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Excerpt from Millionaire Expat

The man stood naked. His back and butt were clean. But his arms and legs were caked with mud. He held a towel in his left hand as he stood behind his pickup truck. With his right hand, he held a running shoe. 

A couple strolled behind him along a grass trail beneath an overcast sky. The walkers looked furtively at the naked man. No, I wasn’t one of the walkers. Nor was I (despite what many of my friends might think) the naked guy behind the truck. It was simply a full-page advertisement for Adidas in Runner’s World magazine. It read, “Runners, Yeah we’re different.” 

In 1999, Adidas published a slew of similar ads. They showed the eccentricity of the long-distance runner. Runners might be different. But expats are too. My friend, Catherine Parent, lives in Indonesia. She recently posted a picture of her toothbrush on Facebook. It was in a cup…with a cockroach. Her caption asked, “To brush or not to brush?” 

My friend, Debbie Woodfield, lived in Asia for years. The New Zealander posted a photo of a drink menu at a café in Laos. They offered Lao Coffee, Espresso and…. silkworm poo tea. 

Expats don’t leave their home countries for giant bugs or poo tea. Most of us just want to experience something different. Some of our friends back home marvel at our bravery, or they think we’ve lost our marbles. But unless you’re living and working in an active war zone, living overseas might be as safe, or safer, than the life you left behind. That said, there is one risk that many expats face. We risk running out of money during retirement. 

You might wonder what I’m smoking if you’re on a cushy expat package. After all, there’s a large league of expats in South East Asia and the Middle East who make bucket loads of cash. 

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