Living abroad and the perception of success.

When a Filipino goes abroad, they then feel that all opportunities are out there. The lavish living, the good food, the nice house, and the career advancement they are searching for. But to what extent is this true?

Unfortunately, reality is far different than what people hoped and expected for. The lavish lifestyle, food, and house can actually be achieved mostly by the rich – but not by your usual middle class employee. Of course, some would say that “you can still live a lavish lifestyle”, but at the expense of your own money and priorities. Next thing you know, your usual overseas worker is now filled with debt and financial difficulty; just to show that they are successful and financially free by keeping up with the Joneses’ or their families expectations.

Living abroad has this perception of success – a success so unique that the precept of “being able” is exemplified by having a higher standard of living; the opportunity to buy a house, a car, and a luxurious lifestyle, which is often only reserved for those who can afford them i.e. the rich in the Philippines. Therefore, the “rich” perception is that if you have the same capability to afford such things, then wouldn’t you be seen as rich also? If you are living abroad, then you are automatically assumed to be SUCCESSFUL. They think you are eating caviar every meal, with gold in your wrists, have an Alston Martin, or a Mansion that can house a family of 50.

But to tell you the truth; what I ate from my overseas life is often “Sale” items. My house can only be shared by 5 family members. Our car is a second hand Toyota and our watch is just your run of the mill casio – it’s not lavish, it’s practical.

That’s why living abroad has the “face” of success, though it doesn’t mean that it is always true. Sure, you can have your house, a car, and a luxurious lifestyle – but at the expense of your money, time away from your family, and working non-stop just to pay for your liabilities and expense. But who would let anybody know about that? None… of course, nobody wants to be seen living a mediocre life, abroad or local wise.

The ignorance of the local masses and the funneling of opportunities will make living abroad seem like the most difficult but successful thing to do other than having Doctorates or Law Degrees. It is after all, very hard to achieve as it requires money and opportunity to be sponsored (mostly) in order to land an immigrant life abroad. Therefore, with its difficulty, living abroad became superimposed as the life of “wheat and honey”, the “Elite Lifestyle”, rather than just another job away from your family. This same mindset is enough to drive even a Filipino making a minimum wage abroad to be motivated and feel successful – regardless of its false hope and often depressive nature.

Don’t get me wrong; some became successful due to the help of their generous or already rich families. Some, due to their unique opportunities on in demand jobs – but just like what I have wrote in my book “Polymath’s Profit”, you’ll see that from my experience that not everybody became successful or RICH right on the get go while living abroad.  Most of the time, you’ll feel the worst attribute of living abroad – loneliness and pressure.

Success sometimes luckily falls on to a person, but for those who are not – then they need to use their talents to succeed. As my life in the USA is not rife with success, but with challenges such as financial difficulty, career politics, and abroad expectations that often pressures you to “show prestige, or none at all” in order just to show that you have a “successful life”.

To tell you the truth, I envy those who became successful because they have their families to help them with their life abroad. But for normal people like me who have to work and live alone in order to better ourselves, sacrificing our freedom in order to provide livelihood, and lessening our wants in order to provide more to others – I believe that our path may not have been so different from other struggling employees. But based from my experience also, I have achieved success by using my talents in order to invest and pay for my livelihood without relying on a job as a source of income. Instead of just working, I also invested in stocks, trust funds, and even started my own business in online advertising and mentorship. With my book “Polymath’s Profit”, I have shared how a person – wage earner or poor they may be – can achieve financial and success by using their talents to create money from business and investments. That is my legacy, and for all of us polymaths, that is the real SUCCESS… not just going abroad and living another employee’s dream.

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"Jay Penn" is a Financial Literacy Mentor and Investor who is best known for his Book "Polymath's Profit". He is also an expert in the field of Maritime, Engineering, and Emergency Medical from his past careers. Experienced with Security Analysis, Crisis Prevention, Contingency Planning, and Global Maritime Distress Safety System. Currently instructs Nautical Sciences and is an avid Researcher of Business and Economics. He is also recognized as the "Top Maritime Instructor" for 3 consecutive years in the Maritime Education from 2014; raising the standard for the Maritime Industry and Training.

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