Thursday, 21 April 2011

Expat Guide To Finance - Your money and the cost of living

Adjusting to living costs in your new country is a key part of the transition into expat life. Climate, salary and social life are all important too but making sure you have control over your living expenses is vital.

If you are planning on moving abroad the first thing you should do is work out how much money you will need to lead an equivalent lifestyle to the one you currently enjoy, including those luxuries that you can’t do without! This will ensure that you are instantly aware of what the general living costs are and give you a sense of how to negotiate your salary in the most cost effective way. A good idea is to use a cost of living calculator which will help you appreciate how dramatically this varies across the globe.

For many expats the issue lies with hidden costs that aren’t always starkly obvious, or are overlooked, amongst the long list of things to sort whilst moving. To help you out here is a short checklist of things to take account of when planning a move:

· Healthcare – Is this something your employer provides? If not then you may need to look into taking out your own private medical cover.

· Education – If state education is limited in your host country it is likely that you will need to pay for your children to be privately educated. And again if this is not something that is paid for by your employer the costs of boarding and extra-curricular activities can quickly mount up.

· Social life – It is also important to factor in how much you will be spending on your social life, whether that be joining a club or society, to meet people at work or in your spare time.

· Assets – Are you planning on letting your house while you are away or are you leaving a pet behind? Both of these things can cost a lot so it is worth factoring them into your move.

To see more advice and our top tips for managing your finances abroad check out our Expat Guides via the Guardian website.

Expats, do you have any top tips for first time movers? If so let us know...

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