Budget tips for relocating abroad
byMar 4th 2010 5:00PM
Eves launched a website last month called Expat Info Desk. It includes guides for moving 30 specific locations on five continents and general information about making the big step. Everything is written by expats.
Eves gave WalletPop five money-saving tips for settling overseas.
1. Eliminate the deal-breakers. If a company is sending you, negotiate the best package you can. In these austere times, firms offer fewer enticements, so do your homework to cover important items such as health care, trips home and your children's education. Even those not moving for business should consider potential budget-crushing obstacles.
2. Live the local culture. It is far cheaper most of the time. Eat the cuisine of your new home instead of seeking out expensive, American imports. For example, in Moscow, where Eves and his wife live, the cold cereal you usually eat fr breakfast is five times more expensive. Watch and read local media -- magazines, newspapers, TV, Internet. Clinging to too many familiar ways will chip away at the money you've traveled so far to earn. Trying to imitate your lifestyle back home can also bankrupt your adventurous spirit. "Not only will you find it less enjoyable, you could have moved across America for that," Eves said.
3. Reside where the natives do. There are popular expat neighborhoods in every city and the landlords know where they are. You will always pay a premium for that. "One road further out and one further-out suburb can make a huge difference in accommodation price," Eves said. Forgo Yank niceties such as driveways and dryers. Again, landlords love to ding you for those.
4. Enroll your kids in the local school district. They might have to play catch-up, but their life experience will be enriched and your financial burden will be eased. If language or other barriers are too large to overcome, there are always International, British, French and American schools. But they tend to be expensive.
5. Pay extra attention to a few monetary matters. Many expats get paid in one currency but want to keep the money elsewhere because of bank-corruption issues or exchange rates. Make sure you can shift your earnings around without inviting unexpected taxes. And if you're working for a corporation, include a clause allowing you to renegotiate terms if the exchange rate falls by more than 10%t. Any peace of mind is an ally.
"There is always trepidation moving somewhere completely new," Eves said. "But you are leaving here with free will. You have to have the desire to go there. ... All my moves have been enjoyable and worked in the end."