New Year is a time when people take stock of their lot, with many pondering “would I be better off somewhere else?” Millions of Brits live abroad both temporarily and permanently, and if you are considering joining them for an exciting new life in the sun — or just an exciting new life — there’s a lot of not-so-exciting planning that needs to be done.
Some people move because they are offered a career opportunity that’s too good to turn down, while others pack their lives up into boxes and hop, skip and jump towards what they hope will be a better lifestyle for them and their families. Of course, many hope to bag both.
You’ll Need Enough Cash (or Income)
Whatever your reasons are for heading overseas, ensuring you have enough cash to enjoy the life you want when you get there is extremely important.
In recent years, some retired ex-pats have found themselves struggling financially due to inflation in the Eurozone where they’ve resettled, highlighting the need to plan for every eventuality.
If you’ve been offered a job you’ll need to check the wage you’ve been offered and see if you have the purchasing power or potential rent money to get the pad you want. Or, if you are retired, you ought to make sure everything is in place for you to collect your pension or other investments while you are abroad.
The current state of the UK housing market could put a real spanner in the works for anyone wanting to access the cash invested in their home, and playing a waiting game to find a buyer can put paid to even the best laid plans. One possible solution is to sell your house fast with a property buyer.
For those with school-age children a bit of good honest research is required. You’ll need to investigate whether the kids can go to public or private school in the area and if that is within your means. Your employer or future colleagues are likely to be the best people to go to for advice on this, but don’t dismiss review resources available on the web.
Once you’ve made sure you can afford the lifestyle you have, or want to become accustomed to, there are a few other things to put in order.
You’ll Settle in Faster if you Learn the Language
Take the responsibility to learn the local lingo ahead of arriving in your new home and you will be able to settle in far faster, so plan time to practice; don’t be afraid to put what you are learning to the test on any pre-move visits. Spend as much time as you can getting a feel for the place before you relocate and you’ll find it far less of a culture shock and hopefully meet some friends to help you when you arrive.
Tie Up Loose Ends
Finally, before you ship out, tie up any loose ends and notify people of your move. This should include your relatives and bank and also the likes of HMRC (That’s the UK version of the IRS for my American readers.)
Be ruthless about what you take with you — shipping does not come cheap, though if you get a series of quotes you are likely to net a better deal. It’s also worth remembering a lot of electrical goods won’t work outside of the UK, so it’s better to buy afresh when you get there, giving you a chance to practice your conversation skills.
There is a lot involved with planning a move, but ultimately, when you see the plan coming together and you are safely in your new home or starting the job of your dreams, dealing with all of those little things along the way will have been worth it.
Steve Harris works for Gateway Homes, who help people in the UK sell their house to follow their dreams of moving abroad.