Moving to a new country can be both exciting and nerve-racking. On top of the challenges that can crop up around taking on a new job and meeting new people, a new country may also present a new set of rules as far as expat finance and tax go.
One of the most important aspects of your new life will be to learn how and where you can save money in your day-to-day affairs to plan for your future (and ultimately remit more cash back home). In a new country, there are likely to be some areas of personal finance that you previously may not have had to think about. Take a look at these tips on expat finance and tax services.
1. Find A Trustworthy, Qualified Expat Tax Professional
You may find your new country’s tax laws confusing, and it can be tough to determine what your obligations are if you’re a new migrant and not yet a citizen. Take the time to meet with several professionals who have experience in expat tax preparation and expat finance. The services that an accountant offers a native citizen can be drastically different from expat tax services, so make sure you’re dealing with a specialist and preferably one who deals primarily with Indian expats.
It’s tempting to rely solely on advice from other expats, friends and family in this area – especially if you’re strapped for cash. But you’re likely to get some very valuable insights (and save money in the long run) by consulting with someone who understands the system right from the start.
2. Educate Yourself About the Housing Market
Whether you’re renting or taking on a mortgage, you need to do your homework on where it makes the most sense to live in your city of choice. Take into account the kind of work you plan on doing, where most of those jobs are located, and what the best (and cheapest) nearby neighbourhoods are. If you’ve already lined up a job before you arrive, research the nearby suburbs and neighbourhoods as much as you can before leaving home.
Just taking some time to find a place to live which is close to the jobs you’re chasing will not only make it easier to actually find a job, but also potentially save you hundreds or thousands a year on rent and transport costs. This is particularly true in a city like London, where a cross-town commute can very quickly turn into a significant drain on your salary.
3. Calculate the Real Cost of Transportation
If you’re not buying a car and plan on using public transportation, learn the options available. Bus and rail systems typically offer a monthly or yearly pass at a steep discount, but very few people ever sit down to actually run the numbers on the cost of public transport versus owning a car.
This will vary a lot depending on what city you’re in – some places have significantly better public transport than others, and some suffer from terrible gridlock that will easily add hours to your working day if you drive. Convenience is an important factor too.
Remember though, don’t leave anything out of the equation – you have to factor in things such as car registration and other local government fees that might be involved, licensing costs, potential resale value of a vehicle, how long you plan to live in the country, and so on. All of these could significantly shift whether it makes more economic sense to own a vehicle, ride a bike or take the subway.
4. Watch Out for Tricky Banking Fees
Bank fees can take you by surprise. A lot of banks around the world will charge small fees for the most basic transactions. Determine what expat banking services you’re going to need from the get-go and try to get an understanding of market rates for things like international transfers, before you end up losing money on a bad deal. If you’re like many Indians living abroad, remitting money home is likely to be a regular occurrence. It pays to do your homework on services that can help you save money on your transfers, compared to your bank or a service like Paypal, so you can get more money home to your family.
Chances are OrbitRemit’s fees are a lot lower, and our exchange rates are more favourable, than what you’d get from your bank (you can use our exchange rate calculator to check for yourself). If you plan on transferring money back home frequently, this is a service that very few banks offer a quality, specialized service for – they are usually slow and expensive. Many expats are shocked when they total up how much money they lose on bank fees when remitting money back to India.
Go ahead and check out our exchange rate calculator to see how much you’d save on your next transfer – and don’t forget to share these tips with your friends!