Tag Archives: job loss

Homeless, Happy and Heading Out

Contemplating the phrase “All good things are worth waiting for”, I started day number 540 of House Husbandry like most others. Walking a few miles to kill time, I headed to Starbucks and anxiously waited for some clerk at the county to “officially record” the sale of our house. Industry speak for making the seller sweat a little more, the long and tedious process of escrow concludes once the county guy has his coffee, adjusts his chair and finally gets down to changing the public record of ownership. Perhaps due to a Friday close, the clerk performed his mundane task relatively fast and as I clicked the online bank account just before noon, I was ecstatic to find that the Experimental Expats have closed escrow and finally look forward to a new life in Southeast Asia. Woo-Hoo !!!!!

opportunityFeeling relieved but not really any wealthier, Diane and now look forward to an uncharted experiment to see if we really can live a 40+ year similar lifestyle, travel, enjoy life, pursue some new hobbies and sometimes just lay around on whatever assets we’ve accumulated. Planning on renting forever, two house have come and go and that’s enough home ownership for us. Ironically, someone sent me a Facebook post yesterday about another white guy/Asian girl couple that retired in their 30’s simply by setting goals and following a prudent lifestyle. Usually turned off by those bastards who beat me by 20 years, I actually read and even endorse the site because the financial principles are almost identical to ours. Titled “How this couple retired in their 30s to travel the world, it’s worth a read if you’re a 30 something looking to “retire early”.

Looking back, it’s been a great seven years spent in this house and we’ve enjoyed living in the San Francisco Bay Area just enough but those of you following know there’s no love lost when leaving a place that shuts out desperate home seekers that bid  $80,00 over asking price or more. Hoping Southeast Asia provides a fascinating new lifestyle, I thought this would be a good time for a gallery of some pictures we’ve taken from the area in our second house as a married couple.

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Looking ahead, Diane and I got a month of free “rent-back” meaning we can stay as rent-free tenants for an extra month. Wanting extra time to finish liquidating all our goods, secure a storage locker, wait for the MM2H visa to be received and just basically hang around a bit longer, we plan on vacating May 19th. Deciding there’s no real hurry to hit Malaysia since the visa will take about 90 days for conditional approval, Diane suggested we re-import our 2002 Honda CRV into Canada, spend some time with relatives, give the car to her niece and leave via Vancouver. Whenever we feel like it. Hey, we’re retired now.

penangArmed with two suitcases, a backpack with important stuff and the memories of 50 years in North America, we’ll fly to Penang and check in at a hotel while we search for housing somewhere near Tanjong Bungah. Continuing the blog as expats in early July, we’re excited and hope we can share some great stories, blunders and pictures with all of you. Thinking Diane is less stressed out over a starting a new lifestyle, I can only sit back and quote a Tom Petty song from his 1994 Wildflower album that says

Well, it;s time to get going; it’s time to move on; where I am going I have no way of knowing”.

Here’s to new beginnings !!

We’re actively seeking new friends to meet once we arrive in Penang. If this is you, please share your contact information.  

 

Stress Test

Topping the financial headlines this week were stories about a new round of “stress tests” for the “too big to fail” banks in the United States. Unlike the CEO’s of America’s behemoth financial institutions, Diane and I have more to lose if something goes awry. Having endured the last few weeks of vendors poking, prodding, cleaning, inspecting, painting and washing, the process finally came to a rather uneventful end yesterday with the staging of our house. Looking more like a show home than an occupied residence, the house was professionally photographed and is ready to be officially listed for sale.

retire-early2As you may recall, it all began on November 1st, 2013 with my unexpected layoff. Enduring almost 17 months of life as a House Husband, it’s been a long and rather boring road except perhaps for an incident where I totaled my car but somehow escaped injury. Because of unfavorable financial ramifications for MM2H applicants not yet 50 years of age, Diane and I decided that waiting it out on one salary for an extended period made the most sense. Having endured 2014 as a “semi-retiree” with not much to do in this quiet suburban enclave, preparing the house for sale began a few months ago with a landscaping project. Fully engulfed with selling our possessions, greeting and paying vendors, and careful budgeting, I think working would have been less stressful. Discovering the semantics of our monthly bank statements today, we also learned that we’ll be able to send the MM2H Visa application package on April 15th and begin our experimental overseas early retirement in Penang, Malaysia soon after that.

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An Overdue Salute to My Better Half

With Valentines day only a few weeks away and our move to Malaysia still a few months away, I started contemplating what to write for my next post as another Monday morning arrived. Having used almost all the thousands of travel pictures housed on our hard drive and realizing that stories about selling crap on OfferUp.com gets boring after two or three posts, it kind of jumped out at me. As the author of the blog, our stories are probably a bit one-sided and not really a true reflection of our lives. Having patience plays a huge role in our lives as you’ll see from this chronologically organized post.

wifieWhile I normally hate posts that expose too many personal details involving emotional states of mind, it seems reasonable to share my appreciation of the second half and photographer of The Experimental Expats; my wife Diane. Understanding I also despise  “poor-me” pity posts (and I have come across thousands of them), my intent is NOT to complain about regrets or missed opportunities but rather to simply share my appreciation of being married to one of the world’s most tolerant and patient wives ever. Expressing my love through spoken words has never been my long suit, I can’t sing very well and the start of early retirement will put a damper on any expensive Valentines Day plans so I’ve decided to share a bit of my not-so dirty laundry as a way of saying  “Thank you for putting up with my shit”.

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A Thankful Thanksgiving Weekend and double anniversary

November 30th marks exactly two months since our blog opened for business and one long year since my unexpected layoff that led to my current House Husband Status. Approaching the home stretch, we have 136 days until we file our paperwork for MM2H, the ten-year social visit pass that acts as our residency visa in Penang. Upon approval, we finally both begin early retirement in Malaysia. Simultaneously, our house goes on the market in mid March and hopefully closes escrow by May, rendering us homeless and forcing us out.

thanksAs a total newbie that knew nothing at all about blogging, HTML, CSS or anything else technical, I had no idea what kind of response I’d receive. Many of you provided support, complimented my writing style and offered help during our transition to an overseas destination we’ve never visited. Unfamiliar with the blogosphere, I’m unclear if this good or not but I just received my 4,000th page view and have managed to entice 90 followers so far. I want to thank everyone for helping me along the way and especially anyone who shared, re-blogged, commented and took part in any of our posts. With a lot more to learn about blogging and entering a very scary but exciting period, your responses, follows, and advice make it a bit easier. Finally, a special thank you to those expats in Asia who have shared their email addresses with us and allowed us to build a small social network before we even arrive.

Coming in December:
Parts 3 and 4 of  The Galapagos Islands Series, our last Arctic holiday in Canada and an update on potential MM2H trouble that might land us in Thailand 

Almost Expats – The First Anniversary

Looking back, it’s hard to imagine but they say “time flies when you’re having fun” and today marks the one year anniversary of my unexpected layoff. Recognizing that the odds of unemployed workers in late career successfully re-entering the workforce are slim, the life-changing event was the final straw in our decision to push up early retirement and become overseas expatriates.

we careChoosing Malaysia over Thailand despite large financial requirements for the MM2H visa, a social entry visit pass allowing unlimited entry to the country, I developed a new sense of the expression “patience is a virtue” as we began the long 18 month wait to my 50th birthday. Reaching that milestone allows an individual and their dependents the right to file paperwork under a status that demands a mere $150,000 MYR fixed deposit. Owing a large debt of gratitude to my former employer for getting me out the rate race, I’d like to personally thank H*** M*** Capital Management for their horribly stupid decision that left them devoid of the best operations and support person they ever had. An example of the thanks you get for breaking your ass include the useless brochure seen here 

 

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Why Malaysia?

Although blogging is not exactly the same as print media, all wanna-be journalists, writers, authors and poets still enjoy seeing their work posted somewhere besides their own blog. Having completed my first request for a guest post, the nice folks at Retirement and Good Living published my article today. Compiling a series of reasons we’ve chosen Malaysia for our early retirement, the article summarizes one of the most commonly asked questions we face from friends, relatives and bloggers.

 Yay; my first internet guest post

Yay; my first internet guest post

Covering a bit more ground than most posts, I’ve included a list of some other countries we considered and why we ruled them out. Sharing a bit about our transition process, it gave me an opportunity to speak about multiple items at one time. Aged much less than a fine wine, my blog is still less than a month old so the article gave me a chance to share information I haven’t gotten around to posting yet. Thanks once again to Simone for finding me and her timely processing time from email to publication.

You can view the post here

As promised, I’m now returning to my Liebster Award Post. ETA is Friday. Having already missed Game 5 of The World Series in favor of starting the post, I refuse to miss Game Seven and I only have four hours left until the first pitch so Ciao Bella for now !!

 

Almost Expats

for sale

Want to buy our house and help our cause?

If it was simply selling our house, I’d be writing from the beach in Penang. Unfortunately, I was 48 years and 9 months old when my job disappeared. In order to qualify for the MM2H, a social visit entry pass for would-be expats to Malaysia, you need to be 50 or the price doubles. Therefore the experiment begins after April 15th, 2015. In the meantime, follow our transition, read about some our past “expat research vacations” and bear with us until the paperwork dries and the early retirement begins.