5 Unexpected Expenses for Expats

Posted By Gerardo (gerardo@expatistan.com) 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 (gerardo@expatistan.com) 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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Cost of life index for expats, February 2013

Posted By Gerardo (gerardo@expatistan.com) on 02/02/2013

Tokyo Costs Plummet, China Roars Ahead

It's that time of the year again. Twice a year (in January/February and June/July), we prepare a report ranking cities from around the world, along with an analysis and report of trends in the price of living in the world’s regions.
Down at the bottom of this article you can find the rankings as of January 2013 for 112 cities worldwide. The rankings are shown both as a whole, and broken down by region. You can also check at any time the up-to-date cost of living index, which is updated in real time.
The most startling points are that Tokyo – which has long held the title as the most expensive city in the world – has shown a dramatic decrease in the cost of living as compared to other cities. At the same time, Chinese cities have shown a steady, strong rise in the cost of living over the past 18 months.
We use Prague as our benchmark, and we assign it a point value of 100. Against that, Tokyo fell from 291 points (2.91 times more expensive than Prague) in July 2012 to just 212 points this January. Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong (increasingly integrated with China, politically and economically) have all shown double-digit ranking increases. Hong Kong reached the top 10 most expensive cities for the first time since wen began gathering data in January 2010, with a score of 213 points, up 40 over the past 12 months.
Other than the rise of Hong Kong into the ranking, the top 12 most expensive cities in the world, scoring 200 points or more, have remained constant, with just minor adjustments in their order. The new leader, Oslo, scoring 266, has long been in the top tier, as have been Geneva, Zurich, London, Sydney, Singapore and New York City. Just one step down – and not that far – are such cities as Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. A complete ranking of all cities is provided below.
Remaining constant with previous years, the least expensive cities in the world are in South Asia, including Hyderabad, Kolka, Pune, Bangalore and Delhi, all in India, plus Karachi, Pakistan. Eastern European cities, particularly in Poland, Romania and Ukraine, also score well below 100, as do several cities in Argentina. Surprisingly, Bogotá and Caracas rose by double digits, scoring more than 100 points, in the past 18 months.
When examined by region, the comparative cost of living has remained fairly stable since our last report in July 2012. Even with economic and political troubles in the... (keep reading)


Pros and Cons of Moving to a New Country

Posted By Gerardo (gerardo@expatistan.com) on 15/01/2013

This is a guest post from the Bangalore based expat, Tishana Ince.

Moving abroad to start a new life is a massive decision, one that requires a lot of thought, planning and budgeting. You could be moving for work, a new adventure or for love. Be sure to do your homework on the place you are moving to. So let us look at the the pros and cons of embarking on your journey in a new country.


Completely New Experience

Life in a new country can be a real adventure. Eating food that you have never tasted before, getting to see places you have only ever seen on television up until then, soaking in sights, sounds and smells you have never experienced before, culture and customs that are completely different from your own. The list is endless!

Personal Development

Learning a new language and experiencing a new culture will make you appreciate the history, values and customs of that country. Meeting and befriending different kinds of people will broaden your horizons and change your life forever.

Career and Professional Growth

On the career front, you gain a completely fresh perspective of how people deal with work situations and get accustomed to the business culture or professional ethics in that country. The experience gained in a new country will do wonders for your career.

Travel and Adventure

Moving to a new country means that you have the opportunity to travel to places that you might have only dreamt of. Being able to explore and experience destinations that are far away from your own is one of the great joys of life!

New Circle of Friends

Back in your hometown your social circle consisted of your friends from school or college, colleagues and people you have known for a long time. Living abroad gives you the chance to meet interesting people from a variety of backgrounds. Forming new and meaningful friendships becomes second nature when living in a new country.


Stressful time

Life in a new country comes with its own set of challenges. Apart from the initial culture shock, you will have to deal with realities like finding a job, looking for suitable housing and getting accustomed to the local culture. It may take time for you to settle in if one of these factors do not fall into place as expected.

Involves a certain amount of risk

Uprooting yourself from your current job or vocation in order to move abroad is a risky proposition, especially if you have not secured a job at your destination... (keep reading)


Expat News Roundup - week 3, 2013

Posted on 14/01/2013

China hits the expat news this week, with a report that more and more expats are choosing to settle in the country – and particularly in the city of Shanghai. Meanwhile, many of those expats may have new hope of gaining permanent residency in the country, with news that the authorities will issue more green cards from July.

Heading West, UK expats are waiting to find out whether the British government will prevent pensioners claiming a state “winter fuel allowance” once they have emigrated to warm countries. A European court case, meanwhile, could determine whether thousands of expats in Spain will lose their homes.

Finally, a sad tale this week from Saudi Arabia, where the sale of a residential development has left a group of expats facing destitution.

Large Increase in Shanghai Expat Population

The Shanghai Daily has reported a significant rise in the city’s expat population, which totaled over 173,000 at the end of 2012. This is a rise of nearly 7% on 2011’s figures.

Shanghai is a popular destination for foreign residents, with the city providing a home to around 25% of the expats across the whole of China.

Despite the large number of expat residents, only a small proportion (around 5000) have been granted permanent residency status by means of a green card. The Chinese authorities are, however, expected to make more green cards available in the near future, as another of this week’s stories reveals.


More Chinese Green Cards to Become Available

New legislation in China should make it easier for expats to gain permanent residency in the country.

Changes coming into effect in July will increase the number of green cards available.

Gaining a green card allows citizens to work without a permit, and to freely buy property in the country. Green cards also make it more straightforward to start businesses or invest in the country.

Although China has a large expat population, until now it has granted very few permanent residencies when compared to other nations, such as Australia and the USA.


UK Expat Pensioners may Lose Winter Fuel Allowance

UK pensioners who have decided to enjoy their retirement in warmer climes may soon lose their annual winter ... (keep reading)