In this series, we’ve been looking at questions to ask as you assess the possibilities of embarking upon the part-time expat lifestyle. This is the third installment regarding financial questions. We are taking the time to think through this aspect of the decision because your financial base is one of the crucial pillars for a successful experience overseas.
In this blog post, we will consider some final financial questions that will need attention. Undoubtedly, as you plan, think, dream, and move forward, you will return to financial issues many times – it is just so foundational. Here are some things to consider now …
Can I easily access my financial resources from the country(ies) I’m considering?
Whether you are planning to draw from your pension, investment, savings, or other resources, you will want to be able to access those funds electronically from your new base. Many people have their monthly income deposited automatically into their foreign bank account; or they utilize a bank from their home country and use ATM machines to withdraw cash for living. However you decide to organize the arrival and availability of funds, you will want to know your options. Check with your pension company to make sure they will send funds abroad for you if that is what you prefer. Again, visit online forums and consult people living in the countries where you are thinking of moving. Suggested questions:
What banks are recommended for expats?
Which ones have the most ease of use electronically?
Are there any restrictions or laws you should be aware of in transferring funds regularly?
Of course, if you make an investigation trip to one or more countries, asking these questions in person would be ideal. Visit banks, get a feel for the services offered, interact with the personnel. In the end, you want to make sure you can access your funds each month in a way that is easy and hassle-free.
Related to this is the question of how easily you can access reserves in an emergency. Ask expats or banking personnel about speed and time gaps in relaying funds upon demand.
What will my tax situation be in the eyes of my home country? My new country?
Living in another country means being subject to the laws of that country. You need to know what your tax situation will be in both your home country and your adopted country. Here are some things to consider:
Will income earned abroad be taxable in your home country?
What taxes will I need to pay on income in my new country?
Is there sales tax?
Are there other taxes I should be aware of?
Of course, these expenses will need to be figured into your overall budget. There are many online sites that specialize in advising expats regarding tax situations. I encourage you to check with online experts as well as expats living in the country(ies) in which you are interested.
What happens to my estate when I die, if I die in my adopted country?
You will need to consult with a lawyer or professional estate planner who specializes in overseas situations to answer this. You’ll need information both about your home country’s laws as well as your adopted country’s laws and regulations. You’ll need to find out if your will from your home country will be honored in the second country or if you will need separate wills. It’s best to have all of these details in order so that your family members can easily execute decisions should you pass away while overseas.
One last question: What other extra expenses might I have that I haven’t factored into my monthly budget? Special health needs? Medications? Return travel? Activities I want to engage in?
Thinking through some of these financial issues may seem overwhelming, but good planning and thorough knowledge will serve you well as you embark upon your adventure.
And remember . . . this is fun! Looking at your possibilities . . . thinking through the questions . . . moving a little more toward your dream . . . it’s all part of the process. Enjoy it.
So . . . Is part-time expat living for you? You’ll know, in time.
Until next time. . .
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