In investment banking the days are long, but the career path is interesting and can bring in a significant amount of money- building the software that manipulates the financial market is quite a rush. Many people who have started their careers in high-paying corporate professions, such as bankers, strategy consultants and lawyers are usually not ready to make a career reset and work a job that would involve a drop in salary. But for many, investing in Vietnam and other developing countries is a worthwhile life adjustment.
Guillaume Rondan, a former employee of Natixis, a French investment bank, is the founder of Movetoasia.com, a community for expatriates, investors, or business leaders who wish to improve their personal or professional life by moving to Asia. Guillaume shares his journey from working in investment banking in France to investing in Vietnam, and his insights on why living in Vietnam is better than a life in Paris or any other big city.
Starting a career in a big corporation in Paris, working hard to earn an average salary often takes away from the glamour of the bustling city. Working days are pretty much the same: you wake up early, take crowded public transportation, have a quick lunch while replying to some emails, and finally go back home exhausted. Many find themselves considering if they chose the right path in life. Guillaume shares, “after living for a few years in Paris, I realised how important the little things in life are. There is a huge fake dream that most people are chasing in developed countries: being successful is to have a big house and to work for a big company, living the American dream.” Living in a big city is a dream many people chase, but it comes with high living costs, overcrowded public spaces, and constantly running to your next appointment. Although many fit in well with this fast-paced lifestyle, it can be exhausting at the same time for many others.
“Choosing to quit busy city life, building a business, and working while traveling was a dream that haunted me during the last years I spent in Paris,” admits Guillaume. Most self-employed people or remote workers usually travel a bit while they are working. After travelling a few years, most of them choose one of their favourite travel spots to settle in. A lot of them end up in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand or Vietnam. After an extended period of remote working and traveling, Guillaume settled on investing in Vietnam for a fresh start.
Why Do So Many Expats Live in Vietnam?
Vietnam is a great place to settle in- its quality of life, ease of starting a business, dynamic economy, and entrepreneurial spirit have been its main reasons attracting fresh, young entrepreneurs or expats looking into working in Southeast Asia. Vietnam was ranked as the second most popular destination for expats in InterNations‘ annual Expat Insider 2019 study. The friendliness of Vietnamese people, cost of living, growth of the country, and countless opportunities are highlighted in the study.
Foreign English teachers represent a huge percentage of expats living in Vietnam. Some of them discovered a new perspective on life, others are looking for their next challenge while they can make a decent salary. Some of those teachers are retired in their home countries and decided to become an English teacher post-retirement. For those looking for their next big challenge, reflecting and figuring out your best talents and biggest drives could prove helpful to see what kind of career could be started in Vietnam. For those looking to get connected with like-minded entrepreneurs, business owners, and freelancers, getting to know the events organized in different coworking spaces in Saigon, such as the Hive is a great way to get started.
In a recent interview with both a freelancer and a business owner for MOVETOASIA, Guillaume discusses reasons they joined a coworking space, and the pros and cons of being in this environment on a day to day basis. Vietnam brings tremendous opportunities for long-term investment thanks to the workforce, high employment rates, and the positive work-life balance mindset of locals.
Why Should You Invest in Vietnam?
Quality of life, the inherent joy of Vietnamese people, easy transition with an inexpensive cost of living are major factors for expats choosing to live in Vietnam. Compared to western countries, Vietnam is very advanced in terms of services available as well- everything can be found in an app. Food, laundry, and even flowers can be delivered to your home within minutes. Living in a country with such a great growth mindset which innovates and welcomes new cultures and trends, makes a great difference compared to other developing countries. “Living in a country that provides a great lifestyle due to amazing food, perfect hot weather and entertainment was the first thing that drove me to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. Being challenged in my business and having new opportunities daily is what keeps me in Vietnam” says Guillaume. The way of living is a mix of authenticity and modernity that Vietnamese people take pride in.