This past summer, my wife and I cycled on our tandem around Europe.
We stopped, along the way, to give free talks to international teachers.
Currently, we’re on a 5-month tour of the Middle East, Asia and Thailand, doing much the same thing.
I thought I would put together a collection of stories I’ve written–those that have been popular and useful for international teachers.
Two of them described a few schools where international teachers can save a lot of money.
I followed up, profiling different schools and teachers in, Where Can International Teachers Make A Lot Of Money?
During my travels, I’ve also learned some shocking stories.
Tonight, I’ll be speaking at Tanzania’s International School of Tanganyika. (IST) Plenty of teachers from that school got duped into buying expensive, inflexible, horrific offshore pensions.
One such woman, whom I called Selena, now works in Switzerland. She fell into one of these traps when she worked at the International School of Tanganyika. I wrote her story here.
In some cases, some financial advisors earn such big commissions, they offer iPads or free trips to the Maldives in exchange for a list of telephone numbers and emails. I wrote that story here.
Other firms, like Teachers’ Wealth, have convinced British teachers to sell their UK-based defined benefit pensions (guaranteed future income!) so they can invest that money. Firms like these really like other teachers’ wealth. I wrote that story here.
International teachers can’t afford to invest poorly.
Most of us won’t be earning Defined Benefit Pensions. If we aren’t contributing to our home country social programs (like Social Security) we can’t enjoy their full rewards.
Over time, stock markets are generous. But we can’t get duped into paying high investment fees. When we don’t, we can make a lot of money.
Global stock markets have risen a lot. Over time, they’ll continue to rise.
Here’s an example. Assume somebody invested $1,200 in January 1970.
If they added $1,200 a year (about $3.33 per day) they would have contributed a total of $56,400 by December 31, 2016. But over long periods of time, money compounds like a snowball. If that money earned the return of the average global stock, during that time period, they would have $1,035,018 today. That’s after investing the equivalent of just $3.33 per day.
As Warren Buffett says, “Time is the friend of the good investment. But it’s the enemy of the bad.”
What if you won’t have enough money to retire?
You could think outside the box, choosing to retire in a low-cost location. You can read my stories below:
Retire in Mexico: Is Mexico the world’s best place to retire?
Retire in Thailand: How To Retire Like The Rich, Even If You Aren’t
Retire in Vietnam: How To Retire A Decade Ahead Of Schedule
Retire in Malaysia: Malaysia, World’s Best Retirement Destination?
Stocks markets sometimes go through periods when they don’t perform well.
If you’ll be working for at least the next five years, you should hope that stocks don’t rise. Do you see the market dips in the red line above? Those are gifts from God, Allah, or the Star Wars force.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but here’s why young investors, especially, should hope the stock market drags its feet.
Why Non-Americans Should Be Careful
There’s one well-known investment company that sometimes gets Americans into U.S. domiciled funds. That’s a bad thing. I explain why, in this story, How U.S. Estate Taxes Could Hammer Non-American Expats.
401K Plans for International Teachers
Many schools are now offering 401(k) plans for Americans. Find out whether these would be right for you.
Some people prefer socially responsible investing.
That usually means they don’t want to earn personal profits from oil companies, tobacco companies, weapons manufacturers etc.
They can still make profits. Here’s a decent primer to socially responsible investing.
What about Muslim investors?
I didn’t want to leave them out. I wrote, Muslims Can Now Invest Anywhere Without Breaking Shariah Law.
Two issues keep many international teachers from building enough money for retirement.
First, most teachers don’t save enough money.
Second, they pay investment fees that are far too high. That’s a one-two punch that could lead to a life of penury.
To learn more, borrow my book, The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing.
Somebody at your school already has a copy.
Here’s an important rule of wealth: Don’t Buy What You Can Borrow.