Wrapping up all your business operations, transferring all your funds abroad, packing your belongings and flying to another country or continent can be a mind-boggling experience. But you’re not alone!
Millions of businessmen, disappointed by their domestic tax reforms, take this bold step of becoming expatriates for life and set up an offshore company or find a foreign job.
Treat your big move, like a new challenge or a lucrative business avenue, you need to explore. Here is a list of common problems you need to prepare for, in case you’re looking for an offshore opportunity.
The struggle of fitting into a new culture
There are high chances of experiencing a culture shock if you’re travelling to a new country or continent. Getting accustomed to the new environment, culture, customs and people might be challenging— don’t get overwhelmed. This is a natural response; give yourself some time to get acquainted with the place and culture. Visit famous landmarks, try new food and meet the locals. Do some research on the culture, business ethics and etiquettes to prepare yourself beforehand. You can even meet other fellow expats to gain useful insight.
The language barrier
Walking into another country that is fluent in the English language is an ideal situation, but if you’re travelling to an Asian or European country, you need to brush up on your language skills. Be mentally prepared for the language barrier. In the first few months, you’ll have trouble asking for direction or ordering food, but eventually, you will learn the new language.
Enroll in a language class and practice with your friends and coworkers on a daily basis. In no-time, this foreign language will seem native to you.
You can’t live in a hotel room forever. Finding a new house is a long and technical process and the magnitude of house-hunting intensifies, when you’re in a totally foreign country. Hire a realtor or ask your coworkers to help you out in this matter. It’s recommended to rent a small house until you’ve found your bearing in the new land.
Whether you’re an expat or not, money management is tricky business! You will spend the first few weeks converting everything to your home currency. Know all the financial arrangements you need to make when starting a new life in a new country. Start by setting up an offshore bank account. Next, start applying for a tax credit and FEIE or Foreign Earned Income Exclusion to secure your earnings from higher taxes.
Lastly, be prepared to feel lonely and a little homesick. You will miss your old friends, family, and your favourite park, but remember, you can revisit them during vacations. Remind yourself of all the reasons, you left the country in the first place.
Need to know the Ins and Outs of the Expat Way of Living? Take expert advice from Mikkel Thorup. His weekly ‘The Expat Money Show’ helps many expats conquer the foreign land. Click here to learn more.