Here are three of the more common mistakes people make when planning to move to another country.
Failing to research your destination
In the global village of the 21st century – and with literally a world of information available at your fingertips via the Internet – there’s no excuse for not doing research into your destination. That said, it’s all too easy to make assumptions about things like climate and culture. Take some time to properly research your destination country, and go out of your way to challenge any preconceptions you might have.
Find out about the weather, social norms and – crucially – the realities of living there, paying particular attention to all the things that are important to your day-to-day life here, such as employment, transport, taxation, the school system and so on. It’s also important to focus in and learn about the particular region, city and even the neighbourhood you’ll be living in. The Internet is your friend in this endeavour, and you may also be able to link up with expats who can give a first-hand insight into life abroad.
Not finding the right international removals company
When moving within the UK it’s strongly recommended that you use a removals firm that is a member of a recognised trade body such as the British Association of Removers (BAR). When moving abroad this is even more vital. When your belongings will be transported from your home, shipped halfway around the world, handled in at least two different ports and possibly spend some time in storage at either end of their journey, then you want to be sure that the company you’re entrusting them to is experienced, professional, and in possession of appropriate licensing and insurance.
You will also want to protect your belongings against loss or damage by taking out an appropriate international removals insurance policy.
Getting your finances wrong
For anyone moving home, working out the budget is an essential stage of the process; if you’re moving abroad then getting things wrong can be even less forgiving. Work out your costs well in advance: all of the costs associated with your new home purchase or rental, include legal fees, agent fees, any applicable taxes and so on; transportation costs for you, your family and your belongings; costs of a new vehicle or car rental; the costs of decorating and furnishing your new home; any charges that might apply for setting up power, telephone and other utilities; the list goes on, and that’s before you even start to consider straightforward day-to-day living costs.
It’s also important to keep checking exchange rates – the relative costs of setting up home in another country might change considerably over weeks and months as exchange rates fluctuate. Remember to keep an eye on other financial details that will affect you after you move. Your research into your destination will help make you aware of what to expect, for example setting up a private health insurance policy if you’re moving to the United States.
It also pays to look into tax liabilities with regard to both the UK and your destination country; this may influence decisions such as whether to keep UK-based savings accounts open or transfer your investments to new holdings overseas. Remember that you have to inform HMRC of your intent to leave the UK, either by sending them a P85 form or via your tax return.