Financial things I wish I'd known before moving to New York
There are so many exciting things about moving abroad, but for all the fun and excitement, there's also a whole load of serious financial aspects to think about.
Through work, I had the opportunity to move from London to New York, so I'm sharing some of the things I ran into - the stuff I wish I'd known. Plus some of my own suggestions having made the leap and started a new life overseas.
I hope you find it useful!
Setting up a bank account in a new country is difficult but obviously pretty essential. It's hard when you don't have all the local forms of ID (things such as social security numbers or even a permanent address). One of the things that I was able to do was set up my US bank account from the UK through my bank.
It's always helpful to see if this is an option if your bank has a good presence in the country you are moving to. Although it took some time to set up, it made things much easier once I arrived. My accounts in both countries are connected, which makes moving money a bit easier.
If this is not possible, you want to get as much information on what you need so you can get set up quickly and look for banks that have a good number of branches where you will be living. If the branch is far away it will make life a bit more difficult if you need assistance. In the US you get charged for using cash machines from another bank, so being closer to branches is also going to save you some money.
If you are anything like me, tax is extremely taxing. Every country will have its own tax rules and it's really important you understand, or in my case try to understand, these. It's definitely worth getting tax advice, particularly if you have any property or will retain an income back home.
You don't need to be an expert but you also don't want to fall foul of any tax laws either. In the US you must also file a FBAR, which stands for Foreign Bank Account Report, and is a report of all your foreign bank and financial accounts.
It's important you look into everything you need to file. It might be more than just a tax return.
You also need to look at any investments and accounts you hold in the UK which you can't continue to hold when you move abroad. There may be implications for Isas, pensions and things such as premium bonds.
Once you leave the UK you can keep your Isa and pension, but often you can't keep contributing to it. Make sure you understand what you can and cannot do with your current assets.
If you have a job abroad which will give you a local pension or pension equivalent, spend some time trying to understand how it operates. Even if you understand your UK pension perfectly, the rules and structures will not necessarily be the same in another country.
In the US, a "401k" is a very different product and isn't just a direct equivalent. It's also always worth thinking about what would happen to it if you moved back - again that pesky tax thing will probably rear its ugly and complicated head.
But having savings for retirement is important, so you might want to consider taking advantage of anything your employer might offer.
Lack of credit history
When you first move to a new country, one of the things that could be frustrating is the fact that you have no credit history in that country.
If you managed to have a great credit history back in the UK, good for you, but it won't really help you in your new country.
Getting a credit card is probably difficult at the start and sometimes it's hard to rent when you have no history.
This is something you need to build over time. Good money management will help you improve your history and things will get easier.
Sorry, moving abroad doesn't mean you get away with not paying off your student loan. If you are leaving the UK for more than three months you need to notify the Student Loans Company. They will let you know if you need to keep making payments.
Starting off is expensive
Be aware that starting off in a new country is expensive - especially at the beginning. You will inevitably have some initial set up costs and things will come up that you haven't even thought about. Before you move, do as much research as you can on costs in your new country. Having a realistic idea of what your costs and expenses will be will make it much less of a shock when you do move.
Also, if you have a job it might take you a bit of time to get your documentation in order and bank accounts set up so you can actually get paid. It's a good idea to have some savings ready to help you through this period.
People can be funny about discussing finances but if you are moving abroad, ask for advice from other people who have made the same move. They have been through it and can probably share some tips.
Finally and most importantly - enjoy!
Moving to another country is exciting. Ok, there are some serious things to think about, but above all enjoy your fresh start.
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