There are a lot of blogs on Financial Independence (FI) and Early Retirement (ER). If you spend some time on the internet, you can find a lot of these FI/ER blogs or communities. In fact, I am a regular visitor to some of these blogs and I really enjoy reading/listening to them. There is a quite big community of these entrepreneurs and have been growing and spreading the positive message throughout the internet and beyond. I have gained a lot and will continue to do so by getting connected to these blogs.
However, Immigrants are a different breed. I am not talking about the second or third generation immigrants, I am mostly talking about the first generation immigrants, who grew up in other parts of the world and have families and close affection to our native countries. We have to deal with many issues that a regular FI/ER-oriented person would not. We deal with things like visas, processes of becoming a permanent resident and citizens while also saving and investing to prepare for FI and ER. We also deal with supporting our families overseas. We also constantly battle between the love of the land we were born in and the land we are currently living.
I think there are a lot of FIs and ERs as well as a lot more aspirers of FI/ER from the immigrant community but I have not really found a dedicated community/blog for this group. I want to connect with these folks and explore our common goal.
For me, Financial Independence is not just about achieving freedom from my 9-5 job but to be free from being ‘forced’ to stay in the US for rest of my life. A lot of the first generation immigrants struggle with the choice between their native country and the new country. One common trend I have seen in most of my friends who came to the US as immigrants from Nepal is that they battle in their minds for a long time about returning to Nepal vs staying in the US. Eventually, most give up the dream of returning to Nepal and end up following the “American Dream”. Few give up the “American Dream” and go back to Nepal. For most people, staying in the US wins after they have families and kids.
I had been fighting the same battle in my head for years. I never came to America with the intention of staying here. My goal was always to get a good education, save some money and go back to Nepal and live rest of my life there. But life is not always that simple. Although I received good education/degrees, I have not been able to save enough money to go back permanently. I got married and we are planning to have kids soon. Now I have to convince my wife to go back as well (she is also an Immigrant from Nepal). Soon I will have to choose between raising kids in Nepal vs raising kids in America, healthcare and so on. The rat race will go on.
Fortunately, I found “Rich Dad Poor Dad”. Thank God! Actually, thank Robert Kiyosaki. He says that when you have two options, you do not have to choose between one or the other. Instead, you should think about how you can achieve both. So came the goal of Financial Freedom and Early Retirement. Now I do not worry about making a choice between a Nepali Dream and an “American Dream”. In fact, as one of my friend told me, financial freedom is the real American dream. Now I can retire from my job in the US and live in Nepal comfortably and pursue a new career there if I want to. Wife and kids will be happy when you have enough money to buy everyone’s freedom, health, and education. I want to open a business in Nepal eventually. If I fail or do not enjoy my life there, I can come back to the US and stay here.
I am sure there are a lot of folks who are/can be in the same boat. But FI/ER does not work for us the same way as it works for regular Americans. All the investment/tax saving vehicles such as 401k, HSA, IRA, Roth IRA may not work for you or in fact, may work against you. Planning for healthcare or health insurance after retirement will not be the same. You may not get the loans to buy house/investment properties the same way as the US citizens. You may have to plan on helping your parents financially. You may also need to protect your wealth differently. So I want to explore this adventure, hopefully with inputs from you folks.
Of course, not everyone wants to return, and some may need more time to decide on what they want to do. But these are the things only immigrants have to deal with. I would like to connect with folks who are in a similar boat and explore the possibilities for us together. I think there are also a lot of millionaire immigrants who can share if/how they faced these issues.
Long live (not literally) the journey towards financial freedom.