Osman Hassan has had enough of the daily grind. At 36 years old, he says he’s cashing out and leaving the Twin Cities to move back to East Africa, where he thinks his modest nest egg will keep him comfortable for a long time—perhaps the rest of his life. The first place he wants to go when he lands in Uganda? The zoo.
After Osman lost his job last month in the IT department at the Mosco Group, a retail solutions firm in Minnetonka, he decided he wouldn’t bother applying for another 9-to-5 job. Instead, Osman cashed out his 401(k) retirement savings, put his house on the market, and tallied up his investments in BlackBerry and other companies. He added to it by skillfully riding the Reddit-fueled stock market short-selling craze. When he totalled it all, he decided that his $80,000 was enough to live someplace warmer that he considers more “culturally vibrant.” He plans to leave later this month, provided he sells his house.
He’s grateful for the opportunity the United States gave him, but says he won’t miss the cost of living. Or the Minnesota snow.
Osman announced his plans to move on Reddit, which quickly accumulated more than 3,000 up-votes. He said he deleted the post because he was tired of responding to individuals commenting: “Take me with you.”
“Farewell Minneapolis and America,” Osman wrote in his post. “I just listed my house for sale. My job is no more and I have enough assets in the stock market and 401(k) to permanently move back to Africa and live comfortably without a job.”
“It’s both sad and happy at the same time. I will miss Minneapolis and the nice people,” Osman continued in his post. “America allowed me to save a lot so I can’t complain.”
Whether or not things turn out the way he planned, Osman is far from the only one who has chosen to trade the life he found in America for a less expensive life abroad. He has friends and family members who have recently moved back to Kenya and Somalia—and they’re enjoying it, he said. In particular, one friend who moved to Kenya in 2013 inspired him. Osman also is following members of previous generations of immigrants from many countries dating back a century or more, who came to America—and then headed home again.
One downside to moving back always has been the threat of political instability elsewhere, a concern that may seem less of a problem considering the rough patch the United States is going through. But just in case, Osman is keeping his U.S. passport. He considers it “highly unlikely” that he’ll return, but if he finds that Uganda, Kenya, or Somalia isn’t safe, he’ll come back to live with his mom in Eagan.