Making the bold decision to leave your home country to re-settle overseas is as scary as it is exciting. But because life really begins when you step out of your comfort zone, here are four financial tips to help you start your adventure on the right foot.
1. Make sure you can afford it
On top of air fares, you’re undoubtedly taking more than a suitcase, and possibly even your beloved pets, and those transport costs are more expensive than you might think. You’ll need travel insurance, possibly money for hotels or temporary accommodation, and then you’ll be buying furniture, a car, and the hundreds of things that make home feel like home.
The basic cost of living differs from country to country, and you’ll want to have some money in reserve just in case you need to quickly return to Australia for whatever reason. Running out of money when you’re out of your comfort zone and away from your old network of friends and family is not the fun you signed up for.
2. Getting set up
Once you’ve landed, you’ll want to do all the things you used to when it comes to making, spending and managing money. That means bank accounts, understanding unfamiliar tax laws and the intricacies of the financial and investment systems, and being prepared for things as simple as swiping a card in the checkout, making your PIN number work and paying an electricity bill.
3. Understand the differences
Until now, you’ll have been earning your money in Australian dollars, but how one currency translates into another can take you by surprise. Interest and inflation rates also fluctuate significantly from country to country; earning money in one place and transferring it into accounts back home can cost you not only through high fees but also poor exchange rates. Another thing to consider is that finance-related laws and regulations can differ wildly between countries – the risks of signing up for a credit card and what happens in the event of default, for example, can be significantly higher abroad.
4. Plan ahead
Think about the years ahead. Do you have a plan to fund your kids’ educations in your new country, for instance? In Australia, superannuation is compulsory and we also have a state pension – but it’s not like that everywhere in the world. Those who have traditionally invested in real estate can also be caught out by the vastly different markets and systems abroad.
It’s all an exciting adventure today, but do your research and seek the advice of experts so that you can focus on the immense benefits of the change rather than wishing you planned ahead.