Three things

A new type of post for you today: the roundup.

shopping list


I had a short op-ed piece on language teaching published in the TESL Ontario magazine, Contact. It’s on p.51 and the index is clickable 🙂

Last week saw the beginning of a new project: Retire Japan. It’s a website, blog, and Facebook page that provides information about saving, investing, and ultimately retiring in Japan for long-term residents. I’ll be doing all my financial writing over there from now on, so please like the FB page or subscribe to the newsletter if you are interested.

My university is looking for university teachers to contribute a chapter to a book aimed at new university faculty and offering advice about work/life balance, getting off to a good start at university, etc. If you are interested in writing around 4 A4 pages in English or Japanese for this project please drop me a line.

Money matters…

…it does. Research shows that over a certain amount (depending on your personal circumstances), more money does not make you happier, but not having enough is definitely going to put a dent in your quality of life.

I’ve been thinking about investing for a while now, but only recently did I start reading up on it. It’s a huge and fascinating subject.

For teachers, saving and investment may not seem so important, but at least for those of us in Japan, the safety and dependability of our future pensions has some quite large question marks hanging over them. Are we even going to receive a pension? If we do, is it going to be enough to live on?

Employment stability is another concern. A few years ago, I took a job where I was initially assured that I would be able to stay there indefinitely. Somewhat predictably, four years later I was abruptly given five months notice.

After I got over the shock (and it is a shock, even if you suspect it is coming) I was lucky enough to find enough part-time work through friends and contacts to keep my family housed and fed until I found another job.

However, I decided I never wanted to be put in that situation again.

Part of financial resiliency is having savings and alternate forms of income. I’m going to address both of those today.

From my reading over the last six months or so, the following key points emerged:

  1. until you have a substantial nest egg, how much you save is more important than how well you invest
  2. costs (fees, etc.) are incredibly important in the long run
  3. educating yourself in financial matters has a huge return on investment

I recommend the following resources as good places to start:

Andrew Hallam’s blog
Andrew is a teacher in Singapore who has amassed a seven figure portfolio while working as a teacher. He gives very simple, practical advice on how to approach investing.
Also his book, the Millionaire Teacher, is very readable.

Mr Money Mustache
Writes about early retirement, saving money and purposeful living. Extremely enjoyable read.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street does a great job of explaining investing in the stock market.

The Millionaire Fastlane is an interesting book about becoming rich quickly.

I would probably read them in that order. The blogs in particular provide lots of links to extra resources.

In Japan, one easy way to invest in international trackers and ETFs is through Rakuten Securities. Once you have managed to set up an account, you can trade online relatively cheaply.

How about you? What is your investment strategy? I’ll be posting about mine later in the month if people are interested.


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