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This 33-year-old left the U.S. for Georgia and lives on $1,592 a month: ‘Now, I am semi-retired’

In 2020, Mike Swigunski was amongst hundreds of thousands of individuals in lockdown because the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe. However as an alternative of hunkering down with roommates or household, Swigunski was 6,000 miles away from house, alone abroad.

Swigunski had solely deliberate to go to Georgia, a small nation that sits between japanese Europe and western Asia, for 30 days. However when Georgia closed its borders in early March to assist curb the unfold of the virus, the Missouri native was pressured to increase his keep within the nation’s capital, Tbilisi. 

As Swigunski remembers, nonetheless, he shortly fell in love with Tbilisi’s old-world appeal in addition to its relaxed tradition of excellent meals and heat hospitality. Now, Swigunski, 33, resides and dealing from Tbilisi as a nomadic entrepreneur, a choice that has helped him stay “a better high quality of life for a fraction of the associated fee,” he tells CNBC Make It. 

If he was residing within the U.S., Swigunski provides, “I must be working much more … now, I am semi-retired.” 

Tragedy, then wanderlust 

Swigunski had all the time dreamed of touring the world, and earlier than he graduated from the College of Missouri in 2011, he discovered himself at a crossroads: pursue a standard company job, or journey to Prague, the place he was provided the chance to steer a bunch of scholars finding out overseas. 

Then, one month earlier than commencement, Swigunski’s mom died from breast most cancers. “I used to be completely devastated,” he says. “I used to be 22 years outdated, and I used to be confused on which path to comply with … however I knew my mom would have needed me to comply with my desires.” He determined to comply with his ardour and booked a one-way ticket to Europe. 

Since then, Swigunski has visited over 100 international locations, residing and dealing in several locales for months, or years at a time: He is been a journey author in Korea, an promoting supervisor in Australia and a advertising and gross sales supervisor in New Zealand, amongst different jobs. 

4 years in the past, Swigunski determined to monetize his experience in distant working and journey. His enterprise, World Profession, is an internet useful resource of job boards, workshops, teaching and extra the place individuals can study entrepreneurship as a digital nomad. 

“These providers are serving to different individuals by inspiring them to create a unique journey or begin their very own international careers,” he says. “I wish to assist different individuals grow to be digital nomads in a sooner path.” 

Picture: Mike Swigunski

Dwelling in Georgia is ‘ten instances’ cheaper than the U.S. 

Swigunski’s annual revenue hovers between $250,000 and $275,000 — and due to tax advantages in Georgia, he will get to maintain much more of his revenue than he would in any other case.

Georgia has a 1% tax price for particular person small enterprise house owners like Swigunski, and the U.S. has a tax profit for expats that excludes as much as $112,000 of revenue from being taxed.

“Operating a number of companies from Georgia is unquestionably quite a bit simpler than if I used to be based mostly within the U.S. and it primarily simply comes all the way down to the associated fee,” he explains. “If I have been attempting to copy my similar infrastructure within the U.S., it will most likely be round ten instances costlier.” 

Per Georgian legislation, residents from 98 international locations, together with the U.S., can reside there for one full yr with no visa, and apply for an extension as soon as the yr is up, which is how Swingunski remains to be residing in Georgia.

His largest bills are his hire and utilities, which collectively are about $696 every month. Swigunski lives in a two-bedroom condominium with a non-public Italian backyard that he discovered by way of a neighborhood realtor. “As quickly as I noticed this place, I fell in love,” he says. 

This is a month-to-month breakdown of Swigunski’s spending (as of February 2022):

Mike Swigunski’s common month-to-month spending

Gene Woo Kim | CNBC Make It

Lease and utilities: $696

Meals: $469

Transportation: $28

Cellphone: $3

Subscriptions: $16

Medical insurance: $42

Journey: $338

Whole: $1,592

One facet of residing alone that Swigunski realized he did not take pleasure in early on is cooking — so as soon as he moved to Georgia, he employed a non-public chef to come back to his home six days per week and put together meals for him, which prices about $250 per 30 days. 

A non-public chef may sound like an opulent expense, however Swigunski says it is truly saved him some huge cash. “With out a chef, I might be consuming out much more and ordering takeout,” he says. “However having a chef permits me to eat more healthy and it saves me time and money that I can put towards my enterprise as an alternative.”

‘I am happier residing in Tbilisi than I’d be residing wherever else’ 

Swigunski’s favourite a part of being a nomadic entrepreneur is that “day by day seems to be completely different.” 

Every morning, Swigunski likes to take pleasure in a cup of espresso and browse a e book outdoors in his backyard, then he tries to sneak in a fast meditation and exercise earlier than logging onto work. 

He often works from house as a result of it is the place he is “most efficient,” however typically he’ll head to a espresso store or co-working house with associates. 

One of many largest variations between residing in Georgia and the U.S., Swigunski says, is that Georgians are “much more relaxed.” “Lots of locations do not even open till 10 a.m., and normally, Georgians are working to stay, not residing to work,” he provides. 

There is a phrase that describes Georgian hospitality: “A visitor is a present from God.” That has held true for Swigunski, who notes that persons are “very welcoming to foreigners” and have been “completely great” in his expertise. 

However residing overseas is not as glamorous because it might sound on the floor. “It is not for everybody,” Swigunski says. “There’s going to be plenty of completely different variables that you just will not be capable of replicate out of your outdated lifetime of residing within the U.S.” 

As a result of Georgia remains to be a growing nation, Swigunski explains, “your electrical energy or water shuts off a little bit bit extra right here than different places — this is not occurring day by day, however it does occur a few instances a yr.”

Though he feels homesick for his household and associates within the U.S. typically, Swigunski says he is “happier residing in Tbilisi” than he can be residing “wherever else on the planet,” and plans to remain in Tbilisi for the foreseeable future.

“Would I ever stay within the U.S. once more? I do not wish to communicate in absolutes, I really like America,” he says. “However as of now, I simply take pleasure in my life abroad much more than if I have been going to stay within the U.S.”


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