Moving overseas has to be one of those things we’ve all dreamed about at some time or another in our lives. It may have been a fleeting thought just recently or it might be something that has niggled away at the back of your head for some years now. The reason we say this is because so many people move abroad every year. What we call these people is a little biased, but whether you use the word immigrants or expats is up to you. The point is, more and more people are choosing to advance their life experiences by hopping overseas and broadening their horizons.
It could be that the chance to work in a foreign country has presented itself; an opportunity that is too good to simply dismiss without a little bit of thought. It could be that you are looking to retire somewhere with 350 days of sun and a relaxed atmosphere. Whatever it is, there are a few considerations worth bearing in mind before you jump on a plane and start your new life. This isn’t an article that is going to address how difficult it is to make the leap; it is more an article to get you thinking practically about what you need to do first.
Swat up On Visa Requirements
Where you are from and where you are going can have a huge affect on your needs on this front. For example, if you are British and you are looking to move to a country that’s in the EU, then you won’t need a Visa. Not yet, anyway, although we suggest you hurry up if you are thinking about this (thank you, Brexit). Must move, however, will require you to have the correct paperwork correctly filled out first, which is never as easy as it should be. Another thing to consider is the entry requirements of your destination location. Some may want you to have sponsorship from a native business, while others could demand that you have some in-demand skills to offer. With this in mind, it often works out as the more remote the place you are heading the more in demand your skills will be. If this is kind of giving you the jitters because, well, you don’t want to work, you’ve done that, you just want to retire now, then having proof that you can support yourself financially and a local resident to sponsor you tends to go a long way.
Manage Your Healthcare Expectations
Once again, it depends on where you are from and where you are going, but a lot of the time you can expect to be faced with a higher cost of healthcare when you touch down and settle in. as such, it is always worth doing your research first and knowing what health care options are out there for you. If you are looking to move to Europe, then it could be that you qualify for a European Health Insurance Card. If you are heading Down Under, to the land of Aus, then it is worth understanding how the Medicare system works, which is a publicly funded scheme that manages to work really well with a more private healthcare system. On the other hand, if you are heading to Spain to retire on the beach then you may find that you do not qualify for any of their free healthcare services. Just keep that in mind and know that being granted insurance tends to only happen once a Visa has been granted.
Get To Grips With The Tax Slapped On Property
A lot of the time, buying a property overseas seems a lot more affordable than it did buy back home because the exchange rate is so favorable. Let’s say you’ve landed in Malaysia, you rent a place for a month, like the exchange rate and so you go and look at that new property launch you saw a big notice about, you smile and you think, “yeah, I’ll snap that up.” Unfortunately, it may not be as simple as this in terms of price. So, no matter where you are moving, the first thing you will want to do is check what the local property tax rates are, how much typical fees will set you back and whether there is any form of Stamp Duty to consider. This could add anything between 5% and 15% onto your total figure. That’s not to mention the ongoing taxes and capital gains taxes which, using Malaysia as our example again, are 30% for the first six years, not to mention the fact you could be taxed at home too.
Pension Considerations Are A Must
One of the things that have long been an issue, depending on where you are from and where you are moving too, is the matter of pensions. A lot of countries have an agreement in place that allows state pensions to increase even when you have emigrated. However, some places may not have such an agreement in place and that could mean that your state pension gets frozen. This will mean that you don’t qualify for any future increases, while the cost of living around you keeps climbing. From what we have seen, this has long been one of the major issues that force people to give up their emigration dreams and return home. So, yeah, once again, just make sure you know how your chosen destination will affect your future finances.
Get Your Head Around The Cost Of Living
We recommend a trial run first just to make sure you like what you are getting or not. However, this is not always going to work or give you the best insight. As such, we also recommend you speak to people that have already made the move there, and left the same country behind; that way you will get a far more accurate reading, so to speak. Make a list of things that are important to you or a list of things that people have mentioned and weight it all up. Yes, this includes property prices, but it should also include rental costs, groceries, fuel, entertainment, eating out and energy prices. Just remember, those areas that are more popular will be more costly. Using our Malaysian example again, you can see from this cost of living calculator that living in Miri will cost a lot more than living in Taiping, which could have a huge impact on how comfortable you are.