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 seven 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.
Join a community of 10,000+ expats. Start living your best life!
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 depend on their blog for retirement income. The primary purpose of Nomadic FIRE is to help people find better retirement choices. This website didn't make penny until mid-2022, 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
How Much You Should Have in Your Savings Account at Every Stage of Life
The Retirement-Focused Lifetime Saving Strategy
Marco Sison, a financial coach with Nomadic FIRE, believes that savings strategies at every age should be calculated with the same goal in mind: retirement.
“The average cost of retirement is roughly $750,000,” Sison said. “More than the combined cost of university education, raising a child and buying a home. The best way to ensure you are saving enough for retirement is to use a spreadsheet and calculate the present value of your goal at specific ages.”
These People Retired in Their 40s — Here’s How They Did It
One Dreamer Achieved Early Retirement Through a Nomadic Lifestyle
Marco Sison is a financial coach and the founder of Nomadic FIRE, where he advises his followers on retiring early while traveling abroad. His philosophy is based on the concept of geoarbitrage, a strategy that involves taking advantage of the cost-of-living differences between different geographic locations. Sison calls it “the most powerful, but underutilized strategy to retire early.”
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.
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.
Re-thinking remote work and geographic arbitrage in a post-covid world
AMBITION Magazine article - Association of MBAs
Remote workers and digital nomads can financially benefit by relocating from a high-cost area to a low-cost area. This generation can change cities, switch states, or move to different parts of the world, maximising their financial advantage, says Marco Sison.
6 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About Budgeting
Tying Your Budget to Your Current Place of Residence
“People need to stop basing their monthly budgets on the city they work and live in,” said Marco Sison, a financial coach at Nomadic FIRE. “As most companies have already announced remote work as part of their 2022 business strategy, workers need to leverage this unique opportunity to slash their monthly budgets and improve their financial situation through geographic arbitrage.”
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.
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.
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."
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."
7 Best Ways to Help You Reduce Your Rent — Legally!
This may seem like a drastic option, but living abroad can be a way to severely reduce living expenses. A remote worker could save thousands by moving abroad, especially if they can maintain the same salary. It isn’t even all that hard to do.
“You can cut your monthly expenses by up to 70 percent just by jumping on an airplane,” says Nomadic FIRE finance coach Marco Sison.
Managing Financial Challenges for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Expert on Navigating Financial Challenges, Marco Sison, Retirement Coach at Nomadic FIRE
What financial advice and resources can you share with Asian Americans who are facing financial challenges?
There is no easy answer. Like any self-perpetuating cycle, significant effort needs to occur to break the dependencies. The first thing that needs to occur is clear lines of communication. People do not like to talk about money, but there must be honest conversations about uncomfortable topics to make progress.
6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding to Move
Do you need to live near work?
Going one step further, moving to a cheaper country can reduce your housing expenses even more significantly, says Marco Sison, a financial coach with Nomadic FIRE "Jumping on an airplane to another country may seem like an extreme way to cut your budget, but the savings can be financially life-changing."
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.
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."
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.
Cheap Places to Live: How Moving to Wyoming Saved Us Money
Using Remote Work to Live Cheaper
This trend has been consistent over the past several months, which can be attributed to the fact that the pandemic showed people that remote work is viable, according to financial coach Marco Sison of Nomadic Fire. There’s nothing to keep people from working remotely in places where rent isn’t necessarily so high.
Let’s say you were living in San Francisco before the pandemic. If your job transitioned to remote work because of COVID, you are no longer required to be or live nearby. Now, if you wanted to move somewhere with a lower cost of living like Nashville, Tennessee, you would be cutting your monthly expenses by almost 50 percent, says Sison.
Best Investing Tips For Beginners
25 Finance Experts Share Their Advice
My number one piece of advice for people new to personal finance and investing is - START NOW! I mean right now, as in today. I cannot stress enough how powerful time affects wealth. The money invested today starts earning money; that money then produces even more money. The more time money is invested, the higher the exponential growth.
This financial magic is called compound interest. Albert Einstein called compound interest "mankind's greatest invention," and that "he who understands it, earns it."
Is investing in real estate a safe option currently?
40 Financial Experts Reveal If Investing In Real Estate Is Worth It
In our current post-pandemic environment, inflation, volatility, and uncertainty are wreaking havoc with nearly every investment class. Is real estate safe?
I argue that there are 3 reasons your real estate investments are currently safe, even with inflation soaring.
CW NETWORK - SHOWCASE
ABC NETWORK-KATU CHANNEL 2
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 graduation, 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.
FAQs: About Marco
That's me. I'm Marco Sison.
- International Wanderer
- Perpetual Expat
- Financially Independent Retired Early
- Traveling the world in search of the best dessert.
You can check out my Press and Media page at Nomadic FIRE.
Retired in 2014 at 41 years old. Have been traveling around the world to 40+ countries since. You can read about using living abroad as a driver to Financial Independence at Nomadic FIRE.
I sold helicopters; extremely large helicopters that could lift over 10 metric tons. They were called Aircranes. I also worked for Fortune 50 companies, start-ups, and owned a men's groom lounge. You may have seen me on a couple of TV shows and one Hollywood movie.
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.