Hi friends, I'm going to Japan

Hi friends

This is my first post, thanks for having me :slight_smile:

Let me first thank MP and members of this forum for all the important information, it’s been great reading all different kinds of insights.

My name is Jeff, born and raised in eastern Switzerland, currently 22 years old and full time employed since I finished my apprenticeship as a Commercial Employee.

This year, I am about to turn my life by 180 degrees and making my dream of living and working long term in Japan become slowly reality. This July I will fly to Japan to furthermore deepen my Japanese language skills for 6 months. I am currently intermediate level, planning on taking a business language certificate in December which will make job-hunting a bit easier.

Considering that I live with my parents which I am thankful for the most, ride to work by bicycle and have 0 debts, I am able to achieve a consistent monthly savings rate of 80-90% until my last pay in July (net income minus all expenses and I pay my federal taxes monthly). It is also important to note that I earn gross about 5k/month and I am currently sitting on 100% cash, no 3rd pillar for me.

I have only learned about the FIRE movement a few months back ago. Reading blogs like MP’s get me really inspired of following the same path in Japan and retire there early.

  1. First option is to save my money up in my free checking account which I could call my “future investment fund” and continuing sitting on 100% cash staying liquid without investing anything is in my opinion the smartest thing I could do in my current unstable situation. Once I find a job in Japan and I am well established I can reconsider my complete situation and start building my portfolio from scratch.
  2. Second option is investing a reasonable amount monthly to make up for the fees into VT while also putting money aside for the 6 months in Japan. Yes, 100% VT to keep it simple and on IB because they would still accept my new domicile unlike DEGIRO.

However, whenever I read the following quote I get torn on my decision…: “The best time to invest was yesterday, the next best time is today, and the worst time is tomorrow”

So yeah, that’s about where my horizon of worries go to for now and as for now I am hanging onto the first option, I wonder what your thoughts are on my current situation and I hope this makes sense, excuse my confusing English. :slight_smile:

On this topic, anyone else currently living in Japan?

Best of wishes

EDIT: I’ve been a bad saver before I discovered FIRE, my current net worth is just about 10k

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Hi Jeff,
First of all: good luck with Japan!
May I ask how it works with work visa?

Secondly: It’s important to not have money invested in the stock market that you might need very soon (you might have to sell at a lot lower prices). Think about a budget in Japan for the time until you find a job, be realistic and add another safety cushion. I personally would only start investing after I have a job.

  1. What is job security like, what’s the notice period? DO you get unemployment (is there some minimum time, that you need to have worked there).

  2. Have you looked at the tax situation in Japan and what makes sense to invest in (e.g. do you get taxed on capital gains)?


I will be travelling on a student visa first.
Yes, I also believe being liquid in my situation is important.

  1. For my current job it’s 2 months.
  2. No, not yet. As I have already stated it’s not on my horizon of worries yet, but it’s definitely something I will have to deeply look into in the near future. I’ll be looking for a FIRE community there too.

Good luck. Japan is pretty tough for foreigners, probably one of the toughest countries to live as foreigner.

You travel with a student visa: have you checked if you can “upgrade” this to a visa that permits working? Countries like the US prohibt this afaik.

Hi there, thanks

I’m not planning on upgrading during these 6 months as I’ll have to focus on studying. However, on a student visa I am allowed to do small part time jobs for a few hours a day.

It was meant for the time you supposedly want to work there, as you mentioned the job hunt. I’m just saying that entering the country on a student visa with the intention to work afterwards is not always a straightforward process.

I see now, thanks! As far as I know it’s possible to upgrade from a student visa to a working visa. If I’m lucky I might get the chance of finding a job during those 6 months and figure out the application process beforehand with the employer.

Since you are 22 this might be thought provoking :grinning:

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That’s something they should teach at school :slight_smile:

I wonder how many banksters actually retire early, maybe if you talk as much shit to customers you start believing it yourself.

Not sure it’s such a great example or advice (if you use a more realistic 7%, the 2nd is 40k ahead).

In practice investing in yourself will likely have bigger impact (e.g. if it allows you to save 2x/3x etc. later) and learning new languages/skills, traveling and meeting new people can yield many benefits later as well (adding more employment options, but also happiness).


I don’t know if you have read it already, but if you want to get a good idea of what working in Japan is like, I recommend the article Doing business in Japan by Patrick McKenzie. Truly a different world.


the 2nd is 40k ahead

To lazy to calculate it, 40k ahead, but with paying in 74k, compared to 12k?

Yes. For reference compounding at 7% doubles every ~10y (72 years / rate is the formula)

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Reading that your net worth is currently at 10k I recommend to not invest anything. Get that job and then build up an emergency fund (3-6 momth of expenses) and invest all money after that…


I totally agree.

@Jeff It doesn’t make much sense investing this 10K in the stock market before travelling to Japan where you will study for 6 months with no income.
Have you already done your budget for the 6 months in Japan ? Costs of living can be high in major cities. It would be sad to eat instant noodles soup from 7Eleven or FamilyMart during 6 months.

Use the money to enjoy this unique experience in Japan and discover as much as you can from this incredible country.

You’ll have plenty of time to start saving and investing when working.


I agree too, I will continue sitting on cash until I find my job, build an emergerncy fund and start investing based on my new financial situation. I’m staying with a host family on a half pension/board which was included when I paid for the school, so besides transportation and eating out etc, I have no big extra living costs. It won’t be my first time in Japan, but it’s always been a great experience visiting and I’m finally pulling the trigger of staying there long term.

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