There’s no doubt about it, living abroad can open many new opportunities and experiences to you and your family and it can be a fantastic way to change your life and get out of a rut. The problem for many people though, is that they end up making the move without doing adequate research beforehand; if you’re unprepared your living abroad dream can suddenly become a nightmare.
Organise your finances and arrange your life assurance prior to travel
The biggest mistake that people make when planning their new adventure of living abroad is that they base their ideas on hopes rather than realities. So before you make any kind of decision, do your homework; first of all, find out your legal standing – some overseas moves are easy while others much more complicated, so you should get all the information you can from the relevant embassies as soon as possible. Of course, it also goes without saying that you should actually travel to the country you’re considering moving to, to get a real feel for the culture and the opportunities there.
It’s also a good idea to join some expat forums and chat to people who have already taken the plunge. You’ll also need to find out how the welfare system works and see whether or not you’ll need to get some medical insurance – remember that not every country has a free health service that you can access, so you need to make sure that you can get proper treatment and help if the need should arise.
It’s also worth talking to a financial advisor if you’re planning on living abroad. They can help you look at your budget and calculate how currency variations may affect your money pot. It’s also a good idea to get some life assurance in place and perhaps even sort out your pension and inheritance tax planning before you go.
Living abroad isn’t just about the planning beforehand…
Planning doesn’t stop when you land in your new home and unpack either. You may need to organise a resident’s permit, register with the authorities and perhaps make arrangements to ensure that your driving license is valid for use. You also need to find out the rules and regulations regarding opening a bank account, and if you’ve relied on financial advice in the past, then it’s worth finding an advisor that you feel comfortable with as soon as you move, so that you’ve always got somebody to call on.
If you were too busy before you moved abroad, then it really is essential that you sort out your medical cover and life assurance as soon as you embark on your new venture living abroad; this is protection and security for your family and not something that you should compromise on.