Financial mistakes to avoid when emigrating

Published:  10 Feb at 6 PM
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Moving overseas, whether it’s for a new job or retirement, is challenging at best and terrifying at worst, but care and common sense can make sure financial errors don’t ruin the entire experience.

The majority of those intending to stay overseas for a good while are stuck with the necessity of packing and shipping their personal belongings.The obvious way out of this stressful do-it-yourself trap is to use a professional company which takes care of everything on a door-to-door basis, even although the service isn’t cheap. Keeping a close eye on ‘extras’ can save a pile of money.

Setting a budget for the move and keeping to it, no matter what, is the best way forward, but remembering to allocate funds for admin costs, legal expenses and deposits when renting or buying your new home is essential, as is an allowance for hotel costs whilst your property is being prepared. Another common mistake is estimating your living costs whilst still in the home country. Wherever in the world you’re relocating, you’ll need to decide on your affordable lifestyle after you get there, not before.

Comparing costs with those in your home country, especially rates for utilities and rent is a waste of time, especially if you’ve taken a job in a country known for its exceptionally high cost of living. Budgeting gets easier as you find your way around, particularly as regards shopping for food and other regular basics. After a while, you’ll find yourself spending less and living better as a result.

One important consideration, especially if you’re being paid in your home currency, is the problem of fluctuating exchange rates. Pensioners, for example, can find their monthly cheque has taken a big hit, thus reducing their available budget until the rates improve. Working expats being paid in the local currency who need to make payments in, say, sterling will also need to adjust accordingly.

Perhaps the most important issue for new expats is avoiding the holiday mentality experienced when you first arrive. Spending on restaurants, attractions, buying things for the home and getting caught up in the excitement of it all can wreck the most carefully planned monthly budget. Luckily, this phase doesn’t last long, and keeping an emergency fund can ensure any financial problems are easily solved.
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