Unleash the full potential of your business in the digital world

How to “earn” when you are living abroad?

James Huang | 2020.07.24


The No. 1 rule of personal finance is to spend less than you earn. So if you want to get ahead financially, it’s important to save money where you can.  But if you really want to improve your finances, there’s the flip side of that equation to consider as well – making more money. With a side hustle or money-making hobby, you can give yourself a raise whether your employer wants to or not.

Here’s the truth no one wants to talk about: Learning how to make money can improve your finances in ways that saving money simply cannot. There are only so many ways to save, but there are an unlimited number of ways to earn extra money you can use.

In the meantime, it also makes sense to save as much money as humanly possible – either through responsible spending, cancelling or reducing existing bills, or creating a budget and spending plan that helps you spend less than you earn.

The saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned,” isn’t just a play on words; it’s absolutely true. While there may be an emotional or intellectual distinction, your pocketbook doesn’t know the difference. And at the end of the day, all dollars earned or saved spend the same way.

When you are going to living abroad, you may spend your saving/ reserve at the beginning and anxiety looking for job, looking for income abroad.  It would be wise to look at your own spending pipeline, at the same time, look for alternative income even you live abroad.

If you move to a country that has a lower cost of living than where you live now, you can easily live a richer life while spending far less money. Unless you’re at retirement age though and have a lot socked away, you’re probably going to need to keep the income flowing.

The very best way to move abroad and leverage your first-world currency is to keep earning a living remotely in dollars, pounds, euros, or Hong Kong Dollar. If you’re getting paid a good amount in one of those, you’re going to be in great shape almost anywhere. In a country with a low cost of living, HKD20,000 a month may be enough to feel downright rich.

It’s far more desirable to take your portable job with you than it is to try to support yourself locally in a country where typical wages are a quarter (after tax!) those of the place you left. When you work on a laptop and hard currency flows into your home country bank account, you can pull it out of any ATM and be living large.

Options available from our point of view:

  • A Local Job That Pays

  • High-skilled Jobs in Another Location

  • A Local Business

  • Your Own Virtual Business     

If you are moving out from Hong Kong to anywhere in the world, you may found your net-tax income is less than what you received in Hong Kong, but since your expenses are so much lower, you could still be much better off in the end.  But don't expect those fine dining is an easy option in future.

International e-commerce: get revenue regardless where you are

The ideal situation when moving from a rich country to a poorer one, however, is to keep earning money from a rich country. Money in your bank account has no borders. If you can pull it out in a place where you don’t need so much of it, that’s the true “half price life” dream. 

International e-commerce is the business of selling a product through an e-commerce website to buyers in foreign countries. As the proliferation of digital tools increases internet availability worldwide, any company can sell online, making international e-commerce easier than ever before for both pure play companies and brick and mortars. For traditional retailers, e-commerce can also serve as a testing ground to determine whether new, foreign markets will be successful before opening a physical location there.

While it’s tempting for e-commerce professionals to assume expansion into a country with a similar culture will require less work, the word “international” is key. No matter how much countries have in common, each one is unique. Canada is not the United States, Belgium is not France. Every global market deserves its own methodical planning and consideration.

How to start your own online business locally? Read here. At least from our experience, if you don't succeed locally, it is highly unlikely you can compete in a mature market due to lack of localisation, different culture and norm.

We are here to help.  Contact us if you would like to start your own business locally.

How to “earn” when you are living abroad?
Share this post
Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts