If you’ve seen our recent blog posts, you’ll know that my wife and I quit our 9-5 day jobs after hitting Coast FIRE. I’m super excited to share more with you about our story with the top 14 reasons WHY we decided to move abroad and semi-retire in China.
As many of you know, traveling with kids can be quite a challenge! We have two kids, a two-year-old and a nine-month-old.
It was super easy and everything went perfectly. If you detect sarcasm, you are correct haha.
But actually, it wasn’t too bad since we had an in-flight bassinet and took a red-eye flight.
We took a 15-hour flight and then quarantined for eight days in a hotel because of the China Covid-19 restrictions at the time. You can see here how the hotel was actually really nice, and the time went by pretty fast.
My wife is originally from China and this was the first time her parents got to see their grandkids; it was such a happy reunion. 🙂
Amidst the trials of travel and quarantine with kids, it definitely paid off and was worth it since we are now the dream life!
Coast FIRE: The Easiest Way to Join the FIRE Movement
Cost to Semi-Retire in China (Our First Month Expenses)
1. More Help With Kids
To be honest, the top reason we decided to semi-retire in China is that we have more help with taking care of our children.
We haven’t talked about this with anyone, including our own family members, but my wife wanted me to share it in this blog post.
My wife suffered from depression since the late stage of her first pregnancy, and it became more serious as time passed.
The original plan was to have my mother-in-law come from China to help when our first baby was born, but due to the covid outbreak, she could not come.
We also ended up having our second baby, but my wife’s depression became more serious. It was very hard to see her struggle on a daily basis.
I want to add that my wife is very strong and insisted on working full-time while taking care of two kids since she wanted to become financially independent to provide us with a better future.
I won’t go into much further on her depression, but moving to China and allowing her to be with the family has been a huge help, and she is doing much better now.
If we had stayed in the US and continued working and investing, our financial situation would be better, but sometimes money isn’t the most important thing in life. Mental health is.
Her situation got to a point where I knew we needed to make a change. So we decided to move abroad to semi-retire in China and fortunately had enough saved in investments to have reached Coast FIRE.
Now we are living in the Chinese culture where grandparents help with grandkids frequently, so we are grateful for this huge help.
2. Hit Coast FIRE
So yes, we HIT Coast FIRE, woohoo!!
Coast FIRE is a popular retirement strategy involving saving enough money so your nest egg can grow without additional contributions.
Once you reach Coast FIRE, you no longer need to work to save for retirement; instead, you only work to pay for current living expenses.
This allows you to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle and focus on activities you enjoy rather than working simply to earn a paycheck.
That’s why we decided to quit our 9-5 jobs and semi-retire in China!
Yes, if we had stayed in the United States longer, we could have made more money and created a larger nest egg.
But I want my wife to live a happy and healthy life. These things are more important than money.
3. Lower Cost of Living
My wife and I really like the concept of FIRE, and we have seen others stories of people who achieved FIRE and chose to live in places with cheaper living expenses.
We don’t necessarily want to fully retire anytime soon because we enjoy working and pursuing entrepreneurial things. We love the concept though of working hard to reach financial independence sooner than later.
So we saw many people on Youtube that hit FIRE and then chose to move abroad to Thailand, Portugal, Bali, etc…
Since moving to China to semi-retire, we have shared many cost of living short videos. If interested, you can follow us on our social media accounts… just search for “Biesinger FIRE Journey”!
For example, in my wife’s city, you can rent a whole house anywhere from $200-$500 depending on how big and how nice the house and community you want.
This rental price is much cheaper than in Utah, where we lived before moving to China.
We currently have two rental properties in Utah, one is currently renting for $1,330, and the other one is $2,200 a month.
This is a perfect example to illustrate how much you can save just on rent in China!
According to global time, China is “recognized as one of the safest countries in the world” with low harmful crime rates and people’s sense of safety reaching 98.6%!”
I can definitely attest to this since I’ve been to China in the past and have always felt very, very safe.
Even late at night, you will see many people walking around by themselves because they don’t feel in danger.
This is big reason we decided to semi-retie in China because we want our family to grow up in a safe environment.
5. Experience New Cultures
One of the biggest benefits of moving abroad is to experience other countries’ cultures and get to meet new people.
It still blows my mind to think that China has over 5,000 years of rich history! This country has both modern and traditional architecture, making it unique and appealing.
I have always loved Chinese culture, which is why I chose to study Chinese in high school.
Now I can have the opportunity to live in China and really feel the Chinese culture and charm. It’s an exciting time, and meeting the super nice people here is also so fun!
I cannot wait to keep exploring and meeting new friends!
6. Improve Chinese skills
Studying the Chinese language and culture has been a passion of mine for many years. In addition to studying Mandarin in High School, I also served a 2-year Church mission in Asia and came back to the US to graduate with a minor in Mandarin Chinese.
Now that I’m living in China, I have lots of opportunities to speak Chinese with others. The people are so nice here and get really excited when they see I can speak their language.
The city I’m located in now also has its own dialect of Chinese, so I’m working on learning some of that too, wish me luck. 🙂
My next goal is to get a Chinese driver’s license but to do so, and I have to take a test that only has Chinese characters. The rules for driving are similar to the US, but there are quite a few Chinese characters I need to learn before being able to take the test.
Overall I can already tell my language abilities are increasing, and I look forward to learning more!
7. Helping our Business
My wife and I love personal finance so we started this blog to share our stories and insights on pursuing financial independence.
We love sharing videos and tips on our social media accounts too!
Moving to China was the right decision because it has given us more ideas as content creators and made us different.
8. More Fun
We feel the decision to semi-retire in China has been such a fun adventure.
For example, there are many malls, shopping streets, food streets, night markets, and so much more!
Most everywhere also has places to take kids and have children play. So we are grateful to have so many fun activities to choose from!
9. Yummy Food
My wife missed eating authentic Chinese food, especially when she was pregnant with our two children.
There were some Chinese restaurants in Utah, but most of them were Americanized.
We were only able to find real authentic Chinese food when we traveled to other cities such as New York or Los Angeles, but the price there wasn’t cheap either.
I also love Chinese food, such as boiled beef, fried dumplings, Peking duck, boba milk tea, and so on.
It costs about seven dollars to buy a boba drink in the United States, but now it only costs one dollar in China.
Pretty amazing right?
Tips are also not required or common in China. So if you ever have the chance to visit China, make sure to take time to eat the local cuisine!
10. Rent FREE
My wife is the only child in the family, and Chinese culture is very collectivist. In American society, many children must be independent when they are 18.
For example, most American kids need to pay their college tuition and care for their expenses.
When you live in your parents’ house, sometimes you must also pay rent. This is because the United States’ culture is very individualistic.
There is more freedom but also typically less help financially from others.
In China, it is very common for three generations to live in the same house — grandparents, parents, and grandkids.
Now we are also three generations living in the same house because we live with my parents-in-law, who also help care for the kids a lot.
They didn’t charge our rent either. We offered to pay, but they refused.
My wife also said that this is normal. In China, usually, parents won’t charge rent to kids.
Because of that, our expenses are even lower because of rent savings.
11. Cheap and Convenient Transportation
In China my in-laws have one car, two motorcycles, and two electric bikes. So we basically have free transportation which is super nice.
As of now I do not have a Chinese car or motorcycle license so I just drive around the fun electric bikes.
Not only are the electric bikes not expensive, but they also are electric and are thus environmentally friendly.
The transportation systems in China are pretty advanced with high-speed trains. Since my wife’s city here is a bit smaller we don’t have trains but there are a lot of bus stations.
12. Affordable Health Insurance
Fortunately, my family qualified for government health insurance so it ended up costing us only $54 per person for the entire year!
A family of four costs $216 annually.
My family’s insurance for one month is higher than one full year in China – pretty awesome!
Let us know how much Health insurance costs where you live in the comments section below!
13. Many Work Opportunities
Hitting coast FIRE means that you only need to work to cover daily expenses, but your investments are large enough so that they will continue to grow without contributions until retirement age.
So it really is just coasting until you hit retirement.
Since we hit Coast FIRE, we have more flexibility to work on what we want to work on, allowing us to semi-retire in China. 🙂 We still want to work hard and build a wealthy future.
It’s important to invest in assets though. I currently have two rental properties giving us healthy cash flows and actually covering all our living expenses.
Besides this rental income, we are working hard to provide valuable personal finance content on our blog and social media accounts. There are also many opportunities to work in China so no worries.
14. Overall Quality of Life
We feel our overall quality of life has improved because we stress a lot less about money and have more flexibility in our schedules.
A big reason for this is due to the lower cost of living mentioned above.
Back in the United States, we would cut our own hair at home to save money. Now in China, a haircut only costs $4 with no tips required.
It feels nice to have a professional cut our hair but not feel like we’re overspending. Here is a picture of my most recent haircut in China. 🙂
We are also able to go out and enjoy more outdoor food, massages, and other fun activities.
Although the cost for these items and activities is much lower in China, we still have a monthly budget and don’t allow ourselves to spend indiscriminately.
More on our budget to come!
If you’re looking to semi-retire in China or move abroad, I hope these reasons could be of some help for you!
Although everyone comes from different walks of life, there are clear advantages and adventures awaiting you in another country.
Make sure to check out more articles on this blog for tips and inspiration on achieving financial freedom!
We hope the information in this article provides valuable insights to every reader but we, the Biesingers, are not financial advisors. When making your personal finance decisions, research multiple sources and/or receive advice from a licensed professional. As always, we wish you the best in your pursuit of financial independence!