Seven Ways To Get Financially Independent In 2017: Part 1

Welcome to part one of a seven part series about becoming financially independent. Each of the seven parts will cover in some detail a tactic that can be used to become financially free as soon as possible.

The Introduction to the series can be found – Here.

For part one we are going to start with one of the most outlandish tactics….

7 Ways to Get Financially Independent

Seven Ways To Get Financially Independent In 2017: Part 1

Live in another country.

Many people state when they become financially independent they will suddenly up sticks and go travelling the world. Waiting 3, 5, or 10 years seems counter intuitive. Why not enjoy freedom earlier and skip the delay.

Financially Independent In Another Country?

There are multiple great reasons for living in another country. If you have read this far then you probably already aware of most of them.  Just in case here is a quick list.

  1. Experience another culture
  2. Better climate
  3. Reduced cost of living
  4. Better job prospects

A very detailed website called Numbeo shows various statistics including Cost of Living, Quality of Life and Property Prices. Give them a look if you are thinking about emigrating. All stats detailed from here on in are taken from their site.

Reduced Cost Of Living

For the sake of this post we are going to concentrate on the most important factor for becoming financially independent

The Cost of living (COL) of a country is determined by comparing with the average COL within New York City. This is then scored as a percentage with New York as 100%.  Very few countries will have a higher COL than New York. As of the middle of 2016 there are only 4 countries that are more expensive. These are Bermuda, Switzerland, Bahamas and Norway. These are probably not going to places frugal people will choose to live.

To consider moving to another country a frugal individual may be looking towards the low middle section of the list. Countries such as Malaysia (77th), Thailand (78th), Czech Republic (79th)  and Hungary (76th).

7 ways to get financially independent

The money saved by living in a foreign country has to be balanced by the Quality of Life you will experience.  Prague (Czech Republic) for instance is ranked 63rd city in the world. This puts it above Los Angeles, Chicago and Orlando for Quality of Life. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is ranked 193rd near the bottom of all cities ranked and below cities in India and Pakistan.

What’s stopping you?

The first question you have to ask yourself is what’s stopping me?

A few things that could stop you include;

  1. Work location
  2. Family ties
  3. Language barrier
  4. Cultural differences 

Work Location

If you can get past this then emigrating is something you should seriously consider. The most difficult challenge is probably needing to live where you work. If you can work remotely; either your company allows it or you work in the online space then that is easily solved. For many people in a more manual role then leaving a job may not be quite so easy.

Family Ties

Some people are closer to their family than others. Often those with a bigger family do not want to head off and leave them. The important thing to remember is that nowadays social media is a great way to keep connected. Face time and Whatsapp are great ways to talk to and see your family.

Language Barrier

Whilst English is only the third most common primary language spoken on earth it is the most common second language. Around 1.5 Billion people speak English to some level. I’ve been to some remote places on the planet and almost always there has been somebody who speaks English. If that doesn’t work try naming soccer players, its estimated that 3.5 billion people are fans of real football!

Cultural Differences.

This is one of the main reasons to travel but it can be the most scary to deal with. Do you  bow or shake hands. Take off your shoes or leave them on. Chopsticks, knife and fork or hands. Nod or shake your head.

All these small differences can be intimidating to begin with but as soon as you get to the new country as an intelligent human you will soon start to adapt.

The Savings

Now for the good stuff. Here is an idea of some of the savings that are available. As always remember to do your own research and don’t go rushing in. Issues other than finances such as health care should also be considered.

We will continue to use New York as comparison against one European City (Prague), one Asian city (Bangkok) and one central American city (San Jose). Each chosen city will probably be as expensive as its gets in each of their respective countries.

City Comparison

 New YorkPragueBangkokSan Jose (Costa Rica)
Cost Of Living %10032.1438.3242.62
Quality of Life 134162.8755.94106.35 (Costa Rica as a whole)
Accommodation (1 bed apartment outside of city)£1493£339£197£355
Transportation (1 way local)£2.25£0.80£0.71£0.63
Restaurants (Inexpensive)£14.75£4£1.42£6.34
Clothing (Nike trainers)£69£60£73£82


Creating a comparison table like this one will allow you to gain a better understanding of the costs and benefits of moving to different places.


Moving abroad is absolutely not for everybody. In fact, it probably isn’t for most people. But, If you can live for 50% less money on a consistent basis with a better quality of life then why wouldn’t you? You may find that with the improvement in your lifestyle that early retirement is no longer the goal.

If you have any thoughts on reducing costs by moving then let me know in the comments below.

Links to all the other parts can be found below.

Introduction to the series – Here.

Part Two: Starting a side hustle – Here

Part Three: Alternatives to your car – Here

Part Four: Saving money on food – Here

Part Five: Invest in yourself – Here



  1. I have visited all the places that you mentioned and my favorite by far is Costa Rica. It was so beautiful and the people were amazing. I would definitely consider moving there when it’s time for me retire in a couple of years 🙂

    1. Frugalfox says:

      Thanks for your comment.
      My question would be, why wait until you retire to move there?
      Can you not make it viable to move there now?

  2. We’re actually considering a move to Panama. Although there are some hurdles like you mentioned (language barrier, family, etc.), the city we’re considering has a cost of living that’s about half of where we live now.

    We’d live in a country that many consider to be paradise, be able to retire earlier, and stretch our money.

    We’re looking at booking a vacation/reconnaissance mission for in the spring. Hopefully, we like what we see and dare to take the plunge.

    — Jim

    1. Frugalfox says:

      That sounds awesome, where do you live currently? I’ve been to Prague four times so that’s one of the reasons it made my list. It would make a good base for exploring more of eastern Europe also.

      Let me know how the “reconiday” goes!

      1. We’re currently in the States – Ohio to be exact. Panama would definitely be a big change, so we’ll see how the visit goes.

        We’ve never left North America before, but everything I’ve read about Prague before definitely sounds like a cool place!

        — Jim

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