China: The Financial Argument

A long, long time ago, back when Helene and I were still deciding whether we wanted to move to Asia, a good friend from Hong Kong explained to me that debts were a typically North American thing.

He explained to me that in Asia, people usually saved the money before they bought something, and that although debt and credit existed, it was a ludicrous idea that everyone can have debts and can max out their credit.

It was a wake-up call for me, and actually, it became a strong additional incentive for me to move to Shanghai: in addition to living a dream, I could actually get rid of my debts by combining a good, expatriate salary with a low cost of living in China. Even though we sold everything, the sheer costs of flying twice to China in two months and of buying everything we needed when we arrived in Shanghai meant that we arrived with some substantial debts, even though we had saved money for a year.

Well, as of 30 minutes ago, I no longer have a penny in debt. None. Nada. $0.00.

30 minutes ago, I made the call to the Desjardins Student Loan Center, and instructed them to pay the remander of my student debt using the money I have saved in the last months. Right now, I don’t even owe pocket change on my credit card.

Living here is great, and I would have done it even if it would have put me in debt. But as it turns out, it’s both an amazing adventure and sound financial behavior.

Who could say no to that?

About Daniel Roy

Daniel is a writer, backpack foodie, slow traveler, and endurance runner. He is the author of the upcoming book, "The Way of Slow Travel: A Hands-On Guide to the Best Travel of Your Life."

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