Financial Planning for Your Expat Experience

Posted By Gerardo on 31/01/2014

This is a guest post from InterNations

In order to make the most of your expat experience, it is essential to plan ahead. In addition to reading up on the customs and practices in the country you are moving to, you should also do some research on the cost of living. Just because you are moving to a country that is cheap to travel around as a tourist, doesn’t mean that the cost of living will be inexpensive for an expat.

Especially if you want to maintain the same Western lifestyle you had back home, some cities, especially in parts of Africa, number among the most expensive expat destinations based on cost of living. Other cities, such as Geneva and Tokyo, are expensive for everyone, expats and locals alike.

Depending on where you are headed, you will have to keep different things in mind when planning your budget. Is safety an issue? Will you need to live in a gated compound with 24-hour security guards? What about health issues? How is the quality of local health care? Will public health insurance suffice, or will you need to invest a considerable amount in private health insurance, which will give you access to high-quality private hospitals and doctors? All these could be expenses you weren’t counting on.

Other unexpected expenses can include needing vaccinations and special medicine during your expat assignment. All the administrative steps associated with starting a job abroad can also start adding up. These include applying for your visa and then your residence and/or work permit once you arrive. Be sure to also look into the transportation situation in the city you will be moving to. Will you need a car, or can you rely on public transportation to get around?

If you are moving with children, does your host country’s government provide public child care or will you have to arrange and pay for this yourself for your under school age children? What is the quality of the public schools? Will you need to send your children to an international school?

Make a budget before you leave, and try to account for all foreseeable expenses. Be sure to also budget in a little extra to be able to make an emergency trip home, if necessary.

If you don’t have to worry about money during your expat assignment, you’re more likely to have a successful experience abroad. This will also free up your time to focus on adapting to the cultural and social differences in your host country. Take some language classes. Join a club and make some l

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How to Start a Business in Chile

Posted By Gerardo on 31/01/2014

This is a guest post from James Jones, travel blogger for My Travel Guide Posts.
Chile is one of the best places in South America to live as an expatriate, invest money, own Real Estate and start a business. The following article is intended to inspire and guide expatriates on the process and requirements needed to start a business in Chile:

1. Recognise a niche

Before setting your mind on what business to start up in Chile, consider the following:
  • Research how competitive the market is
  • Get to know the expat community
  • Build trust with local people that will be of help to your business (i.e. electricians, builders, etc) 
  • Learn the local culture and customs
  • Learn Spanish
Also, when identifying a business niche, it is important that the business will be of benefit or interest to the expat and local communities. Always keep in mind how your new business will impact (help) the local people, and develop a good healthy relationship with the locals.
Whichever business niche you pick, make sure it is something you are actually interested in or are passionate about.

2. Business niches ideas 

Here it is some business ideas to start a business in Chile that targets the expatriate and local communities:

  • Restaurant
  • Physiotherapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Import business (i.e. coffee, cars, etc)
  • Speciality shops
  • Aromatherapy
  • Surf shop
  • Hostel
  • Scholarship programs
  • Yoga, Pilates or Gym class
  • Winery
  • Fishing tours
  • Coffee Shop
  • Care taker
  • Teaching English
  • Tour-transport business
A couple of good examples of expat businesses and why they are successful overseas are “PURE Gym and Spa” in Nicaragua and Kelly’s Expat Shop in the Netherlands.
“Pure Gym and Spa” is based in Granada, Nicaragua and stands out from the local competition by offering a spa, gym, yoga classes and a scholarship program for local mothers. 
Kelly’s Expat Shop is based in The Hague and appeals to the English and American expat community because the shop sells favourite brands of products that English and American expats would recognise back home.

3. Starting a company

Chile has, without a doubt, been one of the easiest and cheapest places in Latin America to start a business. Typically it takes 3-5 weeks to start a company at a cost of roughly $650. 
However, as of early last year the Chilean government passed down a new law which cut-down much of the bureaucracy associated with a starting a business in Chile, which means you can now start a new business online at no cost.
The online form to start a business in Chile can... (keep reading)

 

Best cities to live in for location-independent internet entrepreneurs

Posted By Gerardo on 04/11/2013

This is a guest post from full-time World traveler Jasper Ribbers.
As a location independent internet entrepreneur, I can live where ever I want. One option is to roam around, moving from location to location every other week or so. This is a lot of fun and I get to see a lot of our beautiful planet this way.
However, it's though to get work done when constantly on the move. And sometimes, I just feel like having a home base for a few months. Sleep in the same bed, make some local connections and really get to know a certain place.
But where? What are good cities to camp out for a while? I've thought about this for a long time and I've come up with a number of criteria:
  • Internet speed: I need a fast connection
  • Cost of living: I rather spend less then more money
  • Climate: I prefer temperatures in the 20 - 30 Celsius range and mostly sunny
  • Safety: I value my life and I also carry just about everything I own so I rather not have it stolen
  • Health care: In case something does happen
  • Pollution: It's nice to have some fresh air
I asked fellow internet entrepreneurs what their favorite cities are to setup shop. Based on their answers, I've selected six cities: Bangkok, Medellin, Buenos Aires, Budapest, Shanghai and Vilnius. I ranked these cities based on the factors mentioned above. I've given some factors more weight than others, to reflect my personal preferences. Here are the results:

The winner: Vilnius!

This might surprise you! Many people have never heard of Vilnius. It's the capital of Lithuania, a former Soviet state. The country is named a Baltic Tiger, for it's rapid economic development in the last decade.
Vilnius has the world's 10th fastest internet, topping all US cities. The city sees very little pollution, cost of living is low and it's a safe place. The biggest drawback is the climate. Temperatures are around or well below zero from November to April. That being said, the summers are warm and dry, so if you go June to September you'll avoid the cold!
The other cities are quite closely together, with Bangkok being somewhat behind. This is mostly due to cost of living and pollution. The city only excels at one thing: health care.

Final note

I used my personal preferences to rank the cities. For me, cost of living, climate and internet speed are the most important factors. Others might have a different opinion. To help you find your p... (keep reading)

 

5 Unexpected Expenses for Expats

Posted By Gerardo on 05/05/2013

This is a guest post from the blogger Madoline Hatter.

There are many expenses that one must consider as an expat. Whether they are rolled into the start-up costs or jumbled into the relocation, expenses can be generally forecast. However, are you ready for an unexpected expenses that you didn't realize previously? Sometimes, you can get caught up in needing extra money in order to cover the unexpected. Even if you have everything planned perfectly, life has a way of happening and creating circumstances that you may not have considered.

1. Driver's License - Depending on how you plan on getting around, the area you choose to live in may require you to pay for a driver's license or permit for the duration of your stay. You could as easily pay for public transportation if it's available, but this is an expense that many might forget. If you are expatriated because of your employment, you may still need the permit in order to drive around the location. If you are unsure about the locations laws about driving permits, you would be wise to find information regarding the driving policies of such location.

2. Importing Belongings - Many countries will charge you an import duty tax on your belongings that you bring with you. Although you may establish residency within your new country, you should find out if you are going to be charged a tax for goods you are bringing with you. Also bear in mind that some countries deny certain transportation of electronics, foods, and other tangibles without a permit. Contact your embassy and find out if there will be unexpected import taxes imposed on your belongings.

3. Insurance - If you're moving to another location because of employment, there may already be an insurance coverage for you. However, don't forget that insurance for automobiles is mandatory in many countries. If you plan on having a vehicle, pet, home, or simply want to protect yourself from financial pains from injuries, then you may want to investigate what kind of insurance premiums and coverages are available. It could save you from higher costs later on if something were to happen.

4. Repairs - If you plan on driving your own car or one that you bought while in your new country, you should figure in saving money for eventual repairs. Although you may be handy with a wrench in your country of origin, it doesn't mean that you would be able to tell the difference between the fuel tank and an oil pan in a foreign vehicle. This i

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Comparing the cost of living between London & Tel Aviv

Posted By Gerardo on 24/04/2013

This is a guest post from the London and Tel-Aviv based entrepeneur, Daniel Abrahams.

Early this year, my co-founder Stevan and I took the decision to relocate our tech startup MyCurrencyTransfer.com & MyTravelMoney.co.uk to Tel Aviv, Israel.

The reason was simple. Israel is a major startup hub and boasts more startups per capita than anywhere in the world. For our staff, this would be an extremely unique experience and be a perfect opportunity for the whole development, design and commercial team to truly gel in a foreign environment. Of course, a quick search on the weather in Israel helped with our decision too.

During the initial research phase for our three month trip, a look on Expatistan comparing the cost of living between London and Tel Aviv brought good news. Wow – London is 44% more expensive than Tel Aviv! Excellent. Not only will our startup thrive, but we can save money too! The reality? Partially true, very accurate data, but not so simple.

In this article, I'll try and share my experiences of the life of a startup in a foreign country, particularly focusing on how to best manage your personal finance.

Live like a local. Not a Tourist.

When abroad, it can be extremely tempting to want to eat out every night and go traveling at every opportunity. This is great, but of course will come at a cost. Living abroad and maintaining a tourist lifestyle not only blows all cost of living stats out the window, but also, it isn't the healthiest way to live.

Comparing the cost of food and drink. London v Tel Aviv

From my experience, food and drinks at major bars and clubs in Israel are no different in price to the best haunts in the UK. It can be extremely common to pay upwards of £10 for a Vodka and mixer.

For every day essential items such as milk, bread and eggs, we've seen the data totally in line with Expatistan and good savings can be made. Israel is in general a cheaper place to live than the UK, particularly outside the bubble of Tel Aviv. Where possible, buy fruit and vegetables in the market. Not only will it be cheaper than supermarket, but you will also be able to haggle. If you do want to eat out on a budget, the local 'falafel' and 'shawarma' stands offer superb value and quantity of food!

Tipping culture in Tel Aviv is EXTREMELY different to London

Israelis are an extremely friendly, but wholly direct breed of people. They will have no qualms in letting you know that

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