One of the most frequently asked questions of expats is what do you do for money while living abroad?
If you are retired and receiving social security, this may not be a problem. You can easily live on social security or a pension in Mexico because the cost of living is lower here than in the United States and Canada (and probably a few other countries as well.)
But let’s say you are a decade or two away from receiving social security benefits, like us. Or maybe you just lost your job due to the pandemic, going through a divorce or health scare and need extra money.
If you do plan to work while living abroad, you should start your financial security plan before you move. This means saving up money, finding out if your current job can be done remotely, or establishing a freelance career online before you go.
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Can I Find A Job When I Move to a New Country?
Working in a foreign country requires paperwork and a work permit. If a foreign company hires you before you move, fantastic! They will sponsor you and complete the paperwork for you. But finding a job once you arrive can be difficult, especially if you are not fluent in the language.
Salaries in Mexico tend to be a lot less. A nurse in Mexico makes only $20,000 USD per year. The minimum wage PER DAY in Mexico is 141.70 pesos or $7.10 USD.
Working remotely online for a company back in your home country is your best option.
Creating Our Financial Plan Before We Moved
Tom created a business model where he could work remotely based on email sales and hiring one person for deliveries. I gave my corporate employer the option of keeping me on and working remotely, but they couldn’t wrap their minds around that, even though 70% of my job was done away from the office at conferences and hotels.
Three months before we planned to leave Florida for Mexico, I started working part-time as a contractor for a wine marketing firm doing data entry, scheduling, spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations. When we left, I had a solid financial income from the contracting job and direct sales of health supplements.
In less than a year of living in Mexico, we saw many opportunities to make money. Because of our expertise with wine, we began doing English wine tours in the region, along with relocation advice and services.
Changes Due to Coronavirus
With the decimation of the tourism industry and face-to-face contact due to the coronavirus, we lost all but one income. A friend of mine who had just finished a year-long around-the-world trip, posted on Facebook that VIPKid was hiring teachers to teach English to Chinese students. The hours never appealed to me, but we needed to build up our revenue streams again during these uncertain times.
Here’s the facts about VIPKid
- You do need a college degree, but it does not necessarily have to be in education. I have a degree in communication and used my training experience at different jobs as experience for teaching.
- You will be given all the tools you need to teach English with VIPKid including the TESOL certification. The first TESOL certification is free. You can also study and receive a TEFL Certificate for free which is normally $129. 00 USD. If you want a printed copy to show to other ESL companies, the cost will be $79.00 USD. You can complete this at your own speed.
- The slides and learning objectives are already created for you. All you need to do is review them so that you know what you are teaching, and be able to add props here and there to keep learning interesting.
- Classes are only 25 minutes long.
- Contracts to teach English with VIPKid are for 6 months. Once you renew past two contract cycles, you get a raise. In fact, you get several raises for certain milestones. Starting class on time and completing a certain number of classes all contribute to additional money in your pocket.
Why consider working for VIPKid?
For one, you can complete the requirements to become an ESL Teacher at your own speed, but the sooner you do it, the sooner you can start working.
Number two, once you are approved to start teaching English with VIPKid, you won’t be overwhelmed with classes right away. As my friend put it, you won’t make a lot of money in the beginning. You start out slowly which allows you time to get comfortable and fit it into your schedule.
And number three, the hours you work do not interfere with a 9-5 job. You will work either early in the morning before dawn, or at night. For example: 5am-8am Monday through Friday or at night on Friday and Saturday from 7pm-12am. You choose what days and hours you can be available, but it does takes time to build up a consistent class schedule.
Should I Start Now Or Wait?
You never know how your circumstance can change, and none of us were prepared for the changes the coronavirus enacted on the world.
I wish I had done VIPKid sooner. My part-time contract work was for a few hours a week and we were making a healthy income, so I did not consider adding anything extra. Working 10-20 hours a week was fine with me after years of 70-hour work weeks.
If you feel you can spare a few extra hours a week, teaching English with VIPKid is a great backup plan. Starting a year or two before you think you may semi-retire is smart as it takes time to build up repeating students.
My Experience This Past Year
I started working for VIPKid in May 2020 at a time when many people had lost their jobs and were looking for an alternative. Many teachers came in at that time, and I will say I did not get many classes per month. I renewed my contract in November, and after getting a new internet service in December, I had between 1-4 classes a day for the last two weeks of the month. I’ve already doubled the number of classes I teach in the first 2 weeks of January. My guess is a lot of teachers dropped out after the first contract period because they could not make enough per month. Again, it takes time to build repeat students and a steady schedule.
Additional Benefit of Working With VIPKid
The benefits of working for VIPKid extend past the classroom. The words I teach in class I’m looking up and learning in Spanish. I’m using the teaching techniques of repetition, pairing with a visual, practicing conjugation and creating stories and rhymes to help me remember. Even my neighbors have noticed I’m trying more with less mistakes.
Working online remotely is the best way to work whether you are planning to travel for a year or two, or decide to move permanently. You have valuable skills that could be utilized anywhere but start looking now before you begin your new life abroad. If teaching English is something you have considered, VIPKid is an easy way to get started, get your certificates and start practicing from the comfort of your home.
Click this link to sign up on the VIPKid website.