In the recent GRS reader survey, one common request was to delay the weekly podcast announcement until after the show so that I could provide a brief written summary for those who don’t have the time or the inclination to listen. That means I can’t provide a reminder for people to call in during the show, but it may generate more discussion here on the blog.

“I think I’ll move to Australia.”
This week, Jim and I spent the hour talking with Baker from Man vs. Debt. Baker and his wife recently left the U.S. with their 14-month-old daughter to move to Australia. They sold nearly all of their possessions, crammed the rest into a couple of backpacks, and set off into the unknown.

Baker is young — just 25 — and has been married for two years. He and his wife figured that now was a great time for them to take a chance overseas. During the first part of the podcast, he describes the process of trying to obtain a visa — a process made more complicated because he has a child. He says that if you’re young and don’t have a dependent, “working holidays” are a great way to spend extended time in Australia.

But how could Baker and his wife afford to move to Australia? They made sacrifices. They’ve been digging out of debt, but they knew they wanted to pursue this goal, so they cut back on expenses. They gave up television. They dined out just once a month. They focused on the move.

“We actually sold almost everything we owned before we left,” Baker told us. “We got down to like 140 items…We sold most of our possessions.”

“How did you go about selling your possessions?” Jim asked.

“It was hard to get over that hump,” Baker said. In particular, it was difficult to part with sentimental items. Because he’s only been married two years, it was also difficult to sell gifts they’d only just received. But it got easier: “Once we got the initial push, it became a sort of game. How little can we take? How much can we sell?”

“If anyone’s looking for a way to feel liberated, just sell all your stuff,” Baker added. Baker’s Australia plans didn’t quite work out, so his family ended up in New Zealand, where they’re now waiting to plan their future.

On the show, we also discussed cultural differences (New Zealanders don’t understand the American fascination with guns), the role of mass media in shaping our thoughts and opinions, the joys of couchsurfing, and the home of the hobbits.

This was a fascinating discussion.

The Personal Finance Hours
Jim and I host The Personal Finance Hour nearly every Monday at 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern). For the next week, our conversation with Baker will be available via this widget (after that it will be replaced by the next episode):

You can always find this show (and other episodes from the archive) by following this link, which will open in iTunes.

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