5 Steps to Good Investing for Expats in Korea

Looking for a few simple ways to save money? Here are some quick tips to get you started saving up for the future.

Most people come to Korea for a bit of adventure, but there are also a lot of people who want to pay off debt, such as students loans. Once you’ve paid off your debts, what should you do next? Here are five steps for expats who want to start investing while in Korea.

Step 1: Save $10,000

I recommend saving $10,000 for three reasons: diversification, fees and the minimum required amounts to open a brokerage account.

Step 2: Research

You need to think about your investing strategy. Three resources to start with are: The Wealthy English Teacher, my recently published book; The Global Expatriate’s Guide to Investing, a book by Andrew Hallam; and Investopedia, an online resource where you can view a stock basics tutorial.

The two things I invest in are dividend-paying stocks in blue-chip companies and ETFs. Blue-chip companies are big and stable, with names that you know, like McDonald’s or Chevron. These companies pay dividends, which means that they give a portion of their earnings to shareholders.

The second option is investing in ETFs, which are a basket of stocks that are bought passively according to an index, as opposed to mutual funds which are managed actively. I always recommend ETFs because the fees are really low (Vanguard). For sample ETF portfolios, check out my book or Andrew Hallam’s.

Step 3: Open a Brokerage Account and Make Some Trades

Once you’ve decided on your strategy, it’s time open an account. For non-Americans, Andrew Hallam recommends TD Direct, DBS Vickers, Saxo Capital Markets and Interactive Brokers. For Americans, he recommends Schwab or Vanguard. To actually buy your stocks or ETFs, be sure to look at the company’s ‘help’ section or refer to Investopedia.

Step 4: Collect Dividends and Keep Investing

Here is the best part: collecting money from your stocks or ETFs without doing anything. Too good to be true? It’s not. The payments get sent automatically to your brokerage account, and you can reinvest them.

Step 5: Financial Freedom

It’s possible for the average expat in Korea to use his or her time here to set up financial success. It takes discipline and frugal living to pay off debts, save up money, and employ an investment strategy, consistently over time. Just picture yourself sitting on a beach in Thailand, sipping your mojito without a care in the world – if you need some motivation.

wealthyenglishteacher (2)

Jackie Bolen, from the blog My Life! Teaching in a Korean University, has recently started writing about personal finance for ESL teachers, including the book, The Wealthy English Teacher, which can be found on Amazon. When not teaching or writing, she can almost always be found hiking, biking, stand-up paddleboarding or searching for the most delicious kimchi. You can contact her at wealthyenglishteacher@gmail.com.

The Latest Haps


Kim Young-ran Law May be Altered in March

The amount of the food allowance in the Kim Young-ran law may be altered from March in order to help domestic demand.

Philippines Police

Korean Man Reported Kidnapped in Philippines Last Year Found Dead

A South Korean man who was reportedly kidnapped in the Philippines in 2016 was recently found dead by local authorities there.

busan population

Busan’s Population Falls Under 3.5 Million

The population of registered resident in Busan has fallen under 3.5 million two months earlier than was originally expected.


Monthly Ha Ha Hole Returns Friday Night

This Friday, January 20th, at HQ Bar KSU sees the return of the monthly Ha Ha Hole, Busan’s only live English comedy show.

Image: Wikicommons

Shinhwa to Perform in February at BEXCO

Legendary K-pop boy band Shinwha is performing a concert in Busan on February 11th as part of their “Unchanging” tour.

Image: BIFF

Busan International Film Festival Announces 2017 Dates

The Busan International Film Festival will begin a little later than usual this year because of the Chuseok holidays.


Video: Al Jazeera’s 101 East – Fleeing South Korea

Watch an episode of Al Jazeera’s 101 East which focuses on why Korea’s youth are fleeing their home country for life and work overseas.


Korea Grand Sale Underway Nationwide

The Korea Grand Sale is underway until February 28th and offer great discounts and cultural performances for visitors.


Where’s the Cheapest Place to Buy Food this Lunar New Year’s?

Are you wondering where the cheapest places food are to buy food for the Lunar New Year’s holidays?


Sulbing to Open First Location in Fukuoka

Sulbing, Busan’s famous patbingsu dessert chain, will open its first location in Fukuoka on February 3rd.


Hard Rock Cafe Offers “Global Day” Discount for Foreigners

Hard Rock Cafe Busan is offering a Wednesday night “Global Day” discount for foreigners.

Image: Gorilla Beer Co.

Gorilla Brewing Hosting Special Beer Event Tonight

Gorilla Brewing Company is hosting an “all-you-can-drink” event tonight at the brewery in Millak-dong.

Sapa Vietnam

The Traditional Cultures of Sapa Vietnam

Take a look inside the traditional cultures of the Vietnamese highlands

incheon airport immigration

South Korea to Beef Up Security at Airports This Year

Officials said today, starting in April, South Korea will check information on inbound air passengers to sort out potential terrorists.


2017 Winter Travel Season Events in Busan

Busan City is holding the “2017 Winter Travel Season Program – Morak Morak Busan Winter Story”, where tourists can enjoy eateries at traditional markets and hot springs in Busan through January 30.

figure skating

ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2017 Schedule

The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2017 is taking place February 16-19 at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

baseball lotte

Giants Hwang Jae-gyun to Leave the KBO

Infielder for the Lotte Giants Hwang Jae-gyun has decided to leave the Korean Baseball Organization to challenge the Major Leagues.


South Korea to Spend $780 Million on PyeongChang Preparations

The sports ministry said that South Korea plans to spend 937.2 billion won (US$779.7 million) this year in support for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games preparations.




HQ bar