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Expats And The Cost Of Living – The Basics

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Moving overseas and increasing your cash flow

Sometimes making an extra bit of cash really doesn’t require much effort at all. And if you’re lucky enough to be in apposition where your employer has sent you abroad on an exciting international assignment, then the career progression and cultural experience have inestimable value in themselves.

But if you’re sent to a country where food, transport and accommodation are cheaper than they are back home, it’s a great chance to save a bit more than you’d be able to back home. Of course if there’s a difference between currencies and you’re paid in your home nation’s currency then this might fluctuate a little from time to time – meaning that at some points your spending power is better than at others.

In fact, it’s one of the challenges faced by international HR and global talent management professionals – obviously the aim is for the employee to be remunerated appropriately for the work they’re doing – but what currency to pay them in? It’s obviously less of a problem if you only have a handful of employees working abroad – but if you have lots of people all from different nations working as expats from other nations, it can all get a bit complicated.

But the aim is to make it all fair, and this can be worked out by various means – and with staff being paid the right amount. However, in real terms, there will always be anomalies where certain commodities and goods will just simply seem absurdly cheap to expats.

Take the price of petrol in Kuwait for instance – even when your employer has made sure that you’re not out of pocket in terms of your salary, you’ll still be cheering every time you make a visit to the petrol pump.

Moving overseas – avoiding expense

Of course, some places are just simply expensive – take Tokyo and Hong Kong, for instance. In cases like these it may be the case that you’re living there for a few months or years and your employer will be helping out with your accommodation needs.

But if you’ve moved somewhere expensive under your own steam and got employment there independently, then it’s important to work out the most affordable ways of living – whether that’s by seeking out cheaper accommodation and commuting, or finding other ways to cut everyday costs.

It’s worth remembering that if you’re planning on a move but don’t have firm preferences about where to go, it can be useful to consult some of the yearly published tables that rank cities by cost of living. Get a high-paying employment post in a low cost of living city, and you just might find yourself with an extra dollop of much needed spare cash to bank at the end of every month!

Jenny Jones writes on expat health and wellbeing topics including international health insurance. For more information on health cover please visit Axa global health care/a>

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