Got What It Takes to Move Overseas?Fotolia
Financial planning is essential for a successful expat life.
To move overseas is a step which requires a lot from you. Contrary to what you might believe, it takes more than a valid visa and a plane ticket to move overseas and turn your life upside down. When you move overseas, there are several practical and psychological conditions that should be just right.
That way, you’ll have a positive and fulfilling experience abroad. The following advice before you move overseas may occasionally sound gloomy and unromantic, but listening to your common sense will benefit your move overseas. When you plan to move overseas, you should take the following factors into account.
When you move overseas, financial stability and financial planning are essential elements for success and safety. A financial cushion is necessary to cover additional or unexpected costs. In a 2009 NatWest survey concerning moving to a foreign country, 87% of Brits thought that if they were to move overseas, they would be better off financially. Had they perhaps considered the necessity of a financial cushion before their move overseas, they would have not been negatively surprised.
Even when you move overseas to a supposedly “cheap” country, life abroad can be more costly than you think. In the beginning, immediately after you move overseas, you’ll probably insist on the more expensive expat lifestyle with every amenity you know from home.
No matter which reason drives you to move overseas, you should have at least some work opportunities lined up before you take off. Of course, if you are a student with a promising university application, a retiree with a decent pension, or if your company wants you to move overseas for a project/assignment, you don’t have to worry about this part!
In all other cases, you should familiarize yourself with the job market in your destination of choice and see whether your qualifications are actually in demand. Admittedly, free-lancing as a travel writer, blogger, or language tutor in a Central European capital sounds enticingly Bohemian. Yet when you embark on that adventure, be sure you have some basic knowledge about self-employment and a couple of business contacts that could get you regular jobs before you move overseas.
The Right Location
If you have a say in your company’s decision to send you abroad or if you are a self-made expat who can choose where to move overseas, you should know that making the right choice also means letting go of romantic ideas. Ideally, you can cope with the climate and social customs of your country of choice. A lot of this has to do with psychological attitude and intercultural training, but that’s not all.
Language skills are always an obvious bonus concerning a move overseas, but don’t forget to consider your physical constitution too. For some countries and climates, you will need to be very healthy, or at least have a good awareness of your body’s limits.
As a Western expat, gushing about, say, the beauty of Cambodia may be irrelevant if you are not aware of the potential health and safety risks which living in that country may pose.
Have a Plan
Your move overseas will require you to organize a lot of things and jump quite a few bureaucratic hurdles. Paperwork and finances have to be set in order, personal items sold or put in storage, luggage packed and shipped, etc. You need to be thorough, careful, organized, and above all, patient, when faced with red tape and an endless number of forms to complete or fees to pay. Bureaucracy is, unfortunately, everywhere.
But even if your finances and your job are taken care of and you chose a place that you can easily adjust to, and made a perfect plan to prepare your move overseas, you will need the right mindset and attitude to pull it off.