Five most costly cities for expatriates living abroad

When talking about cost-of-living overseas for expatriate employees, it is not just exchange rates of currency, cost of food or groceries, but also housing costs. According to a recent Forbes’ survey result, the five most expensive real estate markets are Hong Kong, Mumbai, Beijing, Shanghai and London. In this article, we will discuss the five most costly cities for expatriates living abroad.

  1. Hong Kong, CHN

Hong Kong is considered one of the most successful financial centres around the world. It owns advanced medical care system,  promotes an active lifestyle and provides an excellent educational system. According to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey of 2016, Hong Kong‘s property market is the world’s most unaffordable. As stated in Mercer‘s Cost of Living Survey, Hong Kong is the most expensive in the Asian Pacific region. According to a local real estate site HongKongHomes.com, you should expect to pay around HK$ 55,000 per month (equivalent to ~ USD $7086.4 monthly) in order to rent a two bedroom, two bathrooms apartment with a saleable area of 953 sq.ft. If you would like to own the apartment, the price increases to HK$ 24,000,000 (~ USD $3,092,245.44).

2. Mumbai, IN

Surrounded by sea on three sides, Mumbai is the most populous city on the west coast of the Indian peninsula. Mumbai is listed among the most costly cities to buy real estate in. As being one of the most international cities of India, Mumbai has pleasant weather and advanced health care facilities. With job opportunities offered, increased expatriate migration and investment buyers that are willing to reside in the city has consequentially driven up the demand for property in Mumbai.

3.Beijing, CHN

Beijing Expat Insurance

The second Chinese city that is considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in as an expatriate is Beijing. Beijing is China’s capital, as well as its political and cultural centre. Known for its influential culture, Beijing has been known to be an extremely popular destination for expatriates moving overseas. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, Beijing is in continuous demand for real-estate investments, resulting in increasing high costs of living. Apart from real-estate costs, Beijing also has one of the most expensive healthcare systems, especially for non-native residents.

4. Shanghai, CHN

The third Chinese city that has made its way to be one of the leading most expensive cities in the world to live in is Shanghai. Located on the central coast of the country, Shanghai has become one of the leading financial hubs of the world. The importance and ability to conduct business in Shanghai have transformed the city to be an expatriate hot spot. With continuous growth and demand, the cost of living has skyrocketed in the last few decades. Don’t be surprised to see an average, furnished one-bedroom apartment costing $3,000 CAD/month.

5. London, UK

London has long been one of the most popular, and therefore most expensive cities to relocate as an expatriate. London is known for its rich history and remarkable agriculture, as well as being a city that can please all needs. Whether you are interested in art, culture, food or adventure, the city has it all. As a leading destination for expatriates, the significant increase in population has caused a substantial surge in living expenses, such as accommodation, transportation and food & entertainment.

 

If deciding to relocate to one of the above cities, it will be very important to ensure that you have proper medical coverage while abroad. Living in one of these cities will cost you a substantial amount of money, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t have to worry about any unforeseen medical expenses. At Expat Financial, we can offer a wide range of expatriate health insurance plans designed specifically for expatriates of any nationality around much of the world. For additional information, contact us at info@tfgglobal.com or click here for a quote today! 

 

Becoming a Global Citizen

The opportunity to live a life as a global citizen is one that is appealing to many people. It involves a life of adventure and new experiences. If deciding to become a global citizen, it is important to understand what it takes to successfully take on the opportunity in which you are given and facilitate the transition period. Let’s dive into what it means to be a global citizen.

Health considerations

As many concerns arise about making the decision to become a global citizen, health considerations are likely to be at the top of your priorities before moving. Taking care of your health while living abroad will be one of the most important and crucial steps to ensure a successful and blissful lifestyle.

Global health insurance is highly recommended for anyone living or travelling abroad. The advantages of global health insurance go far beyond basic medical care. It will alleviate any added stress or concerns about medical coverage while travelling abroad, as well as facilitated payments, coverage regions and standard of care.

At Expat Financial, we offer plans from basic in-hospital plans to in-hospital and out-patient plans. We are able to provide various plans from several different insurance companies in order to find the right fit. Contact us today by email at info@tfgglobal.com or click here for a free online quote. 

global medical

Culture adaptations  

Depending on where your global adventures take you, there is a high chance that you will be relocated to a country that will likely lead to a degree of culture shock. The important thing here is to stay as open-minded as possible. Locals will gladly teach you their culture and welcome you into their country, as long as you are willing to immerse yourself in the community.

A useful type for overcoming culture shock is to learn the local language as well as possible. This will allow you to engage with more locals and feel less alienated when exploring and appreciated the new city in which you call home.

Location is key

When it comes to choosing where you want to relocate, there are many different considerations to remember. First, it will be important to understand the local culture and what it will mean to connect with the locals as an expatriate.

A second aspect that is very important will be to find an area that has low crime rates for your safety – whether that is choosing, in general, a safe city or specifically a safe neighborhood. Explore our region & city guides to discover which regions are the best fit for you!

A third factor that is important in choosing a location will be to know what the tax policies are for your incoming country. Many countries have different ways in which they tax their local employees, and as an expatriate living abroad, it will be very important to know the local taxation policies.

Get involved in local politics and policies.

As important as it is to immerse yourself in a local community, it will be equally as important to immerse yourself in the local politics and policies that are relevant to your new home. Knowledge of local politics will help you understand a multitude of important factors, such as taxation, governance, community values and elections, as these will all be crucial in your development in the community.

It is important to note that it is not recommended to get involved in politics in all countries, and it is important to research beforehand and look into political stability before diving into local politics, especially if you are not a citizen of your new country. Getting involved in politics as an expat in many countries, especially ones with little or no human rights protections, can be very dangerous.

Apart from local politics and policies, we also recommend having a general understanding of global politics, specifically with countries that directly affect your new city. This will allow you to stay aware of external factors and policies that may alter the way in which you engage with your community.

Keeping in touch

Lastly, after making the decision to become a global citizen, it will still be important to stay connected with your roots back in your home country. This can come with many challenges, including adjusting to time zones, whether or not you are in a Wi-Fi efficient zone or keeping this priority top of mind. It is important to keep in touch with members back in your home country in order to maintain and facilitate the transition, as well as keeping in touch with your own mental health.

 

Insurance options for companies with only one expat employee

Our firm has worked with many companies and organizations with hundreds and even thousands of employees that have only one or two expatriate employees posted abroad. These firms are not able to adequately cover their expat employee and his or her dependents under their domestic plan and should not try for a variety of reasons. The human resource manager is often faced with a dilemma of where to find adequate insurance for the lone expat employee and may have limited experience or understanding of expat insurance, not to mention no expat insurance contacts. So what is a company or non-profit with only one or two expat employees to do? Let’s learn more.

What to do when you have only one or two expat employees?

Attracting and retaining expat talent for your firm’s global operations is not easy. Finding the right person to help grow your sales or run operations abroad is both challenging and rewarding. If you want to attract the best person for your expat position, it is vital that you offer him or her the best global insurance coverage possible. It may not be easy to match your existing domestic benefit plan coverage for an expat position, but it is possible to gather coverage that will meet your duty of care obligations and adequately cover that employee and any dependents who will also live abroad. There are many insurance coverage requirements if you are hiring an expat employee, but we will deal with the three most important ones: Life, Disability & Global Medical Insurance. Note that all individual policies are medically underwritten, unlike most international group insurance plans, so keep this in mind if you are sending an individual expat abroad. Also, there are significant pitfalls in covering your expat employees on domestic plans in the new country location that we have described in a separate article.

Global Life Insurance for Individual Expat Employees

Your company’s existing domestic benefit plan will most likely offer a multiple of annual income in the local currency, but most expatriates will be paid in USD or Euro and will expect to be covered for 1 or 2 times annual income if he/she should die from an accident or illness. There are not a lot of global life insurance options for individual expats, but our firm does have access to some excellent life insurance plans that can cover most expats around the world. The premiums will, of course, depend on the age, occupation, and location of the employee. An employee being posted to a high-risk country such as Afghanistan will most likely have to obtain Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage, which may also be an adjunct to the life insurance for some expats in more “safe” countries. The typical plans will exclude war and terrorism, but it may be possible to quote AD&D cover including war risk depending on the location of the policy and employer. Final premiums will depend on the health, age, location, occupation of the employee. Unlike a group plan that we can offer, it is possible that the employee won’t qualify for coverage.

Finally, in regards to that “consultant” that you are hiring or who is only working for you, it may be tempting to have him or her secure insurance coverage on their own, but many companies who employ consultants abroad are taking a risk. That consultant may be viewed as an employee should they only work for your firm and should they become sick, injured, or deseased while being posted abroad, your company may be held responsible regardless.

Expat Disability Insurance for Individual Expat Employees

One of the most important parts of your expat employee responsibilities is securing adequate disability coverage should he or she become sick or have an accident that will make it impossible for him or her to work. However, global disability coverage is often not secured by expat employers, and domestic workers compensation plans will generally not extend beyond the national borders. Unfortunately, the risk of a disability is extremely high for most persons under age 65, and this represents a huge liability and risk for both the employer and employee. Part of your duty of care is to help the employee secure global disability coverage. Expat Financial offers an excellent individual expat disability insurance plan from William Russell that can provide income protection after 3 or 6 months waiting period. The longer the waiting period, the lower the premium. We can secure individual short-term disability, but this can easily be self-insured by most employers. A long-term disability can not.

Individual International Health Insurance Options for Expat Employers

Many expat employers will have their domestic employees covered by private or public health insurance schemes or a combination of the two. However, most human resource professionals and their advisors will have limited, or no experience in the unique challenges associated with covering expat employees posted abroad with or without their family members. Some will keep the employee on the domestic health plan which almost certainly will not adequately cover the employee overseas to save costs or merely a lack of understanding of the domestic policy and requirements for healthcare while living abroad.

That is why it is vital for HR professionals to provide comprehensive international health insurance coverage that will meet your duty of care and other employment responsibilities. We have seen too many expat employers ask the employee to obtain his or her health coverage on his or her own, but you as the employer will be responsible should that coverage not be adequate. This can lead to a failed expat assignment, large unfunded medical claim or your prospective expat employee seeks a job with another employer. If the expat employer has more than 2 or 3 employees, Expat Financial can probably source a group plan, but under three most expat employers will want to secure an individual plan for that expat employee.

Most global medical insurance plans will cover hospital, out-patient care, wellness, and evacuation & repatriation. Some expat employers will also want to secure dental and vision coverage. If the employee has a spouse who may become pregnant, it is vital that you include full maternity coverage – however individual plans will have a 9 or 12 month waiting period. While it may be tempting to obtain the least expensive plan, you do get what you pay for, and we recommend that expat employers secure the best possible coverage with or without a deductible to help lower the premiums. As noted above, the employee or their dependent’s health may impact the approval or coverage that is secured. Rates will depend on the ages, citizenships, health statuses, plan options, deductibles and country location of the expat employee and any dependents. Most American expats will want a plan that adequately covers treatment in the USA, but this will mean a higher premium. If you have an expat employee posted in the USA or a nearby region, you will want to make sure it covers treatment in the United States. We have an excellent global health plan from Cigna where you or your employee can get a quote and even apply or expat health insurance.

Obtaining Individual Expat Insurance for that Lone Expat Employee

While you may want to turn to your domestic consulting firm or broker for the above coverage, it is very likely his or her firm will have insufficient experience in global life, disability, and health insurance – this is even the case with the large insurance consulting houses. Like most things in life, it pays to talk to an expat specialist firm, and that is where Expat Financial and its parent company TFG Global can be of assistance in understanding your organization’s international insurance requirements. Additionally, we do not charge a consulting fee as we are compensated by the insurer with the same rates regardless. We also have long established insurance provider relationships and excellent service and support. We may be able to assist on other insurance matters related to your expat employees, such as kidnap & ransom and even business travel insurance for domestic employees who travel abroad. To learn more, contact us today if you are sending one, two or a hundred expat employees overseas to expand your global fortunes. We look forward to being part of your international relocation efforts.