How to Save Cash and Move Abroad

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Buying a house is a major milestone that can be both scary and fun — getting a mortgage can be complicated, but there’s a lot of joy in owning your own place. But buying a house in another country takes this experience to a whole different level, as you navigate new financial systems and different laws and real estate customs.

Expats Amon and Christina Browning know the highs and lows of this experience first hand. The couple moved with their children to Lisbon, Portugal in July of 2019 to enjoy early retirement and life overseas — and a year later they bought a home there.

The Brownings rented an apartment for a year, while they searched for the perfect home and learned the ins and outs of establishing residency in their new country.

This summer, they found what they were looking for: A two-story, move-in-ready house on 1 acre of land with a garden and covered terrace.

The Browning Family house in Portugal.

Photo courtesy of Christina and Amon Browning.

Step 1: They committed to a long-term goal

To many, the Brownings’ life seems idyllic. Yet, the couple stresses that achieving their dream would not have been possible had they tried to keep up with the expectations of others.

Instead of trying to compete with “the Jonses,” the couple wrote a fictitious break-up letter to those imaginary neighbors: “The Brownings will no longer be keeping up,” reads the letter they posted on their blog. “We have more important things ahead of us — like financial independence and retiring early.”

For the past decade, the couple didn’t drive expensive cars or buy designer clothes, even as their income increased. Instead, they saved up $2 million, which they stashed in a variety of accounts, including an Ally Online Savings Account, a money market account and various brokerage accounts.

By age 40, they had saved enough to fund their expat life without having to borrow a mortgage or use credit cards (except for their rewards). This was their definition of financial freedom.

For eight years, the couple embraced what others might consider sacrifices to reduce their cost of living. Looking back, the Brownings don’t see their choices as a hardship, but rather decisions that align their goals.

Step 2: They increased their earnings with side hustles

Though the Brownings had stable government jobs with healthy salaries and good benefits, they found additional ways to increase their monthly income. 

They lived in the Bay Area, where the rental market was profitable, and since they love to renovate houses, the couple got into house flipping and rented out rooms on Airbnb.

They also started a blog and a YouTube channel to document their process, then sold courses on how to invest so others could learn from them.

Step 3: They cut

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How to Buy a House With Cash

Owning a home is something almost everybody wants do at some point in their life. Nothing can compare to knowing that the home you live in is yours, and you can do what you want with it. No paying rent, no answering to a landlord, none of that…

While it is pretty great to own a home, many people take a hasty decision by taking out a massive mortgage on their home rather than pay for it up front. This is understandable because not many of us have $100,000 laying around that we can buy a house with.

But, for those who choose to save up the money and buy their home with cash, the rewards are plentiful. Not only is it cheaper, but it will save you from being chained to the bank on a lengthy mortgage plan that you might end up wanting to opt out of before its even paid off.

Let’s take a look at how you can avoid a mortgage and buy your next home upfront, with cold hard cash.

Frugality is the Name of the Game

While it’s very likely that everybody would buy their home with cash if they could, hardly anybody does. This is because most people just lack the discipline to save up.

Now, if you make 20-30 thousand dollars a year, you’re going to be waiting a long time to buy your own house, even living on the bare minimum.

But, if you are someone who makes 50 thousand or more per year, or you also have a spouse who makes just as much as you, it is very possible for you to buy your own home with cash, in a couple years.

If you can manage to save just a couple thousand a month for a period of 5 or more years, you’ll be right in range to buy a nice house all by yourself.

Benefits to Buying With Cash

The benefits to buying your home with cash are usually not afforded to those with a hefty mortgage to worry about. For instance, without a mortgage payment, you can plug more money into your retirement plan, thus bringing about your retirement earlier, or having more money to blow when it is time to call it quits.

You can also invest your extra cash into some kind of money making scheme, like the stock market, startup companies, or bonds. As long as you know what you’re doing, this can turn out to be a very useful stockpile of money should you need to pay for an emergency, send your kids to college, or provide for your family in case something happens to you.

Wrapping Up

Buying a house with cash is undoubtedly the smartest way to buy a home, it just takes a certain amount of discipline when it comes to saving the money.

Don’t waste your time and resources doing it alone or working with an amateur agent, contact a reliable real estate agent today and put yourself in …

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