“The Plan” outline that helped keep us focused and organized for the last few years:

Stage One: Early Preparation

1 ½- 2 Years Before Departure

  1. Develop a balance sheet for the trip

    1. Expenses abroad

    2. Expenses in the US
    3. Teaching/rental income

    4. Investment expenses
    5. 1x expenses

    6. Expenses upon return
  2. Research unknown costs while abroad

    1. Health insurance

    2. Tuition for kids

    3. Housing
    4. Cost of living 

    5. Airfare
  3. Build a trip budget

  4. Anticipate costs and budget for return prior to new employment

  5. Research desired locations and schools

  6. Pay off credit cards and student loan

  7. Erica’s teaching license current

Stage Two: Countdown

One Year Before Departure

  1. Passports renewed

  2. Prepare house for rent

    1. Repairs

  3. Cut expenses and tighten budget

  4. Increase saving rate
  5. TEFL certification for Erica

Seven Months Before Departure

  1. Secure flights, transport, housing abroad

  2. Discuss rental of house with property mgmt firm

Six Months Before: after April scouting trip

  1. Inform kids schools of plans

  2. Secure kids schools abroad

  3. Rent house

  4. Unload and sell final stuff.

  5. Storage unit secured

  6. Arrangements with cpa

Twelve Weeks Before

  1. Give notice at work

  2. Doctor, vision, dentist check-ups scheduled

  3. School record and birth notary internationally recognized for schools, all 3 kids

  4. Stock up on prescription medicines & toiletries

  5. Build medical kit for the family

  6. Vaccinations

  7. Go paperless on all bills, remove from junk mail lists

  8. Secure international health insurance

  9. Set up all bills on auto-pay

  10. Start packing house

  11. Moving and storage company confirmed

6 Weeks Before

  1. Arrange transport (Turrialba and to Nosara)

  2. Arrange for mail to be forwarded to family

  3. Change of address

  4. Check expiration of drivers license, other stuff

  5. Cancel subscriptions or switch mail to all e-delivery

  6. Notify credit card companies, banks, insurance company

  7. Inventory home and belongings video

  8. Decide on what to bring with and what to send to family, friends or store

  9. Garage sales, sell and give away

  10. Backup all photos and computer files, external hard drive, safe deposit box, Dropbox

  11. Copies of marriage, birth, passports, drivers licenses, insurance docs, medical, vaccinations, school records. Hard copy and Google docs or Dropbox pdf of all. 2 hard copies of everything. Original marriage, birth go to family

  12. Prep laptop, data storage, load necessary files

  13. Register as overseas voter

  14. Create a master contact list with emails, addresses and phone

  15. Final home repairs and cleanup

  16. Unload all food and booze

2 Weeks Before

  1. Final garage sale
  2. Notify utilities of change date

  3. PACK!

  4. Identify stuff needed on person for travel

  5. Paperwork checked

Departure Day

  1. Hand carry items

  2. Cash on person

  3. Paperwork and valuables

Sample Balance Sheet
Monthly US Income
Primary home net rent
Rental 1 net rent
Rental 2 net rent
Monthly Abroad Income
Erica’s teaching
Total Income
Monthly US Expenses
Primary home mortgage
Rental 1 mortgage
Rental 2 mortgage
Storage unit
SubTotal US Expenses
Monthly Aboard Expenses
Health insurance
Spanish lessons
Kid clubs/sports
SubTotal Abroad Expenses
Total Expenses
Net Income/(Loss)
Net per year
Plus 15%

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