Make Money Online, Teach in Asia, Uncategorized|October 25, 2011 7:26 am

Life Planning: From Broke to Beach in 24 Months

How many people are slouched back in their chairs right now, head back, eyes closed, thoughts of hammocks and white sand beaches drifting through their thoughts… Bam! Back to work, son! It doesn’t have to be that way, not with some simple life planning. In my late 20’s, after 5 years in corporate sales, I…

  1. quite my job
  2. sold everything I owned
  3. moved to Asia
  4. invested in a hotel / dive resort in the Philippines
  5. lost every penny I had
  6. went $30,000 into debt
  7. …figured out that I was DOING IT WRONG!

With a bit of smart life planning, you can skip the first 7 steps and jump right into the good part–just follow the plan I’ve laid out for you below. Before I get into it, let me say that this plan–as I have done it–requires to things.

  1. a university degree
  2. being a native English speaker

If you don’t meet these criteria, you can still accomplish the overall plan. You’ll just have to modify it a bit. Also, the title of this post says “From Bust to Beach.”

  1. “bust” = having zero dollars.
  2. “beach” =  Southeast Asia–I currently live in Thailand.

Many of you wish you were “bust.” But you’re not. You’re worse than bust. You’re “bust minus.” …not only do you not have any money, but you’ve got a dump truck sized load of depressing, debilitating, darn-near-impossible-to-get-rid-of debt!

Don’t worry! I’ve been there. I feel your pain, and I’m here to help you.

If you have zero dollars, this is a 24 month plan. For every $700 in debt you have, add one month to the plan. For example, if you have $10,000 in debt, add 15 months to the plan. 10,000 ÷ 700 = 14.2 months. Your plan is now 39 months (don’t worry, they will be 39 of the most exciting months of your life).

Life Planning Step 1: Filling the Coffers

This plan requires money, and step 1 is all about getting it. Luckily, it’s easy! All you have to do is teach English in Korea for one year.

Qualifications for Teaching Job

  • University Degree in Any Subject
  • Be a Native English Speaker

Where to find a job

Here is how it’s going to be in Korea. By the way, I have done this. This step and these figures are 100% accurate and taken from my own experience living and working in Korea. If anyone tells you that this plan is not accurate, not possible, or not feasible in any other way, tell them to put their gloves on and come to the comments section–I’ll duke it out with them personally and in public!

Your job and living situation in Korea:

  • Roundtrip airfare to and from Korea: Included
  • Housing in Korea: Included
  • Salary (after taxes): 1700 USD Per month
  • Living Expenses in Korea: 900 USD Per Month (includes plenty for beer and eating out)
  • Savings Per Month: 800 USD
  • Contract Completion Bonus: 1700 USD
  • Pension Refund 1200 USD
  • Money In Your Pocket After Teaching in Korea for One Year: 12,500 USD

About These Figures
First of all, I know people in Korea who spend quite a bit less than 900 USD per month on living expenses; remember that rent is included for free. You’re expenses only include utilities, food, public transportation …and toothpaste. Most anything else you spend money on isn’t really necessary. That being said, I know lots of people who have been living in Korea for years and don’t have one penny in the bank! The 900 USD I quoted above gives you plenty of fun money for the weekends, and it allows you to save up for step 2. All you have to do is make a budget and stick to it!

About TEFL Certificates

People often ask me if they need a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate to teach in Korea. The answer to that is, “no, not at this time.” …but, teaching English in Korea is getting very competitive, and, sometime in the near future, it is going to become a requirement. So, should you get one now?

I got one, and I’m glad I did. If you’re unsure you can try this online TEFL course for FREE. Here is why I recommend getting one.

  • They pay for themselves–you’ll earn, on average, 100 USD per month more with a TEFL certificate

$100 X 12 months = $1200

Cost of certificate = $200

$1200 – $200 = $1000 in your pocket

On top of that…

  • You’ll feel much more confident going into the classroom
  • You’ll be better at your job
  • You’ll be more competitive in the job market

Life Planning: From Bust to Beach in 24 months Step 1 Summary

1. Get a TEFL Certificate

2. Go to ESL Cafe and Get a Job

3. Go to Korea and Save $12,500 (while having a great time)

If you want more information about teaching English in Korea, just leave your questions in the comments section below. Or, feel free to send me an email, and I’ll get back to you personally.

Click Here to send me an email.

Click here to go to TEFL course.

Click here to read more posts about teaching English in Korea.

Click Here to apply for a job in Korea.

Go To Step 2: Goodbye Korea, Hello Tropical Beach → →


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  • Any Ideas for those without college degrees?

  • Hey Ben,
    I’m going to make a post about that soon. Here is an email I just sent to someone who asked me the same question….

    Hey Aaron,
    Here is your situation as far as I can tell…

    Korea & Japan
    These are the two biggest ESL markets. Both countries require ESL teachers to be native speakers and to have 4-year degrees. Even if a company wanted to hire you, they could not get you a work permit. So, in these places, yeah, you are totally screwed.

    China is a huge market. They have pretty relaxed rules, and they don’t really follow the rules much anyway. If you apply for a job from overseas, you probably won’t get it. If you just go to China as a tourist, on the other hand, you should be able to find a job. I lived in China for 3 years, and I met all sorts of people teaching English–not all were native speakers, and not all had university degrees. I also met people who were there teaching French or Spanish.

    The problem, of course, is that there are no guarantees, and you’ll have to have a fair bit of cash to get there and to live there for a while while you look for work. This is a great website to check out jobs in Beijing.

    In Thailand, it is required that all teachers have not only 4-year degrees, but the degree has to be in education! The thing is, though, the rule is just a big joke! There are tons of people teaching in Thailand who aren’t native English speakers and who don’t have university degrees. Here is the key for Thailand…

    They love CELTA/TEFL certifications with classroom components here. Not only do they love the certifications, but they have lots of CELTA/TEFL certification centers. Plus, when you graduate with your certificate, they provide you with a job. If you want to get a CELTA/TEFL certification, this could be a great way for you to go.

    This is a pretty big organization…

    Maybe you can contact them and ask about your chances for getting a job when your done. I can’t say for sure, but I think your chances would be pretty good.

    Best of Luck!


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