Shaking Things Up - Another China Assignment?
My wife and I have decided to mix things up and accept a work assignment in China for at least 6 months with our family in tow. We've been contemplating this move for several months. We still are not sure we are doing the right thing, but we know we need a change of pace. When opportunity knocked, we said why not?
There were a lot of factors that went into this decision. Its complex particularly with young children in tow.
- We love to explore - If we were already financially free my wife and I would likely be packing up and doing some long term traveling exploring the world. This is perhaps the strongest argument in favor of this assignment. While perhaps going back to China wouldn't be our top pick, the idea of getting out and exploring more new places is what it is all about.
- Children- The opportunity for our oldest daughter to learn Mandarin (and I'm confident she will pick up a good foundation while we are there) is an amazing opportunity for her. Of course our children's health & safety are our primary concern and since both my wife & I have lived there before we feel comfortable enough that this is manageable where we will be living.
- Family & Friends - Taking our kids away from their cousins, grandparents, aunts/uncles, and friends is definitely a negative. Even though everyone lives within a 2.5hr radius of us currently, we probably see our immediate family each 3-4 times a year. We are planning to increase the frequency of visits before and after our assignment to help offset this a bit.
- Career - I've plateaued a bit in my career and have been in the same role for nearly 5 years. I see this as an opportunity to shake things up - it will benefit my organization and allow me to transition into a new role (if I can find the right one) in the long term. There is some risk here that this could hurt my career if another opportunity doesn't line up, but I've gotten more comfortable with this as we have gotten closer to our financial freedom goals.
- Finances - There was clearly a financial benefit to my first assignment. With changes to my employer's assignment benefit plans and the entire family in tow, we see this as a financially neutral move. We are going to be able to save in some areas (utilities, gas) but have to increase our out of pocket spending in others (food/dining). If we can complete this assignment and maintain our same rate of savings then we are comfortable that the other benefits make this a compelling opportunity for us.
We believe our kids are the right age to do this type of adventure. We are nervous & excited to again step out of our comfort zone!
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