Dear ETR: “How can I generate an income in Rome?”
“I have decided to live in Rome. I am 60 years old, and have about $75,000 in savings. At the present conversion to the euro, that won’t go very far. I am a self-employed building contractor with good communication skills. I have a degree in construction and one in business administration.
“Any suggestion as to ways of generating an income over here without going to work as an employee?”
– Chris Hodges
Rome is a great city. One of my favorites.
You can live an amazingly rich life in Rome without spending a ton of money. The great luxuries in life – conversation, food, wine, art, and architecture – are abundant there… and very inexpensive.
But you are right about your $75,000 in savings. It won’t go far. You will need to earn a living almost immediately. With a European Community passport, getting a job is nearly impossible, even if you wanted to. So what can you do?
There are basically three choices:
1. You can earn money illegally by selling merchandise on the streets, working without papers, etc. The most obvious choice for you would be to do something in the building trade. But given the weak economy for construction in Rome now and your lack of familiarity with Italian methods (and Italian), I don’t think this is a good option.
2. You can earn an income as a freelance professional – a marketer, a copywriter, a graphic artist, a photographer, etc. There are all sorts of freelance jobs you can do for U.S. corporations while living overseas. But you need the skills.
If you are interested in this option, check out the programs that AWAI provides. It will take you a year or two to develop your new skills and get some clients, so you’ll need to support yourself till then with your savings. The good news is that you can complete the AWAI programs – and even search for clients – on the Internet. And you can do it no matter where you live.
3. You can start your own Internet business – either an information-publishing business or something else that doesn’t require a large capital investment. ETR has several very good programs to choose from. It may take you a few years to get up to full speed. But, again, you can complete and implement these programs from anywhere in the world.
What you should do now is begin to contact Americans who live in Rome. Start with the U.S. embassy in Rome, and then call or write American universities that have programs there. Ask everyone you meet to recommend you to someone else. Be friendly. Be grateful. Ask questions and stay in touch. You’ll have dozens of people a phone call away who can help you find work and enjoy yourself.
editor’s note.[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]