Reaching Financial Independence in Poland

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One of our favourite underrated places to travel to in Europe is Poland. Having explored nearly all of the European Schengen (World’s largest Visa-free zone) countries, Poland reigns supreme as the best value for money. Even Eastern European countries like Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania couldn’t beat it. And a big part of the reason is because, even though, Poland is part of the European Union, it hasn’t adopted the Euro. Instead, its currency is the Zloty, which is nearly on parity with the Malaysian ringgit. Not surprising then, that we when visited Poland, we felt like we were getting southeast Asian prices, but with European-level standards of transportation and accommodations.

I also feel a kinship with their culture due to their disdain for communism, and how the fall of communism in Eastern Europe started in Gdansk, led by Lech Wałęsa, whose watermelon-sized balls led him to rebel against the communists and still live to tell the tale. If you’re ever in Gdansk, get thyself to the European Solidarity Centre STAT, which to this day, Wanderer and I still consider the best museum we’ve ever visited in the world.

So, having discovered how little it costs to live in Poland, I always wondered whether it would be possible to retire early there by using geo-arbitrage.  

Turns out you absolutely can, because a Polish reader reached out to me and told me they did exactly that.

So without further ado, let’s hear it from PolishFIRE, who just reached FI at the ripe “old” age of 39 with her husband.


You and your spouse will be Financially Independent by 39, but even more unique than that is that you did it while working in Poland! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your jobs?

I work in the pharmaceutical industry, in a global company. I was able to reach an international level position, meaning I compete on the global market and can earn a salary that is higher than is typical for Poland. I was able to profit from residing in a comparatively low-cost-of-living country while enjoying globally-competitive compensation – you could call it mastering geoarbitrage! My husband is an American who worked in management at a local manufacturer back in the USA before moving to Poland ten years ago to continue his education at a lower cost than he would have at an American university. 


What was your cost of living and where did you live in Poland?

Since we started tracking our expenses, it’s been going down gradually, and it is currently at about $1900 (USD). We live a comfortable life, traveled pre-COVID multiple times a year (on a budget), and eat out regularly. We live in Krakow, Poland. It’s a nice, historical city, and we own a house here with no mortgage (helps to keep our expenses low). 


How did you learn about FIRE?

Once we were done paying off the mortgage on our house and started accumulating cash, I got an idea of buying some freedom with the money suddenly leftover at the end of the paycheck. Could I work part-time? Could I take a year or two off? I did not know that what I was looking for was called FIRE. I was Googling and looking for resources for people with my mindset, came across some FIRE blogs and was hooked. I literally read your blog (and a few others) front to back, and I knew this is what we could pull off at some point. I called it “Project 100 Months”. We made it in 46!


Tell us about your investments and why you decided to invest in this way.

We are extremely lucky to be able to profit from two worlds – the US stock market and Polish real estate market, and pick the benefits of each of them. Poland, and Krakow especially, have a very fast growing property market. The properties are renting very well, and their value grows at a steady pace of 15-20% per year. We also know the city well, so we know where to invest. So our main source of passive FIRE income (70% of our full FIRE number) comes from the rentals and flips. We also have invested in the low fee index funds in the USA – this is all the buffer money, the 30% over the FIRE threshold. We also have a pile of cash in USD – that is our buffer for when we don’t want to sell the stocks, and in case the properties are vacant. About 15% of our investments sit in a 401k and we haven’t counted this towards our FIRE number – my husband didn’t invest enough there, because he learned about the backdoor withdrawal options too late (from your book no less). So, we treat this as a pile to grow until we hit the normal withdrawal age – or a backup in case of a disaster later in life. 

We tried to copy our Polish rental model in the USA, but the property taxes and rental agency management fees were eating up all the income there in an area with relatively low rent prices. Even without the management fees, I don’t know how it can be a profitable market for those with a mortgage on their property. We decided to sell, luckily at break-even, and move on. We learned our lesson – owning a wooden house across the ocean is not for us. It did not add up when we “mathed this shit up”!

The current split of investments allows us to diversify between currencies, and market circumstances – for instance when COVID hit, we lost one renter, but the Polish currency fell so much that the exchange rate improvement on our USD cash would have covered the loss had we not been working, while Polish real estate increased in value (which we leveraged, selling one which accelerated hitting FIRE by 8 months!). The diversification works! 


What are the tax implications of retiring in Poland? Do you have capital gains taxes?

The tax structure is convenient for the wealthy unemployed. Property tax for each of our rentals is about $30 per year (less than 1 month’s electric bill!). Income tax on the rental income is 8.5%! Meanwhile capital gains is 19%. There is no property capital gains in terms of a flip if 5 years have passed since the purchase, OR if you put the money from the sale towards another residential property within 3 years. 

In comparison, my current marginal tax rate for my salaried job is 32%, with low to no options for tax deductibles, such as 401k. 

So this is another reason why property investment made sense to us!


What do you or your spouse plan to do after you quit your job(s)? 

My husband has been enjoying the semi-retired life for some time, accepting occasional project-based jobs in Poland (usually related to English language writing), while managing our properties and learning more languages (we took a semester of Swedish during the lockdown, and now he’s doing German). He works out more often than before, does some minor renovations around the house, and generally fiddles with random hobbies.

I haven’t quit yet. Hitting FIRE made me realize I can actually make my biggest dream come true if I keep at it just a while longer – that is, living in the South of France. And because FIRE gave me the guts to go for the impossible (while worrying less about the consequences of changing jobs), I was able to land an amazing promotion in May 2021, and I love it so much that I might keep going for a while longer to make my dream come true. So my first 45 months of FIRE will be busy still earning for that dream home before I quit. We considered using my current employer to relocate us to France for a year so that we can test drive that lifestyle, at their expense, and see if the dream is everything I hoped for. What FIRE has done for us is open up the option to pursue whatever new ideas come to us while giving us the comfort of having all the basic needs covered. The options at that point suddenly seem limitless! And since we got to FIRE in 46 months instead of 100, I can potentially have FIRE and the South of France in the same timeframe. Not bad! 


What does your family think about your retirement plans?

My mom hit her retirement age last year and keeps going because she loves her job. So she can’t imagine why we would retire early. She keeps asking my husband if he likes being “unemployed.” My dad retired early from his corporate life in his late 50s, but still can’t quite understand us walking away from our careers at 40. 

My husband’s family is surprised, but they are happy for us. Some of them quizzed us on plan A and B and C, and they couldn’t find any flaw in it, so I assume they are OK with it…

We have sold my husband’s brother on the idea of FIRE too – and back in the USA he is now set with his own targets, a big fat investment plans and he’s already helping other family members set up their ROTH’s and 401k’s. He is in his mid-20’s so I’m pretty sure he will hit his FIRE number before our age, if he is really into it. 

We’ve become FIRE evangelists in a sense, with many of our friends are learning about it from us and slowly coming around. We keep lending them your book and then sitting down with them to work out the details specific to the Polish market. 


Will you continue to live in Poland after reaching FI? Why or why not?

Our FIRE number is really not enough for a comfortable life outside of Poland, unless we were to sell our main house (we’re not ruling it out). We may decide to move – there are a lot of things we’re considering, keeping the ageing process in mind – mainly the subjects of healthcare (which really sucks in Poland with private options ending when you hit 70), elderly care (which does not exist unless you pay big money for it), climate change, and ongoing political dramas. The last two are completely out of our control, and they really affect a lot of countries similarly – so maybe we are just really risk averse? And for us, very old age is like 30 years from now, so who knows what the world will be like then?

If my dream of living in the South of France works out, we’ll move. Perhaps permanently, perhaps for a while, but when that quietly-growing 401k kicks-in maybe it will open up some more options. 


Are people in Poland pro-home ownership or pro-renting? Why?

In one sense, people in Poland tend to favour owning their properties. Their home is their castle, and renting is considered “throwing away money”. With low property taxes and increasing property prices, it’s a logical investment, so many people even buy an apartment for their child’s duration of university studies. Selling it 5 years later, they will earn more than they bought it for, essentially providing rent free living for 5 years of studies. Notably, 60% of all property purchases are done using cash. Of course, many people earn pretty low salaries in comparison with the booming real estate prices, so while they may inherit an older apartment or own something far from the big city, there’s still a large group of renters.

Rentals work best in big cities, as starter homes for singles or young couples, this is why our strategy has always been to appeal to hip, young professionals with studios or small 1-bedroom units – a.k.a. the smallest living unit for when you’re tired of subletting a room. Generally, as soon as a couple decides to get married or have kids, they are looking to buy. 


What do people in Poland think about investing in the stock market?

Generally – it’s not that popular. It’s considered gambling. Our stock market is really full of institutional players, such as retirement funds, and very few individuals actually invest there. Polish people would much rather invest in gold (physical gold pieces, like coins), and property, before they invest in stocks. 

Recently more and more banks and institutions offer access to international ETFs, making it possible to invest in US/UK markets, but it’s still not that popular. I honestly feel the same, so we only have a token amount invested in the Polish stock market. 


What advice do you have for others who live in Poland and want to become financially independent?

Same as everywhere – grow your income, track your expenses, cut your spending – don’t buy crap and just invest whatever is leftover. Be aggressive, have defined goals and regularly review your progress.

More importantly, a piece of advice to any Americans (and Canadians) in their young age – university is free for EU citizens and also costs close to nothing for non-EU citizens, limiting the expense of education mainly to room and board. There are many English language degrees you can earn in Poland, including medicine which is a US-board certified degree at a fraction of the cost of an American university. 

My husband earned his 2-year Master’s degree at a top rated Polish university (taught by American and British professors, no less) and paid $5000 for it. Skip your student loans and hack your way through this period in your life. 

Also, there are many entry-level corporate jobs in Poland (notably Krakow is an epicentre of this market), with literally 500 of the Fortune 500 companies here, where you can get skills, credentials and that CV entry with a brand logo, together with your international experience that can help you stand out if you later want to go back to your home country to further your corporate career. 

We have a number of friends from the US who came here, finished their degrees, avoided the student loans (and stayed!) and are now trying to convince their friends and younger siblings to do the same. Not needing those massive student loans can dramatically accelerate your path towards FIRE!

Wow, that’s really eye-opening to know, PolishFIRE! In fact, now that you mention the low cost of a college education for even non-EU citizens, I remember this American tour guide from Florida that we met in Hamburg in Germany. Instead of paying over $70,000 for his hospitality degree in the States, he decided to go abroad to Germany, and as a result, earned the same degree for only €7000. Now, he’s fluent in German, makes a good side income from his tourist gigs, got multiple job offers, and never wants to go back to the States again.

Thanks for your time and for sharing your story with us, PolishFIRE!

What you guys think? Would you ever study in Europe to save on tuition? How about doing real-estate investing in another country?


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31 thoughts on “Reaching Financial Independence in Poland”

  1. When I was living in West Berlin, Germany in the 1980s I studied there and it was indeed free. The caveat was that you needed “junior standing”, meaning you needed two years of college already. I already had that so it wasn’t a problem.
    Now they have bachelors programs, so you wouldn’t need the “junior standing”.
    I wouldn’t have the nerves for real estate investing in another country!

  2. The Earth Awaits pegs one-bed rent in Krakow’s city center at less than $750 per month, which is an incredible deal for both renters AND the property owners given that value growth. I am in awe of you guys, PolishFIRE! Especially for taking the heavily Americanized FIRE concepts and translating that to your reality in Poland. That tax situation for those in your shoes is phenomenal.

  3. I really enjoyed Poland when I visited there. The people were really nice. Cool idea about going to school overseas. Not only saving money but opening your mind to a different culture and new ideas.

  4. Very interesting and informative post. This topic is actually very close to my heart. I was born in Poland and emigrated to the US as a kid with my parents. We are currently very close to FIRE here in the US. However, for all the positive reasons already mentioned in the article above, we were considering using geo-arbitrage and pulling the FIRE trigger a few years ago in Poland. My wife, I and our pre-school (then) kids actually moved to Poland for a year to test the waters before making a permanent decision. I had a remote US based job which allowed us to rent a very nice apartment in Warsaw and have a comfortable standard of living. Well, there is a truth in the old saying “you get what you pay for” and soon we started to see that not everything is so rosy. There are some significant negative sides to living in Poland. Here are the ones that we found the worst. Pollution/Weather: Heating in Poland is based mainly on coal burning which means that during the heating season (6 months) the entire country is covered in a thick cancerous smog cloud (burning garbage and other waste to save money on heating is widespread), making it the country with most polluted air in Europe (and in the world on some bad days). Combine this with a rather mild but long, dark, gloomy Winter and you really start questioning why you’re doing this to yourself. Polish Spring and Summers really nice though.
    Traffic safety: Polish roads are modern and well maintained but there is a widespread culture of extremely aggressive and reckless driving making them very dangerous, especially in rural areas and highways. Not much is being done to improve this.
    Health care: Universal and free, which is great, but the quality is inconsistent and sometimes subpar. Private health care is great and very affordable (by US standards) but limited in scope and by location (large cities only).
    Government/Religion/Diversity: Overall polish society is rather traditional conservative and religious by western standards. There is nothing wrong with that. What bothered us, used to living in a (unperfect) western democracy, was the level of power and influence of the church over the government, widespread government corruption, open government control of the courts, etc. All of the above issues that bothered us could be fixed in a matter of years with proper government policy and action but judging by the current government in power things are going in the opposite direction with no change in sight.
    So my point is that although FIREing in Poland looks great on paper there are many issues which are not apparent at first sight. For some they may not be as important or relevant. Case in point, if we did not have young kids we could discount most of these downsides. We could spend the winter smog months traveling internationally, limit driving by using the excellent Warsaw public transport, and maximize train, bus for long distance travel. Try to ignore the news. But you cannot ignore these things if you want your kids to grow up in a healthy, positive environment where they can expect to have a good future. So unfortunately for us this is not the time and place.

    1. Completely agree, and there are things that bother us here as well (notably, most of them you mentioned here).
      There were things that bothered my husband in the USA before he came here. There are things that bother us in other European counties that prevent us from moving there as well.

      And I think that the point I’m trying to make is that there is no perfect place in the world, but FIRE gives you options, and geo-arbitrage can accelerate those options.

      One does not need to live forever in one place and moving to a lower cost cointry, avoid student debt and kick start your career can vastly accelerate this journey. And as you say: it will open your mind and see what quality of life you’re looking for.

      My intention is not to say “come here and become Polish”, but rather “there are many ways to skin the cat”

      1. I want to clarify that the purpose of my post was not to negate anything that you wrote in your article. You provided very helpful and accurate info. I only meant to add some supplemental info from my own experience to possibly help others use it make a more informed decision. I know this would have helped us immensely a few years ago when we were at the point of deciding on where to FIRE internationally. We were actually choosing between Germany and Poland. After analyzing the info we had at the time it seemed as Poland was a much better deal. Had we known what we know now we would choose Germany and possibly still be living there happily. Now our kids are set in their schools and we are older making another try pretty unrealistic this point.

  5. Vey interesting. Can you provide information about the private health care plan in Poland?

    1. We use LuxMed, it’s currently paid for by my employer and it’s still the best option because I pay only fraction on it. While we are still young it makes no sense for us to pay for it after we FIRE because monthly package for both of us costs as much as 3 visits to private doctor, and we don’t use them that much.

      Generally, private doctors visits are inexpensive relatively. They cost $20-30, something my American husband was always shocked by.

  6. @PolishFIRE I’d be very interested in learning more about Poland’s Real estate. If you don’t mind, could you DM me by email so I can bombard you with questions 😛

    thanks!

    1. Reach out to me on my Instagram account at fire.myself.by40, we can connect 🙂 happy to answer your questions!

  7. Hey there! While I’d like to travel like a rock star all over the world, my understanding of the massive ghg footprint of air travel makes it seem incredibly self serving.
    I’m wondering if this has any consideration in your choices for global exploration?

  8. It was cool to read an interview with PolishFIRE. My grandparents were from a small town (shtetl) close to Krakow. My other grandparents were from Zakopane which looks like beautiful place.

  9. Just wondering what your job is in the pharmaceutical industry? I am a pharmacist and one of the things I hate about my profession is I feel trapped to my home country (Canada) due to licensing requirements. I’m very interested to know more about international jobs in the pharmaceutical industry!

    1. Hey! I work in a broad drug development section of the pharmaceutical industry. The roles vary from CRA, through pharmacovigilance to more advanced, international positions where as a project manager or director you oversee the entire clinical trial. This is a field a lot of burned out pharmacists I know seek when they realized that sellihh no medications in a pharmacy is not that sexy as they thought.

  10. Very happy so see my home country represented on this fantastic blog 🙂 I can only second PolishFire on investing in the rental market in Poland. We have 70% of our investments in rental properties we own mortgage-free. This covers currently around 30% of our monthly costs. What hasn’t been mentioned is that it is possible to pay even less than 8.5% taxes by using depreciation of the properties as a tax shield.

  11. Poland, and Krakow especially, have a very fast growing property market. The properties are renting very well, and their value grows at a steady pace of 15-20% per year. We also know the city well, so we know where to invest.

    ———

    I liked the post along with the cold water poured on head in the comments section. It balances things out a bit.

    I will say that if real estate grows at a steady pace of 15-20% per year, Krakow and Poland in general should be more expensive than Geneva, Switzerland. Let’s get real here. It isn’t. If it was so lucrative, you’d be retired ages ago and not indicating being unable to afford to live in the south of France. Something doesn’t add up.

    I think there are opportunities everywhere. You just need to uncover them. Between 2020 and 2021, residential real estate most everywhere shot up like a rocket. 20% increase for one year, sure. Steadily, year after year. No way! Stupid doesn’t live here. And wait till interest rates start going up. They will. It’s inevitable.

    Wages suck for the most part in Poland. Infrastructure and social services as indicated outside of some pockets sucks too. When you pay $30 annually for property taxes, you also know what you’re getting in return. That’s right…not much.

    I just wish these blog posts were a bit more honest and balanced instead of feeling like a tourist or immigration trap. “Hey guys, it’s cheap here. Come and exploit.” Thankful the comments section balances things out.

    1. I am not here to prove anything to you.

      It’s not greener grass type of a deal, and yes, there are challenges (but I promise you, I have a lot of friends and relatives living in France, Germany, US, UK, and I can make a long list of what is wrong with those countries too, but WHY?). There aren’t ideal countries in the world (Norway you say? Ask any expat who lived there with kids. Switzerland? Don’t think so. Belgium?) The list keeps going. My post was about the opportunities in a place I was born and live and opportunities that others can profit from.

      Luckily, it’s not mandatory that all readers of this post now drop what you’re doing and run to Poland.

      Anyone can keep paying $3000 per year property taxes, $35000 per year university fees and I-don’t-even-want-to-think-about-it healthcare bills.

      1. Please do not be offended but my objection (and some others here) is that your article reads more like a fairy tale story from a tourist/relocation catalog than something I would expect from a FIRE blog. This could cause a lot of misinformation for someone we takes this at face value.

        This from your last post: “Anyone can keep paying $3000 per year property taxes, $35000 per year university fees and I-don’t-even-want-to-think-about-it healthcare bills.” Yes, these are 100% true and valid statements but my point is that they do not hold in the context of moving to Poland.

        1) I wish I paid $3000 RE tax! We pay an ungodly $15,000 per year. But with this blind robbery at least we get a beautiful, safe town with top notch infrastructure and amenities. And what’s most important we get top notch 10/10 graded primary and secondary public schools (funded by RE taxes) for our 2 kids. In Poland schools are free but traditionally underfunded and outdated. With the horrible free-fall of the polish educational system (sure you’re aware of) in recent years the situation quickly became WAY worse. Now, as a decent parent and a highly educated person yourself, would you send your kids to a private school in Poland, instead of a public one, if you could afford it? We sent our daughter to a private school in Warsaw at 6 yo. The school was great! Primus Szkola Podstawowa – highly recommended! if anyone is looking. We paid an avg (for Warsaw then) tuition of $500 a month + about $100 cafeteria and misc. So for 2 kids in school the total would be around $12-13K (probably way more these days). The higher the grade the higher the tuition. That’s not exactly free and suddenly makes my $15K RE tax much easier to swallow. How is living in Poland saving you money on kids’ primary and secondary schools and RE taxes?

        2) $35K college tuition in USA – yes it’s a crime and subject for a separate discussion. Yes, college is free in Poland (if you speak Polish and place in) but it’s also free (even for English only speakers) in Germany, Sweden and most other civilized counties (except USA and Canada). The problem is how Polish top colleges rank in world rankings. Hint: start from the bottom. Keeping with this reasoning why not just move to Germany, Sweden, etc. and send your kids to school/college there. How is living in Poland saving you money on college tuition?

        3) Don’t-even-want-to-think-about-it healthcare bills. This pertains to USA only but is 100% spot on and the main reason for us seeking international FIRE. However, Poland is not a great example to the contrary, in my opinion. Public health care is free but underfunded, riddled with unprofessional conduct, malpractice, long wait times, bad customer service, etc. Private health care is very good and affordable but services are limited in scope and available only in the few largest cities. Yes, medical bills will not bankrupt you in Poland – huge plus for someone from the US. But also you may die or suffer unnecessary health consequences from lack of western standard medical care. How does moving to Poland really solve your health care situation and save you money?

        4) RE investing is a large part of the article. But there are unique specifics of the Polish RE market which most readers here are probably not aware of. To put it very simply there is no culture or possibilities to effectively invest in the stock market. So RE is pretty much the only investment vehicle where people invest their money (think about this all you Americans and Canadians). On top of that mortgage interest rates are at all time lows (no fixed rate here), inflation at all time high (highest in EU), polish currency falling, covid buying frenzy raging. Can you smell a huge bubble? Terrible landlord laws, where it takes years to evict a stubborn unpaying tenant, that drive many people to hold their extra apartments and houses unoccupied because of this. How does that $30 property tax sound now? It does not seem right to not explain the above issues when concentrating so much on the positive sides of RE investing in Poland.

        To summarize my own opinion.
        If you do not have school/college age kids then moving to Poland as part of geo-arbitrage can be a great strategy. The cities of Gdansk, Warsaw, and Krakow (maybe Wroclaw but not my favorite) have a perfect mix of affordability and European charm. Rents are affordable, dining and cultural events are plentiful and affordable. Public transport (in mentioned cities is great). Streets are safe – even for some of our US and Canada overly cautious suburbanites :). Basically, if you do not actively look for trouble than you will not find it (slightly less true if racial minority – sorry). Avoid small towns – cheap but you’re already living affordably in a large city so why add this misery to your life? Avoid winter months as much as possible. Just trust me on that. Setup your life to minimize driving or riding in a car in Poland. You will live much longer and healthier. Forget about investing in RE in Poland. You’ve been warned. If you have school age kids who will end up growing up in Poland then you need to do your research, plan carefully long term and accept the costs.

        Now I am sure terrible free-fall of the polish educational system in recent years. I am sure you (highly educated person) would agree that

        1. Agreed with schools. My son attended a private school, but tuition was closer to $120 per month, so the $600 must have been one of the international schools for expats that is reimbursed by the relocation packages (which do exist and are extremely expensive everywhere, I checked when we were considering relocation to another country).

          Regarding universities, true, but I don’t feel in any way disadvantaged that I studied in Poland. I perform on global level and have many mediocre US university graduates around me to feel that their college degree is not better than mine. This, right there came across judgemental, but I don’t take it personally, because I have lived through this at work for the last decade, and still manage to go up in corporate America despite that.

          And the interest rates have don’t really impact the property market: much of properties are bought straight cash out, so raising rates will not really impact the owners. It will impact young couples who now won’t be able to afford to buy their own house and will be forced to rent.

          Germany, Sweden, Switzerland are also available. But since I FIREd in Poland, after graduating Polish “start from the bottom uni”, this is what I consider my zone of speciality. All I did is tell MY story. Can’t argue with that, can you?

          1. No. It was not an international school but a regular Szkola Spoleczna. Tuition at international schools in Warsaw at that time (2017) started from about $12K a year to over $20k for the accredited British and American schools. In my experience schools in Warsaw are much more expensive than in other cities. My friend who lived in Krakow at the same time paid 400zl while we paid 1800 in Warsaw. When we were looking in Gdansk at the same time the tuition was around 1000zl if remember correctly.

            I am not a college snob. Quite the opposite. I mentioned this from a strictly practical point of view. First, Polish public universities are limited to Polish speakers. This could be a major problem for many expat families. Second, you have to agree that it would be easier for someone with a top German or Swedish university diploma to start a career in western Europe than for someone from a top Polish university. It’s just how things work. So why handicap yourself if cost is not an issue?

            Regarding the explanations and predictions regarding the RE market. I don’t know but I have heard this all before before the US market fell down 50% in 2008-09. Good luck! Hope this time is different.

      2. Totally agree. The grass is not always greener elsewhere. It’s a matter of balancing out the good with the bad for a certain place. Poland is cheap because there are several negatives that weigh heavily against it. Other places are costly because they have many opportunities that many people want. $3k property tax, $35k university tuition/year, and healthcare are relative to the circumstances around them. $3k property could be a bargain. You need to consider the whole picture versus picking and choosing one aspect of a society/economy.

        I’m sure you and your spouse did well for yourself however I always ask the question, when giving out advice to others, is the advice being given replicable? Can someone else come in and do the same as you and end up in about the same place as you? I suspect the answer is no. On that basis, the advice is next to useless and more humble brag.

        Can I go on the stock market, purchase ETFs and rebalance a balanced and diversified portfolio of fixed income and equity ETFs and have success today, tomorrow, 10 years from now, 25 years ago? The answer is quite assuredly yes. That…is not a humble brag. It is replicable. Anyone can do it at any time. That, is advice. It’s useful. Opportunities in real estate though are transitory. Get in at the right moment, great. Buy at the wrong moment and you are hooped (screwed).

        And to be fair, I did review your Instagram account to see if it was filled with useful, replicable advice or self serving humble brag. Unfortunately, more the latter than the former. I know you won’t appreciate that. I did do my research though before making that judgement. I believe in being fair and transparent and not simply fling mud where it’s undeserved.

  12. A $30 property tax bill?! I may have to move to Poland just for that!!

    In all seriousness, it sounds like a great deal to make a beefed up salary in the United States and move to a cheaper country and enjoy the geoarbitrage.

    I’m considering that a lot more these days.

  13. Hello European compatriot !

    As a French guy, if you want to retire in France, be aware of taxes (it’s not the same song as Poland…) if your legal tax residence is French (it could be automatically the case if you live more than 6 months), cost of life.
    Before to switch completly your life in my country, a test will be welcome.

  14. Many moons ago, the vast majority of the world citizens are FI because they led simple lives, harvested from their own land and raised their own livestock.

    FIRE can be achieved anywhere on the surface of the earth if the following mindset is established…

    1. Always head toward progress
    2. Live passionately NOT addictively

    I am heading to Thailand next month to enjoy the land of the ‘Land of Smiles’ without the tourists!

  15. I like your plan : owning your home and planning to have enough investments to move where you want to go, whenever you want to go. I think this sounds well.

    I find the idea of investing in Poland real estate interesting. I would have loved to have more numbers. What are the prices we can expect to pay for a property vs rent (ie. ROI) ? Also, is financing easy, even for foreigners ?

    I think you may be better, over time, to increase your proportion of investing in stocks. You can learn more about it along the way. Investments in companies tend to perform better than real estate. But it’s all about the numbers. If returns on real estate is very good in Poland, then it can be better to invest in this market. When property prices reajusts to a higher level, then you may be better to move your money somewhere else eventually. Here in Canada, real estate are really high. So I never invested in this market, except for my house.

    I never been to Poland. This may be a good idea for a future vacation. This sounds a really great place to visit for culture, history and architecture.

  16. This couple in Poland opened up to share their experience. It is not easy. You risk being judged by strangers.
    Logically debate the ideas, yes, but this looks a bit like a shaming party. Bezos went into space even if his rocket looks like a penis. Focus on the going to space part, and try the same, instead of criticizing the rocket shape. Can you do the same? With whatever shape of rocket?
    You don’t have to move to Poland to get something from their experience. And probably even more so if you live in Poland.

    1. I am not sure your comment was directed at any of my replies but I certainly do not feel that there was any ‘shaming’ directed at PolishFIRE in my posts.

      Here is the intro for this article by FIRECracker:
      “So, having discovered how little it costs to live in Poland, I always wondered whether it would be possible to retire early there by using geo-arbitrage. Turns out you absolutely can, because a Polish reader reached out to me and told me they did exactly that.”
      So that’s exactly how I understood the purpose of the article. I’m sure FIRECracker is moderating this site and will correct me if her intention was different.

      The post by PolishFire is a very interesting, well written history of her FIRE journey in Poland. However, it includes little practical details on how to actually make “possible to retire early there by using geo-arbitrage” for someone who is not deeply versed with the unique details of life in Poland.

      We all know or SHOULD know that there is no free lunch in life. Some aspects of living in Poland (or other countries for that matter) are cheap/positive because there are other negative aspects to balance them out. The whole idea of geo-arbitrage is to carefully analyze them against your own unique situation and goals, to make a decision that profits you. Having good balanced information is critical.

      I ACTUALLY and PERSONALLY went through the geo-arbitrage process in Poland and posted the details of my experience as well as some tips for others who are also potentially looking to do the same. My posts here, in my opinion, are a balanced complement to the information and discussion framework provided here by PolishFIRE.
      I do not see any ‘shaming ‘ in there.

      If your expectation is to treat this blog as a cute wedding speech where you complement the bride and groom and have a toast then I think one of us is in the wrong place. Maybe instead of reading Millennial-Revolution we should just go watch a nice romantic comedy on Netflix, or as you suggest watch Jeff Bezos launch into space on AmazonPrime.

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