What does it cost to be an expat?

Although many expats leave their home countries for employment purposes, many relocate for the different lifestyle options. Either way, before deciding to move overseas it is always important to consider your financial position, both the one you are leaving and the one you are moving towards. This guide will help you make informed choices. Having the option to move abroad is exciting! There may be a new language to learn, the destination culture could be hugely different from that of your home country, perhaps the weather is better? These are all significant factors that will play a huge part in determining the success of your expat life, however the one thing that affects us all enormously is the cost. What does it cost to be an expat?

Research, research, research!

How much can I earn? What do things cost? How much is food? These are sensible questions and a little research can find you answers to each. The internet is a great tool for finding information about another country. Search for real estate agents to discover the rent prices, local supermarkets to compare the cost of grocery shopping, job listings in your industry to evaluate your potential income. You can also search for information from tax offices and health care systems. Travel guidebooks provide information about the costs of meals in restaurants that can guide you on how much your social life could cost. Several agencies that assist people with international relocation can also provide information, and international cost comparison charts are helpful too.


Keep an eye on the news in the year or months ahead of your departure and try to develop an understanding of the economy in the country you are moving to. You may be optimistic that the economy is in better shape than that of your home country; you may not. However you see it, it is often sensible to save a bit of money ahead of making an international move, to provide a financial cushion to avoid stress about unexpected costs or enable you to settle in before you seek employment.


Experiencing expat life teaches you so much. Whatever the financial costs involved, your wider knowledge of different cultures, better language skills and improved confidence and independence enrich your life. Personally I find the experience more fulfilling, and desire it more, than accumulating money in the bank.

Ultimately, of course, what your life costs, is up to you. There are so many variants between people in terms of what they consider necessities and what are considered desirable that it is impossible to say living in one country will clearly leave you in a better financial situation than another. However, with a little research, it is possible to learn a lot about your destination and be confident about your move abroad. Good luck!

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