Most people who have travelled to another country may have experienced the magic of living, even just for a couple of days, in an exotic and seemingly magical place. Some of them would wish how perfect it would be if they could just stay and live there for good. Such an ideal life, don’t you think? Not entirely.
Millions of expatriates around the world may have experienced the honeymoon stage of living and working abroad, but most of them would agree that when reality sets in, you’ll realize how busting the common myths of expatriation could have made you wiser and fully prepared.
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So what are the common misconceptions about living as an expat?
You cannot survive if you don’t learn the local language first.
As long as you speak English, the global language, you can still survive the daily grind in a foreign land without knowing the local language by heart – just take your time. However, learning basic expressions or having a phrase book handy can be helpful in interactions outside work.
You have very limited investment opportunities.
When in a foreign land, access to financial services outside banking is often seen to be difficult and complicated. However, setting up a dynamic investment portfolio while abroad doesn’t have to. Offshore financial services are expats’ best shot at diversifying into various investment machines (such as global bonds, foreign equities, etc.) without them needing to leave their host country. Companies like Bermuda-based LOM Financial provide excellent offshore investment solutions (safe, convenient, and tax efficient) that were specifically designed to meet expatriates’ needs, demands, and goals.
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Living abroad is only for the outgoing and adventurous type.
Working abroad is not just for the extroverted. In fact, everyday life in the office even outside your home country is just pretty much the same: you work on your desk all day, lunch breaks with your co-workers, and the daily walk or commute home, etc. Just think positive and give yourself time to adjust.
Your life is going to be a daily vacation.
Staying in a country for a few weeks of vacation is totally different from actually living there for work. Most people make a big decision of moving to another continent based on an ideal image of working in a holiday destination without knowing its pros and cons.
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You don’t have to worry about U.S. taxes anymore.
This one is for American expats. Contrary to popular belief, living in another country won’t excuse them from paying U.S. taxes. As long as they are citizens of the U.S., they have tax obligations no matter where they live. It is important to note that America has tax treaties with numerous countries (where the IRS and the foreign tax agencies exchange tax data on their residents), so filing a tax return every year—whether they have income or not—is still necessary. To know more, here is a tax guide from the IRS for citizens living and working abroad.