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Global Nomads

9 Questions To Ask Before You Become An Expat

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.

Leaving Abroad

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.

Health Insurance

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.

Health Insurance

What to consider when moving abroad as an expat

Deciding what to consider when moving abroad as an expat can be an overwhelming experience. Relocating abroad will almost always involve finding somewhere to live, looking for a new job, and finding schools for your children to attend. With so much to consider, it is often easy to forget to look into an essential ingredient to having a successful and happy period abroad: international health insurance.

International Health Insurance 

International health insurance is an absolute necessity when relocating abroad. What do you need to consider? Let’s explore what you will want to take with you in an insurance plan.

The most important part of relocating abroad is to acquire an appropriate international healthcare plan. Your domestic health insurance will not cover you, contrary to popular belief. This is a very common misconception – that your domestic plans will cover you abroad but the truth is that when you leave your native country, a lot of the time, most domestic health insurance plans become void. From an insurance company’s perspective, an expat is no longer a resident in their home country when living abroad.

Another misconception is that as soon as you move to another country, you will be entitled to healthcare coverage from the state. While this is sometimes the case in some European countries, more often than not you will not be eligible for local healthcare through the government or a local insurer. In addition, healthcare standards in other countries (which may include your destination) are often inconsistent and have lesser standards than that of your home country.

International Health Insurance

Expert Advice

Because of all these misconceptions, you need to seek out expert advice. Receiving this advice will seeking international health insurance, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions which require coverage, is essential.

When relocating for your expat assignment, you also need to consider the following: moving expenses, cost of living, location, language requirements, and cultural differences. It is critical that you budget appropriately for your various needs; however, without international medical insurance, an unexpected injury could cripple your financial situation. This is what makes international health insurance to critical for you to obtain BEFORE you depart.

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.

Expat Financial offers a variety of international insurance health insurance plans on a group or individual basis. To maximize your expat experience and avoid unforeseen risks and costs, please contact us today to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements.

Beach

10 Great reasons to become an expat in the Caribbean

Located on the east coast of Central America, the Caribbean has 17 dependent territories. Though small in total size, the Caribbean has a favourable tropical climate, a mixture of culture with different influences such as French, Spanish, and English, as well as beautiful beaches that make this region a natural choice for expatriates to live, work and retire. The natural beauty of the Caribbean attracts millions of travellers and expats visiting the Caribbean each year. In this article, we will discuss 10 great reasons to move to the Caribbean and become an expat. This includes people to move to the Caribbean for work, long-term travel or retirement.

Caribbean Beaches

1. Pleasant Weather 

The climate of the Caribbean is tropical to subtropical, with year-round sunshine and moist wind. The rainy season starts from May to October, while hurricanes occur between June and November. The average temperate is around 28 to 30 Celsius. The hurricane season is from July to October can bring powerful storms to your island, so it is critical that you obtain a property with adequate storm protection. You may want to exit the Caribbean in the Summer months when the humidity and heat can be quite extreme. Many expats will choose to return to their home country to see family members during this time.

2. Natural Beauty 

The Caribbean is well known for its beautiful island life and excellent beaches. You can experience impressive beaches such as Shoal Bay in Anguilla, Palominos Island in Puerto Rico, as well as Eagle Beach, and Nassau. They all have warm waters and white sands. It really is a natural paradise for beach lovers.

Natural Beauty

3. Diving and Water Sports

The Caribbean islands are full of marine life including turtles, rainbow coloured fish, coral, reefs, and dolphins. Diving is definitely a great activity for tourists and expats. For experienced surfers, long coasts and tides in the Caribbean will provide an unforgettable adventure. There are also many surfing training classes on the islands for new surfers.

4. The Caribbean Cuisine 

Caribbean Cusine

The Caribbean cuisine has many influences from Africa, EuropeLatin American and Spain. Local restaurants prefer to use a kind of green herb and olive oil as common ingredients, as well as coconut, potatoes, bean, and tomatoes. Meats and seafood are widely consumed on the islands. In Jamaica, one of the most popular dish is Saltfish, served with ackee fruit, which is the national fruit of Jamaica. Ackee and Saltfish is the national dish of Jamaica, but a favourite for locals and expats alike is Jerk Chicken. Many expats and locals will enjoy an island staple called Conch, a tropical mollusk that is quite common on the islands.

Caribbean Fruits

5. Friendly People and Culture 

Residents living on the islands come from different countries and cultures all over the world. As a multicultural community, you will hear different languages such as English, Dutch, Chinese, and Spanish. As a result, it is all the more likely that you will encounter your native language spoken on the islands. The people in general are very friendly and welcoming.

6. Favorable Tax Structures

Unlike many countries in the world, most of the islands in the Caribbean have desirable tax rates for both companies and individuals living there. Known as one of the most chosen tax heavens by many expats in the world, the Caribbean islands provide financial privacy and little or no tax policy. One of the most used nations in the Caribbean is the Cayman Islands. Offshore corporations do not need to submit financial reports to any Cayman government. Besides, for international business companies, the Cayman Islands have no income tax nor corporate tax. The other popular option is Panama. The level of security and privacy of account holders in offshore banking services attracts many expats from all over the world.

7. Accommodation

Accomodation in Caribbea

There are many all-inclusive resorts on the islands, as well as a variety of accommodation types no matter you are looking for luxury hotels or a budget place. To rent an apartment in the Caribbean, for example in Anguilla, a two bedroom and two bathroom apartment located in Crocus Bay Beach costs USD $750 per month, according to Sublet.com. Properties on Ambergris Caye, Belize, can be found around USD $17,500. It is important to talk to an experienced real estate agent on the islands that you are thinking of living in as he or she should be able to find a home or condo that can meet your budget should you wish to buy or rent.

8. Best Islands to Live On

There are more than 7,000 islands in the Caribbean and they belong to at least 28 nations. Many people recommend destinations such as BahamasBVIAnguilla and  Barbados. Many will move to the Cayman Islands or Turks & Caicos, which are considered great islands to live and retire. These islands are also quite safe and well run.

9. Family Friendly Activities 

Activities in Caribbea

The Caribbean offers a range of family-friendly activities to expats and tourists from beach activities and boat fun tours. These kinds of arrangements will keep your children busy so that they won’t get bored while you are out enjoying yourselves.

10. Affordable Living & Lifestyle

Generally speaking, the cost of living on the islands is reasonable and affordable. The accommodation on most of the Caribbean nations are relatively inexpensive when compared to western countries. Local produce is also low-cost. Expats planning to retire in the Caribbean would want to consider Panama – as they use US dollars and is very affordable on pension income for retirees.

Don’t Forget to Bring International Health Insurance with You 

Expat Financial has a great deal of experience in sourcing international insurance plans for individual expatriates and even expat employers in the Caribbean. We can also source global medical coverage for select local nationals in the Caribbean that will allow for global medical coverage that includes the United States. Most expats in the Caribbean will want to consider an international health plan that will cover them for treatment in the USA as local hospitals may not have the level of medical care that is necessary for many illnesses. Also, most local plans will only cover you on the island or provide very limited off-island care. The expat healthcare plans are available via our firm from a variety of international insurance companies.

Here is a list of different types of insurance coverage you will want if you are planning to become an expatriate in Panama:

There are a hundred reasons to live, retire and work in the Caribbean. If you require a quote for the Caribbean expat insurance, contact Expat Financial today for a quote.

Expat Tax Advisor

What to look for in an expat tax advisor

The only thing that’s certain in life is death and taxes, and this applies to expats as well. For senior expats and especially expat business owners, finding an expert in the domain of international tax law is a critical step in ensuring that you are complying with tax regulations. Today, we at Expat Financial will be providing you with four key aspects to consider when choosing the right international tax advisor for expatriates living abroad.

Four Key Aspects While Choosing International Tax Advisor for Expatriates:

  1. Always ensure that you hire an entire team of tax specialists, rather than a single tax professional. This will ensure that your tax filings are correct and correctly audited and edited, and will create more security, as team members can divide responsibility amongst themselves.
  2. As expats often travel to countries where the first language differs from their native tongue, it is critical that an expat’s tax team be multilingual. This is another positive benefit of having a group of tax advisors, rather than a single individual, as the subtleties of tax law can often be misinterpreted through translation.
  3. Another essential part of any successful tax team is to make sure that your team has multiple regions under their belt in which they are qualified to give tax advice in. For instance, if you’re working in Spain as an American citizen, you may need a team that is well versed in both Spanish and American tax regulations or at least the ability to find the answers that you require. Additionally, ensure that your team is up to date on the latest tax regulations in all countries that apply to your future expat assignment.
  4. You should also make sure you have a clear picture of how much your tax advisory team will be charging you before they begin working for you. Failure to do so may result in surprise charges at the end of tax season.

It is important that you hire the best expat tax advisors possible as tax mistakes can be extremely costly for people who are already living abroad or planning their next overseas assignment.

In addition to hiring the right expat tax firm, you should also think about your international health insurance requirements for you and your family. Not only will international health insurance plans provide flexible worldwide coverage and freedom of comprehensive, world-class services, but they also come with the peace of mind that expats require. It is also important that you obtain an expat health plan that will allow for medical reimbursement from the local and global medical facilities. This will help you maintain a successful international experience for you and your family.

Expat Health Checkup

Expat Financial offers a variety of international health insurance plans on a group or individual basis. To maximize your expat experience and avoid unforeseen risks and costs, please contact us today to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements.