I often write on Quora.com, where I am the most viewed writer on financial matters, with over 335.5 million views in recent years.
In the answers below I focused on the following topics and issues:
- What is the disadvantage of owning a house?
- Can you move overseas without high skills?
- Is Taiwan a developed country
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Source for all answers – Adam Fayed’s Quora page.
What is the disadvantage of owning a house?
We all only have 24 hours a day. Time is the most important resource. If you factor in time to a return on investment (ROI) calculator, many people are losing money on a property.
That is because meeting potential tenants and fixing things takes time. The majority of people I have met who have made good money in property come in four varieties:
- They got lucky. Right place, right time.
- They are professional real estate investors, which isn’t applicable to 99% of people
- The process was outsourced to a professional real estate company, so the person wasn’t wasting time on the above-mentioned things
- They do things differently. They buy in the markets nobody wants, and buy those small, cheap, houses, nobody else seems to want.
Other negatives are
- The historical ROI on the stock market and indirect real estate, like REITS, is better.
- One way to push up the ROI is to use leverage, but this is risky. Many people have lost it all from having mortgages on 10–15 properties
- A 30-year mortgage boxes you in
- It is an illiquid asset that is difficult to sell, and you can’t sell 1% of property easier, unlike a liquid investment when you can log in and do that in seconds.
- There is a dependency on government policy to a bigger extent than some other investments. If property becomes too expensive it becomes a political issue and then governments try to lower the price
- Speaking about government policy, with the exception of the US and some other countries, many countries have made it very tax-disadvantageous to buy property.
- Many former homeowners find it more liberating if they can delegate things to the landlord. If you own, you need to sort everything out.
Many wealthier people do it for cash flow and diversification.
Is it difficult to expatriate without any specific skills?
Yes and no. Of course, having high skills makes your life much easier. However, there are other routes such as:
- If you are a retiree or have an independent source of income as a stay-at-home worker.
- Like the first group of people, for independently wealthy people, there are more options than workers. Even if you are a high-skilled worker, you need to apply for a work permit in case you are “taking jobs from local people”. At least in most countries. If you are independently wealthy or a retiree or digital nomad (even if your means are limited), it is even easier. Getting an investors, retiree or digital nomad visa is often easier than a work permit. You are bringing money into the country without asking for a job. There are millions of retirees and nomads in places like Spain:
- If your only skill is having your own business, you can often sponsor yourself for a work permit, even if the company is just an on-paper corporation. This does depend on the country in question
- Student, spousals, and family visas based on ancestry are another option, although you still need to find a way to make a living in this case.
- Then there are the medium-skilled jobs that are internationally-focused. For instance, you work in embassies in a mid-level position.
What I would say is that it is much more difficult to emigrate if you don’t have specific skills and you don’t have money, family ties, or something else.
Even then, some developed countries are looking for lower-skilled workers to fill shortages in the workforce.
Is Taiwan considered a developed country?
People confuse being a developed economy for a developed country. A developed economy is usually a place that has a GDP per capita of over $30,000, although some measures suggest $35,000 or above per person.
However, to be a developed country, you usually need the above in addition to safety and freedom.
The UAE and Singapore are developed in terms of the economy, but they don’t have the needed freedoms to be considered developed countries.
A country with high crime, but which has a high income, can’t be considered developed.
On almost all of these measures, Taiwan is either developed or close to developed.
Taiwan was about as poor as Mainland China in 1949. It has since been the true success story :
This is one reason why Taiwan is such a thorny issue for the CCP in China – it isn’t just about sovereignty.
If somebody says China has progressed since 1949, people could reply “what about Taiwan”.
If somebody says China’s culture isn’t compatible with democracy, people could reply “what about Taiwan” – it is more traditionally Chinese than Mainland China.
If somebody says China has handled Covid well, people can respond ““what about Taiwan” – Taiwan had hardly any deaths without locking down and they outgrew China, the US, and the EU last year.
What is more, they grew more in 2020 than 2019 – one of the few places to accelerate growth during Covid.
This leads me to another point. Taiwan only achieved those great Covid results due to getting their people, in a democracy, to follow test, trace, isolate, wearing masks, etc.
So, they also meet the only aspects of development – freedoms, and safety.
If you want to be very picky, Taiwan’s GDP per capita is around $33,000 in 2021 on some measures.
That is slightly below the $35,000 threshold which is occasionally used for full economic development.
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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 440.2 million answers views on Quora.com and a widely sold book on Amazon
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