Who is Marco Sison?
Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of working 70-hours a week.
Here you will find the same strategies, tools, and knowledge I used to beat my student loans, recover from a job layoff, rebuild from major financial mistakes, and eventually retire at 41 years old to travel the world.
I have traveled the last five years to over 40 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing places for 70% less cost than the US.
At Nomadic FIRE, I approach things differently than other Early Retirement Blogs
1. This website is not my retirement plan
A common practice for people blogging about Retiring Early is to be dependent on their blog for retirement income. The primary purpose of Nomadic FIRE is helping people find better retirement choices. This website has not made a dollar and I retired early back in 2015. This website is not helping me reach Financial Independence, but it can help you get there.
2. I strive for transparency in my writing
To be transparent in how I fund my retirement, I will a provide breakdowns of my income and expenses. Any instances where Nomadic FIRE makes money will be highlighted. The details I use will be from real world experience, so you can decide how to implement what you are reading in real life.
3. I understand the struggle is real
I come from a loving but poor family of rice farmers from a poor developing country. I wasn't born from money. I was the first person in my family to graduate college and it took over $40,000 of student loan debt to achieve. My path to Financial Independence was filled with mistakes. I have been homeless. I have been fired. My savings has been wiped out TWICE. The last time was an EPIC Failure where I lost over $250,000. To go from broke to Financially Free is what Nomadic FIRE is about. What I show on this website isn't easy, but it is absolutely possible.
16+ Years of Finance at some of the biggest companies in the world
Quick Facts About Marco Sison
Retired Early at 41
I paid my own way for university, so I didn't graduate until I was 27 years old. I retired 16 years later, which included two US recessions and a failed small business that devastated me financially.
Traveled to 40+ Countries
I have been traveling the world since 2014. I have lived in the Philippines, US, Czechia, Thailand, Cambodia, Romania, Colombia, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Austria, and Brazil.
Graduated $40,000 in Debt
Finished at a Top 10 Business School with four majors and a minor. It took six+ years and $40,000+ of student loans to complete. As with many college grads, I never worked a job in a field that my degree is actually in.
Marco Sison in the News
14 tips to meet your financial goals in 2021
Establish More Than One Stream of Income
Depending on how you define the data, anywhere from 20 million to 30 million people were unemployed or had their income affected by the pandemic, says Marco Sison, financial coach for Nomadic FIRE. To help protect yourself against the impacts of unemployment or reduced income, it’s a good idea to establish multiple streams of income.
Want To Leave The Country? Here's How Much It Costs To Move Abroad.
Securing A Visa
Most people anticipate the big costs of moving overseas such as packers, movers and shipping, said Marco Sison, a retirement coach for the site Nomadic FIRE who has moved internationally more than a dozen times. However, many people forget to budget for the most critical step in the process: getting a visa.
Retirees Share Secrets to Financial Security
Start Saving Early
Putting aside funds well before retirement can provide the chance to build wealth through compound interest. "When money is saved and invested, then your money makes more money; then that money makes even more money," says Marco Sison, who retired in 2015 at age 41 after working in business development for Erickson helicopters. "I funded my first retirement account at age 20."
The Best Way to Save Money While Shopping Online, According to Experts
Use overseas versions of travel websites. Simply switching to another country's version of a website when booking travel can help you keep more cash in your pocket.
"The next time you are taking a trip abroad, load up Google Translate and head to the local site of the airline and see what kind of deals you can score," suggests retirement coach Marco Sison, founder of Nomadic FIRE. For instance, "Using LATAM Airlines' Colombia site can save you 50 percent versus booking on LATAM's US website," Sison explains.
How to Survive as a Retiree in a Down Market
Move to a Cheaper Place. Reduce costs and stretch savings to make it through a stock market slump during retirement.
Relocating to a place with a lower cost of living could help your fixed income stretch further. “An underused, but extremely effective way to reduce your cost is to move to a cheaper country,” says Marco Sison, who has been living abroad since 2015. Sison spent some time in the Philippines, where his monthly expenses were about $1,500 a month. After witnessing the stock market pass through rough months at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, he decided to move to another country with even lower expenses. After researching, he settled in Turkey, which he felt would decrease his monthly living expenses to between $800 and $1,000 per month.
Retirement dreams that the pandemic destroyed
The pandemic has made retiring abroad complex at best, and impossible at worst. Marco Sison, who writes about international retirement at Nomadic FIRE, retired five years ago. Earlier this year, he attempted to establish a home in Spain, only to see his dream dashed when Spain locked down and halted visa applications because of COVID-19. Financial instability has also thrown a wrench in plans. "The rough few months in the stock market at the beginning of the pandemic convinced me that we would be in for an extended economic rough patch," he says. That led him to a new retirement base in Turkey, where he says he is still able to obtain a visa and, more importantly, whittle down his living expenses.
This Is Exactly When You and Your Partner Should Combine Finances
Joining Financial Forces at this Milestone is the Best Bet For Your Relationship
Each couple likely feels differently about when the appropriate time is to tie themselves financially to each other, but according to financial experts, there is a key moment when you and your partner should to start to view "your money" as "our money." "The best time to discuss joint finances in a relationship is before moving in together," says financial coach Marco Sison. "This juncture is when joint expenses get real."
Why Americans defy travel bans: To reunite with family or partners – or just because they can
Traveling for Family
Other travelers are planning trips to see family. Consider Marco Sison's situation. He and his girlfriend are currently in the Philippines, but they want to travel to Austria for a family baptism. Europe is also a great place to spend a few weeks during the summer. His girlfriend is Austrian, and Sison has dual U.S. and Philippine citizenship.
"To navigate the travel ban, we are looking to travel from the Philippines to Turkey," says Sison, who writes a retirement blog. "Turkey is currently letting in U.S. citizens with no quarantine."
Should You Combine Finances With Your Partner?
Creating a financial solution for your relationship
"A critical conversation and decision point is deciding how to split expenses," said Marco Sison, a financial coach for Nomadic FIRE.
"Especially when there is a discrepancy in income between the two partners, how bills are divided can be a minefield of assumptions and misunderstandings."
When financial transparency is on the table, it can be easier to decide how to tackle expenses and whether you should combine or not combine finances.
COVID-19 has widened the US wealth gap
As Marco Sison, a financial coach for Nomadic FIRE, told TMS, it is easy to view, in figures, two extremely different experiences of the recovery, which illustrate how “the COVID recovery has disproportionately helped the investors over the workers.”
Although the S&P 500 – the market index of the 500 largest US publicly traded companies – hit a COVID-19 low point of 2,237 on March 23, it has not only recovered, but has exceeded past where it was in February, closing at 3,647 points on December 14.
As Sison explained to TMS, although “the market has gained over 8% since February,” unemployment not only remains high at 6.7% as of November, but this figure is nearly double the unemployment figures before the pandemic hit.
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What People Are Saying About Marco Sison On Linkedin
“…One of a select few individuals that has mastery in many disciplines...more importantly, Marco's skill set influence decisions, impact change, and has brought significant value to his business partners.”
Vice President, Corporate Development & Innovation
“…great ability to cut through a great deal of information and get to the bottom line. His financial background was very helpful in insuring profit margins were maintained. He handled complex contract negotiations and insured that the essence of what the company's needs were met…”
Sr. Vice President Global Sales and Marketing
“…outstanding leadership qualities, managing with facts and data and decision making with truth and wisdom...excels at contract negotiating and bringing both parties together to secure the deal. He is a strategic planner, an out of the box thinker...exceptional mentor...“
Vice President Business Development
“Marco brings an entrepreneurial spirit to the corporate environment and is happy to roll up his sleeves and tackle any problem his is given. His varied background - finance, marketing, sales - made Marco a great go-to for multi-functional team challenges...”
Chief Financial Officer / VP Finance
Marco’s Nomadic FIRE Path:
I started by following the traditional path to a “Good Life.” I did everything by the book. I connected all the dots. I was on the Dean’s List at a competitive Top 10 university and graduated with 4 Majors (Information Systems, Accounting, International Business, and Operations Management) and a Minor (Speech Communication). Immediately after gradutation, I was behind a desk grinding 70 hours a week at Fortune 50 companies.
I should have been ecstatic with my progress to a “Good Life”. But I was not. I had many peers who did most of the same things that I did. Many are still being crushed by student loans and drowning in auto and mortgage debt in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Many people follow this typical corporate rat race life and yet can’t retire comfortably by 60 or even 70. Do YOU want to continue working 50, 60, or 70 hours a week so that you *might* be able to retire when you are 65? I didn't. Still don't. I wanted a life. I wanted to experience the world. I envied reading about vagabond backpackers who traveled to distant lands and were checking experiences off their bucket lists.
A friend introduced me to the concept of Passive Income. I decided to embrace it wholehearted. I started my passive income investment. I sold all my stocks, cashed in my options, borrowed money from my family, and took out a home equity loan to open my first business: Chopperz- the Barbershop Reinvented.
And I FAILED SPECTACULARLY. I invested, sank, and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was in massive debt and emotionally drained. I lost pretty close to everything: my savings, my health, my relationship, and my self-esteem.
I have recovered. There is nothing magical about it. There is nothing exceptional about me. I know many people (physicians, lawyers, executives, etc.) who made far more money than me but are nowhere near where I am financially. I am an average guy, who just worked hard, prioritized a Job Optional life, and was able to recover. Living a Nomadic FIRE lifestyle and leveraging Geographic Arbitrage are what allowed me to save and eventually Retire Early.
My story isn’t about extreme savings either. Nomadic FIRE is not about pinching pennies and clipping coupons. Before I made it to a Job Optional life, I traveled the world, had hobbies like snowboarding and surfing, attended major parties and festivals around the world like Carnival, Mardi Gras, and the Full Moon Party.
What makes my situation so much different than others? How did I position myself to make a Job Optional? It took me time and a ton of hard work, but I finally learned how to reach Financial Independence realistically. I didn't "get rich quick." It was a process. It was not easy, but it is actually much simpler than you think. I’m certainly not super-rich, but my lifestyle has changed dramatically.
Nomadic FIRE is where I share with you the entire story. Explain the systems and tips. I provide the knowledge and tools showing how a Job Optional life and Early Retirement is possible.
THE PATH TO NOMADIC FIRE STARTS WITH YOU
When you invest in your future by changing to a Retirement Optional life, you're creating meaningful change in your goals and how to achieve them. Let me help you overshoot your goals in the right ways.