Expat planning Local life News

New Project: Money has Wings newsletter

Your money flies away before you know it, just like an eagle suddenly taking off.

Proverbs 23:5

What if, instead of your $ flying away, you could get far greater value than you ever imagined?

I live in Bali, Indonesia. You know, the 4th most popular country on the planet. You didn’t know that? No surprise. For a country just behind the USA in population (with China and India far in the lead), you would think that there would be lots of news about #4. 

Did you know there’s over 17,000 islands in Indonesia? That’s not a typo (17,508).

I believe the main reason you don’t hear much about this amazing country is that the majority of the population is poor. In developed countries, for some reason, foreign places with poor people do not typically make the news.

You may also be surprised to learn that Indonesia is the most generous country in the world.

I could go on, but for the purposes of this newsletter I want to point out one main fact: the average monthly income for an Indonesian in 2019 was 3,940,000 rupiah ($265 USD). The typical salary for a full-time worker in Bali is currently 2,700,000 rupiah ($182 USD). The 3.9m number reflects big salaries in a city like Jakarta. On other islands besides Bali, which is pretty well-to-do comparatively speaking, full-time salaries can be as low as 1.5m rupiah ($100 USD) per month, or less. And the typical work week is 6 days a week, 8 hours a day.

When you live among the friendly and generous people of Bali you soon learn that money is not a driving force in their lives. They have a very strong social network with neighborhood groups (Banjar) that help those in need. Health care is very inexpensive, as well as almost* everything else. (*Luxury items are taxed. So the more you live like a local, the less $ you’ll need).

The purpose of this newsletter is to explore how far your developed country’s currency can go in a place like Bali.

There will be other purposes too, such as creating a community first online, and then hopefully here in Bali, where you can live comfortably for 4 or 5X what a local earns (again depending on luxury items such as fine wine, cheese, etc).

Thanks for your interest,


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