Making Money While Abroad

Foreign Money

You go to college to follow your dreams, right? Well, that’s exactly what I did: I am getting a degree in creative writing, and next year I have a job lined up as an au pair in Paris. It’s literally my dream. I love children, and when I’m not caring for the boy, I will be able to write in the City of Lights. The only problem is money. Being an au pair doesn’t pay very much, and I am a little worried about my financial situation in the next few months, especially as I start to pay back my loans. Should I look for a second job in France? What do you recommend I do?

It sounds like you are living life to the fullest! But even if you are living your dream, life is still life, and your financial circumstances are rooted in reality. We applaud your focus on responsibility — you aren’t taking your age or lifestyle for granted as you appraise your financial situation. We also recognize that you have primed yourself for some of the best experiences of your life. We want to help you find a working arrangement that will not only get you the cash you need, but also allow you to live your life to the fullest.

With that in mind, we recommend working remotely. While it is possible to find work under the table, you run the risk of low-pay, seasonal work where you won’t be compensated what you deserve. Because the job is off the books, employers will sometimes scam young people thinking that they don’t know better, and that can lead to jobs that are exploitative and dangerous. Furthermore, off-the-books employment is liable to stop at any time, and a sudden job loss can leave you in the lurch. However with a computer and an internet connection, well-paying, steady work is at your fingertips. Work online doesn’t tie you down. If you have a free weekend, you can spend it traveling, rather than tending the bar or waiting tables. Lastly, it allows you to jump on and off the job at will. Have a free hour during nap time that’s cut short by a suddenly restless toddler? You can always close your computer, take care of business, and return to it later.

Dozens of opportunities can be found. One well-known way is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Mechanical Turk is a platform that is used by companies that need lots of people to complete little tasks, like tagging images, or fact-checking. Mechanical Turk pays per task completed, and usually pays a couple of bucks per hour. As a newly minted grad, you could also consider working for an essay writing service. The work is all online and includes a number of kinds of essays, editing, and business writing. For a young graduate, it would be the perfect way to hone the all-important skill of writing on a deadline for a client.

Finally, we should mention that most of this work is contingent, and therefore the accounting will be a little different from what it would be if you had a normal job. You would probably be an independent contractor, so rather than the company taking taxes out of your paycheck, you will have to estimate and pay them on your own. After the end of the year, you will be sent an IRS Form 1099, which will break down your total earnings from that company for that year. When you file your taxes, you will be asked to pay a certain percentage of those earnings. This means when you’re filing your taxes, you need to make sure you have enough money socked away to pay that bill.

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