Expatriation usually comes with better financial terms. When the children are growing up or when you grow tired of packing up every 3-4 years, most of you would want to go back home.
You would need to prepare for an exit strategy : going back to your previous work place or start a new job or set up your own business or retire. You would want to be in a position where you have choices.
To do that, it is useful to have an investment plan. Investing your surplus income helps to ensure that when it is time to come back you are better off than when you started. There are many asset classes to invest your monies and it all depends on the time horizon. It will also depend on your financial needs at the time you come back. Will you need to pay school or university fees? Will you want to buy a bigger house or are you looking to set up a business?
These are some of the questions that you need to ask right at the beginning. You would want to ask for professional advice from your personal banker.
Most importantly, you need to make sure that whatever currency you are earning your income as an expat, you can easily convert into your home currency. It may be a good option to wire back part of your income into your bank account at home. Foreign currencies fluctuate daily so you may want to ask your banker to do the transfers at a certain rate or negotiate the rate if the amount is substantial.
Investing in various assets such as bonds, properties, stocks are important to minimize risks. Although properties are known to keep their value, it is also not a liquid asset.
Living abroad implies that you are no longer a resident of your home country. Would you still be expected to pay taxes at home? Would you need to pay taxes as an expat? It is important to take the right advice so that you don’t get caught up being worse off at the end of your expatriation.
Laws and Regulations
Will the laws of the country where you will be working apply to you? In case, you want to grow the family, will your new born child automatically be a citizen of your home country or is there additional paperwork to be done? The consulate or embassy representing your home country can be a good source of information.
When living abroad as an expat, one tends to enjoy all the perks that come with it. However, it is important to be down to earth in managing your life. Keeping in touch with friends and family also helps to keep a regular reality check. The “cultural” shock of coming back will be lesser.
You will undoubtedly change after having lived abroad for some time. Your life has been enriched by having experienced a different way of living and different cultural norms. Your new mindset can become an asset at work and your ability to cope with uncomfortable situations will have improved. Staying in touch with the family helps them to get to know a different version of you when you are back home. Their expectations will not be so different from reality.
Find a way to network in your industry either online or through membership of professional and business associations. If over 50% of your network is made up of your colleagues and friends, then make an effort to widen it. Network in the local business community as some cultures is more about relationships and less about your resume. Networking can potentially give you access to new jobs and business opportunities. Improve your profile by learning the local language if it is widely used in other parts of the world as well. Keep track of the latest worldwide industry trends as well as the local/regional economic trends. When it is time for you to go home, you won’t feel so much like a fish out of water. In addition, you can now capitalise on the fact that you have widened the scope of your network.
Repatriation is all about planning and learning to pace yourself to unlearn all the habits that serve you as an expat and learn new habits that will help you make a successful return to home.