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Becoming an Expat

bigmaude

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  • Added on: May 7th, 2007
Has anyone here ever considered moving to another country permanently? If so, which country and why? What is the most common reason people choose to become expats?

Iv'e been kicking this idea around for some time now and attempting to do some research. There are lots of books on this topic but can anyone recommend the best ones?

Haci Richard

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  • Added on: May 7th, 2007
I think of it every year when I get my social security statement. Nine years of living overseas has left me in the situation where my monthly benefits are to be about $100. I'm thinking I could retire to a nice cardboad box somewhere in Laos if I give up eating on odd numbered days.
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cybersusst

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  • Added on: May 7th, 2007
I've been thinking of moving to India once I finish college and travel a bit. I just fell in love with the country and have some great friends there. I would love to be an Indian!
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cayce

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  • Added on: May 7th, 2007
This thread discusses which booties have expat-ted and why..

jamesintheworld

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  • Added on: May 7th, 2007
I’m an American that lives in Jakarta, Indonesia I have also lived in France and the Middle East

I love being an Expat, no taxes, maid and driver, easy life..

But it is not as easy as seems. As an Expat you can not finance anything; car, house, 89 inch plasma TV, ect. So you better have enough cash to pay for everything. In many countries you will have to pay for 12 months rent in advance for a decent place.

Also as a foreigner any legal, fender bender, ANYTHING INVOLVING OR THAT COULD INVOLVE MONEY no matter what…you are wrong and at fault and will have to pay. Why? Because you are the rich foreigner (even if your poor). The police and courts wont even bother with a local because they know he wont or cant pay.

Last year a guy hit my PARKED car and I had to pay for his damage

Also if you want to have western “luxuries” like a full size fridge, sit potties, a gas stove that doesn’t leak gas, Air Conditioning, washer and dryer then you will pay out the ass. Many 1st time Expats think that they don’t want those things anyway, 90% change there mind within 6 months.

Health insurance and life insurance is also a big problem. You will have to get a specialized Expat health insurance package (Expensive) and you may not even be covered if you don’t have a residency card. Life insurance wont pay off unless you are covered for “risky activities” (many insurance companies consider simple things like fishing in Mexico to be a risky activity).

A friend of mine back in the 90’s didn’t think he would need ether health or life insurance because he was only 25, until he got cancer and bankrupted his parents before he died.

These are the “dark side” parts about being an Expat that no one tells you about and the tourists say don’t happen.

Basically you will need lots of money to Expatriate yourself properly, sure you can live in India for 5 dollars a day – but would you want to live that lifestyle into your 70’s without any health insurance? If yes then go for it on a shoestring. If not, save yo money first, get a job with an Expat package or figure out how to make money wile living overseas.

Despite all of these things would I ever move back to the states? Hell No


James
--------------------------------------------------------------
International Civilian Contractor Jobs
www.CivilianContractorJobs.com

Stoo

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  • Added on: May 7th, 2007
Check out the many related threads in the Vol., TEFL, & Working Abroad Forum.

To directly contradict others: I do pay taxes, have no driver or maid, do have credit, can get a mortgage, do have health insurance, and do have a pension.

How all of these topics work out for you depends on your profession, your host country, your immigration status and how long you live there.
"No. I was talking about the hooker in Reno" -- BostonBill @ the BOOTCOM10 Hostel

Sophie9

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  • Added on: May 7th, 2007
I've been an expatella in Russia for 4 years and next year we're probably moving to China....

I have mixed feelings about living overseas, but surely the biggest issue with living in a foreign country are the language problems. I've gotten to where I can speak some Russian and comprehend a lot of what I see and hear, but for sure I miss A LOT of details and innuendo. I haven't seen an American newspaper in years, English language books are almost impossible to find, maps are all in a foreign language, train schedules are impossible to decipher, dentist appts. are a nightmare, bureaucratic foreign paperwork is never ending, every daily task is a struggle. It wears on you.

I can absolutely assure you that traveling to a foreign country and living in a foreign country are two entirely different things.

lets get out of this country

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Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
 
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  • Added on: May 8th, 2007
Thinking of high tailing to New Zealand ini a couple of years but as we are both working in South Africa next month it may sneak up on the blind side.

We are slightly lucky in that we can use an exchange scheme first for a year before we decide to go perminantly.

Why? young, have good job that other countries need people in, for the crac. Why the hell not!


jamesintheworld

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2007
quote:
Originally posted by Stoo:
I do pay taxes


I was posting from a Americans point of view, that’s why I started my post with “I’m and American that lives in Jakarta, Indonesia”

Americans don’t pay taxes on the first 80K

quote:
Originally posted by Stoo:
have no driver or maid


I am a messy person

quote:
Originally posted by Stoo:
do have credit


You have a car and house loan from a local bank?

Dang, that’s pretty cool, are you on an Expat package? Sure, some companies will set up home and car loans for their Expat employees. That’s why I threw in “Expat Packages” near the end of my post.

And in some countries if you have residency, a local salaried job and have been living there for a few years you a get a car or home loan from a local bank (but the interest rate is usually pretty high)

I am actually quite curious (and jealous) how you got a car and home loan from a local bank – mostly because I wouldn’t mind doing the same thing. I’d really like to know how you got a Home and Car loan from a local bank if you don’t mind telling me, thanks!

quote:
Originally posted by Stoo:
do have health insurance


Aaaaaa… dude, that was my point, I don’t believe that I said “Expats don't have Insurance” I said the “Expats should have insurance but many neglect that detail”

quote:
Originally posted by Stoo:
and do have a pension


Who said anything about a Pension? Was it me? I don’t see where I said that, could you point it out for me please?

quote:
Originally posted by Stoo:
To directly contradict others:


Better luck next time


quote:
Originally posted by Sophie9:
but surely the biggest issue with living in a foreign country are the language problems.


There is nothing more pitiful than an Expat that has been living in a country for 10 years and still doesn’t speak the language

quote:
Originally posted by Sophie9:
I can absolutely assure you that traveling to a foreign country and living in a foreign country are two entirely different things.


Bingo

James
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
International Civilian Contractor Jobs
www.CivilianContractorJobs.com

bigmaude

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2007
quote:
get a job with an Expat package


What exactly is this?


Thanks everyone for the wealth of information. Keep it coming please! I found a pretty good site called livingabroad.com that has excellent, non-sugar coated information. There's so much to consider about a move like this!

Sophie9

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2007
An "expat package" is usually a bundle of non cash perks. Things like subsidized housing (usually much higher quality than standard local housing), dependent education, [westernized] medical insurance, vehicle with/without driver, fitness club memberships, paid vacations.

Stoo

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2007
bigmaude: Some lucky folks get companies to send them overseas, pay extra for the 'inconvenience' of sending them off to another country, enrol their children to private schools, give them obscene allowances for housing and transport, pay for regular trips back 'home', etc.

Nice work if you can get it.

There are some people who only use 'expat' in the above context. You are as I understand, along with myself and many others, using the term 'expat' in a more inclusive sense. TEFL teachers on dodgy permits, etc.

jitw: I am an American, so my POV is American too. I was referring to Swiss taxes, insurance, loans, etc. My credit interest rates are the same a Swiss would get. House purchacing options are restricted to various degrees depending on one's specific residential status. Basically, my personal finances are Swiss-based. Note that I have residency here.

Life in the UK was similar even though I did not have residency. Then again, I did not integrate my finances that much. I did have a rental contract, utility bills, local bank account, credit card...but that is it.

After my initial stint in the UK, while working here in Switzerland, my employer sent me off to London on an 'expat package' like defined above for a year. They got me a swank flat in Shad Thames, paid for flights to Zurich once a month, and a fair amount of expense cash to play with. It was sorta goofy...An American with Swiss residency with an expat contract in the UK.

Moral of the story? Every country is going to be different when it comes to what one can and cannot do regarding these basic life issues. Your experiences in Indonesia will not necessarily be applicable to other countries, just as my Swiss experience may or may not translate to other countries.

Taxes: to be more precise, Americans do not pay federal taxes on the first 80k of salaried income (E.g.: capital gains, etc. are taxable) if and only if one qualifies on the 2555. But I am sure you knew that, right? There is more than one thread on this legalistic topic elsewhere for those interested…
"No. I was talking about the hooker in Reno" -- BostonBill @ the BOOTCOM10 Hostel

jamesintheworld

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2007
quote:
Originally posted by Stoo:
I was referring to Swiss taxes


But you get a tax credit for that (I think)

quote:
Originally posted by Stoo:
my employer sent me off to London on an 'expat package' like defined above for a year. They got me a swank flat in Shad Thames, paid for flights to Zurich once a month, and a fair amount of expense cash to play with. It was sorta goofy...An American with Swiss residency with an expat contract in the UK.


Expat Package = SWEET!

I was on an Expat Package in Paris for 6 months living in a 4 bedroom (4!!!!!) flat ALONE!, 250 USD a day pre-deam (this was before the Euro), Unlimited Car service use, 2000 bucks in “expenses” money, and a double salary.

I still think about those days

quote:
Originally posted by Stoo:
There are some people who only use 'expat' in the above context. You are as I understand, along with myself and many others, using the term 'expat' in a more inclusive sense. TEFL teachers on dodgy permits, etc.


No, hippies are not real Expats


James
International Civilian Contractor Jobs
www.CivilianContractorJobs.com

Continental Op

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2007
The differences have less to do with Hippy vs. Corporate Warrior than they do living in the West vs. East and North vs. South.

If you're planning on living in Southeast Asia or the like, James' experience is very useful. It also applies when living in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Central/South America. (That said, Chile, Argentina, Dubai, and many other non-western cities offer plenty of accommodations for expats, including insurance options, actual legal status, etc.) If you're planning on living in Europe, North America, the like, then Stoo's experience will be more relevant.

You really might be better off surfing Expactica and Escape Artist for more information. At the very least, it will help you narrow down that location which best suits you.
Please note: the above member, who is the very model of a modern major-general, with information vegetable, animal, and mineral, has retired from BnA and won't be able to answer any follow-up questions. To speak with him, use the PM function.

bigmaude

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2007
quote:
You really might be better off surfing Expactica and Escape Artist for more information. At the very least, it will help you narrow down that location which best suits you.


Thanks. Iv'e checked out the above sites along with several other good ones. I'm still in the very beginning of the "narrowing down" stage. I won't be making any move at all for at least five years so I have plenty of time for research!


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