NRI Buying Property in India: Documents Required ...

Taking a break from FIRE to go backpacking

Hi everyone! Taken a few big life decisions lately and thought I would share them here as they have a lot to do with FIRE. I guess you could call me CoastFI.

Mid-30s DINK couple working in Mumbai, have been in India all my working life. No NRI story here! Spouse and I are both MBAs.

The personal bit
Have dreamed about taking a year off to go backpacking ever since I was 25. Given the corporate culture – was too afraid to do that till now. I have not yet reached my FIRE target the way I defined it 3 years ago. But I’ve decided to take a break and resign to go backpacking for a year.

Had dreamed of a few trips for years – plan on travelling from Bombay to Beijing completely overland – through trains and buses. This was not possible till 2018 when Myanmar opened up their visa policy. Also dream of doing the Camino Santiago – it is a 500 km pilgrimage that starts from France and ends in western Spain. Both these trips will take a few months minimum so there was no way I could do them while working in the corporate world. I also want to travel to South America.

I resigned from my job last week. My organization is trying to retain me by offering a new role. They have also offered to give me a 3 month sabbatical. Let’s see how it goes – I am not going to accept anything unless it is in writing. The sabbatical is being promised with too many conditions so I don’t think I am going to accept it – for example they are asking that I go on the sabbatical from April 2020 – unfortunately that means I won’t be able to do the Bombay to Beijing trip because it will be very bad weather in Myanmar at the time – so am going to wait and watch without having too high expectations. I will come back in a year and find a job. Got a call from a few recruiters and I explained my situation – they asked me to contact them once I am back so they can share any opportunities. My boss from my old company now works in E-com and has offered me a job on my return as well.

My spouse will continue to work here – they recently rejoined their old boss and mentor at a job that really excites them. Till a few months ago we planned on taking the trip together but now that they got this job offer we took the joint decision for me to take this trip solo. Maybe we will take a joint trip together at 40! My spouse is incredibly supportive and has always been. I’m very very grateful that I have them on my side.

The financial bit

We are at 35X of normal expenses (current expenses – some buffer for Mumbai rents) and 44X of LeanFire expenses (normal expenses – discretionary travel expenses). My target is 45X of normal expenses for final FIRE. I also want to save up for a medical emergency corpus for me and my spouse, as well as for my spouse's parents who are dependent on us. The split is about 65:35 between me : my spouse (mainly because I saved about 75% right from my first job). All our corpus is from our savings from our job – no inheritance, no side hustles, no off-site, nothing.

Most of our funds are in equity and debt funds, with a big chunk in VPF. Due to some past mistakes I have too much in debt (little more than 60%) and am slowly moving into equity. Not included in this corpus – my spouse also has a house in Tier 3 city bought for their parents (about 30 lacs).

No plans on buying a house – we have both my spouse’s house and my parent’s house (I am an only child). We are consciously childfree, so no kid’s marriage and education goals as well.

I plan on funding the trip mainly through my holdings in arbitrage funds (have a fair amount in this because I had invested in these pre-LTCG). I have got myself a NiYo card as it has zero forex fees. Will keep a few other cards as backup as well. I still have not found a good travel insurance which will cover me for such a long period. I also do not have clarity on how my VPF will be taxed in this period.

A very rough estimate yields a cost of about 1.5 lacs per month for my trip. It can go lower as well because a lot of my trip is overland and I am used to budget travel – however since I am solo, would not like to compromise on safety either. This will be a dent on our corpus – but since my spouse will continue to earn and save in this period, that’s not too bad.

I have personally always been a good student, Type A personality, very risk averse by nature. I can be a bit of a workaholic as well. Lately have decided to relax a bit, not be so hard on myself and enjoy life a little. This felt like the right time to do something I had dreamed about for more than a decade. I am honestly a bit nervous – what If I don’t enjoy it! What if I don’t get a good job on my return! But this is a good test run for FIRE. My HR jokingly asked me if this was a midlife crisis and I said that this was a midlife celebration instead!

I have been working towards FIRE from 2010. I may not be exactly there, but the time for me to take a new step is here. Wish me luck!
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8 Best Investment Options for NRIs in India? - YouTube

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