Slow Travel, Geoarbitrage and Creative Frugality | Bob Lai

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Today’s episode features Bob Lai from Tawcan.

Bob and his wife are both dual citizens living in Vancouver, Canada.

He has a big passion for geo-arbitrage, slow travel, and dividend investing.

Hear how he’s reaching FI while traveling and having three weddings! (spoiler alert, only one bride)

Listen, learn, and let us know what you think about this awesome episode!

Episode Summary

Bob’s Background

  • Bob’s family grew up in Taiwan with a farming background
  • Money was never taboo and stuck with him
  • Frugality was a big point of emphasis
  • His dad retired in his early 40s
  • Bob had a cousin who retired at 42
  • And then another cousin who hit FI and kept working
  • Bob talks about the influence that had on him

Geo-arbitrage

  • Geoarbitrage is the act of moving somewhere to lower your cost of living
  • Think San Francisco resident moving to Montana
  • This can be within your own country or abroad
  • It’s important to consider your earnings also dropping
  • This typically works best if you’re not working or working remotely
  • Some jobs like doctors actually get paid more in small cities
  • With the pandemic, this is possible for many more workers who’ve gone remote
  • Exchange rates can also be your friend
  • Living 181+ days in another country can also help you avoid U.S. income taxes
  • Citizenship is obviously a big hurdle in certain countries
  • Some countries give residency based on wealth or homeownership
  • Geo-arbitrage can save you 50% or more

Slow Travel

  • Often we look at travel as short spurts (1 – 2 weeks at a time)
  • This leads to trying to pack in as much as possible
  • You end up so tired, you need a vacation when you get back
  • Slow travel is the idea of spreading that over 3-6months
  • This allows you to spread out costs of flights
  • It also lets you book apartments vs hotel rooms
  • Bob goes over how much more enjoyable it is and affordable
  • He also talks about the benefits of having a home base when traveling

Three weddings under $7000

  • Bob got married three times….
  • Remember that his wife was from Denmark
  • This meant they both had families abroad
  • His first wedding was mostly his family
  • Bob’s wife made the cake and her dress!
  • Of course, they used a coupon after the wedding to eat
  • A month later they had a wedding with friends and her family
  • They hired a friend who would go on to go to culinary school
  • And their photographer was just starting out
  • His wife actually altered her own wedding dress for the second wedding
  • A year later they decided to do a wedding actually in Denmark
  • This time it was at a small-town school and his picture did photographs
  • Bob even took some of the photos

Rounding out the Episode

  • Bob talks about how he could retire now if he wanted
  • He’s happy with his job currently
  • Their home is also very valuable in the crazy Vancouver market
  • But life is good and his kids have a friend group

Key Takeaways

  1. Slow down: Bob breaks down the power of slow travel which this show is a big fan of
  2. You have options: Don’t think that just because you live or were born in a certain area that you have to stay there.

Call to Action

Look at your next planned vacation or one you’ve done in the past, compare those numbers with the slow travel version of it. How much per day does a six day vacation compare to a six month?

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