If you are a new expat looking for in-the-know information from other expats who have already carved a new life overseas, here are some hints and tips:
1. Don’t make a decision based on a happy holiday
Living overseas is a lot different for dipping into a tourist location for a couple of weeks.
Permanent expats need to consider speaking the language, health care, the cost of rents or buying a home, taxes and the cost of living, which are issues holidaymakers do not have to think about
2. Get involved in the local community
This may not be easy if you do not speak the language, but making friends and having a support group if you are in trouble or need a plumber are as important for expats as they are back home
Most popular destinations will already have an expat group that is likely to be more than willing to help you settle into your new home
3. Research before you go
Expats do not want to face surprises after they have moved. Work out your day to day spending budgets, what local facilities you need and how much they will cost while still at home.
If you can, spend some time living as an expat in the place where you want to go and see how you get on
4. Consider your motives
Ask yourself some tough questions about your new home, like how long you will stay, how you will keep in touch with family and friends and what will you do for money.
Prioritise your finances, especially private health care. Some countries will demand medical insurance is in place on entry and arranging cover once you are overseas could work out more expensive
5. Consider a QROPS
Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) offer larger tax-free lump sums than UK pensions as well as other benefits. A QROPS will often pay in a local currency direct to your overseas bank, eliminating rate juggling and minimising foreign exchange costs
If you are unsure where to go for advice, several expat organisations run online communities while the HSBC Expat Explorer is an invaluable source of information