Making the decision to move to the U.S. in pursuit of a better financial life is a smart one.
However, an expat needs make sure they start making smart money moves even before they research American soil.
And while there may very well be exponentially more career opportunities abroad than where you currently call home, bear in mind that there many financial pitfalls that trip up Americans and expats alike.
That’s exactly why we’ve outlined this financial checklist for expats to keep their money in order from the word “go.” If you have these pointers already sorted out, your transition to living in the States will go much, much smoother.
Start an Emergency Fund
Simply put, you never know when a medical mishap or unexpected expense might come knocking. No matter how well you plan out your finances, putting away extra cash after each paycheck is a must-do for your peace of mind.
Think about it. Especially if you’re sending remittance payments back home, you quite literally can’t afford to be without some extra cash on hand. Once you have an idea of how much you’ll be making month-to-month, allocate as much discretionary income to savings as you can.
Avoid a Health Insurance Trap
Speaking of medical emergencies, don’t put yourself in the stick situation of being uninsured in the United States.
Options for international health insurance certainly exist and, depending on your situation, you may be able to score insurance through your employer. Either way, don’t assume you’ll never need it: the cost of an ambulance ride could set you back thousands if you’re uninsured.
Don’t Neglect Your Investments
Whether you already have a portfolio back home or you’re thinking about investing while abroad, certainly don’t be afraid to take the leap.
As long as you’re not dipping into your emergency funds or remittance, diversifying your portfolio while in the United States is totally fair game. Even if you just use passive savings apps to square away pennies at a time to build up the nest for future investments, it’s better than nothing.
Rethink How You Carry Cash
While you shouldn’t necessarily assume the worst or fear for your safety, make a point not to walk around with copious amounts of cash. A few twenties here and there is fine; however, nearly all establishments take credit these days and you don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you’re financially stuck because someone snagged your wallet.
Get With a Local Bank
On a related note, you should strive to have a positive relationship with a local bank that you’ve researched ahead of time. From interest rates and minimum deposits to the ability to actually talk to someone about your cash if need be, familiarizing yourself with your bank is a smart move. Considering nearly all banks offer online banking anyway, it’s just a nice luxury to have.
Having your finances in order as absolutely crucial to living abroad stress-free, especially if you’re providing for your family. By sticking to these tips, you can stop second-guessing your bank account and actually enjoy your time in a new country.