Being An Expat (part four):
The Financial Aspect
The financial aspect of being an expat boils down to always having sufficient funds to satisfy your requirements, which will vary throughout the year. For example, in Thailand, I need to have either 800,000 Baht (for a retirement visa) or 400,000 Baht (for a spousal visa) in my Thai bank account for the two months prior to and including the day I apply for my visa, but I can spend it after that, as long as I replace it within ten months.
Most people try to leave this fundamentally most basic requirement in the bank at all times and try to ‘forget’ about it.
You also need money for healthcare and or health care insurance, depending on your insurance policy, but this is also an annual premium.
If you don’t have a work permit, you will find it difficult to replace these sums as they become due, unless you have a good pension, or can supplement your income in other ways. Many expats try to do this using the Internet, but it is not easy, especially if you need a regular income.
I was doing well at this until one night Google closed my Adsense account without warning. That cost me $1,000 a month and they wouldn’t tell me the reason. That nearly sent me home with my tail between my legs, and I’m still struggling to overcome the loss now, four years later.
Don’t rely on your government or that of the target country either. Four years before the Google disaster, the Thai Baht dropped from seventy-five Baht to the £1 to sixty in a matter of weeks, and then it fell to fifty. Suddenly, my UK savings were worth a third less than they were when I arrived and they have never recovered.
If you want to live abroad, you’ll need either a cast-iron savings pot full of money or solid determination, but you will probably find that you’ll need both and a supplementary income and nerves of steel.
It’s no wonder that many expats drink too much.
All the best,
Podcast: Being An Expat: The Financial Aspect