Every software engineer dreams of financial independence, early retirement, and living life on their own terms. But with the rising cost of living, accumulated debt, and lack of financial planning, these dreams often slip away. Making that first million is harder than it seems. But it is far from impossible.

The IT job board DEV.BG researched the latest data on yearly software engineer salaries and cost of living and found an unconventional shortcut to wealth. This strategy has the power to rewrite the narrative of financial success for software engineers.

In simple terms, any software engineer can make their first million in just 9 years by working remotely for a company in one of the highest-paying countries while living in cost-effective Eastern Europe.

Why the 9-Year Shortcut Works: Over 20% More Savings

There’s a substantial difference in savings when living in a lower-cost country compared to living in a higher-cost country:

Average Monthly Expenses in Top 10 Countries for Software Engineers:

  1. Canada: $3,469
  2. The US: $2,839
  3. Switzerland: $2,837
  4. Ireland: $2,580
  5. Sweden: $2,469
  6. Denmark: $2,238
  7. Norway: $2,102
  8. Germany: $2,048
  9. The Netherlands: $2,035
  10. The UK: $1,954


Average Monthly Expenses in Eastern European Countries:

  1. Bulgaria: $967
  2. Montenegro: $987
  3. Romania: $1,044
  4. Latvia: $1,276
  5. Hungary: $1,286
  6. Slovakia: $1,348
  7. Lithuania: $1,388
  8. Estonia: $1,394
  9. Czech Republic: $1,424
  10. Poland: $1,596

* The average expenses are calculated for a single person (rent included).

The average monthly expenses in Eastern Europe are significantly less than those in Western and American countries.

Using the 9-Year Shortcut, software engineers can get over 20% more savings per year by living in a low-cost country while working remotely for a high-paying company.

Here’s why it works:

  • The cost of housing, daily expenses, and overall lifestyle is 2-3 times lower in Eastern European nations. By earning a high salary and enjoying lower monthly expenses, you can save a more significant portion of your income.
  • You can then channel your savings into smart investments, capitalizing on compounding growth. This results in a wealth-building strategy that is both effective and sustainable.
  • Software engineers can still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in Eastern Europe while pursuing their financial goals.

The 9-year shortcut harnesses the cost differences between countries, resulting in annual savings that are more than 20% higher compared to living in the same country as the employing company. This financial advantage accelerates the journey toward achieving millionaire status, making it a path well worth exploring for software engineers.

The 9-Year Shortcut Revealed

Here’s a breakdown of the steps and how this strategy works:

Step 1: The Base Country
If you’re already working for a company in one of the top countries for software engineers, you’re one step closer to your first million. The list includes higher-cost countries, such as Canada, Switzerland, and the United States. Your base country will significantly impact your income and overall strategy.

Step 2: Securing Remote Work
Find a remote job with a company in your base country. Fortunately, software engineering is a field well-suited for remote work, and many tech companies offer such positions.

Important Note: Ensure the employment contract allows you to work from a different location.

Step 3: Relocating to Eastern Europe
Move to an Eastern European country with a significantly lower cost of living, such as Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, or Hungary. These countries offer a favorable economic environment, making it possible to save a higher percentage of your income.

Step 4: Managing Living Expenses
Take advantage of the lower living expenses. This includes lower rent or mortgage costs, reduced daily expenses, and affordable healthcare. Still, this strategy requires careful budgeting and cost-conscious decisions.

Step 5: Maximizing Savings
With the income from your remote job in a high-paying country and your lower living expenses in the new location, you should be able to save a substantial portion of your income — as much as 80% or more of the annual salary. These savings will be the cornerstone of your financial journey.

Step 6: Investing Strategically
Turn your savings into strategic investments, focusing on assets that have potential for long-term growth. Diversify your portfolio to reduce risk and enhance returns.

Step 7: Embracing Financial Discipline
Avoiding lifestyle inflation and unnecessary expenses. Commit to the savings and investment goals, even as your income increases over time.

With smart investments and financial discipline, a software engineer can amass a substantial amount of wealth within 9 years and reach millionaire status. The 9-Year Shortcut combines remote work opportunities, geographic position, and prudent financial management to rewrite the traditional timeline for achieving this goal.

The Power of Compounding

The 9-year shortcut combines strategic savings of $100,000 a year with the power of compounding, which allows money to grow over time. Compounding works in the following way:

Imagine putting saved money into an investment that earns you a certain percentage of interest or returns each year. Here’s where the magic happens:

  1. In the first year, you earn interest on the initial amount you invested.
  2. In the second year, you earn interest not only on your initial investment but also on the interest you earned in the first year.
  3. This keeps happening year after year, and your money starts to grow faster and faster because you’re earning interest on both your original investment and the interest it has already earned.


In other words, your money is working for you, and the more time it has to grow, the more powerful this effect becomes. It’s like a snowball rolling downhill and getting bigger with each turn. Compounding is a simple but incredibly effective way to make the money work for you over time. And if you want to maximize compounding, you should start investing as early as possible.

By consistently saving a significant portion of their income and reinvesting the returns on their investments, a remote software engineer following this strategy can grow their wealth rapidly, ultimately achieving financial independence and their first million in a shorter timeframe. The longer they follow this strategy, the bigger the compounding effect becomes, making it a compelling strategy for software engineers seeking financial success.

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