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USA: Economy and Finance

Taking good care of your financial affairs is an essential part of moving abroad. Knowing about the cost of living in different cities helps expats plan for unexpected expenses. Figuring out where to open a bank account and what payment methods to use is another important step.

The cost of living in the US varies widely between the different cities and regions. We tell you the top cities in the US in terms of cost of living and provide you with a checklist of what to keep in mind when planning your budget for your expat assignment. In this checklist, we include some things you may not have considered, like the likelihood that you will need a car to get around, or the surprisingly high cost of child care.

Managing Your Finances

It is important to make sure you find the right place for your money while you are abroad. Our guide on banks in the US outlines the different types of banks and bank accounts available, as well as providing information on what you should watch out for in terms of hidden costs and fees. If you are planning on making a big purchase during your time in the US, like buying a house, our section on building up your credit history explains why this is so important if you will need to take out a mortgage or loan. And finally, if you will be making frequent money transfers back to your home country, we provide information on the most cost effective way to do this.

Cash, Checks, and Credit Cards

If you hadn’t already heard, Americans love using their credit cards. They are accepted almost universally, and used for transactions of even just a couple dollars. Debit cards are less popular, as they offer fewer consumer protections when compared to credit cards. What you may be surprised to learn is that Americans also still regularly write checks for things like paying the rent or giving a monetary gift. Cash, on the other hand, is used less frequently. Paying for bills and other purchases online is increasing in popularity, and will probably continue to do so over the coming years.

InterNations Expat Magazine