking already and will continue to do so. This is leading to more and more part time jobs for your non credentialed English teachers. So you might be making 30-40000NT/mo which doesn’t allow you to save a substantial amount. Second - buxiban pay tends to flatline as you gain experience so you’ll probably be making about the same amount 10 years from now. Third - ageism could hit you hard at a bad time and you won’t have anywhere to go since it’s been so long since you worked in your primary field and you don’t really have any real teaching qualifications. Fourth - I would go insane working in the buxiban system for that long.

My plan is to likely head to Korea this summer for two years since most of the available jobs here haven’t been that good as far as guaranteed hours and have still been highly competitive. I’ll save up some money while exploring a new country/culture and then return to the US to get a teaching degree (math). After a couple of years in the US I’ll restart my nomadic life with some interesting place with semi-decent pay (int’l HS’s, middle east, hong kong, uni position) while probably doing a distance MA (or taking a year+ off in a foreign country to do a MA). Imo if you want to make a career out of teaching then you want to have some solid teaching credentials so you can get above the buxiban type job that any college student can do (and cheaper). :2cents:[/quote]

Unless you have a local spouse I don’t think teaching at a university is good either if your family is depending on you for a living. You can be axed any day or the university might close due to low birthrates.

[quote=“steelersman”]

Unless you have a local spouse I don’t think teaching at a university is good either if your family is depending on you for a living. You can be axed any day or the university might close due to low birthrates.[/quote]

As opposed to a buxiban?

The point has less to do with the uni job and more to do with making sure that you have actual credentials to get a decent job if the entire buxiban system goes south in Asia. A teaching degree w/ or w/o an MA opens so many doors in so many places that are otherwise closed to buxiban teachers with degrees in unrelated fields.

[quote=“Abacus”][quote=“steelersman”]

Unless you have a local spouse I don’t think teaching at a university is good either if your family is depending on you for a living. You can be axed any day or the university might close due to low birthrates.[/quote]

As opposed to a buxiban?

The point has less to do with the uni job and more to do with making sure that you have actual credentials to get a decent job if the entire buxiban system goes south in Asia. A teaching degree w/ or w/o an MA opens so many doors in so many places that are otherwise closed to buxiban teachers with degrees in unrelated fields.[/quote]

Depends what you get an M.A. in. An M.A. in TESOL in my opinion will lead to an unstable life as well. I am not debating that it isn’t better than working at a buxiban but most universities outside your country will only offer you a one or two year contract.

[quote=“Abacus”]So we’re about the same age and we have similar longterm plans. Mine is more of a nomadic teacher but not terribly different. but I can tell you for absolute certainty that depending on the buxiban as your primary or even secondary plan is terrible. First, the buxiban system is shrinking already and will continue to do so. This is leading to more and more part time jobs for your non credentialed English teachers. So you might be making 30-40000NT/mo which doesn’t allow you to save a substantial amount. Second - buxiban pay tends to flatline as you gain experience so you’ll probably be making about the same amount 10 years from now. Third - ageism could hit you hard at a bad time and you won’t have anywhere to go since it’s been so long since you worked in your primary field and you don’t really have any real teaching qualifications. Fourth - I would go insane working in the buxiban system for that long.

My plan is to likely head to Korea this summer for two years since most of the available jobs here haven’t been that good as far as guaranteed hours and have still been highly competitive. I’ll save up some money while exploring a new country/culture and then return to the US to get a teaching degree (math). After a couple of years in the US I’ll restart my nomadic life with some interesting place with semi-decent pay (int’l HS’s, middle east, hong kong, uni position) while probably doing a distance MA (or taking a year+ off in a foreign country to do a MA). Imo if you want to make a career out of teaching then you want to have some solid teaching credentials so you can get above the buxiban type job that any college student can do (and cheaper). :2cents:[/quote]

Hi Abacus

I agree that a buxiban is not a very good long term plan. I was going to come over for about 3 years and try to use the time to spring off into something else. My friend who is there now indicated that he has trouble getting hours so I’m sure that will continue to be a problem in the future so that definitely wont be my long term plan.

I am not really nomadic in that once I move to Taiwan I don’t really have any interest in floating around elsewhere. I will continue to take courses in my field to keep myself current in case I ever have to go back.

Would I be able to take a few years off to try it out and still be young enough to go back to my original plan at 35 if things fail is my biggest question.

I also had thoughts of opening an all you can eat restaurant if that opportunity opens up to me (somewhat like a grillhouse since I can’t really cook and people can make their own food) Either that or hit the floor in Taipei with an armful of resumes and hope someone takes me in.

Good luck in Korea :slight_smile:

[quote=“steelersman”]

Depends what you get an M.A. in. An M.A. in TESOL in my opinion will lead to an unstable life as well. I am not debating that it isn’t better than working at a buxiban but most universities outside your country will only offer you a one or two year contract.[/quote]

I have continually stressed the importance of a TEACHING DEGREE while a MATESOL is just further advancement. I’ve also never said that I plan on getting a MATESOL since my teaching degree would be in math. The teaching degree also opens up the entire public school system in Taiwan which currently has a high need for foreign teachers with a teaching cert. That’s a really good backup plan if the uni thing doesn’t work or if it doesn’t interest someone. One BIG concern that I would have (in addition to overall declining enrollments) for the buxiban system is the possibility that it requires teaching degrees in the future or if there is a different bureaucratic change to the system. there is absolutely no way that I would count on the buxiban system for my future. maybe instead of a teaching degree someone chooses to go the CELTA/DELTA route and becomes a CELTA trainer or makes the right connections in the corporate ESL world. But someone planning on teaching ESL for a long time should strongly consider a plan to get themselves off of the bottom rung of the ESL ladder that offers almost no advancement. And imo a teaching degree is one of the most important advancement options you can do.

A teaching degree and utilizing it in a worthwhile setting also gives you options at home if you had to return home. Taking 3-4 years off from a specialized career is going to be really difficult to explain to HR. And is going to give almost every other applicant a significant advantage over you imo. Regardless of how much self study you do to stay up to date. But teaching in an int’l HS for example would be directly related to teaching HS subjects. It might be a tough job market for teachers in the west but at least you would have spent the previous 3-4 years in a directly related field.

OP - I also think opening a restaurant in a foreign country with no restaurant experience is an easy way to blow your savings. I blew my savings thru directionless travel and indecisiveness so it wouldn’t be the end of the world though.