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First impression of Korea

 
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S3raph1m



Joined: 06 Mar 2017

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:41 pm    Post subject: First impression of Korea Reply with quote

So, like many other people have done, I moved to Korea immediately after graduating from college. This was my first contract. I've gotta say: it's been pretty good for me. I paid off slightly over half my student loans this year. I lived frugally and saved about 1 million won per month. Severance is coming next month, which will also go into my student loans. This was on the low 2.1 million won per month, btw. I only worked 5 hours a day. Prep was minimal. Absolutely loved the kids, so it wasn't hard getting to know them and making class fun for them. Ideally, I should have taught online to supplement my income, but I didn't. Oh well.

My next contract is 2.4 million won per month and my working hours aren't much higher. Maybe that means I'll be able to save 1.3 per month? Very Happy It includes an air ticket home after it ends, so that's not an expense I have to worry about. It's looking like I'll have all my student loans paid off by next year, along with about 7-8k saved up. I'm also doing an online MA and won't have to take out any additional debt for it. All in all, this was pretty sweet. I think this was the best decision I could have made right after graduating. Korea has been good to me. I also obsessively practiced Korean with the Talk to Me in Korean grammar books and workbooks, and can now comfortably get around and make small talk with locals (this was probably the most fun part about being in Korea).
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denverdeath



Joined: 21 May 2005
Location: Boo-sahn

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you're doing quite well! Took me between 4 and 5 years to get where you are. I've been here for an insane 21 years now, but the world is now my oyster! Korea HAS been good to me, but, yeah, I've been good to them, too...mostly.
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korea was good to me too.
It allowed me to buy a 5 hectare farm and build a 120 m2 house on it.
Paid off all of my debt from home too.
It also allowed me to return to graduate school to complete another masters (M.Ed) with no loans.

It was a nice ride and mutually beneficial.
Made some good friends too.

.
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tophatcat



Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Location: under the hat

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's great to read the good news from the above ^ posters.

Most everyone I've met here that has been willing to work hard and has had a goal to better their situation seems to have done well.

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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kudos, OP. Always great to hear a success story.

I've made a number of very good friends here over the past 25 years, and the ones who have done well have, like you, put in the effort and had goals. Some moved back 'home' and began what are now fantastic careers outside of education (marketing , PR, finance), and some have remained here and made a great go of it, some in ESL related jobs, some not.

Can't put price on the feeling of being debt free, especially if you have an advanced degree and some savings to boot.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: Yap

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, I thought this was gonna be a more visceral question. I'll respond anyway.

August 1999, Kimpo Airport. The pungent humidity. Somehow finding my way to the domestic terminal. Met at Gangneung Airport by a taxi driver who drove me an hour up the coast through sunset & sea breezes to Sokcho, Met my new hagwon colleagues just getting off work on a Friday night. Round after round of draft beer at a bar called Amadeus across the street. Instantly smitten.

Discovering teaching (at age 46) was a revelation, found my calling. Getting paid more than I needed to just scrape by was a life turn-around too. Fifteen memorable years in Sokcho which led to three years now on a unique little island in the western Pacific. Thank you Korea.
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S3raph1m



Joined: 06 Mar 2017

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, everyone. I’m kind of surprised how well this worked out and I’m glad I’m not the only one. Seeing how soon I’ll be debt free with some savings feels like some serious weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

To be honest, I’m considering another year or two after my next contract so I can invest most of it in the S&P 500. I want to make my life easier down the road, considering I’m still in my 20s and have a long time for my money to make money. This seems like a good way to make that happen.
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tophatcat



Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Location: under the hat

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

S3raph1m wrote:
Thanks, everyone. I’m kind of surprised how well this worked out and I’m glad I’m not the only one. Seeing how soon I’ll be debt free with some savings feels like some serious weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

To be honest, I’m considering another year or two after my next contract so I can invest most of it in the S&P 500. I want to make my life easier down the road, considering I’m still in my 20s and have a long time for my money to make money. This seems like a good way to make that happen.


You are a winner. If you stay on this pace, you are on your way to financial success. It's surprising how things begin to pick up once you become debt free and build up a few investments here and there.
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tophatcat



Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Location: under the hat

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've met people who stopped paying on their student loans when they arrived in Korea, and dibbled and dabbled their money away. I'm talking about people who have been here for years. SMH. I've never understood this mindset. VS could have paid off loans and $100.000 nest egg.
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S3raph1m



Joined: 06 Mar 2017

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tophatcat wrote:
I've met people who stopped paying on their student loans when they arrived in Korea, and dibbled and dabbled their money away. I'm talking about people who have been here for years. SMH. I've never understood this mindset. VS could have paid off loans and $100.000 nest egg.


Yeah, I don’t understand that mindset. I came here with a plan to better my situation and leave with enough money saved and invested to 1) make life easier later and 2) have enough saved up to invest in picking up the skills needed for a better career in the states.

I like teaching and I really dig living in another country and learning the language. I’m also traveling quite a bit during my weeklong vacations twice a year, but I’m very serious about having these goals too. Fun and play, yes, but also building a future.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'll be way ahead of the curve if you keep that up, not that curve busting related to retirement savings for Americans is a Herculean feat.

"In fact, "nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all," the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reported."

https://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/12/heres-how-much-the-average-american-family-has-saved-for-retirement.html

You're still in your 20s, OP, but as you dig living and working abroad, keep in mind that you have to contribute to SS for a minimum of ten years to qualify for Medicare down the road. Unless the US feels the Bern the next election cycle, that's a major factor to consider. I just made it by the skin of my teeth as I've worked my entire adult life outside of the US. Good thing I worked my way through an undergrad and grad degree and did a hitch in the Army. Whew.
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S3raph1m



Joined: 06 Mar 2017

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PRagic wrote:
You'll be way ahead of the curve if you keep that up, not that curve busting related to retirement savings for Americans is a Herculean feat.

"In fact, "nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all," the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reported."

https://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/12/heres-how-much-the-average-american-family-has-saved-for-retirement.html

You're still in your 20s, OP, but as you dig living and working abroad, keep in mind that you have to contribute to SS for a minimum of ten years to qualify for Medicare down the road. Unless the US feels the Bern the next election cycle, that's a major factor to consider. I just made it by the skin of my teeth as I've worked my entire adult life outside of the US. Good thing I worked my way through an undergrad and grad degree and did a hitch in the Army. Whew.


Good point, Pragic. Although I have my suspicions that the US will shoot far left (especially as the silent generation dies off and millennials start getting old enough to get into office), I'm not betting on it. I don't intend on staying abroad forever, just for the next few years while I finish my Master's degree and can get a nice nest egg going. As of right now, I'm just enjoying myself while also eliminating my debt.
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