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Living in the Third World Can Change Your Life into Better

Living in the third world implies living in emerging markets and developing countries. To most people in their 20s or 30s, this is usually a phase. They go there for a while to experience what it feels like to be rich, but this is pretty much it.

However, once you get used to this lifestyle, living in the third world is no longer a phase. It becomes your lifestyle. You will get some new views on life, and you will be less likely to change them too soon. Sure, there will still be lots of people blaming your lifestyle – go home, start a family, and so on.

Now, this is a dream for many who end up growing up in a developed world. You start working online or getting some income regardless of your location, so it makes perfect sense – you want to try to maximize your income by reducing your expenses in a third-world country.

Again, this is a phase for most people. Eventually, they decide to go back to the so-called real life. However, what they fail to understand is that real life happens everywhere. In fact, a less developed country will give you an even more realistic view of real life.

Life feels more real because there are no first-world problems, but real problems. There are different perspectives of life, and people appreciate good things, rather than all the superficial stuff we are all used to, not to mention petty things that no one really cares about.

Living in the third world could be a life-changing experience – here is what you need to know.

Understanding what the third world means​

Third world is often seen as a derogatory name. It is outdated and no longer used officially. It normally refers to countries in a developing status – at least economically. Decades ago, this is what the world’s economies were described as.

There were four statuses back then, and the third world one was literally the last one. After all, the fourth world consists of countries that most of the world does not even recognize at all – micro nations with no economies at all.

Despite still being widely used, the third world term is now officially replaced with underdeveloped countries, developing nations, or low-income countries. Now, how do you define such a developing nation?

When it comes to the actual economy, there are a few different ways to separate the world. The first, second, third, and fourth world concept was developed during the Cold War and kept going until the 1990s.

Economies are defined by more standards. For instance, the GDP is one of the most important ones – Gross Domestic Product. The GDP growth is also considered, not to mention the employment and unemployment, as well as the GDP per capita.

Developing countries have relatively low rates. The production is bad, and the labor market suffers a lot. Education is less likely to be too qualitative. Then, you have poor infrastructure, low sanitation, poor healthcare, and low costs of living.

While independent, developing nations are often observed by the World Bank and IMF, which aim to provide financial aid in order to improve local systems. They also invest in certain projects with the purpose to improve the economy.

Developing nations are often seen as good investments by many business people because there is a major growth opportunity. After all, if a country is too low, there is only one way from there – going forward. But on the same note, the risk is just as high.

These days, the first world is defined as developed countries. Then, you have the second world, which relates to emerging countries. Finally, if you are after living in the third world, you are after living in frontier countries.

There are more agencies setting standards, but these days, there are around 25 countries on the frontier list, with names like Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Romania, Slovenia, Morocco, Jordan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

The WHO and the UN have a long list consisting of around 50 countries – Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, or Zambia, among others. Now, you will see some aspects that are a bit unusual when you check these lists.

For example, you can find countries like Romania on the list, which is part of the EU – not the most developed country in the union, though. Then, the WHO is mostly aimed at African countries, but the organization also includes Vanuatu – not a super developed country, but a tax haven for millionaires.

Now that you understand what this idea relates to, what are the benefits of living in the third world?

Benefits of living in the third world​

From many points of view, developing countries are excellent to be in, assuming your income is sufficient and allows you to support yourself. In other words, you may need to work online or have income from a different country, as local jobs will definitely not pay enough.

Gaining experience implies gaining skills. You cannot really master anything without actually experiencing it. Practical knowledge is a must, but hands-on experience is just as important. The unavailability of luxury items is what makes developing countries ideal to gain experience in a traditional way.

Forget about machinery, but get your hands in there and get the job done.

It may seem a bit unusual, but social support is a must if you feel lonely or you go through difficult times. If you have noticed it, the richer people get, the smaller their circle becomes. They live in big fenced-up houses, far from other communities.

On the other hand, in the third world, living in a community makes you part of it. People gossip and talk, meet around and discuss things and news, rather than watch the TV or stick to their phones. It is a different lifestyle that will give you the support you require.

Lack of skilled labor
The lack of skilled labor may sound like an issue – if you are a local. Living in a third country as a skilled professional gives you many more opportunities. There is no competition when it comes to getting good jobs.

Low expenses
This is a great opportunity, and probably the main reason wherefore more and more digital nomads choose to live in third world countries. Assuming your income comes from abroad, you will pay a few times less for accommodation, food, and other needs.

This is also the reason wherefore many westerners go to the third world for medical treatment too, not to mention holidays. What does it mean? You can afford most things, but you will also find it easier to save money.

While these aspects are more than enough to convince you, the list is longer:

  • An insight into all aspects of life
  • Feelings of gratefulness
  • Easy fight for top positions
  • Limited education
  • Extra benefits from international laws
As an investor, you will find lots of opportunities. It feels like going back in time. You can look at your country’s past and figure out what worked in the past, then apply similar scenarios to the third-world country you live in.

The poorer the country, the more benefits you will have, but the risk is also much higher. For example, you cannot open a McDonald’s franchise in Ethiopia or Malawi. There are many other opportunities in these countries, though.

The ideal path to living in the third world​

There are more reasons wherefore people leave their countries. Some of them disagree with the mindset most locals have. Some others go to better-developed countries in the attempt to earn better, start new lives and careers. Some others do it for the actual experience.

The more you travel, the richer you become – mentally. You get to discover a different culture in every country out there. Sure, it also implies getting out of your comfort zone, but after all, this is the only way to push yourself forward. Try to see your body as a muscle.

You exercise, go out of your comfort zone and tear the muscle. It grows stronger and bigger.

You start planning everything in small details, but you also struggle to learn a new language. Is this your forever home? Hard to tell, but you need to know the basics, so you try to integrate yourself into a new society.

The average individual will follow a different path, though. In a developed country, you will go to university, get some debt, find a job that you are very likely to dislike, bow and hope to still enjoy a few years after you retire, based on a pension that pays less and less due to greedy politicians.

With time, you will try to find money-making opportunities wherever you go. Fortunately, there are plenty of them. In a developed country, you are lucky if you get to keep half of your income after all the taxes you need to pay – capital gains, income, corporate, and many others.

Now, choose the right jurisdiction in the third world, and you may end up keeping more than 75% of your income – if you are lucky enough, you could keep up to 90% of it. The good news is there will be no major changes in your life either.

Now, imagine how much money you would make over a decade, two or three decades – think about the interest too. Here comes another piece of good news – there is a higher chance you will get much more interest in a low income country than in a developed one.

The same rule applies to all of your investments. You could end up with real estate in the so-called third world, but the fast-growing rate will double or triple your investments in no time. Any type of investment will follow the same path.

Now, take a moment to think about it. Is it worth going the traditional way? Is it worth working more hours to pay debt and getting less money than someone else in a third world country? Of course, this is not a general rule, and it implies much more work and planning than normally, but it is totally doable.

Why living in the third world is not a phase​

For a lot of individuals – usually, young freelancers, living in the third world is only a phase. They do it for a while – months or years – to experience what it feels like to be rich or perhaps enjoy a different culture, but this is pretty much it.

To someone with an open mind, living in the third world is a lifestyle that can change everything. People enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle – no doubt. They like the idea of living in luxurious condos or houses in places like Thailand, Colombia, or Indonesia – just to name a few.

However, they know they need to go back at some point. But then, why would you go back? This is only a misconception that many people take for granted. Why would you go back to debt and low income when you can live in luxury? It makes no sense.

Developing countries are no longer what they used to be 50 years ago. Many of them were ruled by other countries back then. However, living standards have changed a little. Obviously, you are not going to live with a tribe in a jungle.

But at the same time, emerging markets no longer feel like urban jungles. People aim for better, and the living standards are higher than ever. Obviously, there are rough and unsafe areas pretty much everywhere in the world, so you need to stay away from such places.

Now, you are less likely to find new ideas or innovations in an emerging economy. It is perfectly normal, given the lack of education or other issues. However, most of these countries tend to copy what developed countries do, so things are definitely going forward.

If you take a look at what is happening lately, you will notice that the developed world is taking a break. There has not been too much of a growth in western countries – in fact, many of them seem to stagnate and even face a mild crisis.

On the other hand, you see more and more countries becoming super attractive for business people and investors because the lifestyle is great, not to mention the opportunities. Take a look at Estonia, not to mention all these underdeveloped countries operating as tax havens.

As the west has stopped for a little – not too much innovation lately, it looks like the rest of the world is now catching up. It may take decades, but many of the third-world countries will be on the same level at some point – think about your investments skyrocketing then.

This is not a prediction, but literally what happens today. As a direct consequence, it makes perfect sense for more and more people to choose to live in the third world. Think about it for a minute – how much benefit do you have from living in a developed country?

Considering your future in a developing country​

Living in the third world can be exciting and fun when you are young and single. Sure, you can find a partner who does the same thing – or perhaps find love locally. But then, if you think this has to stop once you start a family, you are wrong.

Got kids? No problem. They will go to school in the country you end up living in. There is nothing wrong with that. Even better – they might be able to speak two languages and even get dual citizenship. What could be better than that? Let them decide what they want to do when they grow older.

Pretty much every country out there has accredited programs – many of them with international certifications. Take the baccalaureate, for instance. It is similar all over the world and was designed for expats, to ensure their kids have the same high level of education.

Worried about the healthcare system? Forget about it. You can find top-notch facilities in almost every country out there. Take a look at what medical tourism has become these days. People from developed countries go to Asia or Eastern Europe.

Whether it comes to cosmetic procedures or they are sick of being on waiting lists for years, they simply choose to save a little and go abroad. For instance, the NHS in the UK has waiting lists that extend for years.

The only real advantage of living in a developed country is for business people. If your business is established in the UK or Germany, it looks more authentic and promising, rather than Estonia or Vanuatu. For ordinary people, there are literally no benefits at all.

Most of these developed countries try to grab the last pieces of profit by getting greedier and greedier. Politicians have forgotten what made these countries stand out in the past. You can see all these things by yourself.

Go to the UK or the USA – two of the leading economies of the world – and you will only find kitsch, poor quality stuff, and fast food. Culture is no longer there, since they have become a mix of different cultures, so you have no idea what is going on around you.

Such countries still represent a good choice for those coming from developed countries. They get a job that pays decent money, and they can send some money back to their families – a few hundred American dollars or British pounds mean a lot in a country like Malawi, just to give you an example.

Sadly enough, to be able to send that kind of money home, these people will need to make huge sacrifices. Modern economies and politicians have realized that this is the only way to move a bit forward, hence their efforts to welcome immigrants, migrants, and refugees from all over the world.


As a short final conclusion, things have changed a lot over the past few decades. Back then, each country had its own characteristics. If you were a workaholic, you went to Germany. If you wanted to start a new business, you went to the USA or the UK. Banking? Switzerland.

Everything is different now because pretty much every country out there has a small role that looks appealing to business people. Small countries like Vanuatu or Estonia are relevant these days. A single country will no longer be able to cover a particular aspect of life, but there will be competition.

There is no such country to be considered the next big thing. Instead, there are 20 or maybe 40 countries out there that could become the next big thing. This is because of how the world is opening up to everyone. Everything is accessible – you can travel there, start a business over there, and so on.

There are countless opportunities these days, but there is one major thing you need to do – get out of your comfort zone. It may sound difficult to leave your parents behind, relocate to Malaysia and start a business in Bermuda. However, it can be done, and it can bring great benefits.

Adapting to a new lifestyle is challenging, indeed, but you need to go through this step in order to discover a brand new world. You will end up spending less money and enjoying a better lifestyle without having to face all sorts of stupid rules or greedy governments.

You might have heard every major investor saying it, and it is actually true – once you open up to new possibilities and opportunities, everything in your life will change to 180 degrees. Your life will become more exciting, and new opportunities will stimulate you to go even further.

To lots of people out there, reaching the first world is the ultimate goal. This is only an old-fashioned misconception that no longer applies today. Living in the third world with a first-world income is what makes the difference and takes your life to another level.


New member
Having travelled a bit around the world and worked in a few places I'd say its a bit complicated.
For example, living in Romania and "competing" for the "skilled labour market" is a bit silly, they have enough skilled people and they naturally go to other EU countries were higher wages and other benefits far eclipse the benefits of a slightly lower taxrate and lower prices.

Other places like Malta have a bit of a divide between the English and Maltese population and then an additional divide between expats and both of the communities above.

You do feel that community of expats. But its also a bit hard to get into the true community and rich cultural life of the Maltese. The English are sometimes thought of as a bit of a colonial relic and the English themselves sometimes look down on the Maltese. Mostly its all good and fun though, especially as a professional or as a business person/investor what have you. But the expat community is transient and full of young people. Few of them set roots there.

Its the opposite from what I understand in say Chile/Paraguay and countries like the Philippines. There the community is more permanent. Over the years there have been some libertarian projects in the first two and of course a lot of people move to the Philippines for weather and expenses.

But while I could live in Chile I could never live in the Philippines. Id always feel as an outsider.

The internet gives us the opportunity, for those willing to give up their privacy/integrity, to stay connected through social media. This is very nice, if you can find enough friends who do what you do and travel and work or invest all over the world. You can then meet each other as you move around, a true cosmopolitan!

But sometimes it can still feel weird to never have any roots.

And then you have places like the British Virgin Islands.
They have fairly large communities of interesting people of say European or British descent, their tax situation is amazing, they are in the middle of the Caribbean so you can travel anywhere you want on that side of the world for not-too-high of a price or time waste. Great weather. But good luck getting even a work permit, let alone residency or citizenship.

Overall a nice article. It would be great to hear peoples experiences.
Once I read an article, a few years back of how Angola is attracting skilled Portugese people,I think it was shortly after the last financial crisis. I wonder how that reverse colonial flow is working out in practice.

Golden Fleece

I don't hope the world will stay like this, really I hope all some day will be equal.
All men will never be equal, because all men have different gifts, talents, and personalities. The best that we can expect is for the government to apply the rule of law equally to everyone and to allow an equal playing field for all men, which usually means just staying out of the way of the free market.


New member
I live in a third-world country (I am a native) and I always tell everyone, "if you could handle the corruption and the insecurity, it's a beautiful place to live"

If any of you wants to move to a Latam country, ping me :)

PD: Insecurity means that you couldn't walk alone by night at certain places, and you have to expect minor burglary here and there.


Mentor Group Gold
PD: Insecurity means that you couldn't walk alone by night at certain places, and you have to expect minor burglary here and there.
Exactly like in any “first world” country

All men will never be equal, because all men have different gifts, talents, and personalities. The best that we can expect is for the government to apply the rule of law equally to everyone and to allow an equal playing field for all men, which usually means just staying out of the way of the free market.
Be careful with confusing justice with equality. Equality brings socialism, which leads to injustice for everyone.
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Golden Fleece

Be careful with confusing justice with equality. Equality brings socialism, which leads to injustice for everyone.
You are confusing equality (in law) with equity. Equity is the new buzzword among the social justice warriors (a.k.a. socialist scumbag race baiters).
Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.