Things to consider before living abroad

6 financial things to consider before living abroad


Living abroad is something many people dream about.

My husband, Brian, and I call ourselves part of the “No Age Society.” We are an active, curious middle-aged pair who’d rather rock climb in Costa Rica than recline in rockers. We want to semi-retire in 10 years abroad and finance serial vacations by working while we are doing it.

But chasing adventure is…costly. We’ve learned a thing or two, however, about making it work.

Here are 6 financial things to consider before living abroad:

1. Connect with other runaways

Benefit from the wisdom shared in excellent blogs written by expats. Invite them for coffee if you ever live in the same place.

2. Now get to work!

How will you earn cash in utopia? Will you sling lattes? Or start your own coffee shop? There are excellent resources online about foreign business opportunities. Contact the Canadian consulate or embassy in your chosen city for job-seeking advice.

3. Compare apples to apples

You’ll pay thrice (!) more for fruit, rent and electricity in Britain than in Ecuador. Do some research to ensure you can realistically cover living expenses in your target country.

4. Expect trouble in paradise

You may be surrounded by banana trees in your dream locale. But you could slip on a peel too. Stash away $2,000 to $5,000 in an emergency fund before you depart. If you get hurt, really sick, or need to fly home to deal with an unexpected crisis the extra cash will be a godsend.

5. Expect cavities in paradise, too

Shop around for private dental and medical plans that are best suited for your care needs. Even if you are covered by a provincial health care plan while you’re away there are limitations. For example, MSP won’t pay for specialist services, prescriptions or medical supplies outside of B.C.

6. Keep your home-base house in order

Consider appointing a power of attorney to manage your finances while you’re away and set up online banking if you haven’t done so to keep track of your daily transactions.


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