The End of Tax-Free Living in Portugal?

I wanted to get away from writing about life here in Portugal, but some potential changes in tax laws have come to light in the past week that merit the attention of this week’s posting. First, I’ve written about the tax benefits of Non-Habitual Residency here in Portugal. Accounting firms have referred to it as Europe’s best kept secret. The Portuguese Communist Party has been pushing for an end to NHR for several years without any success. However, this year, they may be able to push through changes to the retirement scheme for pensioners. This week’s blog is going to preview those changes and outline how you can plan to best keep your own tax bill at a minimum. 

What is NHR?

The system of NHR available in Portugal allows foreign residents to avoid Portuguese tax, or to pay a reduced rate, for a period of ten years. For more on this, check this posting

Why NHR?

The Portuguese people aren’t foolish. They aren’t giving tax advantaged residency to foreigners just to be nice. The influx of foreign money is beneficial to the local economy- particularly in rural areas. The Portuguese minimum wage is 700 a month. Many foreigners come with more cash to spend. I easily spend triple the Portuguese minimum wage in restaurants alone each and every month. Plus, after NHR expires (ten years), expats who are Portuguese tax residents will be subject to the same tax rates as locals- which are HIGH! The highest tax bracket here in Portugal is 48%. Even those earning over 36,856 are taxed at a rate of 45%. So, there is the potential for substantial future tax revenue for the Portuguese government. 

Get Qualified to Teach Online- Only $19! Click to Apply!

Why do people want change?

There are a lot of Portuguese people who absolutely hate NHR. That’s understandable. They pay high taxes themselves and get to see new foreign residents enter their country and pay nothing- or next to nothing. What’s more, is that those same foreign residents get access to Portuguese social services, such as universal healthcare. The other side of the argument is that those foreign residents are bringing more money to the local economies than many local people do. There’s truth in both sides of the argument. 

What changes are coming?

It appears that the preferential tax rate for income earned within Portugal will remain in place (20%). The list of high value professions has been amended, as is common with many governments who try to attract skilled labor. However, the proposed changes will be to pension income. There is a lot of noise at the moment, and some sources have indicated that the government hopes to charge a minimum of 7,500€ or 10% of pension income (whichever is greater) to foreign retirees. What seems clear is that the government is seeking to tax pension income (which would previously be tax-free) at a reduced rate. 

What does it mean to you?

If you’re collecting a pension, it means you may have to pay. If you’re an American, you may be able to apply the foreign tax credit to your US return. Depending on your income, this may not affect you much. If you’re a low earner, who is just getting by (and the 7,500€ minimum really does come to pass) then these changes could be seriously life altering. I have spoken to several expats who fund their retirements almost exclusively through social security and would be forced to leave Portugal if they incurred such a heavy tax burden. There is also talk that those who are previously part of the NHR scheme will be grandfathered in. Again, there is a lot of uncertainty at this point. For me, being far from official retirement age, the proposed changes are scary because they indicate that the government is tightening the purse strings and more taxes may be likely in the future. I love Portugal, but if I were working for 52 cents on the dollar, I would be gone in a New York minute.

Apply to Teach Online! NES from the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Aust, & NZ

Planning For Change

I see three possible approaches to the impending change:


Some people will do this. I think this may be the only option if the rumor of a 7,500€ becomes a reality. That seems incomprehensible to me, but this is a country with an exceptionally high tax burden placed upon its citizens. Having said that, it would be a real letdown as Portugal is a beautiful country that really offers so much to citizens and expats.

Pay the Tax

Many people will choose to pay the tax on their pension income here and look into taking advantage of the foreign tax credit. If US residents who pay a reduced rate in Portugal have a very large US tax bill, they may receive a credit for the amount of tax they pay in the US. Thereby reducing their US tax bill by the amount of Portuguese tax which is paid. This would be effective for those receiving pension income, as this income would be taxable in the US regardless of where you are in the world. If the Portuguese government decides in the future to scrap NHR altogether, this would be huge hit to those who are earning income here in Portugal (digital nomads).

Get a Passport and Become a Non-Resident


Six years. That’s all it takes to get a Portuguese passport- six short years. After five years living here, you can become a permanent resident. After one year living as a permanent resident, you can apply for your passport. After you have a Portuguese passport, you can come and go as you please. Americans who own property here (like me), can enter and stay as long as they like. If you choose not to be a tax resident of Portugal (wise given the outrageous tax rates here), you can choose to stay for less than 180 days and avoid the pitfalls of Portuguese taxation. This would be a decision that each person would have to make based on his/her own financial situation. I’m not sure that paying exorbitant taxes for six years is worth it to receive a second passport, but that is decision that each person will have to make.

One Application for Multiple Schools- Apply with Two Sigmas Today!

Final Thoughts

Portugal is a great place to live. Whatever your opinion of the tax regime and the proposed changes to NHR, the Portuguese government needs to do what is in the best interest of their citizens. By the same token, those who’ve chosen to make this country home or are considering doing so, need to make an informed decision about what is best for themselves and their families. It would be best if the government would come to a decision on this and communicate it clearly to all residents and prospective expat residents. Like many things here in Portugal, there is not a lot of clarity and transparency on the issue. Hopefully this will be sorted out sooner rather than later. 


Portugal: Living in Lisbon v. the Silver Coast

I started writing this week’s blog from a café on the side of Rossio Square in the center of Lisbon, and I’m editing it from a tiny bar in Peniche on Portugal’s Silver Coast. I moved to Portugal seven months ago and have been living in a very small fishing village on the Silver Coast called Consolação. It’s less than ten minutes south of Peniche. This past week, I packed up, rented an apartment in the heart of Lisbon, and decided to experience a week of city living. This week, I’m going to revisit my decision to move to the beach by comparing and contrasting life in Lisbon and life in my tiny town on the Silver Coast.  

All For Big City Livin!!!
The Benefits of Living in Lisbon


Let’s start here since this is a must have for most digital nomads. Fast internet is everywhere in Lisbon. On the other hand, getting fiber can be a real issue in some parts of Portugal. Peniche offers fiber, but my town of Consolação does not. 


There is so much to see and do in Lisbon. It has the ‘feel’ of a busy city. As a result, I felt so motivated and productive. When you’re around people who are always working and moving, it puts you in that same state of mind. You also come into contact with people who are entrepreneurial and successful. In small town Portugal, that’s something that is exceedingly rare. Portugal is the poorest country in Western Europe. In my town, most people make the minimum wage of 700€ per month. Living in such poverty is not easy. As a result, you can see it in the faces of the people and feel it in how they carry themselves. 

Teach English Online from Portugal! Earn your 120-hr TEFL Certificate for only $19. Accepted at most major schools!


Portugal has a well-known colonial history. As a result, you see many immigrants from former African colonies like Mozambique and Angola in Lisbon- not to mention the thousands of immigrants like myself who’ve come to make this country home. Portugal also has a booming tourist industry. Most tourists make Lisbon their jumping off point. As a result, you come into contact with people from all over the world. This is less common in my small town. 


In Lisbon, I had the chance to meet up with and hang out with people from all over the world. It’s not just the expanded access to social opportunities. It’s the type of people that you’re going to have contact with. I had dinner or drinks with people who had interesting and exciting careers, people who were entrepreneurs, and those on exciting journeys of their own in life. By contrast, my sleepy little town has a dearth of such residents. People who get a good education and who have big dreams usually take off for somewhere else- either a large city like Lisbon or Porto, or outside of Portugal. As I mentioned, many of the people in my town have jobs that don’t offer them very much. They may be working in a café or a grocery store and that’s all they will likely ever do. It’s difficult to connect with these people that don’t have much on the horizon.

One Application - Multiple Schools! Apply to teach English online today!

In Favor of Silver Coast Living!
The Benefits of Living in Peniche/Consolação

Cost of Accommodation

Absolutely no comparison here. Lisbon is EXPENSIVE!!! Small studio and one-bedroom apartments (and I mean SMALL) are expensive in Lisbon. I saw a few places on Idealista that were listed for around 150k€ and only about 26 meters squared. By comparison, my place in Consolação has a two-bedroom downstairs (115 meters squared) and a separate studio upstairs (16 meters squared) for only 130k€. The same place in Lisbon would likely go 2-3X that price. My place is actually expensive for this part of Portugal. Many small flats can be found for less than 100k€.


 Rents are pricey too in the capital. A friend of mine just rented a nice two-bedroom flat in Areeiro for 1,000€ per month. By comparison, my friend here in Consolação has a one-bedroom flat with an ocean view for 350€. Another friend of mine has a one bedroom flat in Peniche for only 300€. There are other expenses that I am going to outline below which add to the cost of living in Lisbon, but accommodation is the most glaring difference. 


Parking in Lisbon is difficult and can be expensive. The accommodation I stayed in this week had underground parking that was a short walk from Rossio square. However, it cost 48€ PER DAY! You are able to rent a spot by the month for just under 200€. You can also rent a spot by the month for overnight parking only and that is just under 100€. Bear in mind that this was in the very center of the city and prices may be more affordable as you move away from the center. Many places have street parking that is free overnight. Parking in Alfama is free all day (except Tuesdays and Saturdays). Metered street parking usually has a four-hour max. 


It goes without saying that there is going to be more traffic in a big city. What makes Lisbon traffic so tough is the tiny, narrow streets, which are also quite hilly. It can be difficult to drive. The fact that most cars here have manual transmissions only magnifies the problem. By comparison, my little town offers tons of free parking and almost no traffic. 


Lisbon is a coastal city and so is my little town. If being by the beach is a ‘must have’ on your list, then the Silver Coast may be the place for you. Peniche and Consolação are awesome, but other spots like Areia Branca and Nazare are beautiful beach towns as well. If you want to be closer to Lisbon, but also want to be by the beach, look into places like Carcavelos, Estoril, Caixas, and even Cascais. I have a short and quiet walk to the beach every morning, and I would never trade that for big city living. 

Whales English needs teachers! Hiring NES from US, UK, Can, Aust, NZ, or Ireland. BA + 120-hr TEFL + 1-yr exp. Click image to apply!

It's a Toss-Up!


Wherever you go in Portugal, you’re likely to find good food. The food is fantastic and affordable. Lisbon offers a lot more variety of course- including pricier options. If you enjoy going out to eat or having drinks out, you will likely experience the higher costs of dining in Lisbon. I actually enjoyed having the opportunity to put on some nice clothes and go out to dinner at a few nice restaurants. The atmosphere was fantastic. Having said that, the fish and the glass of wine that I paid 25€ for in Lisbon didn’t taste any better than the fish and wine I would have paid 10€ for in Peniche. This is close, but I have to give the edge to Lisbon for the sheer variety. 


Portugal is a really safe place. Big cities always have the reputation of being more dangerous and that’s probably true of Lisbon when compared to Peniche/ Consolação. Despite this, I never felt unsafe while in Lisbon. Portugal has very liberal drug laws, and the thing you probably notice most is people trying to sell you drugs on the street- especially in the city square. These people are more annoying than they are dangerous. If you just say, “No thank you,” and keep walking, they don’t bother you any further. I go running alone around 4:30 AM and never felt unsafe. This morning, I walked a mile to my car carrying my laptop at 6:30 in the morning and never gave it a second thought. Again, this is a close call, but I’ll give it to the small town on the Silver Coast. 

Final Thoughts

It’s pretty hard to make a bad choice in terms of where to live in Portugal. I have obviously spent much longer on the Silver Coast than I have in Lisbon, so my experiences are far from complete. However, I hope this article helps inform your decisions on where you may choose to visit- or maybe even call home here in Portugal. 

Boa Viagem-




Considerations for US Expats

This week’s blog is not aimed at people looking to travel and work abroad for a few months. Rather this is for those who are packing up, selling everything, and moving abroad. I recently sold my homes in America, got rid of the car, packed, sold, donated, gifted, or trashed everything that was left over and purchased a place on the beach in Portugal. The freedom is indescribable. I no longer walk into shopping malls in Jacksonville, Florida and wonder if some nutjob is going to open fire in another American mass shooting. I go to the pharmacy and pick up prescriptions for a few euros instead of a few hundred dollars. My insurance premiums are 20% of what they were in America, and I don’t have to open my wallet to go to the doctor. My property taxes are less than 10% of what they were back home. All this, and I don’t pay taxes for the first ten years that I’m living here. Like all good things, it’s not all sunshine and puppy dogs. There are some real consequences to no longer having ties to the States. This week, I’m going to outline some of the challenges that I’ve run into living full-time in Europe, as well as debunking some myths that some may have about moving abroad. 

Mutual Funds and ETFs

This is huge. I currently keep my accounts with Schwab. I have a regular brokerage, as well as two tax advantaged accounts. I hold a mix of individual stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs. I enjoy picking stocks and have been really high on dividend stocks as a way to build a steady stream of income. Thereby making working less a reality. However, stock picking is a lot of work. On the other hand, mutual funds are professionally managed and allow you to purchase a mix of stocks that mirror a particular index or segment of the market. If there was a major correction- which many believe is coming, it might be wise to put money into a fund that mimics the market. Examples include VTSAX or SWTSX. However, if you move abroad, mutual funds may be off limits to you. When I changed my address to an international address, I was no longer allowed to invest in mutual funds. Further, because I had an EU address, ETFs were also off limits to me. I was told that I could keep the mutual funds that I have and reinvest any dividends. I could also keep my ETFs. However, I could NOT reinvest the dividends paid by the ETFs. I had to take the cash. My last ETF dividend payment was successfully reinvested, so that leaves some questions. However, before moving abroad, be aware that these financial instruments may be off limits to you. 

Get your English teaching qualification online for only $19. This 120-HR TEFL course is accepted by most schools.


Check into financial instruments available in your new country of residence. I-shares has products that mimic the DOW. 


One of the great benefits to being outside the US is the potential to take advantage of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. While this doesn’t apply to investment income, it may allow you to exclude roughly the first $100k of your earnings abroad. The unfortunate downside to this is that the income you exclude is not eligible to contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA. The funds in these accounts are tax advantaged and grow tax free. Unfortunately, without taxable earned income, you can’t contribute.


If you are self-employed, consider a SEP or SIMPLE IRA. A SEP lets you contribute 25% of your income, up to $56,000. A SIMPLE IRA lets you contribute the first $13,500 in earnings to your IRA. Just remember- no index funds or ETFs. 

State Business License / Incorporation

I’ve written before about the advantages of incorporation. However, you do not incorporate at the federal level, but rather at the state level. This requires you to have an address for your business. If you’ve sold your home in America, you no longer have an address to complete your registration paperwork. 


There are literally tons of registered agents out there. I’ve used both Harbor Compliance ($99/yr) and Georgia Registered Agent LLC ($49). If you use a CPA or EA to prepare your taxes, they may allow you to use their address as a professional courtesy for using their services. 

If you're a native English speaker with teaching experience, consider applying to Whales English.

Credit Cards

Keeping your current credit cards shouldn’t be an issue. I was able to change the address for all of my credit cards without any problems. However, applying for a new card may present challenges. I hold an American Express gold card which carries a $250 annual fee. In my opinion, Amex is one of the best companies. I’ve always found their service to be outstanding. However, being outside the US, I use my card less frequently. I would love to cancel my card, save the fee, and switch to a no annual fee card. Unfortunately, without a US-based address, they won’t accept your application.


Check and see if you are able to apply with the address of a friend or relative and then switch the address to either your international address or one of the mailbox services listed below. 

Phone Certification

This should not be an issue, but it has been for me, so it merits a mention. I do my banking in America with two separate banks. One of my banks has made my transition seamless. The other… less so. It’s hard to believe in today’s global society, but many huge banks have software that won’t accept phone numbers that don’t conform to the standard US format. That is, a three-digit area code, three-digit exchange, followed by four additional numbers. I’ve been locked out of one of my banks online banking platform for seven months as a result. 


Google-Fi has been a successful and cost-effective alternative for many expats. Also, see if a Skype phone number may work for you. I have never tried this, but some expats claim that it is viable option.

Why not just...

Use someone else’s address? Yeah, you can do that. If you have family who are living in the states and you still consider their home your permanent address, this may be an option for you. If you have a friend who is willing to allow them to use your address, you may choose to use this address. Be aware- this may incur legal consequences. In reality, it probably won’t, but you never know. For me, it wasn’t worth the risk- for me or my friends.


There are mailbox services that allow you to keep a permanent address in the states. Check out Traveling Mailbox or Virtual Post Mail. Bear in mind that these may present complications where taxes and legal issues are concerned. It’s always best to forthcoming about your situation. 

If you are interested in teaching English online while living abroad, apply with Two Sigmas. They will match you with the perfect school!


I’m going to lose my Social Security Benefits!

Check and ensure that the country you are relocating to can receive benefit payments. I have friends who receive them here in Portugal, as well as in parts of South America and Asia.

There’s no more Medicare for me!

Again, check on this, but as long as you keep making the payments (deductions), you should be fine. My mother elected to keep her Medicare, despite the premiums. I knew an expat retiree living in Thailand who elected to go to the states for a surgery because his Medicare coverage made it more affordable.

I never have to pay US taxes again!


Sorry! Until America embraces some commonsense tax legislation, we are still subject to income tax on our worldwide income. The United States is alone with one other nation- Eritrea in Eastern Africa, as the only two countries in the world that enforce citizenship-based taxation. See if the FEIE can apply to you. 

Final Thoughts

Living abroad is awesome. The potential for a second (or even third) passport is really enticing and carries some tremendous benefits. These are some of the things that I wish I was aware of before I left the US permanently. Take the appropriate action to ensure all your interests are satisfied before you head abroad. Happy travels!


The Advantages of Relocating to Nicaragua

I absolutely loved Nicaragua! The lifestyle is super laidback, with fresh fish and some of the world’s best coffee. The people are incredibly kind. The landscape is stunning. The waves are great, and the water is always warm. What more could you want? Oh yeah, it’s also perhaps the cheapest landing spot in Central America. This week, we’re going to look at how easy it is to make Nicaragua your home.

How long can I stay in Nica?

I entered Nicaragua without a visa and was able to stay for up to 90 days. For those who wish to make Nicaragua their permanent home, the visa requirements are incredibly easy and very well-suited to digital nomads. It is considered a pensioner visa, but you don’t necessarily need to have the income from a pension. That’s one of the big advantages of this visa.

Visa Requirements

The income threshold to qualify for this visa is incredibly low- $600 USD per month. Unlike Colombia, which prefers that all pension income be sourced from a government pension (such as Social Security), Nicaragua does not. This is a huge advantage, as you have to wait until at least age 62 to begin drawing your social security. This visa does have a minimum age requirement of 45, but this can be overlooked if you have a stable income history. If you don’t have a government or private pension, you can apply for a different type of visa that requires you to show economic self-sufficiency. The requirement jumps to $750- still a very small monthly income, but this may be the perfect avenue for digital nomads. While salary is not an acceptable source of income, investments and business income may help you qualify. If you have rental income or dividend income, that’s fantastic. Business income may help you qualify- such as by setting up your own company. It’s always a good idea to consult with a local attorney and see what is best for your situation. However, this represents another advantage of incorporation.

Stunning landscapes are everywhere in Nicaragua.

Another great option is the investor visa. Many countries have requirements for an investment visas that are simply out of reach for most digital nomads. Here in Portugal, the golden visa scheme requires purchasing a property for 500,000 euros, transferring a million euros to Portugal, or investing several hundred thousand euros into a Portuguese business. By contrast, Nicaragua requires the purchase of real estate valued anywhere from $50,000 to 100,000 USD. Check out Central American Citizenship Specialists for more info on the requirements. The Escape Artist recently published a great article that outlined how you can qualify for an investment visa with a $35,000 investment into Nicaragua’s Reforestation Program. 

As will all immigration and visa issues, it is advisable to contact a professional with detailed knowledge of the process in that country.

Earn your 120-hr TEFL Certificate with IOA for only $19. Click to apply!

Tax Benefits

Nicaragua offers fantastic tax benefits to those looking to move to the country and invest there. You can receive up to 10 years tax exemption within Nicaragua. This may be extendable. The benefits of living tax-free can really boost your savings rate and fast track your retirement. For those relocating to Nicaragua, they are able to send many goods to Nicaragua (including household goods and automobiles) duty-free. Building materials may be purchased free of VAT up to $50,000 USD.

Cost of Living

There is a reason the income requirements to retire to Nicaragua are so low. It is an incredibly cheap country to live in. Renting a place is incredibly affordable. Numbeo estimates that an apartment in the center of Managua would go for $225 per month, while one in Granada would set you back $400 per month. Costs further south in San Juan del Sur, where there is phenomenal beaches and surf, can be even lower. Eating out is incredibly affordable and the local Nicaraguan food is amazing! Nicaragua is one of the premier coffee producing countries in the world, and the local beer is fantastic! There is nothing better than a cold Tonia after a surf.

Granada has a thriving expat community.

Expat Community

Granada has a huge expat community. San Juan del Sur and Popoyo are always packed with foreign surfers. One thing that impressed me about Managua was that it didn’t seem to be a city that was inundated with expats. This, to me, made for an authentic experience. If you are looking to be in the center of an expat community, those areas are surely available in Nicaragua. You also have the option to get to explore places that will give you a true Nicaraguan experience. Bear in mind that Costa Rica (and its huge expat population) borders Nicaragua to the south. 



It is hard to ignore the civil unrest that has plagued Managua for the last few years. I have several friends who live and work south of Managua and say that everything is tranquilo.  However, it remains something that foreigners wishing to move there need to keep an eye on, as violence may erupt at any time.


The healthcare system in Nicaragua definitely has room to improve. Many reports characterize it as being overburden and understaffed. Those with the financial means will have access to far better care at the larger hospitals in Managua. I would not consider travel to Nicaragua without comprehensive travel insurance. International Living cites something akin to private insurance at a larger hospital in Managua.


The internet infrastructure in Nicaragua also leaves room for improvement, though 4G service is becoming increasingly available throughout the country. Those living in larger cities, such as Managua and Granada, will enjoy a much faster and more stable connection. A colleague who lives and works in Managua reports no issues at all. Other digital nomads have suggested always having a mobile hotspot as a backup- even in larger cities like Granada. Local hotspots services, like Movistar are available for around $30 a month. The larger international mobile hotspot providers offer packages that range from $200 to $300 USD per month for unlimited 4G, but local access should be sufficient and can be topped up.

San Juan del Sur offers some of the best beaches and surfing in Central America.

Final Thoughts

Again, I loved Nicaragua. The tension in recent years is something that everyone should consider and make their own decisions on. I personally would not let it dissuade me from visiting Nicaragua or relocating there. It is an incredibly easy country to obtain a second passport. The investor visa essentially allows one to purchase a second passport, while the other retirement visa options allow you to get a second passport after only five years.

Whales English is hiring NES from USA, Canada, UK, Aust, NZ, or Ireland with BA, 120-hr TEFL, and 1-yr exp. Click to apply!

Is Estonia’s E-Residency Program the Right Choice for Digital Nomads & Entrepreneurs

Starting a company can often be a difficult and complicated process. It’s made even more difficult when you’re a digital entrepreneur without a physical place of business. This is often the case with digital nomads who want to run an online teaching business or some other type of location-independent start-up. This week, we break down if the Republic of Estonia’s E-Residency program may offer the answer.

What is E-Residency?

E-Residency is just like what it sounds like- a digital form of residency. It is not physical residency and does not allow you to live and remain in Estonia. It allows you to open a company based in Estonia with access to the Estonian banking system and EU markets.

What is the process for starting a company in Estonia?

Step 1: You need to apply for a digital ID in Estonia. This allows you to securely sign all business documents electronically. There is a 100€ cost to obtain this ID.

Step 2: Obtain an Estonian address and legal contact person. You can utilize a range of providers available on the Estonian government’s website. Some offer services that are limited to being a contact person and providing an address. Others offer guidance on accounting and compliance issues. The cost varies depending on the scope of the services provided (more info below).

Step 3: Register your Estonian company with the government. There is a 190€ registration cost.

Step 4: Open your company bank account in Estonia.

What is the cost?

There is a state fee for setting up the company in Estonia. This has risen considerably since this program was first introduced and now stands at 190€ (step 3). If you feel you can not navigate the paperwork yourself, you can hire an agency to do the work for you. Many consultancies offer this service for 250€ (which includes the state filing fees).

As mentioned above, you need a local office address and a local contact person. This results in a cost to you that is ongoing throughout the time you have the company open. Some consultancies will provide this service for approximately 125€ per year. You can seek out more full-service consultants who will also handle accounting, bookkeeping, and compliance issues. These all-in-one consultancies often have fees attached that are representative of the scope of their services.

How is E-Residency different from actual physical residency?

You are not permitted to remain in Estonia an E-resident. You are not a resident for tax purposes. Your company, on the other hand, is a tax resident of Estonia.

Are there tax consequences?

As you attempt to grow your business, you likely want to keep the money in the business. This means reinvesting what you make. In my opinion, this is the biggest benefit of the Estonian E-Residency scheme. You are not taxed on the money you earn until you withdraw money from the company. That is the money you reinvest (retained earnings) is not taxable.

If you pay dividends to yourself, you are taxed at a flat rate of 20%. If dividends are paid regularly, then you may be eligible for a reduced rate of 14%. There are certain guidelines that you must follow when declaring and paying a dividend, including registering and paying in adequate share capital. This is money that is used to run the business. The minimum share capital is 2500€. Dividends may not be paid out of this money. Dividends can only be paid out of the business’s earnings.

You can choose to pay yourself a director’s fee. This is also subject to a 20% income tax rate and may be subject to an additional Estonian social security tax. This is where it is helpful to have a local tax advisor.

Salaries paid to employees who are tax residents of Estonia incur income tax, as well as social tax withholding. If you are a one-person digital nomad, this is unlikely to apply to you.

Be aware that any payment of fringe benefits that you charge to your company may trigger an Estonian tax consequence. This may include income tax and/or social taxes.

The tax consequences of paying yourself out of the earning of your Estonian company can be a bit complex. It is always a good idea to contact a local tax professional.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the tax consequences of having an Estonian company. Consulting a local accountant is always a good idea.

Who might this be good fit for? Who might this NOT be a good fit for?

This is probably a good fit for digital entrepreneurs because of the luxury of reinvesting money in the business without tax consequences. If you anticipate a very healthy stream of revenue and don’t wish to have your business attached to your home country, the Estonian E-Residency program may be an option. It’s also a potential solution is you have no physical address in the USA. However, contracting a registered agent in the USA would also solve this problem and is relatively affordable – even more so than in Estonia.

If you have an income from teaching or some other location independent endeavor that you live off of, you can keep that separate from your Estonian company. Your Estonian company can be limited to your new entrepreneurial adventure. Again, you can keep reinvesting the profits as you attempt to scale the business. When you decide to withdraw profits, you can deal with the tax consequences of dividends.

I personally don’t see the E-Residency program as a good fit for digital nomad English teachers because of the relatively high tax rates, complexity of the tax laws in Estonia, and the cost of consulting for accounting & compliance issues. The start-up and maintenance costs also exceed what one might expect to pay in the US. I find the 20% tax rate to be outrageously high for online English teachers.

Final Take- not worth it.

Other considerations

US residents who own a foreign company need to fill out form 5471 and file it with the IRS indicating that you have an ownership interest in a foreign company. This does not trigger a tax consequence, but it is more of a disclosure. You need to let the IRS know that you own a foreign company.

Whales English is hiring! NES from US, CAN, UK, NZ, Aust, or Ireland. BA + 120-hr TEFL + 1-yr exp.

Teaching & Surfing in Morocco

Welcome back to ESL Gypsy. Before we get into this week’s post, a big ‘thank you’ goes out to the beautiful and talented Sabrina Leskovsek for sharing her insights on Moroccan travel. This week, we’re going to take you back out on the road to the beautiful town of Taghazout in southern Morocco. Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America have been hotspots for digital nomads because of the awesome quality of life and low cost of living. Parts of Europe are becoming more and more popular too as digital nomads seek to set up camp in places like Spain, Portugal, or Italy. Africa is an often-overlooked part of the world for digital nomads seeking adventure and a low cost of living.


There’s beauty in Morocco beyond the perfect waves.

The Town

Taghazout is a small fishing village with a population of roughly 35,000 people. It’s a super chilled out town that was part of the North African ‘hippie trail’ throughout the 1960s and 70s. Today, it has been transformed into a popular tourist destination, with lots of hostels, hotels, and guesthouses. With plenty of surf camps and yoga retreats, Taghazout retains that same Bohemian vibe that it had 50 years earlier.

What to Do

Surf.  Morocco is famous for offering some of the best righthand pointbreaks on the planet. Killer Point, Anchor Point, Hash Point, and Panorama are some of the most famous pointbreaks in Taghazout. Other great surfing spots include La Source and Mysteries. One of the best things about Taghazout is that it offers a range of spots from beginners who want to give surfing a try to more advanced surfers looking for world-class waves.


No Caption Necessary…

Many of the surf schools and accommodation in Morocco are based around a surf/yoga retreat package. Many of these, including SurfMaroc and Waters Edge, can be a bit pricey. But if it’s an all-inclusive package that you’re looking for, then they do meet all your needs and provide a great travel experience. My concern as a digital nomad is the quality and stability of internet in these camps. If you’re interested in going to Morocco for the yoga, then perhaps look to schedule your classes after you arrive as you may save a bit of money off the all-inclusive packages and you can focus on being in an area that will allow you to teach.

In addition to all that Taghazout offers, Agadir is only a short trip to the south (23 km). It offers beautiful beaches, great surf, and fantastic shopping in old bazaars. It’s definitely something to plan for a day!


SunDesk provides a great spot for digital nomads to get their feet on the ground when they first arrive in Morocco.

Working from Morocco

Internet can be spotty in remote parts of Morocco, particularly in the mountains. However, the 3G and 4G internet toggles are sufficient for online work from bigger cities and coastal resort areas. For those interested in staying in Taghazout for a short stay of only a few months, accommodation at SunDesk may represent the easiest and most convenient option. SunDesk is a modern coworking space that offers private Skype rooms. It doubles as a co-living space that allows location independent workers to live right on sight. Prices are reasonable, with a shared twin room going for 20.50€ per person per day for a one month stay (including access to office space with internet and daily breakfast). For those staying two months or longer, the price drops to 18€ per person per day.

SunDesk also organizes surfing, yoga, and running activities. Unlike the pricier all-inclusive yoga packages at some resorts, SunDesk allows you to pay per class (10€), so you can practice when you feel it’s most convenient for you. Renting surfing equipment is also far more affordable than many spots in Europe, with daily equipment rentals starting at 7.70€ per day. If you’re staying for a bit, ask them about long-term rental options.


Beautiful Sunsets & Great Surf…

The Visa

Things move a bit more slowly in Morocco, but that’s not to say things are inefficient or impossible. For those wishing to stay for 90 days or less, no visa is required. However, there are visa options for those who want to stay longer. If you intend to be in Morocco for more than 90 days, apply for a residence card prior to your departure. This takes a few months, but once you have the card in hand, you will be able to bank in Morocco. The card is good for one year and can be renewed. For more info on the specifics of obtaining your residency card, check out the terrific article by Brooke Cobb on the Escape Artist.

Final Thoughts

The world is definitely shrinking. I can remember going to Ubud in Bali twenty years ago and seeing nothing but rice fields. Now, villas and Eat, Pray, Love tours make it difficult to steal a moment’s peace. While North Africa is gaining traction as a destination for location independent workers- even as a hotbed for start-ups, it still remains a more off-the-beaten-path location when compared with places like Bali and Thailand.

Keep searching…



Does the Italian Land Giveaway Make Italy a Good Landing Spot for Digital Nomads?


The health of the Italian economy has been in question for many years now. Many young Italians see better opportunities in other parts of Europe and are increasingly leaving their home country. Those that do stay, often relocate to the bigger cities in Italy- such as Rome or Milan. This leaves the small, picturesque villages of the Italian countryside in danger of becoming ghost towns. Italy’s especially low birth rate only compounds the nation’s population problems. The Italian government has been aggressively trying to prevent this from happening. Small towns throughout the country have begun giving away land or selling it for only 1€. The blog Italian Fix did a great article on this, outlining the challenges as well as the benefits of this incentive.

The house for 1 € will likely require some work.

(Almost) Free Houses!

Most of the stories about people who move to Italy for the 1€ homes also include stories of significant expenses for renovations and a mountain of red tape. Some people wind up pouring 100,000€ into their ‘free home.’ This seems well-suited to a retiree who has the time, patience, and funds to build a vacation home in rural Italy. But would does this really make sense for a digital nomad? I loved visiting the Italian countryside, and could easily why someone would want to live there. However, digital nomads- especially online teachers, need to find a place that will support their lifestyle and budget.

Cash for Moving to Underpopulated Areas

Some regions have gone a step further by actually offering those who move to these rural Italian villages a living stipend. According to an article from CNN, there is a village in northern Italy that will offer residents 9,000€ (paid over three years) to a family that will move there. The catch is you have to have a child and an income of 6,000€. Assuming you do have a child, earning the 6,000€ from your online teaching job is very realistic. Again, you will need to find a place that you are able to live. While I’ve seen no information indicating that Locana is offering 1€ homes, there are several homes available for reasonable prices that require some renovations. It’s worth noting that Italy has the worst internet service in the EU according to The Local. Even mobile hotspots report a loss of coverage in more remote areas. Locana’s mayor has been trying to attract remote workers, so WiFi here may be a better than in other small towns. A contact living in the area reported download speeds of 21.6 Mbps and upload speeds of 5.7 Mbps- which certainly seems adequate for online teaching. Other things to consider include schooling for children, social activities, and access to services- all of which may be limited by Locana’s remote location. Though Turin (less than 50km away) may offer more options.

The beauty is picturesque, but what will you do with your free time?

How About a Monthly Living Stipend?

The municipality of Molise has been offering people a living stipend of up to 700€ per month for a period of three years to go and live there- IF you start a business. You must commit to living in a village with a population of less than 2,000. Again, these are remote locations and concerns about internet access do exist. While 700€ per month goes a long way in remote parts of Italy, it’s important to note that you will be responsible for the start-up costs associated with your business. An article in The Guardian points to the difficulties associated with supporting a business in these villages. After, surveying some of the villages, it seems that some areas may support businesses in the tourist sector. Those with a strong background in marketing may be able to make a business successful here. The living stipend eliminates some of the risk associated with starting the business, particularly if you can live and work out of the same location. Teaching a limited schedule online, in addition to the living stipend, should be enough to keep you afloat as you try to make your new business venture a success. Due to restrictions surrounding funding, this program is limited to forty people. Applications are now open. The article in The Guardian makes this stipend even more interesting, as remote work may qualify if those living there are contributing to the local economy.

If you’ve always dreamed of living in the Italian countryside, these incentives may represent the push that you need to make it a reality.

Final Thoughts

No one loves free money more than this gypsy, but I don’t see these incentives as being significant enough to lure me to Italy. Options for free or reduced priced housing may be something that suits an already retired individual with the funds to invest. Similarly, if you’ve been dreaming of a life in the Italian countryside, then these programs might be just what it takes to push you to finally make your dreams a reality. However, the infrastructure required for stable and reliable internet in areas like Molise presents challenges for a digital nomad. This, in conjunction with the lack of demand in the local market and the reported red tape associated with running a business should raise some serious red flags about Molise’s program. Anyone seriously considering such a program would be wise to do extensive market research and visit the area in person to see if the IT infrastructure will support your teaching venture- which will likely be much needed income.

Locana’s incentive to move to the region is a nice bonus, but remember you need to have a child. A stipend of 9,000€ paid over three years is not much- especially when you have a family. Again, if this area of the world is someplace you’ve always wanted to call home, it might be a nice incentive. However, the stipend by itself doesn’t make it an attractive area to move to. Finally, as someone who’s visited the remote areas of the Italian countryside, I can say it offers truly breath-taking beauty. Having said that, there is not much to do. I can remember thinking, “What would I do if I lived here?” If you are interested in hiking, running, or cycling, these outdoor activities might suit you well. It would be wise to go for a visit and see if you could really live in such a remote location.


What would you look for in a company if money didn’t matter?

Welcome back to ESL Gypsy. There’s been a ton of content on what people look for in a company and how to select the right company to work for. Most of what has been written centers on the bottom line- the rate of pay and bookings. “Obviously! I gotta make money!” Totally understandable. Everyone has to pay the bills. However, this article aims to examine what we might look for in a job if money didn’t matter.

In their recent Facebook post, Jake and Sarah from TeoLeo brought up the subject of goals. Most people cite financial freedom as a long-term goal. As a big believer in FIRE, and someone who has recently hit some major FIRE milestones, I’ve begun to think about what I’d look for as a teacher who was less concerned with the bottom line and more interested in what else the job can bring me.

Now, you might be saying, “I would be looking for an apartment in Thailand and one of those little umbrella drinks.” Totally understandable. For some people, teaching is just a means to an end. I get that. This article is aimed at people who would continue to teach even if they achieved financial freedom. Listed below are some things I would look for in a potential company.

Focus of the Curriculum

Some people love the idea of teaching purely conversation classes. They’re fun! You get a chance to really get to know your students and watch their language skills develop. Currently, I’m teaching English language arts classes that are aligned with the American Common Core curriculum. Most of my classes focus on literacy skills and reading comprehension. For me this type of curriculum is a lot of fun to teach. If money didn’t matter, what would you choose to teach students? The list of options to consider is practically endless:


Business English

Academic Writing

Creative Writing

Conversational English

Phonics/Emergent Reading Skills

English Language Arts/Reading

Flexibility of Curriculum

I happen to be lucky and work for a company that has a pretty good curriculum laid out. However, some companies leave a lot to be desired in this area. Regardless of how good any curriculum is, experienced teachers know that a one-size-fits-all approach to curriculum never works. Curriculum needs to be adapted to individual student needs, and the very nature of lesson planning is recursive. If your financial situation allows you to get by just teaching a few classes, then you likely have the time to adapt the curriculum to meet the students’ needs… if your company permits you to. Some companies may be very rigid about what they expect their teachers to do. This can create real frustration for teachers that want to do what’s best for their students.


Teaching a curriculum you enjoy can make all the difference!


At the end of the day, this is what it’s all about for me. I left a well-paid job in accounting to move into a (eh… less well-paid) job in education. For me, the motivation to get involved in education was the opportunity to work with the students. If money were no object, what type of students would you be happiest teaching? Currently, the market for teaching young learners is huge. I enjoy teaching young learners, but I also love teaching young adults. I feel like I did my best work as a teacher working with university level students. Would working with an uptight, stressed out businessman drive you mad? Would you prefer to teach a young and emerging reader? Consider your options and work with the students that bring you the most satisfaction.

Whales English is hiring!
BA + 1-yr exp.
NES from USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, Ireland, or UK


Bookings are a real concern for people who need to pay the bills- understandably so. Having a solid schedule that you can rely on every week means that there is always money coming in. If you are financially independent, you can aim for a little more flexibility. Personally, I would love the spontaneity of being able to pick up and take off when I want to. For this to be a reality, I would need a schedule that can be changed from week to week. The potential to cancel bookings on short notice might also be something I’d look for. Some people I know who’ve retired early love having a very definitive schedule. They do a few hours a week at a job they enjoy, and the rest of the week follows a predictable routine. Look for what best suits your goals as you achieve financial freedom.


Find a school where you have opportunities to contribute to its growth.

Opportunities to Contribute

This is huge. When you are on the road to FIRE, you need to look to save as much as possible to reach your financial goals. Finding additional sources of income within your company is a great way to help you get there. However, a lot of this work can become very demanding- especially if you’ve got your hands in a lot of different projects. The last thing you want to do when you are financially free is to engage in work that is going to stress you out. Find something you’re good at and focus on that area. For me, I love writing curriculum and creating materials. I would look for some way to contribute to my current company in this capacity. If you like building things from the ground up, maybe working with a new start-up would suit you well. As someone who had a chance to do that, I can say that it’s a lot of fun! You really have a chance to make a meaningful impact. When you’re doing that sort of work, it makes the amount of money that you’re taking home less significant.

Final Thoughts

If you’re financially independent- or at the very least secure, then start to look for jobs that can bring you more of what you enjoy about education. Teaching is a great profession. Even if you have the money not to work at all, teaching is something that can still bring you so much value outside of a paycheck. Consider a school with limited hours or a flexible schedule. Find what your niche is and focus on that. If you’re not financially independent yet, start to set goals and work towards them. Being an online teacher in a LCOL country gives you the chance to FIRE before most people back home. When you do FIRE, find a job that allows you to love everything about being in the online classroom.


Does the Non-Lucrative Visa Open Up Spain to Non-EU Digital Nomads?

Welcome back to ESL Gypsy- coming to you today from just outside the Spanish border with Portugal. My decision to settle in Portugal was an awesome, but by no means easy, one. Portugal is a terrific country, but by all accounts, Spain is a great country in its own right. The food, wine, climate, people, and the lifestyle are all tough to beat. In the past, places like Barcelona, Tenerife, and Cadiz have been tough places to settle for non-EU residents due to visa restrictions. Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa may change all that. This week, I’m going to share some of the information I found while researching available visa options for Spain. As always, this post is informational. If you’re serious about making Spain your home, seek out the advice of an attorney who can advise you on both immigration and tax issues.

The non-lucrative visa makes Spain an appealing option for those with enough income to support themselves.

What is the Non-Lucrative Visa?

 The Non-Lucrative Visa allows non-EU citizens to live in Spain for a period of one year and is renewable (given sufficient economic means) for up to five years. After five years, you are allowed to apply for permanent residency. By ‘non-lucrative,’ this means you have sufficient economic means to support yourself for a period of one year in Spain and will not undertake employment in Spain for a Spanish company or start your own business there. In the past, this visa has generally been popular with retirees who have pension income or those who are especially wealthy. The digital economy is changing that. Now the income requirements can be satisfied with income earned from work conducted in other countries. While Spain is affordable in comparison to the US, you will need to show more than a few hundred dollars a month going into your PayPal account.

Income Requirements

You need to show sufficient economic means to support yourself (roughly 30,000€ per year). If you wish to renew your visa, you need to show that you continue to have the funds necessary to support yourself while living in Spain (as you will NOT be able to obtain work for a Spanish employer). Some of the information online that was provided by previous applicants indicated that immigration officials were less concerned with the amount of monthly income from location-independent employment and more concerned with the amount of cash you have in the bank. Given this understandable preference for applicants to show available funds, this visa may work best for those who have the yearly funds stashed in savings. This will prevent you from having to even broach the subject of your earnings as a digital nomad. Simply use your earnings to replenish (or hopefully add to) your savings each month and you’ll be in a good position to reapply.

While the peninsula is beautiful, Spain offers some amazing islands, too!

Insurance Requirements

For those of us coming from America, the thought of having affordable, accessible, state-run healthcare may sound like a dream come true. If you enter Spain on a non-lucrative visa, that dream will have to wait. As a temporary resident on a non-lucrative visa, you DO NOT have access to the Spanish healthcare system. As a result, you will need to take out private insurance that provides a level of coverage equivalent to what Spanish residents receive under their national healthcare system. I have a friend who currently has private healthcare in Spain, and she pays approximately 100€ per month. This insurance is mandatory at the time you apply for the visa and must remain in effect throughout your time in Spain.

A teacher’s salary might not be able to support you in Ibiza…

Other Notes

Like many other countries, Spain requires that you have a clear criminal record to apply. You also need a recent doctor’s statement indicating that you are free from any communicable diseases. The visa takes anywhere from 30-90 days to process, and the requirements outlined by the Spanish Consulate in New York are listed here. While you are allowed visa free travel within the Schengen Zone on the non-lucrative visa, you do need to remain within Spain for a period of 183 days.

Tax Benefits

NOTE: This is informational. Consult with an attorney or accountant in the USA and/or Spain. Since, you are not permitted to work for a Spanish employer or access Spanish social services (such as healthcare), you are not responsible for paying tax in Spain. If you are American, you may apply for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion on your federal tax return (Form 2555). Part II (bona fide residence test) will ask you if you are required to pay income tax in the country you are claiming bona fide residence. The answer would be “NO.” This may not exclude you but bear in mind that the FEIE is not something Americans are all automatically entitled to. You need to apply when you file your federal return. Part III, the physical presence test, should make qualifying much easier- thereby excluding your income from the USA. Just remember that even if your income is excluded for US income tax purposes, you would still be responsible for paying self-employment tax in the USA.

Salamanca is a beautiful university town a few short hours from Madrid.

Final Thoughts

Spain is a dream for so many travelers and location-independent workers. For those who have a bit of coin in the bank or sufficient monthly income from working as a digital nomad, the non-lucrative visa may be an option for opening up residence in Spain. The income requirements, while certainly not outrageous, may present a challenge for those digital nomads who are just getting by. For people who lack the financial means to apply for a non-lucrative visa, the autonomo visa may be an option. Stay tuned for future blogs where we’ll explore the possibility of entering Spain as a self-employed owner of a Spanish company.


Responding to New Regulations in the Chinese Market

Welcome back to ESL Gypsy. This week, we’re going to deal with the impending regulations in China that are requiring students to finish all online classes by 9pm BJT. Many digital nomads who are making their living teaching English online are teaching for Chinese schools. This new regulation may cause companies to cut classes that finish later than 9pm, leaving many teachers to deal with a what could amount to a substantial shortfall in revenue. In this week’s blog, we’re going to outline some possible scenarios that may play out and how teachers may choose to react to this.

Possible Scenario- NOTHING HAPPENS

This is unlikely as it seems the wheels are already in motion. However, throughout my 15 years in education, I’ve seen regulations, codes, laws, and statutes that were definitely going into effect- then, at the last minute, something changed. As of right now, my company has not commented on the impending changes and until they do, I will continue to show up for my 9pm BJT classes.


This seems the most likely of all scenarios. If this law does go into effect, there are two things that I doubt regulation will change: 1) Chinese entrepreneurs/business people are incredibly hardworking and will look at every possible solution to ensure that the impact on revenue is minimal. 2) Chinese parents have an unquenchable thirst to deliver more education to their children.

As a result, teachers may be asked to open additional time slots- either on their days off, during the day on weekends, or at earlier times during the week. This would spell good news for those teachers who are concerned about how the new laws would impact their take-home pay.

Possible Scenario- CLASSES ARE LOST

The new regulation not only says that classes must end before 9pm, but also that online classes must not interfere with a child’s regular school day. This might make scheduling earlier classes more difficult. However, for the two reasons mentioned in the previous scenario, I think this is unlikely to happen. I do think that the companies will find a way to work around this regulation. However, in the event that all classes after 9pm are lost and teachers are unable to open additional slots, let’s take a look at how teachers might respond to the lost revenue without sacrificing quality of life and their savings.

Take Time for Yourself


Consider using the additional free time to enjoy your family.

This may not be an option if you are struggling to pay bills, but if possible, think about taking the extra time for yourself and your family. I currently look after my mother in her old age. If my school cut my 9pm classes, I’d spend more time with her. The best part of my day is when she says, “Thank you for the life you’ve given me.” Walk your kids to school, make breakfast for your wife or husband, and (if you can) try not to think about the lost revenue. This is where the FIRE lifestyle really pays dividends (literally and figuratively).

Seek Out Additional Income with Your School


Grow other streams of revenue with your school.

I’ve written about this before, and I truly believe this is the best way for online teachers to supplement their income. Look at opportunities to write curriculum, do teacher training & evaluation, or recruiting & interviewing. One (or more) of these options can add significantly to your income. I’ve done all of these things at one point or another in my career and the money really adds up!

Supplement Your Schedule with Non-Chinese Companies


North American Teachers Wanted!
BA + 1-year experience working with kids.

China is undoubtedly the largest market for online ESL jobs. Many of these companies also offer the most lucrative earning opportunities. However, there are other companies with students outside of China. You can still keep your classes with your young Chinese students, and just supplement your income by adding a company, such as Now Speak English, EF Englishtown, or Learnship. The pay may not be what you are getting with your Chinese company, but the additional revenue should help cushion the blow associated with losing classes. Check out and look for companies based in other locations. Another benefit to this approach is that companies like EF run classes 24/7- allowing you to have a bit more flexibility in your schedule.


The struggle with freelancing always seems to be finding students. There are a lot of websites, such as Wyzant, that seek to connect teachers and students. If you’re just looking to teach English conversation, it can often be hard to make yourself stand out. You usually wind up competing against so many other teachers that you have to knock your rate down to nothing to get students.


Whales English is hiring NES from US, Canada, UK, Ireland, NZ, or Australia. You must have a BA + 1 year exp + 120-hr TEFL.

Two things you may consider:

Jump on with a young website that is just getting going. You’ll have first mover advantage. Talk to Sarah and Jake at TeoLeo about the new project they’re working on. This is a great way to connect teachers and students and their platform offers a lot of great information for prospective teachers.

Specialize. This is really the best way to do well freelancing. If you find a niche, you will stand out from the crowd. Consider teaching TOEFL speaking or IELTS writing. Not only will you cut down on competition, but you can charge more. A friend of mine started his own tutoring service focused on test prep for the Cambridge exams. He charges a minimum of 50£ an hour. He doesn’t have a ton of students, but at 50£ per hour, you don’t need many. Check out his website Cambridge Business Essentials, or subscribe to his YouTube channel to get some ideas for how you might start your own freelancing business.

Final note on freelancing– do the right thing. This should go without saying, but don’t steal students from your school. Even if your student complains of a scheduling conflict created by the new regulations, tell them they need to iron it out with the school, and you are unable to teach them privately.

Look for Revenue Streams Outside of Teaching

This is something I hope to do more of in my early retirement. However, if we wind up with extra time on our hands, there’s no reason that we can’t start now. The options are literally endless! I recently purchased an entry level SLR camera and went down to the beach near my house. I live in a surfing town with TONS of surf schools. I planned to shoot landscapes when I decided to ask some of the people taking classes, “Hey, you want some surf photos?” I sold batches of surfing photos to seven different people at 10€ a person and wound up with 70€ for sitting on the beach doing something I enjoy. Check out an earlier blog post on Earning Extra Income Outside Your Teaching.


Pursue other hobbies that might bring in additional income.

Final Thoughts

It seems like the regulation really is coming and it’s going to affect all of us who are employed at Chinese companies. If you’ve positioned yourself for FIRE (being Financially Independent Retired Early), then consider this as an opportunity to transition to a lifestyle closer to what you might enjoy in retirement- that’s what I plan to do. If you do need the money, consider offering your school some flexibility in your schedule (perhaps giving up a day off). If you can’t open additional time slots, look for other ways to supplement your income. In the meantime, don’t worry about something out of your control.

Enjoy the ride-


ESL Gypsyis