Posts

5 Common Challenges Faced by Expats

Challenges that expats often encounter while living abroad – Five Plus One.

Moving abroad is often an overwhelming experience for any expatriate. The act of moving to a country that is unfamiliar to your own, a limited social network, and new cultures and languages can often feel burdensome on many people. As an expat moving abroad, there are surely going to be some challenges and obstacles when it comes to the relocation process, as well as the adjustment period once relocated. Many people will react to the stress in different ways as challenges will vary depending on location, cultures, languages, personal mannerisms and general customs of the country. However, there are a few common challenges that most expatriates encounter when relocating. We have put together a list of the 5 most common challenges faced by expats in order to aid in your settlement into your new country and allowing you to enjoy this adventure to the best ability possible. Note that the challenges below are in no particular order of importance.

Challenge #1: Fitting in

As an expatriate moving abroad, there is a big chance that you are leaving a large social & professional network back home. This can have a huge effect on someone, especially if you are someone that places a high significance on these relationships. Don’t fear, you are definitely not the first, nor the last expatriate to have the fear of not fitting in properly in your new city.

Challenge #2: A language barrier

If you are moving to a country that has an entirely different language than your own, the process of getting accustomed to your city and the locals may seem daunting. This is something that is ultimately unavoidable if you don’t know the local language beforehand. Read all about our advice on learning a new language while living abroad in order to facilitate the process, and jump-start the learning curve for your new life abroad! We do recommend trying to learn a rudimentary level of the foreign language before you take off, as it will facilitate the entire process of moving overseas!

Challenge #3: Being lonely

Don’t let the fear or the potential of being lonely prevent you from embarking on a new adventure and impede your decision to become an expatriate in a foreign country. It is extremely common for a new expat to feel lonely when they first move abroad. A key point to target when you relocate to a foreign country is to build strong relationships with the people around you. This will surely take some time, but it is important to try your best to form some bonds with the people and the city in which you now call home.

Challenge #4: Finances & money management

Organizing your finances, taxes and money management can be extremely difficult when you are living in your home country but adding overseas travel and living abroad to the mix, and things get very complicated. As an expatriate, you will have to decide if you will become a non-resident for tax purposes by talking to an expat tax expert – do not try to do it on your own. We have a list of some great expat tax advisors at our Links page. You will also have to advise your bank that you will be living abroad and probably have to set up new banking in your new home country. Most countries will want to see your visa documents and also some proof that you will be living there. It may be useful to keep your bank account back home as well. Having a bank account in your new host country in the local currency will still be invaluable and probably save you on foreign exchange. You may also have to move your investment account as well, so talk to your investment advisor and tax accountant to see what solution works best.

Challenge #5: Healthcare 

Making sure you have proper global health insurance while living abroad is one of the biggest concerns that many expatriates worry about when it comes to relocation. Local plans in your new host country may not be up to your standards and may only provide basic coverage and access to local hospitals. Most expats want to have access to private healthcare both in the host country, regionally and also for treatment back home. Having an international health insurance plan in place before leaving abroad will alleviate stress with finances, ability to obtain medical help and peace of mind for the duration of your relocation. Contact us today to discuss all your international insurance needs!

Challenge #6: Safety 

Yes, I know we said only 5 challenges, but we really needed to add expat safety to the article. As discussed in our expat safety page, personal safety is a very high priority for individual expats and expatriate employers and global mobility managers. While the world is safer now than it has been in the past, today’s security concerns and challenges range from terrorism, bombings, assaults, thefts and much more. It is vital that expats prepare for the worst when moving abroad and check out the local security in their new home country through both free and even paid information sources. Even expat destinations in first world countries can be fraught with danger – such as the terrorist attacks in Europe and mass shootings experienced in the USA. Expat safety should definitely be your priority if you are moving abroad or already living the expat life.

The top 10 healthiest countries to be an expat

A guide to the top 10 healthiest countries to be an Expat

Countries all over the world offer a variety of appealing aspects that may drive expats to relocate there. In recent studies, 6 of the top 10 most healthy countries in the world to live in are situated in Europe. Factors that were considered for the study were life expectancy rates, tobacco use and obesity rates.  Note that any list is somewhat arbitrary and subjective, but here are the top 10 healthiest countries to be an expat for 2019 are the following (in no particular order):

1. Iceland

Iceland has been regarded as one of the healthiest places to live (outside of Europe) for multiple reasons. The population of Iceland live off of a farm-to-table philosophy, meaning they believe in eating foods that are naturally abundant and fresh. They also have phenomenal governmental policies that regulate industrial pollution and encourages businesses to use clean, renewable and sustainable energy sources that aid in the well-being of the countries health standards. The local population has also said that they believe that “Water therapy” is a reason that contributes to their happiness and health. Water therapy is when you sit in the waters on the natural hot springs found all over Iceland, and allow yourself to relax in the volcanically warmed waters. Another very important reason as to why Iceland had made it to the list is their gender equality policies. Iceland was the first country to fully remove the gender gap pay and is a leading country for all gender inequalities for the world.

2. Switzerland

Switzerland has long been known to be one of the happiest and healthiest countries in the world. The way of life encourages a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. One of the reasons Switzerland is famous for is investing in its population. Government spending is budgeted for high standards of education, excellent health care and for innovations for the country. A well-balanced lifestyle has allows the people of Switzerland to be one of the countries with the lowest level of depression in the world.

3. Spain

Why put Spain on the top 10 healthiest countries list? Spain has one of the highest life expectancy rates, and it continues to increase as the years go on. Environmental factors, such as access to clean water and sanitation, a Mediterranean diet, minimal use of tobacco, and low obesity rates are just a few other reasons why Spain continues to be a desirable and healthy country to live in. Spain is also known for its close and important familial ties and bonds that are ingrained into the local population. This, of course, isn’t the main reason why Spain tends to flourish, but it definitely is an important factor.

4. Norway

Norway has also been placed on the top 10 healthiest countries to live in. In a traditional Scandinavian way of life, Norway places a high value on a well balanced, active and healthy lifestyle. Another key point that drives Norway to the top of the list is shorter working hours, where employees are almost never required to work past 4 p.m., as well as a cultural environment that minimally encourages the drinking of alcoholic beverages.

5. Italy

The importance of leisurely dining and a well-balanced diet is extremely common in Italian culture. As the Italians say, always chose quality over quantity. It is common for Italians to source their food, oils and spices from local and non-commercialized sources. Their focus on a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes local fruits, vegetables, oils, and fish, is also sourced as a core reason as to why Italy has continuously made it to the list.

6. Sweden

A second Scandinavian country to top the list of the healthiest 10 countries to live as an expat is Sweden. Known for a lifestyle of moderations (food & alcohol), Sweden is famous for living under the philosophy of “Lagom”, which indirectly translates to English as “not too little, not too much, just the right amount”. This allows the population of Sweden to live a casual lifestyle, eat in variation and walk everywhere.

7. Israel

The Israelian population flourishes in a culture that promotes a vibrant lifestyle, spirituality and a positive healing environment. They focus on an extremely healthy, fresh and delicious diet that promotes the well being of the nation. Their healthy eating habits and lifestyle is one of the main reasons why Israel is one of the leading countries for life expectancy rates in the world. The emphasis on family and family values are also leading causes for the countries health prosperity.

8. Japan

The first of two Asian countries to be recognized as one of the healthiest countries to live in in 2019 is Japan. One of the main reasons Japan is highly regarded for its health standards is due to their diets and lifestyle. Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, which is due partly to its green landscapes, its family values, and its well-balanced eating habits.

9. Singapore

The second of two Asian countries that have made it to the top 10 healthiest countries to be an expat in 2019 is Singapore. Leading with one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, Singapore has continuously considered as being one of the most sought out countries to live in as an expatriate. Singapore is well known for being extremely safe and has some of the best food in the world.

10. Australia

Known for the Gold Coast and beautiful sandy beaches, Australia has continuously been placed on the list for the healthiest countries to live in as an expat. Complete with a sport and outdoor culture, Austalia is one of the most active and adventure seeking countries in the world. While some may indulge in a bit too many Fosters and shrimp on the BBQ, this outback country is an excellent expat destination. The country is well known for it’s laid back lifestyle – the Australian population is known for being mostly healthy and happy!

 

Although these countries are listed as being the top 10 healthiest countries to live for an expat, it is still crucial that you obtain international health insurance if you are planning on pursuing an international relocation. Staying healthy is not easy, but everyone gets sick or has an injury at some point in their lives – that is why it is critical for you to prepare for the worst by obtaining global health coverage that will be there when you need it!

Contact us today at info@tfgglobal.com to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements.

Thai Expat Guide to Eating and Living Healthy

A Short Guide to Living and Eating in Thailand for Expats

People need to be independent in order to succeed when living outside of their home countries. If an expat gets ill, they may have to rely on themselves to get by when trying to recover from the medical conditions.  As such, expats need to be extra careful when caring for their health. We have created a Thai expat guide to eating and living healthy for expatriates overseas. One of the ways expats can care for their health is by ensuring that they eat healthily and lead healthy lifestyles. The list of tips to eating healthy and living healthy lifestyles for expats is extensive. Below, though, are just some of the tips expats may refer to in eating healthy and living healthy lifestyles if they are based in Thailand:

1. Monitor all caloric intakes, even the small ones 

Oftentimes, intakes of small doses of calories are the ones that add up quicker than the intake of larger doses of calories. Expats need to ensure that they only seldom eat fast foods. Eating small doses of junk foods often adds up to more than the large doses of calories taken by larger meals, without expats realizing of its effects. It’s important to also remember caloric intakes from beverages. Often these are forgotten about, but they have the potential to add up quickly in someone’s diet.

2. Host healthy physical activities with fellow expats & other colleagues

Expats can surely benefit from weekly group physical activities with fellow expats and other colleagues, examples of these activities are yoga, aerobics, and so on. Expats may initiate hosting these activities in gyms or local community centers. Once organized, expats can invite larger groups of colleagues to participate in order to create a healthy and social activity for everyone.

3. Participate in other travel programs that employers may offer

While working in Thailand, Expats do not need to confine themselves to Thailand for the duration of their stay. If other opportunities to travel for work come their way, it is encouraged for expats to explore surrounding countries. Seizing the opportunities to travel to Singapore, Malaysia, or Hong Kong for work shall prevent Thai expats to have idle physical activities only. Expats will have opportunities to move out and about, and thus, be more physically active, while travelling extensively.

4. Continue eating a consistent healthy diet

It is always better for expats to continue eating in a healthy manner, ideally in the way they have always previously been accustomed to. Expats need to be resourceful in finding proper stores in Thailand that sell the healthy foods which they previously ate back in their home countries. Expats will need to invest efforts and patience in order to succeed in locating these stores in Thailand. Down the road, though, expats shall realize that the efforts they invested in doing this are well worth it in the long run.

Our informal Thai expat guide to eating and living healthy is a rudimental approach for staying healthy while living abroad. Expats currently need not settle with the ways they are living their lives and eating the foods they love to eat. They need to always be open to any alterations which they may need to apply to their lives in order to eat and live healthy lives. Thailand offers excellent food choices for expatriates and locals alike. Don’t be afraid to indulge in local food chocies. In the long run, expats are the only people who may benefit from these choices themselves, and once they reap the fruits of eating and living healthy lifestyles.

For extra protection, ensure that you have an international health plan in place that will provide you with extra security in case you fall ill. Knowing that you have proper medical care will allow you to live a more comfortable and stress-free life. For your international health care needs, contact Expat Financial to discuss all your personal needs today!

Health Insurance for Canadians in the USA

Health Insurance Options for Canadian Expats in the USA

Our company is contacted almost every day by Canadians living in the USA or about to live in the United States who are not eligible for local healthcare. More often than not, it is the parent of a student living in the USA who is calling us to find a high-quality expat health plan for their Canadian son or daughter. They all know the cost of medical care in the USA is extremely expensive – some expenses can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands. For example, here are some sample medical conditions and the expected claims costs in USD:

  • Pancreatic Cancer – $100K to $150K
  • Valve Repair – $60K
  • Complicated Pregnancy: Hundreds of thousands
  • MS – $80K
  • ICU Stay – Such a claim could be huge depending on the condition and length of stay.

That is why it makes sense for Canadians in the USA to purchase a global health plan if they are not eligible for local coverage by themselves or through an employer. If a Canadian is maintaining provincial coverage and will be spending a few months in the USA, then most will obtain emergency only travel medical insurance coverage from one of our Canadian suppliers such as Tugo. However, if the Canadian is becoming an expatriate in the USA by spending a lot of time living, retiring or working in the USA and most likely losing their provincial medical coverage, an international health plan for the USA is vital.

Most Canadians are not aware of the true cost of their provincial medical plan because they pay little or nothing towards it as the costs are all paid by general tax revenue. We have all heard the stories of how expensive medical care is in the USA, especially in the news where someone forgets to purchase travel medical insurance when traveling abroad. If you are a Canadian expat in the USA and not eligible for local plans, then you will have to purchase an international health plan. Note that when you apply, there will be some medical questions and you may or may not be approved or there may be an exclusion. Also remember that individual expat health plans are not HIPAA, COBRA or PPACA compliant.

Most global health plans for expats in the USA will offer in-patient care with options to add wellness, out-patient medical and evacuation insurance. Dental and visioncare is also available. Some will choose a large deductible, but this is a personal choice. Most Americans are used to having very large deductibles and co-insurance while the Canucks are not.

For more information, give us a call or email today as we are very experienced in covering expats around the world. The best plan we can offer expats in the USA is the Cigna Global Health Options plan. You can even get a quote and apply online. Another potential option is the GeoBlue plan.

 

Thailand to mandate health insurance for expats

It has been recently reported that the Thai government is in the process of mandating mandatory medical health insurance for expatriates living in Thailand. The requirement is targeted for expatriates that are living in Thailand on a one-year non-immigrant visa, with an emphasis on those living in Thailand over the age of 60.

Over the past years, it has become increasingly difficult for those living in Thailand over the age of 60 to procure health insurance. There are very few local insurance companies that will cover those in this older demographic, and those few companies that will cover those 60 years and older are demonstrating predominantly expensive premium rates. There are even some foreign plans that will place limits on your global health coverage after age 65 or terminate coverage at age 70. The best plan for older expats that our firm has found is the Cigna Global Health Options plan we offer online to expatriates of any age – expats even in their 80s and 90s can get a quote online.

The proposed Thai legislation will require expatriates to be covered for the minimum amount of 400,000 ฿ (~ $12,570 USD) of in-patient coverage, and 40,000 ฿ (~ $1,270 USD) for out-patient care. Expatriates that are currently living overseas and meet the minimum required amount of coverage will be exempt from obtaining these Thai insurance policies.

These mandates have been derived with several government bodies in Thailand’s government. The process for finalizing these policies are currently in the stages of cabinet approval and is designed to aid and ensure the health protection for long-stay visa holders currently, or soon to be living in Thailand. It is important that expats monitor developments on this policy and make sure that they have adequate health coverage that will meet or exceed the requirements.

Thailand is a beautiful country and a very popular destination for expatriates from around the world. Medical care can be quite expensive and it is vital that you obtain a comprehensive global health policy for Thailand that will cover you both locally, regionally and globally. This is because you may move to another country or region and you don’t want to re-apply for medical coverage, especially if you develop a pre-existing or chronic condition.

Make sure you are fully prepared and covered before making your move abroad. At Expat financial, we can offer plans designed for your specific needs while living in Thailand that will exceed the requirements set up by most local governments at excellent prices and form large and respected providers. Click here to receive a quote, or contact us at info@tfgglobal.com

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.

 

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.