Personal Finance | Expat Experiences

The Sacrifice of Leaving America

What I had to give up to have a life somewhere else.

Joshua Edward
4 min readOct 30, 2023


Photo by Niels And Marco on Unsplash

One of the mental traps of living in America is the idea that you must be rich to live anywhere else (worth living in at least) than America. Everyone who is not rich must live their day-to-day life of working for the rich, in the hope that one day they will join them.

None of this is true.

Living in America is terribly expensive, and in reality, the more affordable option is actually to leave.

I did it

I’m an American ex-pat living in France, and I am financially unable to return to the United States. It is actually more affordable to lead a healthy and secure life here in Europe than it is in the USA, where it is simply out of my price range.

I’m not alone — I have met literally hundreds of Americans, who came from all over the USA and from all walks of life, who have managed to move and live in a different country. There are trade-offs; perhaps better described as adjustments.

I’ll explain.

I gave up a steady job and a salary that was more than double the annual median — worth it.



Joshua Edward

Left the USA for Europe as a solo parent and raised a kid in a foreign land.