Of diversity and harmony: Expats as cultural ambassadors

Being an expatriate means so much more than living in a different country for school or work. They may not really realize it before the move, but they will actually be carrying a very big responsibility the moment they settle in. Once they make new connections in their new home, at some point or the other, everyone will ask expats about their home country. That’s because hearing about a foreign country from an individual who actually lived there will excite and fascinate most. Slowly but surely, they are easing into their roles as cultural ambassadors.

 

 

Image source: blogsnow.com

 

What does a cultural ambassador do exactly? For one, they tell stories of home with foreign friends. This then leads to conversation and insightful discussions. Cultural ambassadors do so much more than imparting information, as they also learn something from their host country along the process. During the discourse there will be misconceptions, but clearing them up will become an activity that is worthwhile and meaningful in and of itself. All of these actions are in pursuit of common understanding. Despite coming from different lands, everyone is still connected. The expatriate, while retaining some of his practices from his native land, will slowly adopt his new home’s culture as well. This gradual merge will become the foundation of mutual respect, at least in an ideal setting.

 

Thinking about the task at hand seems very daunting. Surely enough, it is understandable for the thought that a single person will be representing an entire country and everything that it stands for can be intimidating. However, there is nothing to worry about for things will surely come naturally.

 

 

Image source: huffingtonpost.com

 

Expatriation made the world a much more globalized place for business and cultural exchanges. If it were a country, it would be one of the biggest in the world, with more than 230 million people considering themselves as foreign workers. That also translates to high economic value, with each one of them contributing taxes or investments to their new home, as well as remittances to where they are originally from. In countries like India, China, and the Philippines, money sent by their citizens working abroad serves as one the top sources of foreign currency.  This makes expats more than just cultural ambassadors, but economic linchpins as well.

REPOST: Mercer: Singapore best country to live in Asia for expatriates

Very few countries around the world can offer the ideal living conditions and career opportunities that would allow a foreign worker to fully explore his potential and achieve the highest quality of life. One of these countries is Singapore, which Mercer has recently declared to be the most conducive country in Asia for expatriates to thrive. Read The Online Citizen‘s report below:

 

On a hot day and a public holiday in Singapore’s popular family vacation tog at Children’s garden at Garden by the bay. | From Shutterstock.com

 

Consulting firm Mercer has announced on Tuesday (14 March) the result of the 19th Quality of Living survey which concluded that Singapore is the 25th country in the world and the first in Asia as the best place to live for expatriates, saying that Singapore is a country where there is a great disparity in quality of living.

 

Western European cities continue to surpass the rest of the world when it comes to expatriate quality of living, by taking eight of the top spots in Mercer’s annual ranking.

 

For eight year in a row, Vienna, Austria’s grand capital on the Danube river, was ranked the best place to live in the world for expatriates.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, Baghdad, Iraq, is concluded as the worst place to live as it was considered as an unsafe and war-torn city.

 

In Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur, ranked 86th, follows Singapore.

 

While, other key cities include Bangkok, ranked 131th, Manila, ranked 135th, and Jakarta, ranked 143rd. Five Japanese cities top the ranking for East Asia, which is Tokyo, ranked 47th, Kobe, ranked 50th, Yokohama, ranked 51st, Osaka, ranked 60th, and Nagoya, ranked 63rd.

 

Mercer’s survey also includes a city infrastructure ranking that assesses each city’s supply of electricity, drinking water, telephone and mail services, and public transportation as well as traffic congestion and the range of international flights available from local airports.

 

Continue reading HERE.

The first year: A guide for new expats

Moving to a different country and starting a fresh life there screams adventure; but being thrown into an entirely new environment will have its challenges. For most, the first year is when the grind becomes all too real. Some are better at coping than others. So for those who are having some difficulties, they will need some help. Luckily, a lot of people have gone through the exact same situation, so with their wisdom gained through experience, entirely foreign circumstances will become somewhat more manageable.

 

Image source: nydailynews.com

 

Sometimes, expats fail to realize that moving to a different location means so much more than a different scenery. Different cultures, different people from what they are used to, and different customs will get thrown at them one right after the other. In order to prevent any frustrations from building up, they need to embrace everything about their new home. Getting friendly with the locals while asking for a little bit of help and learning while observing them will help big time.

 

First-year expats should also be open about the new experience and never look back. During the first few months, they will be seeking out fellow citizens who came from the same country as them. Rather, they should just make as many international compatriots as they can. This method can become an effective means to successfully integrate with the new society.

 

Lastly, one’s expectations should be realistic. People who are going to move aren’t going to be living there as tourists. So they should learn the language, ease into the local cuisine, and do a lot of research about the place.

 

Image source: CNN Money

 

There are roughly 50 million expats worldwide, all working in almost every type of industry. Countries in the Gulf Coast (such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are home to the most foreign workers while India has the highest rate of citizens expatriating. Some have successfully assimilated in the country they now consider their second home, others are still starting to learn the ropes. Economically, expats are responsible for generating billions of dollars in annual revenues. Comprising a large and diverse market, they are ideal customers for a variety of specialized services or products, such as overseas telecommunications, offshore investments, and travel.

Financial Services for the Global Expatriate

Image source: wikia.com

Gone are the days when savings options for expatriates have only been confined to traditional bank products—high liquidity but offer very low interest rates. With more markets emerging and the global economy as a whole rapidly evolving, the need to tap into new and cutting-edge financial tools and services has become a need rather than just a contingency to protecting and growing people’s wealth. In such a case, offshore banking and investing have unlocked ground-breaking opportunities to help investors maximize their potential for harvesting profits.

Depending on the financial and business climate of the country they work in, expatriates may find it difficult to diversity their financial assets. Many jurisdictions have huge levies on personal income while others lack opportunities to access high-growth financial securities. It is for this very reason that offshore banking and investing emerged like skyscrapers, where state-of-the-art financial centers provide expatriates and all other international investors the access to global equities, fixed-income assets, mutual funds, and even precious metals right at their fingertips—regardless of where they are in the world. With high-technology online tools, customizable investing programs, and an experienced management team from within an efficient corporate structure, offshore financial services are making it a lot easier for investors to enjoy a wide range of economic opportunities.

Majority of the world’s offshore financial management companies are based in just a few countries or territories, which are typically tax-neutral jurisdictions. Among them are the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman and the Channel Islands. Leading companies, such as LOM Offshore Financial Services, offer and facilitate international distribution of a variety of assets that investors can take ownership of: equities, bonds, options, futures, commodities, and foreign exchange. In addition, they offer secure banking services that provide a convenient and easy method for accessing funds in their personal accounts. Other services include MasterCard & ATM access, multi-currency transactions, 24/7 customer support, and dedicated private financial advisory.

Image source: SimplySfdc.com

Beyond the comprehensive access to global securities, top-of-the-line banking tools, and world-class fund management services, offshore banking and investing companies offer clients a lucrative option to diversify their portfolio, build a hedge against inflation, develop a cushion from very high taxes in a tax neutral environment, and above all, take comfort in the privacy and security of transactions.

Set up your own offshore account now. Click HERE for more details.

The Top 3 Major Don’ts Of Investing

When it comes to investing, I think it is only wise to learn from those who have failed in this business aside from learning from those who succeeded. The cold heart truth is that not everyone gets it, so not everyone would make it. This world is not for the faint of hearts. We are talking about the core of almost what makes the world go round. It could be interpreted literally since money does go around and it has this cause and effect relationship with people. If you’re someone who wants to dive into investing whether it’s through stocks or real estate, you must know the things to avoid, so you won’t commit the same mistakes that others had.

investment options

I have narrowed down some of the don’ts that you must completely avoid and bookmark this if you must. This will come in handy one day when you finally decide to take investing seriously.

 

  1. Don’t Act Like A Fortune Teller Based On A Good Pattern: Never allow your current success to determine your future. I’m talking about the current good results in your investment like good stock rates and profit. This is one of the biggest mistakes an investor could make. It may sound funny, but this actually happens a lot! Investors would predict they are going to do well in the future because of what they did with their current success. Keep in mind that the market is never steady. And just because it worked today, doesn’t mean it would work again tomorrow. This scenario often happens in real estate investment. Most investors make that mistake of timing their investment as well, don’t ever do that.
  2. Don’t Assume Anything: Another huge mistake that investors are doing it wrong in this game is being overconfident. Most of them, especially the first timers get too excited, missing on important facts that would affect their investment later on. This is why it is best to have someone who is balanced about the whole thing and won’t just inject unrealistic positivity in the matter. Stay humble as well; don’t think that you have it all figured out, especially when you are just starting out. Always get an unbiased opinion because this is your best bet in this game.
  3. Don’t Forget To Be Keen About Details: Don’t easily accept offers because of the tempting benefits that a broker will tell you. It is a must that you do your own research and check if it is really going to be profitable for you. Some new investors are easily lured by promises and current success of a business opportunity or an asset and they give in to that too quickly. Failing to look at an asset’s expense ratio before purchasing it could actually lead to bankruptcy. So, keep in mind this last tip because it is crucial.


Now, that you know these 3 don’ts, make sure that you practice investing properly, so you won’t end up losing money in the end.

 

A Short Basic Guide To Investing In The Stock Market

It could indeed be tempting to put all your money in a stock after hearing lots of success stories from the many investing guidedifferent people out there who have done the same thing. There are lots of inspiring stories about people putting their money in stocks that will easily entice you to do what they did because you would want their success to happen to you as well.

But before you get too excited and risk all your savings by investing them in a stock, I urge you to read this article first so you are more aware of what you’re about to get yourself into. The first thing that you must be prepared to answer to yourself is the possibility of losing money. Not to be a negative Nelly, but situations like this could occur and in fact has occurred too many time to different people as well who once has that dream of having their investment grow.

In a report made by The Guardian UK, the number one advice to first timers who would venture into stocks is to leave their money in medium term for the next 3 to 5 years (and possibly even beyond it). This is due to the fact that it takes a while for your money to develop. It is rather rare that your investment would already gain a lot in just a short period of time. Allow it to mature first before you set an expectation from it.

I like how financial adviser Andrew Merricks explain it into words, “Time, not timing, is the friend of the investor.” Let that marinate because there is wisdom to it.
The next thing you need to consider is what is it exactly that you must buy. According to experts, you could start by buying a fund also known as an OEIC or open-ended investment company. This would help spread your risk, which is like not having to place all your investment in one boat.

Another option for you to purchase (especially if you are new to this) are investment trusts. These are just like funds only a bit more complicated than OEICS because it would require you to know more about some technical details in finance and investment. It won’t be that hard to deal with it anyway if you really have the passion to learn about this.

Equity Bonds should also be in your options because these usually would not leave you empty after making a release for your investment. It often gives you back what you invested, so there is really no loss if you come to think of it. There is also room for your money to grow as well.

Having your individual savings account is also a must that you use for your initial investment. This would give you capital gains and it would definitely ease your mind when it comes to dealing with taxes.

These are just among the basics that you must keep in mind before you start investing in the stock market.

Bluffing Gurus In The Stock Market

The United States’ stock market was in a bubble until it burst on that “Black Thursday” of 1929.  Thus began the Great Depression of the 1930s which lasted for 10 years.  Economists say the stock market crash devastated consumer confidence resulting in shrunken spending and major business failures and job losses.  At its, lowest point,13 to 15 million Americans were out of work and in dire poverty during the Great Depression.

Some believe that the 1930s’ Great Depression is history about to repeat itself in the 21st century, this opinion was first brought to my attention by LOM, who have a track record of predicting upcoming trends and do a great job at capitalising upon this with offshore bank accounts.  But just as the black plague and smallpox of the old world have now been replaced by modern pandemics like avian flu and ebola, the global economy is also facing a different breed of financial malaise these days.  With technology and the innovations of our financial markets also come unprecedented complications and worst case scenarios.  And so, we now face a setup much different from the 1970s.

What actually makes our economic situation differ from the 1970s this time around?

An eroded trust in the US dollar. Ever since 1934, when the dollar decoupled from the gold standard, the US Federal reserve has been printing its currency by fiat.  This has been sustainable up to the present because the world trusts the United States, thus affording it reserve currency status.  They say when the United States sneezes, the world catches a cold.  Conversely, the stability of the global economy all these decades has been possible because of the stable and sensible economic policies of the US superpower.

But recent economic and political events have begun to erode that position of trust.  This reversal of trend started in September 2008 when, because of its toxic subprime mortgages, the US economy nearly tanked and brought the rest of the modern world’s economies along with it.   Nowadays, countries like China, Russia and Germany are beginning to take measures that would effectively decouple their economies from that of the US. Germany has been very vocal about blaming the United States for the economic crisis in Europe today.  It has been repatriating its gold reserves from the US federal reserve since 2012.  Meanwhile, China has recently pioneered the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as an alternative global banking system.
Stock Market

It seems the United States economy has maintained its stability all this time because of the
positive sentiments of its neighbors.  But sentiments can easily change.  We can actually see them beginning to turn today.

Quantitative Easing.  Allan Greenspan pioneered the strategy of using monetary policy to steer the economy.  After him, when the housing bubble burst in 2008, Ben Bernanke continued in that tradition of throwing money at the market to cure it of its ills.  The US Fed flooded the markets with fresh cash, printed by fiat, to spur lending and spending, and to bail out those institutions that were too big to fail.  However, it is that policy of quantitative easing that has now led to current, seemingly absurd market phenomenon wherein investors and traders cheer low GDP growth because they know such will spur the Fed to cut rates and thus lead to a rise in stock prices.  Conversely, the stock market dips when analysts forecast a possible improvement in GDP, because that may possibly cause the Fed to increase interest rates, which will, in turn, push stock prices down.

Another facet of this policy of quantitative easing is that it effectively devalues the US’ sovereign debt.  Again, this erodes the trust of US’ creditor nations such as China who have been turning to an accumulation of physical gold as their recourse against the dilution of the value of their receivables.

There is a limit to how low interest rates can go.  But global economies try to keep kicking the can as far down the road as they can, trying to fix themselves with the same monetary policies.  If and when those monetary policies cease to become applicable, the world economy will then be finding itself in overwhelmingly uncharted territory.

Sovereign Debt Bubble.  An increasing number of analysts and economists speculate that the next bubble to burst after housing is the US’ sovereign debt.  This type of crisis has already been demonstrated by Greece when it defaulted on its national debt.  The nation failed to honor its obligations to the EU and then imposed a tax on its citizens to help gather up the necessary funds just so the nation can continue to operate, in effect, to exist.  The US federal debt as of the date of writing this article stands at $18.8 Trillion, excluding unfunded liabilities like Social Security and Medicare. China alone, which holds $1.2 Trillion in US government securities, can destroy the US dollar and bring down the US economy at will.

Considering all the above issues confounding global economic policy makers, it seems highly likely that the world is going to fall into another depression, albeit with causes much more complex than in the 1930s.

Individuals, however, actually seem to have a better chance than their respective governments at directing their own individual course and setting themselves up in the right financial direction.   A person can prepare for a Great Depression scenario by diversifying his assets.  Those who were fully invested in equities during Black Thursday were wiped out.  Those who were all-in real property were also severely debilitated in 2008.  The key to surviving a market collapse is by hedging and diversification into asset classes that can even possibly increase in value in the event of a market failure.