Retiring In ESL?

hammock.jpgJaunting off to the exotic, ideally warm and sunny, destination of your choice, buying some simple property and teaching ESL to pad your income is not a bad retirement plan at all. But how do you make it happen?

The newish website of frequent TEFL Logue contributer Tedkarma – Retiring On The Web – made me think more about how ESL and other part-time work can play a role in the plans of those who would like to retire overseas.

I won’t pretend I’m an expert on it: my own retirement is many years off (or, at the rate I’m saving, never). I think the classroom activities I share and link to from the TEFL Logue are useful to someone interested in retirement ESL…but there are a wealth of other practical details which need to be sorted out for someone going abroad to settle as a retiree.

One major difference between what I envision as the typical retiree and the typical ESL teacher is that retirees are more likely to want to settle for some length of time or permanently; although the typical ESL teacher may in fact end up staying long term, they don’t often go with that goal. So while an ESL teacher might eventually buy property or attain citizenship, I imagine that a typical retiree will be looking to do things like this sooner, perhaps before even having lived in the country in question.

Another difference is that I suspect few retirees are interested in working the full-time teaching load that most entry-level teaching positions involve. This is not so much due to inability, but rather just because the whole point of retiring is to not work full time.

This may present visa challenges: schools may have part-time work but may not be able to get standard work visas if that involves the company providing insurance and ensuring sufficient income. It is possible in some cases to become self-employed, though this can be a complicated and expensive process. Although it’s not advised, working off the books does happen, but if you get caught, the consequences can be severe, more so if you had planned on living in that country permanently.

This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to retire abroad and teach a bit of English to generate some extra cash…it just means that the advice that typically applies in ESL may not apply in this situation. One possibility is to do as Tedkarma advises and retire on the web…or at least combine that with teaching.

Escape Artist is another site with links to information on relocating to different world locations; as with any sites connected to spending large amounts of money overseas, it pays to take what you read with a grain of salt, but it’s not a bad place to start.