9 Important Questions To Ask Before You Become An Expat
Planning to kick-start your journey as an expatriate? Still confused about deciding to settle abroad? Moving to a foreign country on a short-term or long-term basis is in no way an easy choice to make. Your international assignment is a big step in your career, life or even retirement. You may even be going abroad for a few years for extended travel. To make the most of your days on foreign soil, asking yourself a few questions will certainly help. Here are 9 questions to ask before you become an expat living abroad, or even if you have already moved offshore to your dream destination:
1. Where do you want to move to?
Similar to purchasing property, location is a major factor when you are planning to move abroad. Your research about a particular place should help you ascertain whether your expectations as an expat are reasonable. Check out various expat guides online or read what the expats have to say about a particular destination in the bulletin boards. Embracing a career opportunity in a place that doesn’t suit your lifestyle or health may pose several challenges during your stay there.
2. What is motivating you to go abroad?
Some of the reasons why you are motivated to move abroad may include career and financial growth, better lifestyle, lower cost of living, suitable weather, etc. As an expat, you would be investing a lot of time and money, so make sure that you get good returns on all your efforts.
3. Can you communicate in the local language?
If you can’t speak in the local language, learning a few key phrases to at least exchange pleasantries in first-time interactions before you reach your destination can be helpful. After arriving, you can go the whole hog for language classes. Imagine mingling with the locals by speaking their native language. You will surely feel accepted in a new location which you can call your second home once you learn that language well enough.
4. What will be your tax liabilities when living abroad?
Knowing the accurate taxation policies of your expat destination will help you to be better prepared to manage your finances. For instance, a professional in Japan have to pay up to 45% of his salary as tax. Taxation policies may vary from country to country. However, US citizens will have to pay tax no matter where they live and work. It is important to talk to an expat tax advisor if you are moving abroad to discuss your global tax requirements.
5. Did you purchase International Health Insurance?
OK, we are a bit biased when it comes to the importance of international health insurance. We can’t overstate how critical it is to get global healthcare if you are living abroad. The news and internet are littered with stories about people who moved or traveling abroad without health coverage and were stuck with large medical expenses.
6. Are you capable of handling any emergency, including a sudden move back home?
Your stay abroad should be planned carefully and wisely. Having sufficient money during your overseas visit will help you enjoy a hassle-free time in a foreign country. You can leave some cash in your native place and use it as a financial lifeline to fall back on if required. You can also rent or lease out your property until you are sure about settling abroad forever.
7. How do you motivate your partner and/or children to migrate?
Living life as an expat may be exciting and fruitful for you. However, your family members may not share the same enthusiasm and be motivated enough to relocate. Let them know the positives of being an expat and help them strike a rapport with diverse communities that suit their interests. Learn more about expat kids.
8. Are local healthcare services reliable or do you need private insurance?
Many countries offer excellent healthcare to expatriates, while others offer nothing at all. You would need international health insurance to ensure that you are fit and healthy in a foreign land. Check out the cost of obtaining a new global health insurance plan and see whether it is affordable after your new salary package.
9. How will you deal with common obstacles to moving abroad?
There can be many obstacles in your path of being a global nomad. Obvious obstacles include money crunch, work permits, visa, certifications, etc. The hurdles may seem tough to overcome, but proper planning will help you handle every challenging situation. Reach out to people who you feel can bail you out of difficult times.
Next Steps for Expats
After going through these 9 Questions to ask before you become an expat and if you have convincing answers to the questions above, you can plan a nomadic lifestyle in your dream destination. Expat life may not be glamorous for everyone. However, basic steps like going for international health insurance may ensure a happy expat life. Expat Financial can help you make your experience memorable as an expat.