Thinking for Abroad

The fundamentals of becoming an expatriate

There are numerous reasons as to why someone will make the decision to relocate to a new country and become an expatriate. The decision can be an inbound decision of wanting a new life of adventure or you are being relocated due to your job. Regardless of the reason, there are an abundant amount of benefits for making the move. The term expatriate is often misinterpreted and we are here to help you understand what it means to be an expatriate and how we recommend preparing for your new life.

What is an Expatriate?

An expatriate is considered as anyone who is living outside of their native country – meaning the country in which they were born and/or brought up in. Expats that are living overseas can be considered in a permanent, semi-permanent or temporary placement, depending on the expats’ specific situation.

When relocating abroad, regardless of the reason for moving, there are plenty of considerations to think about beforehand. Some top priority factors are to determine where your income will derive from, are you living in a safe area, how to attain housing, are you moving somewhere with a different language than your native tongue, whether or not you need a visa, and how does the medical care system work in your new country. We have created a small guide to answer some big-picture questions that are crucial to know before your big relocation.

Signals

Visa requirements

Most countries will require a visa in order to become a local resident, and the process and availability will be dependent on your country of origin, as well as the inbound country. It is very important to understand all the factors and limitations of your visa before moving. More often then not, a work visa will have a longer period of validity in comparison to a visitors visa, resulting in a more stable duration of stay.

Adapting to local culture

Your international relocation may bring you to a country that is vastly different than your home town, whether that be in Africa, Asia, Europe or South America. Each region and country around the world has it’s own unique offerings to you as an expatriate, and it will be important to learn and appreciate how differently things are done. One aspect that will greatly benefit you as an expatriate will be to learn the local language as well as possible. Learning a new language has many benefits and challenges, and in the end, it will greatly improve your experiences in the new country. The more you adjust and dive into the culture and experiences of your new home, the easier it will be for you to adjust and enjoy your time away from home.

The benefits of Expatriate health insurance

Countries all around the world vary in healthcare, in cost and standardization and care. As an expatriate living abroad, you will want to have the best healthcare coverage as possible. In most circumstances, countries will require expatriates to obtain a global medical coverage plan for extra protection, as most expats won’t be covered under a domestic plan. A comprehensive global medical plan that can move with you and cover you locally, regionally and globally – especially back home will be critical.

A major benefit of a global medical health care plan is the ability to cover other dependents as well – whether that be a spouse or children. Obtaining the best care for yourself and your family will be extremely important as you choose to live an expatriate life.

Domestic government health plans often only provide access to public hospitals and doctors. This may become problematic as you will have more restrictive access to medical care. In order to avoid the complications of long wait lines, extra costs of medical testing and surgeries, most expats will seek out a global medical care coverage in order to have access to private hospitals, doctors and clinics.

The keys to success

Success Ahead

As rewarding as living an expatriate life can be, there will surely be some obstacles along the way. Here are some suggestions in order to get the most out of your expatriate experience.

  1. Appreciate the cultures and languages of your new country! Many people will never be given the opportunity to travel and live the way you are, so make sure to take the time to dive into new cultures, meet the local populations and learn to appreciate the way of life that is different than your norm.
  2. Moving abroad is the perfect opportunity to do a major clean out of your house! Deciding what to pack when moving abroad can be a stressful and tedious experience, however, it is an excellent opportunity to purge out old household items and clothing that you don’t need!
  3. As you are becoming an expatriate, it will be important to engage in an expatriate community as well as the local natives. There are several benefits to relying on other expats, including learning from their past mistakes and suggestions, as well as their knowledge on conducting business and creating a social life in a foreign land.
  4. It will also be important to know about your countries taxation policies. As all countries differ in tax legislation, it will be important to be up to date on your tax status and whether double taxation agreements are in place between the two countries.
  5. Lastly, obtaining your international health insurance before relocating, or within the first few days of moving will be crucial. This will alleviate a large amount of unnecessary and added stress that is preventable in order to protect yourself. At Expat Financial, we are able to meet the growing needs of expatriates living around the world who require global healthcare coverage for themselves and their families. To view available international health insurance plans available, click here!

 

Expat locations

6 tips for travelling within budget

Going away on holiday is always an exciting experience with high anticipation! With all the different considerations to plan for, the trip planning portion of your vacation may not be the most enjoyable experience. We have created 6 great tips to help you budget for your travels, as well as staying within budget while away! The next best part about going on holiday is being able to come home from the trip with a full wallet!

Budget before you leave

As many trips go, there will be a hundred different things you will want to explore on your time away. Whether that be a weekend getaway or a long overdue extended trip, you should never underestimate the value in budgeting before you take off.

Whether it’s your first time in a new city or a place that has become your second home, you can never do “too much” research before taking off. It’s vital while budgeting to look into multiple sources and sites when trying to obtain information about different costs. It is important to remember that, although one source may give you tempting information, that that may not be the most accurate source out available. That is why we recommended looking into multiple different sites, platforms and resources while budgeting for your trip.

Calculating Budget

Look for hotel bundle deals

This goes hand in hand with doing your proper research, but make sure to take extra precaution when looking into hotel and flight deals. With the multitude of websites that are available to the public nowadays, you have an abundant amount of options to choose from. Whether it means not staying right in the centre of the city centre and taking a flight that’s not exactly at your ideal travel time, you may be able to save a fortune on these small compromises, which will ultimately allow you to experience many other adventures on your trip.

Always over budget rather than under budget

As easy as it is to take the lowest estimated options when scanning through different sources, we recommend that you take a more generous approach to your budget, rather than optimistic. We know it can be very tempting to downplay the costs of your trip, but at the end of the day, it is always better to come home with a little extra cash or take that extra unexpected tour on your last day rather than coming home to extra credit card debt.

 Follow your budget

After taking all the time to budget and plan for your trip, the next important step in the savings guideline is to actually follow through with your budget. A common mistake done by many travellers is to create a fantastic and well-detailed budget plan, and then fail to execute once on vacation. Not to say that you need to stay on budget for every meal and every expenditure, but make sure to stay well within the confinements of your budget.

Budget

Watch for the scams

As many cities & destinations are accustomed to having tourist and visitors around, it is important to be aware of the scams and tricks that many locals, especially in poorer countries, have in mind for visiting guests.  It’s important to note that many scams can be in the form of “too good to be true” savings. In order to be aware of these scams, keep in mind what the value of the product and/or service you are receiving, and make sure it aligns with the proposed costs.

Obtain travel insurance before leaving

One vital step we recommend you taking before taking off on your trip is to obtain travel insurance coverage for the duration of your trip. It is important to obtain coverage for the entirety of your trip in order to avoid a lapse in coverage. Unexpected medical costs can become very expensive while travelling abroad, and you don’t want to be caught without medical coverage. If you are moving abroad for a year or more, it is highly recommended that you obtain a quote for international health insurance to cover you globally.

At Expat financial, a division of TFG Global Solutions Ltd., we are able to offer individuals or group plans for those travelling abroad. To receive a quote contact us directly at info@tfgglobal.com 

 

 

 

global medical

Using your international health insurance while abroad

Before you go abroad, it is essential to learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas. If an emergency does happen, will your health insurance plan cover medical emergency evacuation overseas? Are you familiar with the payment method overseas in your destination country? Does your insurance cover preventive health checkups while you are working and living overseas? You don’t want to be making phone calls at the last minute to locate medical services if get hurt or sick abroad. In this article, we will discuss the importance of obtaining international health insurance, and how to use your insurance while abroad.

What Does International Health Insurance Plan Cover?

Most expats living and working overseas are not covered by free medical care. Some expats may rely upon the local government medical plan due to the low cost; however, these plans typically do not provide private medical coverage which typically provides a much higher level of care. As the standard of medical care varies greatly from country to country, most expats will want the peace of mind of consistently having private healthcare facilities with English speaking medical staff and overseas trained doctors. These private clinics and hospitals usually cost much more than public medical facilities. Therefore, a guarantee of payment provided by insurers is critical to protecting your financial wellbeing.

An international health insurance plan will provide coverage on hospital outpatient & inpatient treatment (depending on your individual policy), extensive cancer coverage, maternity care (see more detailed information at Maternity Benefits for Expatriates), global medical evacuation coverage, as well as dental & vision care, and wellbeing care. The plan can also let you choose the medical provider such as the hospital and doctor to suit your needs. Please remember, Expat Financial can manage the tailoring of your international health insurance plan with flexible and global coverage.

Medical Emergency Evacuation Coverage is Vital

Medical Emergency & Evacuation Coverage

You have to prepare for the worst while living abroad as an expat. When visiting some rural or remote area with a serious medical emergency caused by injury or virus, the assistance of air ambulance consists of transporting to the closest medical facility or a nearby country is the only choice. However, the cost of such medical transportation service is often expensive. The decision to evacuate is not dependent on the patient’s will – it usually rests with the ability of local medical providers to treat your illness. Suitable methods of transportation including ambulance, commercial flight, helicopter and air ambulance.

Most local health insurance plans won’t cover the cost of medical emergency evacuation. Therefore, it is important to obtain an international health insurance plan with a medical evacuation policy. Depending on your policy, you will be able to access one or different degrees of medical evacuation coverage.

Preventive Health Checkup and Routine Physical Exams 

international health insurance for chronic conditions

To prevent you from serious health problems, it is advised to take steps to keep yourself healthy when living overseas. Preventive health checkups such as screening, lab tests and other medical tests will help you stay healthy and avoid any illness before you notice. The medical cost of preventive healthcare at private medical facilities is usually expensive as well. In fact, most local healthcare plans do not include preventive medical checkups. Therefore, a tailored international health insurance plan for preventive medical checkups is recommended in order to keep you healthy.

Maternity Coverage 

Please keep in mind that individual expat health insurance plans that offer maternity coverage will only take in effect after a 10 to 12 month waiting period, which means an existing pregnancy will not be covered. Due to the rising costs and risks of giving birth overseas, travel insurance plans do not cover pregnancy-related expenses.

It is important for expats to obtain international health insurance with maternity coverage while residing overseas. Remember Plan ahead to avoid devastating medical expenses.

Maternity Coverage

Obtain International Health Insurance Plan Before Departure

Finding the right international health insurance plan is an important decision as you want to be protected and covered when living and working abroad. Expat Financial will save you time and money by finding the perfect plan for you. If your company manages many employees with varying needs, you can request a group expatriate health insurance quote, and we can advise you on whether your plan’s policies should be altered as your employees and company changes.

If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or if you would like to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

expat healthcare

Healthcare costs in China for expatriates are soaring

Healthcare Is Expensive for Expatriates in China – Health Coverage is Vital

Many people can’t resist the appeal that China has to offer – the beautiful and diverse scenery, the local culture and is one of the main economic hubs of the world. There are so many fantastic career opportunities for expatriates in China where the economy is still growing at a fantastic rate. As an expatriate, it is not easy to resist the temptation to relocate to China – whether it be Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing or other major cities within.

China

Public Care

While taking into account China’s increasing population rates, increasing life expectancy rates and a stimulated economy increasing demand, the cost of China’s health care system is dramatically increasing as the years move forward. With this current trend, there is no foreseeable decrease in these costs, and it is explicitly important for non-native residents to take extra precaution. As China’s non-communicable disease rates are on the rise, the difficulty in obtaining sustainable public health care will continue to decline. As the cost of public healthcare continues to rise, the government is no longer able to support the financial demand – and is therefore forced to lower the standards of care in the general public hospitals. In our experience, expatriates do not seek healthcare in China from the public system and almost always obain medical assistance in the private clinics and hospitals.

Private care

As the general association between the cost of buying and operating in China is generally thought of as being inexpensive, this may lead an expatriate to believe that the cost of obtaining health and medical services would follow the same trend. This may be true for locals in China, as it is possible to find relatively inexpensive care in public hospitals; however, most expatriates will atomically seek medical treatment in private hospitals. It is much better for an expatriate to seek out private care, as it will be more likely to be close to their own standards of care, as well as less limitation with the language barrier. Private hospitals, albeit more expensive than the public ones, will still cost approximately 80% of what one would pay for medical treatment in an American hospital and clinics. In some cases even more than the USA. The levels of care that an expatriate will find in a private hospital is substantially better than what he will find in the public sector; it is even common for the wealthier Chinese nationals to seek private care in the country. Since you are probably from a country outside of China, it is critical that you get a plan that will also cover you back in your home country and throughout the region.

Healthcare in China

With the idea of private care in mind, it is crucial for expatriates living in any Chinese city to obtain international health insurance coverage for your relocation. Even though China is a major economic hub for many people, the cost of living is still one of the most expensive places in the world and obtaining an international health plan will allow you to have peace of mind and financial protection.

Expat Financial, a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd, can easily obtain coverage for most expatriates in China. Our staff has the necessary knowledge to provide you with complete insurance coverage that will protect you while being posted in China. You can get a quote for healthcare in China via our quote page or by clicking the quote button below. Most people can obtain a quote in minutes and many are approved in minutes or after a few days.

Contact Expat Financial today for a more in-depth examination of your global health insurance needs for China and what plans we can offer you. If you require a quote for Chinese expat insurance, contact Expat Financial today. Please send along any relevant risk information that may be available or obtain a quote via the link above for the best plan that we can offer expatriates living in China.

Costa Rica Culture

Top 5 reasons expatriates are choosing to live in Costa Rica

You’ve taken the plunge and decided to move to a foreign land to pursue your dreams of living an expatriate life. Countless days have been spent trying to decide on the perfect new place to call home, and the decision has finally been made: Costa Rica.

There will surely be obstacles along the way; learning a new language, adapting to new cultures and customs, and developing new social networks. However, these obstacles are no match to the numerous benefits that will come from making the move.

Whether you want to surround yourself with a vast array of volcanoes and waterfalls in the Central Valley, prefer the quiet life on the beach in Tamarindo, or want to live an exciting life of adventures and activities in the Arenal Region, Costa Rica offers a diverse and exciting profile for everyone.

For English speakers looking for work in Costa Rica, available industries are wide-ranging for an expatriate: varying between hospitality, tourism, the arts, sales, sports, and education. With Costa Rica calling your name, read through the top 5 reasons to make the move to this beautiful country.

1. Low Cost of Living

The cost of living in the Costa Rican regions is relatively stable throughout the entire country. Costa Rica is relatively affordable in comparison to most Canadian & American cities, and therefore, more advantageous for incoming expatriates.

On average, a furnished 900sqft apartment will cost ~$750USD per month, and in a more luxurious region can cost up to $1,500/month. Groceries range from $5 for an lb of chicken, $6 for 500gr or cheese, $2 for 2lbs of potatoes and $0.75 for bread. If you are living in a region where transportation is necessary, a bus pass will cost you $ 62/month.

Being an expatriate in a new city, you’ll surely want to explore the town with a few nights out. An average dinner for 2 will cost you about $40, drinks at a downtown bar will be $8 and if you’re in the mood for a fancier night out, a high-end restaurant will be ~$68 for 2.

2. Culture

 Costa Rica Culture

“The happiest country in the world” – Costa Rica has long been given this reputation. Through its energetic and friendly locals, Costa Rica is a sophisticated and proud country. It prides itself on its strong cultural values, which stems from freedom and equality for all, with a rich history incorporating many diverse influences. Costa Rican citizens are very friendly and it is a great country to explore culturally.

3. Safety and Stability

As an expatriate, it is important to know that you will be living in an area that prospers in safety and wellbeing. As one of the longest reigning democratic states in Central America, Costa Rica is known for its safe and stable environment and functional government. While you will want to take normal precautions that you would take while living abroad, most expats will agree that this beautiful country is a safe destination for living abroad.

Costa Rica is also one of the leading Central American counties for a stable and prospering economy. Although deciding to make the move to Costa Rica is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, you will be able to rest comfortably knowing that you are making the move to a financially stable country.

4. Weather and Environment

Costa Rica Environment

If versatility is what you’re looking for, Costa Rica is the best place for you. You can enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches in 30-degree weather, to going off exploring the rainforest and jungle region of the country. With dry and wet seasons, you will still experience the changes of weather, while also enjoying a constant 12 hours of sun a day, all year round.

5. Established Healthcare System

Costa Rica has one of the leading healthcare systems in the region. Most expats will want private healthcare provided by a large global insurance provider. As an expatriate, Costa Rica has the added benefit of offering English Speakers at nearly every major hospital and clinic. However, when making the decision to relocate, it is very important to obtain an international health insurance coverage plan for your extra protection.

At Expat Financial, we provide international healthlifedisability, and travel insurance to expats moving abroad or already living the expat life overseas. Our firm has extensive experience in working with expatriates in need of global health insurance while living in Costa Rica and other Central American countries. Contact us with any questions and obtain a quote online today!

 

 

Expat Tokyo - Why you need international health insurance?

10 tips on how to keep your expat kids healthy & happy overseas

Here are Some Tips for Expatriate Parents on How to Keep Your Kids Happy and Healthy Overseas

Moving abroad is often a difficult transition for expatriates and their spouses, but often even more so for their children. You want to make sure that the transition to life abroad is as effortless as possible. One of the most important considerations for expat parents is how to keep their expat kids healthy and happy abroad. We have noted several steps that expatriates can take before and after they move overseas to make sure the little ones and even teen expatriates will maintain their emotional and physical health.

1. Adjusting to their new school abroad

While you are trying to welcome your new environment, don’t forget to help your children to choose a school. Picking the right school requires you to do adequate research before moving abroad. It can be vital to the health and happiness of your children. For most children, the transition to a new environment can require sufficient counseling to help them integrate.

2. Make sure they are vaccinated

Obtaining the necessary vaccinations is important if you are moving overseas, but especially for children. Talk to your doctor and make sure they are up to date on their vaccination schedule and also make sure that they are properly vaccinated for diseases that may exist in your new home country abroad. When it comes to vaccinations, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

3. Encourage them to pack their things

Another step you can take to help your children to stay positive is to include them in the packing process. Encourage them to pack their belongings, and choose what they want to take on the plane and what gets shipped. Of course, also make sure they don’t forget their favorite toy or blanket!

Portrait of happy mother and baby girl on street overlooking rooftops of rome on sunset

4. Be mindful of their mental health and adjustment abroad

Moving abroad is a big deal for adults, but even more so for your children. They are moving away from all what they are familiar with – home, friends, cousins etc… Don’t try to avoid their questions and anxieties. As soon as you know there’s going to be a relocation, include your kids in the conversation. Listen properly to their questions and concerns. They have to make new connections in a brand new culture. While they may be excited, it can be quite daunting. If you can see assistance both before and after you go and be very mindful of their mental well-being after you move abroad. Think about having them join a team or club while abroad. Also, maybe include your kids in the process of decorating their rooms. Let them choose their furniture, paint colour and bedsheets.

5. Keep copies of your kids’ medical records

One of the biggest challenges when relocating with children is looking for high-quality medical care. It is always suggested to bring your children’s medical records wherever you go, as well as vaccination updates, and allergy history

6. Research destination illness and health warnings

Many countries are providing diseases and health warnings on their travel websites. Expats should consult these sites before moving abroad. In most cases, children are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Through adequate research, you should be able to identify the signs and symptoms of some common local diseases. It also helps to take preventive actions such as vaccinations and checkups for your kids before you move.

Expatriate Life Insurance

7. Help your children to keep in touch with home country

Moving abroad will be a landmark event in your children’s lives. It is suggested that you help your children collect all of their friends’ contact information, put them in an address book. Another helpful step would be to create photo albums to preserve their memories from their home country. It will also be a good idea to host an unforgettable goodbye party to celebrate this life-changing decision.

8. Find local expat kids groups

There are local expats groups or communities resources online, through social media or employee networking. Bring your kids to these child-friendly activities. It has been proved that these similarly minded expat parents can help expat children to acclimatize to the new surroundings faster.

9. Learn the language together with your children

It is a good idea to begin a language course before relocation. However, to better help your kids’ transition, you are recommended to take the time to learn the new language with your kids. It will help them to see there is a learning curve for everyone. And if you are enjoying the new language, they will be more likely to also.

An elementary age girl is holding her stuffed animal at the doctors office. Her mother is talking to the doctor in the background.

10. Obtain international health insurance to cover you and your expat kids

It is crucial for every expat family to take the necessary action to ensure that their spouse and children’s health and well-being are protected and provided for via an appropriate level of international health insuranceExpat Financial offers a wide array of excellent global health plans designed specifically for expatriates of most nationalities around much of the world. You should also consider purchasing the expatriate dental coverage option.

If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized evacuation quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Asian Tourist

A financial checklist is important for expats moving abroad

Make a Financial Checklist if You Are Moving Abroad!

Financial planning is often considered confusing, frustrating and time-consuming, especially for expatriates who are busy enough living and working abroad. However, don’t let it frighten you off. Financial planning aims to help take control of your life and budget, and achieve your financial goals. This is very important for expats living and working overseas. In order to have a clear picture of what you want, it is recommended that you create a simple financial checklist before moving abroad.

Do you want to own a home or rent an apartment?

Expatriates working overseas will have the chance to own a larger amount of disposable income. A clear financial goal is important if you want to make the most of your money. For expatriates aiming to purchase home overseas, it is suggested to look for neighbourhoods with appropriate community services and excellent schools. This will be attractive for future resale value. If you decided to rent an apartment, make sure to check the entire room before signing the lease contract. Rental agreements will vary, you are responsible to read carefully before signing.

Do you have emergency savings?

Any unexpected events or risks could hurt your financial health. Financial professionals suggest holding at least 3-6 months of income as emergency savings. This is especially important for expatriates living overseas in the event of any financial emergencies. It is recommended to establish a monthly budget to cover day-to-day expenses, protecting cash account being invested or overspending.

Asian Girl

Do you have a retirement plan?

If you have a retirement plan at hand, you will be clear when making major decisions such as what lifestyle you can afford, how much to save and where you will retire. The earlier you get the retirement plan ready, the more comfortable retirement. A lot of factors will help to design your retirement plan: investment returns, cash flow, country-specific benefits, etc. You should talk to an expat investment expert who may be able to guide you in the right investment plans and investments. Generally, the closer you are to retirement the less risk you may want to take. Expats may want to think about if your investment accounts are consolidated and organized?

There are also many retirement hot spots for expat retirees such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand, etc. There are many reasons why expats choose to retire overseas: lower cost of living compared to western countries, beautiful beaches, cuisine, climate, etc. Check out our Expat Retiree page to read more about international health coverage needs for your current or upcoming retirement plan.

Tax Planning

Have you undertaken adequate tax planning and preparations before moving abroad?

Tax issues can be complicated, especially for international citizens. Moving abroad can involve significant tax implications – some positive and some negative. For example, some Canadians become non-residents for tax purposes when they move abroad along with significant tax savings depending on the country they will be residing in. For American expats, it can be quite complex as well. It is recommended to visit your local tax office and consult expat tax experts before moving overseas. We often recommend that expatriates talk to an expat tax expert such as Citizen Abroad Tax Advisors. We also list several other firms on our links page.

Have you made financial arrangements in your new home country?

If possible, it is wise to arrange for a new bank account in your new country of residence and bring adequate ID and financial letters from your home bank. You may also need to transfer money into a new currency – we recommend our foreign exchange associates at OFX and use them ourselves. You should also check into money restrictions and regulations in your existing and new country of residence.

Do you have international health insurance to protect you and your family while living abroad?

Yes, as you can guess global healthcare is near and dear to our heats! We work with many expats who reside where the local healthcare system is usually not the best choice. That local health coverage may not even be available, especially if you are residing in the developing world. You may not even be eligible for local healthcare or it simply may be substandard. The cost of using private medical care is usually very high in many parts of the world, especially in parts of Asia and of course the USA.  It is common that you may be living in a country where medical care is inadequate, and you may need to see medical care regionally or globally. The expense of emergency medical evacuation is also quite expensive. For example, we know of a friend of ours who was charged 75,000 USD for a short evacuation flight from one island to another. A large medical bill can destroy your financial goals and hurt your financial future. If your employer is providing health coverage, make sure it is adequate coverage for both you and your family. Note that some companies do not extend coverage to dependent spouses and children.

With an appropriate international medical plan in place, many individual expats and their families are covered around the globe (except in the USA unless you add it as an optional benefit). International health insurance plan provides day-patient care and full hospital coverage, preventive medical care, extensive cancer coverage, maternity and baby care (conditions may apply), dental & vision care and international medical evacuation and repatriation. This is especially important for expats going to visit the more rural areas in some less developed countries.

Health Insurance

How to obtain international health insurance 

Expat Financial can source global medical insurance plans for expatriate families that can provide excellent coverage and premiums. We have been offering international health insurance coverage on an individual basis for many years. For more information, please check out our International Health Insurance page.

Learning New Language

Five Tips for Learning a New Language If Living Abroad

5 Tips for Learning a New Language If Moving or Already Living Abroad

Moving to a brand-new country is never easy. Learning a new language can take years. And moving to a brand-new country while attempting to learn a new language can be downright daunting.

For an expat in a non-English speaking country, the question simply becomes: how can I learn the local language fast? While there is no magic pill to learn a new language overnight, there are ways to pick up a language quickly. While this task of learning a foreign language may seem huge, there are ways to make your life a bit smoother – here are five tips to learning a new language, while living abroad:

  1. Understand that learning a new language is difficult!

    There are multiple ways of learning a new language and not every way will work for you. No one is expecting you to learn a brand-new language perfectly and to be fluent speaker right away, especially if you are learning a language with many complexities like Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Korean, or Hungarian. The faster you can come to terms with this notion, the faster you can get over any anxiety and embarrassment that may come with learning a new foreign language. Relax, figure out what method works for you, practice, and enjoy the process.

  2. Immerse yourself in the language.

    Pay attention to the street signs, the advertisements on the sides busses and on billboards, read food labels when grocery shopping; all of this helps (especially when learning a new language alphabet). Celebrate your wins when you recognize what the words or phrases mean. Try ordering your daily cup of coffee at your neighborhood cafe in the local language. Find out the keywords or phrases to get by and say pleasantries like please, thank you, may I, sorry, etc. and use them on a daily basis. They will become automatic and make you more confident.

  3. Self-study.

    If you like to learn on your own there are many books out there on learning new languages. You can check out local books stores in your new country, many of which will have books on learning English or baby books. Don’t discredit these books, reversing how you view the language may be quite helpful. And there are thousands of YouTube videos, podcasts, and apps to help you self-learn – most of them free. Listen or watch videos on your daily commute or for a few hours a day when possible. Making use of technology can be a lighter and easier way of learning as many apps aim to make the learning process fun and game-like. Talk to the locals who speak English, they can help correct you and guide you. If you don’t know a local who can help, join a learning group.

  4. Join a learning group.

    This will allow you to be in a structured environment to learn the new language. You will get feedback, be sounded by others from various different countries who are trying to learn the local language and may even receive assignments to test your knowledge. Find fellow expats, but beware of slipping back into your native tongue.

  5. Get creative.

    Make flashcards, try to write up your work emails or everyday texts in English and the local language, visualize the new language rather than relying on a direct translation. Have fun with friends or family members who are trying to learn the new language, get into a habit of picking a category to talk about ex. “colours” or “foods” and say the examples in the language. Watch the news for articulation and pronunciation. If you are in a big city check out a play, visit museums, and see movies in the language you are trying to learn.

And finally, something thing you might want to consider before choosing a language learning method is what purpose are you looking to achieve by learning a foreign language? Do you need it mostly for writing? Talking? Business? Can you get by without learning too much of the local language? Learning a new language will always assist in ensuring a good quality of life and freedom within your new country. A new language will assist you should you require medical care from a facility or doctor who doesn’t speak your language. A great medical plan will also provide medical insurance support in all of the major languages. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates of any nationality across the world who are about to move abroad or already there. If you have any questions regarding international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs as an expat, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Retire Abroad

Should you retire abroad?

Learn About Retiring Abroad – Determining Your “Expatibility,” or Candidacy, for Retiring Abroad

A lot of us wanted to travel abroad while we were younger or were interested in taking time off work to explore and see more of the world. You may or may not have had the chance to see as much of the world as you wanted. But now you nearing retirement. And you always thought you’d travel once your career was complete. Now you are considering going abroad – and staying abroad permanently as a retired expat.

How do you determine if retiring abroad is right for you?

For one thing, going abroad for retirement is an adventure. Another thing is that it may make total financial sense to leave your native country, with costs of living climbing. And it’s never been easier to pull off expat living – with resources at your fingertips around the clock through the easy facilitation of information-sharing online. You can look up what others have done and read about their experiences online, and even connect with them as well.

Determining your expatibility is the most important step to deciding if you should retire abroad.

Here are two steps you can take in order to determine whether you’re a good candidate for this adventurous expat lifestyle.

Step 1. Take a good look at yourself and profile whether you have the personal disposition to retire abroad.
Retiring abroad takes a desire for adventure, yes. But it also means embracing change, difference and meeting difficulties with an open mind. Do you shy away from obstacles that may arise, like language barriers and a different way of life? You should also consider the following disadvantages of moving abroad:

  1. You will not be able to see your friends and family as much
  2. You may have to sell your house and give up health coverage back home
  3. You will have to give up some activities at home which may not be available in your new location – such as skiing if you are moving from Vancouver to Barbados.
  4. Will you have enough money to last for your life no matter how long you live?

Also, are you ready to immerse yourself in a different culture, including the food, the type of dress you’d be donning? If not, then retiring abroad may not be for you. Or you’re not just yet ready to take the leap into expat life at the moment.

Step 2. Ask yourself what you truly need – what are your necessities in life?

What are some things you absolutely can’t live without? Do you need to be able to speak the local language in your new home country or get away with speaking English? Do you have to have the ability to live with very low costs, or peace and quiet, or a car or internet? Evaluating your needs will help you decide if you’re able to live abroad, and where.

Whether or not you decide to retire abroad, and wherever you go, remember that you’re going to need international health coverage as it’s very likely that your domestic plan will NOT cover you during your retirement abroad. Medical expenses incurred abroad can be extremely expensive and as we all know, our health does not improve with age. It will make sense to lock in a global medical insurance plan when you are living abroad from a well known and respected global insurance company, such as the expat health plan we offer from Cigna.

Finding the right international medical insurer is an extremely complex issue. There are many different levels of healthcare around the world, as well as vastly changing local regulations. Therefore, it’s very important to ensure you’ve selected an international health insurance plan that fully protects you and your family. You should also consider a global health plan that will cover you for life as some plans will termiante after you reach age 70 or 75.

Contact Expat Financial for expert advice and to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements.

Lifestyle Abroad

How to Become A Digital Nomad Abroad

Learn How You Can Become a Digital Nomad as an Expat Abroad

For a number of reasons, people become “expatriates” (that is, people who live outside their native country), and this process of becoming an expat happens in many ways./

One of the most recent and popular ways to become an expat has materialized through a number of technological innovations, and that is to become an expat as a “digital nomad.”

What is a digital nomad?

This is a term used for a person who is “location independent,” and relies on technology to perform his or her job. The great thing about being a digital nomad is you can work virtually anywhere, allowing you to move easily between countries and regions.

How exactly do you begin to become a digital nomad?

It seems to be an appealing life, one where you can travel and work simultaneously. Imagine sitting on a beach somewhere in Thailand working on your laptop (while also working on your tan!) The thing that digital nomads have in common is that they usually spend months in a year traveling while working online. But it takes a lot of hard work to reach a point where you can both work and travel.

As a recent movement that works for many, it can be rewarding. but there’s usually some confusion about how to live this lifestyle.

We’ve put together five core things you need to do if you’re interested in becoming a digital nomad. There’s a lot of hard work involved, but these five steps will help to set you up for success.

1. Be creative.

There isn’t one blueprint that everyone can follow in order to get the digitally savvy life of independence that so many (particularly the millennial population) dream of. Everyone arrives at the digital nomad lifestyle through a unique path.

In order to find out which route to go, figuratively and literally as well as digitally, to become a digital nomad, you have to figure out where your strengths lie and come up with a creative way to make that work for you.

Are you good at graphic design? Blogging? Photography? Are you good at creating communities online through your relationship-building or networking skills? Let that work to your advantage and help leverage you on your way to becoming a digital nomad.

2. Join a digital nomad community.

There are tons of people who are doing this and have been in the same situation as you before – figuring out where to begin and how to start travelling while working online. Find these people and learn from them. Use them as resources and as peers who are like-minded. They have a wealth of information on how to start reducing your ties to your current location, where to find new homes for cheap, how to find a creative way to earn money online to fund your travels, etc.

digital nomad

3. Decide on how you’re going to earn money.

You need money to travel. Start by freelancing through your graphic design, photography, or blogging skills, or work or study abroad. These are ways to start traveling and get you on the path to becoming a digital nomad. While studying and working abroad is less risky than trying to earn your way by being a freelancer, it’s not as easy to be location-independent. It may take you longer. So weigh the pros and cons. Generally, it makes sense to secure your contracts or employment before you leave from a company that is accepting of your digital nomad existence while living abroad.

4. Figure out how you want to live.

If you’re interested in having solitude and quiet, and wish to retreat somewhere, go for it! Or if you’re a social butterfly and need to be around people to thrive, then go for that. But make sure you know what you want.

Have a look at our country and city guides to get more of an overview of regions in the world that Expat Financial provides medical coverage for.

5. Research.

This includes researching where to live, the currency, and the culture of your destination (for some areas that are more conservative, you want to dress appropriately). It makes sense to make sure you are living in an area that is safe and secure, has excellent internet coverage and speed, inexpensive housing and for some a great climate and interesting culture.

Global Insurance

6. Get international medical coverage BEFORE you become a digital nomad

International health insurance coverage is essential for anybody becoming an expat, no matter where they’re going or for how long. If you are a digital nomad, there is a good chance your employer will not provide health coverage for you or will ask you to obtain your own. In fact, most digital nomads are self-employed or working on a consulting basis, so you most likely need to obtain adequate global health coverage to cover unexpected medical expenses, evacuation, dental and more. Digital nomads can easily obtain a quote for excellent international medical insurance from our insurance partners. Our most popular global medical policy for digital nomads is the Cigna Global Health Options plan. It is vital that digital nomads obtain a high-quality plan and also discuss their needs with us if required.

Expat Financial provides international health, life, disability and travel insurance to expats (for both those who are interested in going abroad and those who are already living abroad). Contact us today to get have your questions answered and obtain a quote online.