So, you’re thinking about making the
move abroad? It’s a thrilling prospect – but there are more than a few hoops to
jump through before even considering setting foot on a plane. Most importantly,
have you thought about the costs involved?
1. How will you exchange
When going on holiday, exchanging a few
hundred pounds for spending money can often be done through your bank. But when
moving abroad, you’ll probably have to exchange a lump sum, so it’s worth doing
your homework and finding a foreign currency broker that can offer you a low
rate, as this could save lots of money.
about the cost of living?
A good way to figure this out is to
visit the place where you would like to move to, and make notes on the general
cost of everyday items like milk and sugar, as well as meals out and other
activities you plan on enjoying.
However, for a broader picture, head to
expat forums to find out more about the cost of utilities, rent, and so on. You
should draw up a realistic budget plan using these figures to see if it’s
Key things to look out for in this
budget are healthcare and education. In Nairobi, for instance, schooling can be
expensive – as much as 25% of your wage if you have two or more children,
explained in this
helpful post. The majority are advised to take out private medical
3. What transport will you
Transport can be one of the biggest
outgoings here in the UK and circumstances can be similar abroad. It’s worth
finding out what the infrastructure is like for public transport in your
destination of choice.
If you plan on driving, check whether
it’s cheaper to buy a car once you move over, or have your existing car shipped
across – for instance, purchasing a second hand car in Nairobi can be a huge
expense since they are imported and heavily taxed, so can cost ten
times the amount that they do in the UK. However, you do have a window
of a few months after arrival to ship your own car into the country, duty free.
4. How will your pension be
In the UK, your pension will rise every
year. However, if you’re retired, it will depend on which country you’re moving
to as to whether your pension increases each year, or stays at a frozen rate.
There are lots of factors that could potentially be at play here, so contact
Pension Centre for information on how you could be affected.
If you’re not retired yet, though, then
you should still be able to pay into a UK pension scheme from abroad, should
you wish to. In any case, it’s worth making plans for your
retirement, whether you plan to remain living abroad or you decide to return to
the UK. More advice is available in this
post from the Pension Advisory Service.
And don’t forget…
to remember here – perhaps most importantly, tell the HMRC that you’re leaving
the country. This will mean that you can avoid paying tax twice, in the UK and
your new home, though there are exceptions – you may have to pay tax on
properties you own in the UK, for example. Find out more
Will you take them with you? If so,
arrange for the necessary vaccinations and immunisations in plenty of time, get
them microchipped, and look into the best options for transporting them to your
6. A fund for annual visits home
Chances are, you’ll want to visit the UK
to see friends and family at some point but how frequently can depend on how
far you’ll be moving, and of course your budget. Include the cost of trips home
when planning your annual budget, as undoubtedly you will need to return home
from time to time.