Thursday, 31 December 2009

End of a decade...

The “noughties” will end as the clock strikes 00:00 on 1st January 2010. But for expats living away from home, when exactly is this? GMT? EST? NZST? Or do you have a thought for when it’s New Year back in your home country? We would imagine most to stick to the time zone they are in but it’s always nice to have an extra excuse to break out the champagne and have a sing song. There are undoubtedly some expats and travellers out there who take advantage and celebrate twice (or more…).

Apparently roughly 450 planes were in the sky for the millennium celebrations 10 years ago. Does anybody know of anyone, expat or otherwise, welcoming 2010 in in-flight?

As always we’d love to hear your stories. It’s been a very interesting year for most and one that has set us up for another interesting year in 2010. We wish everyone the very best and here’s to a prosperous New Year!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Festive celebrations around the world

Last year British paper the Daily Mail took a look at how the British were celebrating Christmas around the world, including in Australia, Thailand and Canada – coincidentally our top 3 countries featured in Expat Experience! The article contains some really interesting (and some hilarious) photos that show just a few of the different takes on traditional celebrations.

So this year does anybody have any stories of enjoying a Christmas barbeque instead of a Christmas roast? Of falling asleep under the beating sun instead of in front of the crackling fire? Or did you for the first time experience a white Christmas? How has Christmas been different for you as an expat?

Thursday, 24 December 2009

An Expat Xmas

Wherever you are, we want to wish our readers and expats around the world all the best for Christmas and the festive season.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Native tongues

The second report from this year’s HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer report has revealed to us some interesting trends about the language barriers expats face as they move from country to country.

Not surprisingly, expats living in English speaking countries have no trouble with language barriers, regardless of their origins. Hong Kong’s language barrier is the biggest hurdle, with 50% finding that learning the language is very difficult.

But despite this, our research indicates that expats living in Hong Kong have one of the best social lives of anywhere else in the world. It just goes to show, language doesn’t have to be a limiting factor when it comes to enjoying the experience of a new country.

Expats are pretty good at picking up languages it seems. Of all those surveyed, 68% could speak more than one language with German, Sinhala, French and Chinese Mandarin being the most widely spoken. Collectively, our selection of expats could speak a total of 57 languages. A pretty diverse bunch no?

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Wall Street Journal comments on opportunities for expats in the US

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal looks at how our research offers insight into the job situation in the United States. According to Expat Explorer survey, there is a higher percentage of expats based in the US who are considering returning home (than the global average), citing limited career opportunities.

The unemployment picture in the US is grim, with the rate at 10%, and it seems companies are taking advantage of this to lure workers to other regions around the world. The article has triggered an interesting discussion by readers on the WSJ site. Are there any expats in the US that have a view on this? Would love to hear your thoughts here or via our Twitter.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

In the lap of luxury

A staggering one in four expats (24%) reveal they’re living the high life, splashing out on their own pool, according to our research.

It also revealed that male expats need more help around the home when they’re living abroad, with 41% of men (and just 37% of female expats), admitting to having household staff. If you’re fortunate enough to be an expat in Vietnam, chances are you’ll have a slew of staff – some 91% of expats in Vietnam have a number of household staff at hand. Lucky for some eh?

Almost a quarter of expats own a boat/yacht (23%), with those in Qatar most likely to have some kind of recreational floatation device – some 59% in fact. Those living in the UK are one of the least likely to own a boat – just 12%, closely followed by US based expats (18%). A canal boat on the Thames doesn’t really have the same appeal as a motor yacht in the Med…

When it comes to holiday, 47% of expats like to take them regularly. Those living in the US are least likely to take them regularly (33%), closely followed by those living in Australia (37%) and UK (42%).

We’ve delved into luxurious lifestyles a lot more in the latest HSBC Expat Explorer report – Expat Experience – which might give you a little insight into how your life could be if you take the plunge and move abroad...

Monday, 14 December 2009

UK expats driven home by weak pound

Saw this recent article in the Financial Times, which shows how exchange rates are affecting many expats and serves to underline how exposed some expats can be to global trends.

Is the exchange rate affecting any of our readers in such a dramatic way? We're always interested to heard first-hand experiences and comments!

Quality of life

Although the expat life varies greatly from country to country and region to region, the expats that we talked to often share a similar perspective and outlook towards life. These are some words from expats that took part in our survey on how they find their new lifestyle (these are from expats in countries all around the world):

“No regrets and I will never look back. It's a great chance to develop - personally and professionally. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to have some fun, work and see the world at the same time.”

“Best thing that I ever did and a lifestyle that I would like to continue as long as possible!”

“It’s been a great experience to live abroad and be able to learn from other people with different customs and culture. It opens your mind and make you wiser!”

“Its a life that most people can't hack, yet if you can it opens the door to tremendous opportunity.”

“There's only so much planning that you can do in advance. In the end, it's all about taking the leap into the unknown.”

“I have no idea how this happened and I live in a different country... I'm a small town girl, this wasn't supposed to happen... but I am so happy it did.”

These were only a minute fraction of the responses that we received and it is always fascinating to see how others find themselves adjusting to expat life, so keep those comments coming!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Hannah Beecham on expat adjustment

We have the third and final podcast from Hannah Beecham, editor of Expat Investor, available to listen to.

In this recording Hannah discusses how the findings of the Expat Experience survey can be used by expats facing adjustment to another culture and/or society, and the issues they may face. As she describes, this may prove useful for some, as “to be forewarned, is to be forearmed”

Listen to it here .

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Your views

There has been some really interesting feedback to the Expat Experience survey in the past week or so since launch, particularly via our Twitter feed, and it is great to know that our research has reached so many people and given them something to think about. We just wanted to give a quick thanks to everyone who has read and commented on the story so far.

As you’d expect there has been a good deal of noise by expats living in Canada and Australia happy with their position at the top of the survey – and no doubt generally happy about their quality of life too!

‘Canada: The lifestyle choice’

‘Is Canada the best place in the world for expats to live?’ Shelter Offshore

‘Australia a top place to live’

We also wanted to extend our appreciation again to those that filled out the survey in the first place, without whom this would not have been possible. It would be interesting to know how many of you that completed the survey have since read the report(s) and whether you feel your contribution was in line with the overall findings or in contrast to them.

We are keen to have even more of you take part in next year’s survey so please keep checking back here to find details on how to participate in next year’s HSBC Expat Explorer!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Expat Christmas ‘09

This article looks at how hotels in Beijing are preparing to cater for expats celebrating Christmas where they are rather than returning home for the festivities. This just one example of the global downturn affecting expats – causing them to budget more carefully this year.

So there should be some pretty exciting parties taking place for expats and maybe the opportunity to link up with some others that are in the same boat, far from home, this year! And this won’t only be happening in Beijing – there are many other non-western expat destinations where this situation will be common. So if you’re an expat used to a traditional Christmas, but not planning to return home, how are you planning to do things differently this year? Let us know of any really interesting ideas or stories!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Australians have the world’s biggest homes

Quality of accommodation makes a large difference to overall quality of life and this is represented in the Expat Experience country rankings.

A recent study by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia looked at home size in locations around the world and interestingly found that Australia has recently overtaken the United States to boast the highest world average for house size, at 214.6 square metres. The United States now comes in second at 201.5 square metres.

Now this figure might not mean an awful lot by itself unless you are in real estate or own your own home. But when you compare to the average size in Britain – a paltry 76 square metres – it gives some insight into why expats living in the UK and responding to our survey find accommodation a particularly sore point, resulting in its position of 26th out of 26 countries for accommodation. Upon moving to the UK it appears you have to get used to a lot less space!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Top 10 country rankings

The Expat Experience report compared quality of life for expats in the various countries around the world – over 26 in fact. The countries were ranked according to a series of criterion including quality of life, work/life balance, food, and of course, general lifestyle.

The top three positions for expats’ quality of life are occupied by Canada, Australia and Thailand. The aspects of Canada that propel it to the top of the rankings are the standard of accommodation, the ease of making local friends and the enjoyment of family life.

The highest quality of life in Europe is to be found in France, which comes 7th overall and unsurprisingly, the quality of food in France surpasses that in all other countries, helping it rise up the overall rankings. The best healthcare is also deemed to be in France.

The UK ranks first of all the countries for the quality of entertainment, and second for fashion, although it ranks bottom on a number of factors including as quality of healthcare and work/life balance.

Top 10 places to live:

1 Canada
2 Australia
3 Thailand
4 Singapore
5 Bahrain
6 South Africa
7 France
9 Spain
10 Hong Kong

If you want a good work/life balance, head to... Bahrain

The latest Expat Experience report has found that working experiences vary dramatically depending on which country people live in. Some places scored amazingly well in terms of work/life balance... but others scored incredibly poorly.

Bahrain and the Netherlands tied in offering its expat residents the greatest improvement in working hours, but it was the India and Hong Kong based expats that admitted they had the worst working hours.

More than half (53%) of expats living in the UK said that their morning commute had deteriorated since moving to this country, whereas just 15% of expats living in Australia complained about their daily commute

Not surprisingly, the report has revealed that there is a clear correlation between poor working hours and a decreased quality of family life. Over half of all expats moving to India (60%) and Hong Kong (52%) noted a worsening of their working hours created deterioration in the quality of their family life.

Expats - a social bunch

This year’s Expat Experience report has taken a comparative look at quality of life for expats around the world. Social and integration aspects that affect expats trying to settle into new countries and communities have all been studied hard and a number of interesting results have been revealed.

For example, expats living in the UK were less satisfied with their quality of life than the majority of their counterparts elsewhere, resulting in it coming in 23rd out of 26 countries in the survey.

Expats in the UK are also younger than most expats around the world, with just under half of the expats aged between 25 and 34. On average, expats living in other countries around the world are older, with only a quarter fitting into in this age bracket and the vast majority (72%) aged 35 and over.

The UK scored highly when it came to entertainment – the top destination for expats in fact. Out of all the countries, Thailand is rated second, United States third, Hong Kong fourth and Australia fifth.

And randomly, almost half of expats in Thailand have married or found a life partner since moving there, making it the country where more expats find love than anywhere else – so if you’re single and looking for love, you can find it in Thailand.

UK scores poorly in this year's Expat Experience report

According to the latest findings from the Expat Experience survey the UK has ranked as one of the lower performing locations for overall expat lifestyle based on both an expat’s quality of life and the ease at which they can integrate into their new country of residence. It has shown that the UK scores low on a number of factors including quality of accommodation, commuting and even their own personal health.

What is interesting that despite this, anecdotal feedback would suggest that the UK and in particular London is one of the most sought after expat locations so it is interesting to see that expats are still coming to the UK despite admitting a poorer quality of life than their home country. Figures compiled by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) have also suggested that immigration into the UK remains high compared with the rest of Europe.

Let us know what you think about this – the UK scored well for entertainment and also for career. What are some of the other things that you love about the UK?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

How long can you expect to live abroad - Hannah Beecham finds out...

Please have a listen to a podcast from Hannah Beecham, the editor of Expat Investor, where she discusses the report and its findings.

Click here to hear what she has to say.

In the second installment, Hannah talks about the lifestyles of expats around the world and discovers just how long you can expect to be enjoying the expatriate lifestyle for.

Hannah also has her own blog - check out what she has to say here.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Hannah Beecham on expat experiences

Please have a listen to a podcast from Hannah Beecham, the editor of the publication Expat Investor, where she discusses the report and its findings. Listen to it here.

Hannah has her own blog too - read it here.

Expat Experience results are live!

Hello expat world! The results are in for Expat Experience, and there’s some very interesting findings about some of the most popular expat destinations around the world. Canada is king for quality of life overall, although there are many other highlights, such as France being top for food and the UK being the best for entertainment. Check out the report!

Let us know what you think about the findings – is the UK as bad as some say for things like healthcare and accommodation? Does Canada have the best lifestyle and is Thailand the best place to find love?

Monday, 23 November 2009

Expat lifestyles to be revealed - Nov. 25th 2009

Good news guys, we’re about to lift the lid on expat lifestyles from around the world.

The latest instalment from the Expat Explorer report – Expat Experience - will be out on Wednesday 25th November... so come back and check out the findings. We’ll be revealing some intriguing expat lifestyles, so make sure you come and find out:

- Where you’re most likely to fall in love
- How many staff you can expect to have when you live in the Far East
- Where you’ll be able to afford the most luxurious of lifestyles
- How easy it is to integrate into the Gulf
- And finally, where you’ll be the expat equivalent of the social butterfly

Make sure you check out the survey before you relocate – the world’s largest and farthest-reaching expat survey can’t be wrong.

Keep a look out for our next round of podcasts. Hannah Beecham from Expat Money will be revealing all there is to know about living abroad.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Home’s little pleasures

Helen Creeger recently blogged on Just Landed about the things that she misses from the UK. We all get excited when moving to another location and tend to focus on the new experiences, but there are always those things that we are used to back home that we suddenly find ourselves without. Of course, there are shops in many countries that specialise in the importing of products from other countries (for example Australia Shop in the West End, London, which imports the famous Aussie Tim Tam into the UK) and you may consider them a very valuable resource!

For every expat there will be a favourite thing from back home that just can’t be replaced in their new country. The question is do you go without or do you have tips on where to shop so that you can have a proper cup of tea, chicken salt on your chips or other home favourites? More importantly, despite a life without your home comforts, is expat life still better?

We’re trying to find your views on this via our Twitter poll – we’re hoping that the opportunities available to expats make up for the odd thing you miss from home but let us know either way!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Visualising migration

For those of you that didn’t see this brilliant blog post on Just Landed last month, make sure you take a look. It contains a very interesting visual, mapping migration around the world, including international migration (in other words expatriates). It reveals that the majority of expats move around to countries that are in roughly the same category of development, with 37% of the world’s international migrants moving from developing to developed countries. The information is sourced through the latest Human Development Report for 2009, released by the United Nations Development programme.

Particularly interesting is how regions on the map are warped larger and smaller depending on the level of migration into and inside the region, meaning that suddenly the UK appears to almost outsize Australia!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Telegraph targets British expats abroad

Noticed a piece in Marketing Magazine this week about how the publication is looking to target British expats – through online and press advertising, sponsorship and partnership activity.

According to Marketing, The Telegraph hopes the push will promote the launch of a Best of British Awards, which will take place in April 2010. Readers of The Telegraph's world edition will be asked to nominate entrants in six categories, including British-themed pubs, restaurants and social clubs, with judges selecting winners at national and international levels.

Awards are a great way to engage with an audience, especially one so geographically diverse. It will be interesting to see how successful their campaign is, and how they’ll go about reaching those individuals.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Shelter Offshore explores the expat investment market

Noticed that Shelter Offshore has written about the 2009 Expat Explorer report and really interesting to see their insights into expat investment market, particularly their advice on the fact that one of the most important things for expats is to seek personalised and professional advice from an expatriate financial adviser. You can check out the story here.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Is life better as an expat? You decide

We want to know what you think on our latest twitter poll. As an expat, do you think your life is life better or worse now that you’re working abroad? We’d love to get not just your thoughts but also your friends and families perceptions on expat life.

We’d be really interested to hear any anecdotes or stories you have from your experiences living abroad. Share them with the world through our expat blog by posting comments at the end of this post – or, if you’d prefer, Tweet us @expatexplorer. We’ll be tweeting about this soon – please ReTweet and spread the word.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Offshore accounts 'could help expats make the most of their money'

This recent post on Expatriate Healthcare, referencing migrant advice website Shelter Offshore, reports how offshore accounts are a useful tool for expats managing their finances.

Existing financial links not only make it easier to repatriate if they decide to return home, they also make it easier to retain control of commitments back home or may represent a more stable banking system. This latter point is particularly pertinent given recent economic conditions.

Monday, 26 October 2009

The expat outlook

This recent blog post highlighted how some expats have been benefitting financially from the latest foreign exchange trading figures, on the back of sterling’s recent strong performance, due to international loans and investments.

In addition, the article mentions how British expats are apparently searching for value by targeting investments in the US, where it is more affordable than France or Spain. These are just two examples of how expats have benefited from their international outlook…

Friday, 23 October 2009

Do you crave home comforts?

Noticed a post earlier this week on the Times website talking about how expats based in Spain were looking forward to the reintroduction of British institution, Marks and Spencer. It seems we all crave the odd home comfort from time to time and expats are just the same.

What home comforts do you miss when you’re working abroad? And have you found anything in your new country that you could now, not live without?

Friday, 16 October 2009

Non-local-language newspapers

Many expats like to keep up to date with what is going on in their home country. A recent post on Just Landed observed how many of the British dailies are actually simultaneously printed in Spain and are available the day that they come out in the UK. Expats can buy the Sunday Telegraph fresh off the printing press while relaxing on a beach in the Costa del Sol! Very useful for keeping up with the Jones’s back home.

We thought this was interesting and it has got us wondering about other popular expat destinations and the world and the preferred media of expats there. What are the trends in other areas – do other areas have good availability of non-local-language papers or do expats adjust to what is available locally? In the information age, more and more people are turning online for their news but it’s not quite the same as holding a paper in front of you...

Friday, 9 October 2009

Six million expats in UAE

Check out this article that has appeared on Investment International. According to research carried out in the United Arab Emirates, the number of expats living in the country is increasing rapidly – to a population of approximately six million so far.

That’s apparently one sixth of the total population of the UAE. With the recent reported expat exodus from Dubai because of a lack of jobs, can UAE offer longer term career prospects without damaging the local job market? It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on whether this is a good or bad thing for the nation’s economy.

East to West - the financial divide

Our Expat Economics report described how, from the evidence of our survey results, wealth appears to be “moving East”. We found that Asia is home to among the highest paid expats in the world; while their poorer counterparts can be found in Australia and further west in Europe. The highest earners are to be found in Russia, Hong Kong and Japan.
At the same time, Western countries remain vastly popular for expats and in particular the population of the UK is expected to rise in the future largely due to migration, making it the most populous country in Europe by 2050 (see Daily Mail article). This is despite the reported cost of living in the UK.

Does this mean that there is a divide between the East and West in terms of the type of experience an expat can expect, and should seek? Does more competition for top salaries in the Western employment markets mean that it is easier for expats to find financial opportunity by looking East?

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Norway - The best country in the world, according to the UN

According to the latest UN Human Development Report released earlier this week, if you want an all-round great life, Norway is the place to live. The study ranks countries on their education, wealth and life expectancy, using figures compiled by the United Nations Development Programme.

According to the Telegraph and the Daily Express, Norway ranked highest on educational achievements including adult literacy rates and enrolment in primary, secondary and university institutions, scoring a near perfect score. They also fared very well when it came to life expectancy and GDP per head.

For the first time in almost 30 years, Britain dropped out of the top 20, losing out to the likes of New Zealand, Demark and bizarrely, Lichtenstein. The index ranks a total of 182 countries on how developed they are.

It would be really interesting to hear your thoughts on the report. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Signs of the end of the recession?

Expat Focus has put up an interesting blog post that gives a perspective on ‘the end of the recession’. Apparently there are signs that interest in the property market in France is ever so slightly raised after 18 months of quiet… It’s an interesting post and worth reading. Link

What do you think of this insight? Are there any views, in agreement or otherwise, and does anybody else have first-hand experiences that suggest economic conditions may be improving?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The effects of the global credit crisis on expats

The global financial crisis has affected most people on a day to day level. One could say that there are differences for expatriates, who may be more used to making adjustments to their life and spending than people who have lived in one place for their entire life. It could be argued that expats are either more or less likely to make big changes to their lifestyle, than native residents of a country, as the financial pressures increase.

Many expats live their life to the max and may have had to tone down on the luxuries in light of a less certain financial future.

On the other hand, having previously moved country, and then had to adjust to a new currency, income, pricing structure, and lifestyle, a small financial squeeze may not be much of an issue for many!

Another consideration is that different countries have been hit harder and expatriates often have the sort of international outlook that may further affect these decisions.

Our Expat Economics survey looked at the views and of those surveyed, expats living in Qatar and Saudi Arabia were the least likely to cut down on luxuries in light of the crisis, while expats in Canada were the most likely to exercise restraint.

Interestingly, over half of expats in Qatar and Saudi Arabia (as well as India and Russia) are actually saving and investing more now than they did before the onset of the financial crisis. This suggests that the luxuries in these countries are simply more affordable, and expats can continue to splash out while still having money left over to help secure their long-term financial health! So if you fancy a taste of the high life, at a lower cost, might it be time to look further afield?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

How to be a savvy saver abroad

The 2009 Expat Explorer report has found that foreign expats living and working in the UK are the worst savers and investors globally, with more than a quarter (27% - the highest recorded in the survey) admitting that they have reduced their savings and investments since moving to the UK.

Overall, expats really take advantage of the financial benefits of living away from home, increasing the amount of money allocated to savings and investments on a monthly basis. On average, 72% of British expats are saving more than when they were living in the UK.

Expats continue to be sophisticated investors - almost half continue to invest in shares (46%), more than half (53%) are committed to putting their money in property, while managed funds (42%) and bonds (15%) continue to be popular.

Historically, savings accounts are the most popular way to save for expats across virtually all markets, with the exceptions of Mexico, Malaysia, Japan and South Africa. UK savings are backed by the government up to £50,000, but this assurance doesn’t cover their savings held in overseas institutions, so it wouldn’t surprise me if a significant amount of expat cash returns to the UK. And given Jersey’s new status as the number one offshore financial centre, as rated by the IMF (article), it wouldn’t surprise me if we see that money sooner rather than later.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Offshore offspring - do they miss out on a childhood?

Charles Bremner recently wrote an article for the Times stating that expats kids miss that sense of belonging, that sense of patriotism one acquires if you’re born and live in the same country all your life. But is that really true, or has he just seen this in his own kids once they’ve flown the nest? The blog comments seem to disagree, but it must be difficult for children to be uprooted every three years or so? Having to immerse themselves in new social groups, new cultures, and new lifestyles – especially in your teenage years.

HBIB’s recent expat survey revealed that the expat community is even more diverse than ever before. It also revealed that there’s a growing number of expats with kids, and its these kids, like James’ that are often the number one priority for expats when moving abroad. The report revealed that having children as an expat poses some difficult questions, not least over how minimise their education interruptions. But some believe that because their children have grown up in a variety of different places (on average up to three different countries), they grow up to be more well-rounded, world-savvy individuals.

The full report – Offshore Offspring – will be out later in 2009, where we’ll be revealing what some of the expats from around the world think about bringing up children in different countries. We’ll be revealing the pros and cons and discovering where its best to be if you’re worried about your kids in when living and working abroad. For those of who are expat parents with kids, do you have any insights or even if you were a child brought up abroad - what is life like for you now? We’d be interested to hear your views

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Are economics a decisive factor?

Our recent Expat Explorer survey looked at where was best for expat finances. The UK scored down the ladder here and also was one of the countries to have the highest percentage of expat residents that were considering a move home.

There has been further news recently on France and Germany emerging from recession (link). What influence does the relatively grim economic news have for expats in this country? As our guest blogger Lo reflected below, we have observed from our surveys that there is far more that makes a popular expat destination than just how expat finances fare there.

Many people do choose a location for the financial benefit they get there, often meaning that they can afford a better lifestyle. As ‘international’ people, expats are well placed to value the qualities of the place in which they live. This is why, despite the shifting economic outlook, most expats appear to know how to make the most of where they live, and are making small adjustments to their spending and/or saving to weather the downturn rather than considering relocation.

Although the UK may be slower to emerge from the recession than some of its neighbours over the channel, there are increasingly more signs of recovery here too. Chances are that if you’ve weathered it this far, news of a longer downturn in the UK than in Europe wouldn’t be enough to make you go continental!

Look out for our next survey instalment – Expat Existence – which looks more closely at some of these other factors that affect expat lifestyle.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Expats online

Expat Focus has recently, in their own words, “jumped on the Twitter bandwagon” and have put a list of their own favourite expat tweeters. We of course have our own Twitter page. We thought this would make for a great opportunity to highlight how the global nature of the internet makes it the perfect channel for expats to post their experiences and share them with one another! After all, expats around the world share one thing in common and I’m sure many have their favourite online sites, so let’s get everyone linked up!

Our recent Expat Economics survey ranked different countries according to how well expat finances fared there. Look out for the follow-up to this, Expat Existence, later this year, which will rank countries depending on how the expat lifestyle is rated there.

In advance of this, we encourage expats around the world to share their experiences and compare lifestyles! Who travels the most? Where are the best views? Who enjoys their work the most and where are the best nights out to be had? Blogging, tweeting and other use of the internet is the perfect way to show off the lifestyle highlights of your chosen residence.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Are deposits safe offshore?

Are offshore bank accounts safe? Offshore bank accounts may offer attractive interest rates and possible tax advantages to help grow your savings, but you need to know your offshore savings are safe. How safe are offshore bank accounts is a frequently asked question in light of the mystique surrounding offshore banking and the global financial crisis which has claimed many victims.

When looking for a safe offshore bank account for your savings, consider these three main factors:

  • Ensure the offshore bank you choose is authorised by regulatory body of the country or jurisdiction in which it operates. For example, the Jersey Financial Services Commission;

  • Ensure the country or jurisdiction you choose is economically and politically stable and well regulated. For example Jersey or the Isle of Man; and

  • Ensure the offshore bank you choose is strong and one you trust.

Offshore banking is simply banking in another country to that in which you are domiciled. Many UK high street banks such as HSBC, NatWest and Lloyds offer safe offshore bank accounts through international divisions of their operations, so your savings are as safe offshore as onshore.

Many offshore banking centres now operate their own depositor protection schemes similar to the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme which guarantees savers with regulated institutions 100 per cent of their deposits up to £50,000. For example, the Isle of Man operates the Isle of Man Compensation of Depositors Regulations 2008; Guernsey has the Banking Deposit Compensation Scheme (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2008, and Jersey is about to introduce its own scheme.

So ensure your offshore bank account is safe and your savings secure: choose a strong bank with which you are familiar and trust, ensure it is authorised by the local regulatory body and choose a stable, well regulated country.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Expat Economics podcasts are in!

We have uploaded three podcasts from Paul Say, Head of Marketing & Communications for HSBC Bank International. In these podcasts, Paul further explains the insights and findings from the first report of the survey, Expat Economics. The three podcasts focus on highlights of the findings, advice for expats, and the full extended podcast.

Click the links to check them out below:

Highlights of the findings.mp3

Advice for expats.mp3

Extended podcast.mp3

Monday, 13 July 2009

Making the Russia Today headlines...

We recently tweeted* about a great video that Russian news channel, Russia Today, posted on their news site and official YouTube page. It's a great piece that has insight about the findings on Russian expats, and straight from Russia.

Check out the video here:

If you're interested in the full article, you can find it here.

*If you have a Twitter account and want to start following the Expat Explorer account, @expatexplorer, you can by clicking the link and then the "Follow" button.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Guest Blogger Series: Introducing... Laurier Nicas

Hello everyone!

The results have been out for two weeks now and we’re getting great feedback from all around the globe. Thanks to everyone who has posted information about the results on their blog!

For this week, we’ll be having a guest blogger series from the real deal: expats! As people who participated in the survey, they will be giving their input on the results. Enjoy...


Hello! My name is Laurier Nicas and... I am an expat! I moved to London in 2006 and have been studying, living, working here ever since. My home is Leicester, Massachusetts, USA-- a small town west of Boston.

As someone who added my two cents and filled out the survey, I found the results to be incredibly interesting... especially the findings that expats in the UK are thinking about repatriating. Well, I’m just the opposite! Though I can completely understand that notion and the fact that the recession has affected job prospects and general income, it has just instilled in me a drive and need to survive in my new-found home. I’ve only been here 3 years-- I’m not ready to go just yet!

The credit crunch has affected the whole world, so expat or not, things are not easy. I think I’d rather be here, in the city that I love, and trying to make ends meet rather than giving it all up! Don’t get me wrong, Leicester... Boston... Massachusetts... the USA are all wonderful places, but London is where I’ve started to build my life.

So, yes... though I completely understand where my fellow UK expats are coming from, I urge them to hang on and stay tough. I plan to... despite the complexity of expat economics!

About the author

Laurier Nicas works as a Digital Consultant for Hill & Knowlton in London, UK

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Expat Explorer Survey 2009: Results are in!

Good news, expats! The results from the 2009 Expat Explorer survey are in! In this video, Paul Say, Head of Marketing & Communications for HSBC Bank International, sits down to explain some insights and findings from the first report of the survey, Expat Economics.

There are lots of interesting results regarding the credit crunch and how expats are managing in the current economy, such as:

• US, Thailand and South Africa are the most affected expat locations
• Almost half of expats in UK considering returning home
• Emerging markets rank above established centres for expat finances
• UK is the worst for saving behind Spain and France
• Despite economic crisis, expats are wealthier and save more than in country of origin

If for some reason you cannot view the embedded clip, please visit the Expat Explorer 2009 YouTube page. You can also view all the results in the Expat Economics report on HSBC Offshore site.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Expat Money - an easy reference guide

Met with Hannah Beecham, author of Expat Money this week. Lovely person with loads of insight and experience as to what it is like to be an expat and how to manage your money when you live and work abroad.

She's done loads of stuff, including founding the Financial Times magazine The International, as well as edit Expat Investor & the offshore finance editor of the International Express. Check out her blog for more.

The great thing about her book is that it covers all the stuff you need to know as an expat from currency exchange basics to dealing with the tax authorities - home and away.

If you are interested to learn more go to her blog or check out amazon.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Expats: Keeping up business contacts in the downturn by using LinkedIn

Expats are feeling the pinch of the downturn as much as anyone. Stories of expatriate migration are common nowadays and therefore maintaining business contacts and networks is essential. It isn't always going to be like this - it will get better - and therefore maintaining business relationships is essential.

Expats are naturals at nurturing their personal and professional networks - they have to - and the web is making it even easier than before to do. Our 2008 survey, expat experience highlighted this very point. Digital tools such as skype and facebook were essential for keeping in touch.

I'm a big fan of LinkedIn & I came across this article on their blog on how to get the most out of the service. Its simple and obvious but really quite good and will help anyone - not just expatriates living and working abroad.

If you don't fancy reading the blog but prefer to sit back and watching a presentation, I found the attached presentation below on Slideshare. The title is a little aggressive but get past that as it has some great practical tips to get you started - or if you are a user already - grow your network.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Global house price index report not good for expat locations

Came across this report from Knight Frank Rutley, the global residential estate agent. The report, Global House Price Index, revealed that global housing markets continue to struggle in the current economic conditions and the outlook for the rest of 2009 is equally gloomy.

Nick Barnes, head of international residential research, Knight Frank, said: "The world’s housing markets remain under intense pressure with little real evidence of any of the hoped for “green shoots”...".

Year on year falls were highest in Dubai and Singapore, but on a quarter on quarter basis, house price falls accelerated to -40% and -16.2% respectively.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Tweet, tweet, tweet

We've just broken 100 followers on Twitter.

It's surprised us all back in Jersey & got us scratching our heads - don't get me wrong, we are really pleased.

First thing that it reinforced is how connected expats are. We already know this but traditional forms of getting together - clubs, sports teams, interest groups etc have been supplemented by social media or web2.0. Sorry for the jargon - what I mean is online communities - because that is what they are.

Secondly, the technical literacy of expats is really high. Keeping connected, especially with friends and family across the world & in different time zones means that telephone conversations are prohibitive - for cost and practical reasons ! Thank you for coming to our aid Skype

So expats have to be innovative and test and trial online tools (stopped myself from saying web2.0 apps). But other stuff - such as sharing photos, experiences etc have seen groups emerge and expand on flickr, facebook & Twitter - there are numerous blogs out there too - just key expats or a variation into the search engine at Blogcatalog

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Canada - a great place to live says three independent surveys

My google blog reader came across this article from The Star, Toronto, Canada.

Its pretty good for a couple of reasons;

1. It references our survey - which is great.

2. It highlights two other surveys, similar to ours but a slight variation of a theme.

The first survey is from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and identifies the World's 10 happiest nations - though the article on provides more insight and detail if that is your want.

The other survey is from Mercer, the executive relocation service, which measures the best places in the world to live based on quality of life rather than happiness.

The interesting thing about all three surveys is that there appears to be consistency in findings. All identified North America, Europe and Australasia as the places to be. The only exception to that rule is the HSBC survey that identified India and Hong Kong as friendly places to reside.

Digging deeper into the OECD and Mercer surveys it would appear that the central European states & Nordic nations will be chasing Canada hard for the best place in the world to live and work.

Our results from the 2009 survey are due later this month - it will be interesting to see if there are any variations in the findings from 2008.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Slideshare content for expats

I attended a digital day with colleagues from around HSBC Group today and we started playing with some fun social media stuff.

Slideshare was one of many online applications that we checked out and I found the presentation below really interesting - especially useful for people who are about to become an expat or a recent expat and feeling challenged by the whole experience.
Being An Expat
View more presentations from astanford.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Living and working abroad enhances your creativity

I saw this article and it really resonated with me. I'm not saying that I am the most creative of individuals - I'll leave that for others to judge - but my experiences whilst I worked overseas were a significant investment in me as well as my career.

I had the opportunity to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds - all bringing unique perspectives to solving commercial and personal challenges. As a consequence I feel that I am a more rounded person - richer for the experience - able to consider the views and opinions of others. Applying those experiences to challenges today mean I feel I am able to contribute & give so much more of myself to friends, colleagues and the organisation that I work for.

If you want to learn more & view the report its here

Top expat locations for 2009 - have your say

I was reviewing the Expat Existence report of the 2008 Expat Explorer survey and I was pondering the results and wondering if they will change.

Last year the top 3 expat locations were Singapore, Dubai and the USA - the least popular locations were the UK and France.

The drivers of popularity were; ability to earn and save, how their new country of residence compared to the country that they left and their current lifestyle. If you want to learn more you can download the full report here.

So much has changed in the last 12 months since the 2008 survey was conducted. The world is a very different place - economic conditions have significantly changed and the global economy has slowed.

Demand for international workers is not as strong and as a consequence expatriates are making decisions about their futures. Just look at the latest USA unemployment figures released last week - the highest figures since the 1980s - expats will be impacted in some shape or form.

Another good example is this one I found about Australian expats in the Middle East too.

Its going to be really interesting to see where the 2009 top locations will be. What do you think? I'd love to hear your point of view?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

First insight from the 2009 survey is due in June

Received the first cut of the expat explorer survey data this week. Really quite excited by the prospect of what it is telling us.

For the first time we will have trend data - albeit for the period 2008-2009 - so only 2 years. However, what a period to measure. The significance of events such as the global recession and the credit crisis will be measured.

It will be interesting to see the impact of those two global events on expatriate communities around the world. Only this week, the exodus of expats from Dubai is having an impact on property rentals in the city - check out the story here

Monday, 4 May 2009

UK sliding down the tax-friendly rankings according to the FT

Interesting article in the Financial Times this weekend regarding the recent tax changes in the UK - especially as it benchmarks the changes and implications for individuals with other locations in the world.

The implications for expatriates could be interesting. Will the UK and London be as attractive for people who want to live and work abroad as say Singapore or Hong Kong ?

I'm not saying that tax arrangements are a key driver for expatriates - there is so much more to consider when living and working abroad - but the financial rewards of working in another country help enable the richer, cultural experiences that so many expats enjoy when living in another country.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

2009 survey now closed

On the 30th April we closed the 2009 survey. Bee and the team celebrated with chocolate cake. We're really pleased with the volume of responses this year - over 3000 - in 2008 we had just over 2000.

Can't wait for the results - we'll hopefully get some new insights from the new participants as well as trend data from the 2008 survey.

Data analysis is due to be completed towards the end of May & we hope to issue our first report - Expat Economics in June.

Monday, 6 April 2009

We're just getting started

Not much going on at the moment as we build out our blog and learn as we go - if you have any tips we'd love to hear from you

Saying that we'd love to hear from you anyway especially if you want to recommend any expat resources, links and provide feedback on the survey



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