How-to Prepare Your Finances For a Move Across The World

Everyone can afford to move overseas. It’s just a matter of how hard you’re willing to work to save the money to actually make it happen.

Many of my friends were surprised when they found out that I was moving all the way to Toronto, Canada. They couldn’t figure out how I was able to pull this off. They looked on in disbelief as I told them that I was going to be gone for a few years.

Most of us assume that only millionaires can afford to move across the globe. I want to show you how you can prepare your finances so that you can one day move to your dream location…

How to move across the world

Get your pens, paper and sparkly highlighters ready and jot down the following handy hints. This is what I did to move from Australia to Canada in my early-20s…

Set a realistic monetary goal to work towards.

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” — Harvey Mackay

“How much have you saved for your move?”

“Oh I don’t know, just whatever I can rustle together I guess.”

I had this conversation with a friend a few months before he was moving abroad.

His response made me cringe with fear and disbelief that he had no idea how much money he was going to need for such an extravagant life change.

You have to set a realistic financial goal. There has to be a rough figure that you want to hit before you leave home.

Before we had even booked our flights my partner and I both knew that after our initial expenses (flights, visas, accommodation etc) we wanted to have at least $10,000.00 Australian dollars each to take with us to Canada.

(Side note: I was fortunate enough to have this money when we set this goal so my partner and I focused on helping him to reach this goal while still increasing my savings.)

We based this figure on the fact that we were travelling around for approximately one month on the West Coast of Canada before settling down on the East Coast (we couldn’t just arrive in Toronto without exploring).

This figure also included money for rental deposits and any furniture that we would have to purchase once in Toronto. We also managed to purchase a car with the remainder of this money once we had secured permanent accommodation.

$10,000 may be a high or low figure from country to country based on the Socio Economic Level and quality of life experienced. We knew that Canada would’t be the cheapest place in the world, but that it wouldn’t be too different from Australia.

When my partner and his family moved to Malaysia in 2007 they didn’t need near as much as we did to move to Canada or compared to that of living in Australia with a family of five.

We also knew that we would land jobs when we moved. So we knew that we needed some money to hold us over and to help us get started in our new home.

A few things for you to think about here:

  1. Will you be working?
  2. How long will you be gone for?

Get a side job to help meet your goals.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.” — Jim Rohn

There aren’t many secret hacks when it comes to making your trip happen. You likely may need to get a second gig to increase your income so that you can increase your savings.

I remember when I was eighteen (the legal driving age in Australia) and purchased an almost brand new car with cash and no loan; all of my friends were so shocked how I had managed to save so much at such a young age.

The reality of the above situation was that ever since I was legally able to work in Australia at the age of fifteen I had multiple jobs. I would work every day after school and all weekend. This continued on until I was twenty three and had what I would call a comfortable amount of savings in order to relax and only work one job.

Although it’s not always glamorous and you often miss out on “must attend” social events at times, working a side job is what gets separates those that will never leave there tiny little boxes from those who travel the world.

In the six months leading up to leaving Australia, my partner was working two jobs, as well as freelance Wrestling on the side to reach his goal of $10,000.

Although I wanted to spend my weekends with him as I worked a regular 9:00am – 5:00pm office job, we would both ensure that he was as filled up as possible on the work front both during the week and on weekends; often picking up extra shifts when possible.

If I’m honest, I would have hated this (clingy girlfriend alert!) if there was no cause to this saving; we both knew that the light at the end of the tunnel was us moving overseas, together.

Attempt to pay off all debts before leaving.

“Freedom from debt is worth more than any amount can earn.” — Mark Cuban

Nobody wants to leave the country with a black cloud of debt hanging over their heads that makes them question every future purchase.

Paying off debts works hand in hand with having a side job; firstly you use your extra profits from the side job to pay off your debt and then you save after.

Obviously some people have bigger debts than a side job can handle, such as mortgages and personal loans, however working as hard as possible to lower these before leaving is a must.

My partner used his side jobs profit to pay off most of his car loan before leaving Australia, as well as we both let our cell phone contracts end without upgrading to a new one, as a new cell equals debt for another two years back in Australia.

Try not to make any irrational purchases before leaving.

“Thinking before acting is wisdom but acting before thinking is regret.” – Unknown

Easier said than done. I know.

Here’s the thing…

Knowing that in order to move overseas you’re going to have to compact your life into one small bag really makes you reconsider purchases and question if you really need the latest and greatest of everything.

Try to process that. You really don’t need that much stuff if your goal is move across the world.

I mean as much as I really wanted the latest fashion trends so I could look completely stunning in my last few months in Australia, I quite often opted against these purchases as I knew they would be wasting away for at least two years in my parents’ house.

In order for me not to overspend on these somewhat useless purchases, I compiled a list of all of the items that I actually needed for my move overseas and focused on crossing everything off; this both distracted me from impulse buying and ensured I was prepared for the move; win win!

Sometimes the advice is as boring as focusing on saving until you have enough money in the bank to go.

Consider Financial Institution fees and interest rates.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” — Benjamin Franklin.

So many financial institutions absolutely rob you with transaction fees abroad. It is essential to find a bank card that has no international fees so you can make purchases before you set up an account in your new city.

I realized how much money we saved doing this just recently when I carelessly made a purchase over a thousand dollars with one of my Australian accounts and was stung with over one hundred dollars in fees.

If we had used these accounts for the entire month that we travelled prior to setting up accounts in Toronto, we would have had a lot less money to play with.

Also, if you’re like me and are lucky enough to have money sitting in an account in your home country that you aren’t necessarily using while your abroad, it’s a great idea to place it in an account with a high interest rate (on top of any other investments that you’ve thought about)

Right now, I’m earning a decent return on my money that is just sitting there, twiddling its thumbs waiting for my return to Australia.

What are you waiting for? The process is simple:

  • Make a plan.
  • Set some goals.
  • Get to work!

The harder that you work; the closer your financial goals are to being achieved and you could be jet setting around the world in no time.

Everyone reading this has the ability to start saving for a future move across the world. Where will you end up?

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