How to Prepare for an Overseas
a move overseas.
Leave your old car at home and
buy locally. Youll save money and time
for three reasons: First, importing your car may require
you to make some adjustments. Second, shipping the car
costs a minimum of $750 to $3000 each way depending on
the destination, and takes six or more weeks. Third,
if your car is not a common make or model, parts will
be expensive or unavailable. If youre
overseas longer than a year, consider selling your car
instead of storing it.
Store most things, buy the rest.To
start with, shipping is expensive. UPS charges quite a bit
for a small box to Europe. A 40-foot container enough
to ship a medium-sized householdcosts a minimum of
$3,000+, not including moving costs to and from the ship.
A storage locker, on the other hand, costs from $600 per
year, depending upon your location in the U.S.. So, pack
only what you know youll
need regularly and immediately. It may be far cheaper to
rent a furnished apartment abroad than to ship your furniture
back and forth.
Bring your computer but not electrical appliances.The U.S. is one of the cheapest places in the world to buy computer equipment, so youll want to bring a laptop with you. Include a modem, printer, software, and backup disks, as well as accessories to adapt everything for overseas use.
Find a property manager experienced with hard-to-reach clients to manage your house. Most property managers charge 7 percent to 10 percent of the monthly rental income.
Keep phone numbers, addresses, and paperwork handy. Write down every phone number, address, and email address of every business and government organization youve dealt with in the last two yearsincluding auto, health, and home insurance, computer technical support, doctors, magazine subscriptions, and the IRS. Include account numbers for mutual funds, bank accounts, frequent flyer miles, business license numbers, and serial numbers for any equipment you bring, such as computers, cameras, and bicycle locks. You never know when you are going to need the numbers. For example, you may need to transfer money from your U.S. account to your foreign one, or you may lose the only key to your Kryptonite lock.
Second, make copies of important paperwork such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, school transcripts, and old tax returns. To buy auto insurance at a reduced rate in Germany, for example, you must get letters from the insurance companies youve used in the previous seven years. As part of the work permit process, you must show a copy of your college and high school diplomas, no matter how long ago you graduated.
Get your bills paid automatically. Instead
of paying bills such as mortgage and credit card payments
by checking account auto-deducation every month. It is easy
to set up an automatic payment plan with your checking
account connected to your online banking. For credit card
companies that dont
have an automatic payment plan, you can prepay, but most
have realtime services. Keep track of irregular bills, such
as quarterly estimated taxes to the IRS and storage fees.
Because mail to the U.S. takes up to two weeks, so pay at
least one month in advance. With the IRS it is often wise
to seek the help of an overseas accountant due
to the complexity of filing taxes if you make income such
that you must pay taxes in two or more countries.
Get a callback service and email. Calling
from the U.S. is cheap, especially if you use services such
as Skype. From other countries, calling anywhere else usually
costs $1 or more per minute. Find a reliable callback service,
such as Skype. With a callback service, you dial
a toll-free number that connects you to a computer in the
U.S. The computer then calls you back and you dial your
destination number. You are essentially making a phone call
from the U.S. to your location.
If you dont already have one,
set up an email account via gmail, yahoo, or live.com to
contact friends, families, and take care of personal business.The
are a plethora of hotspots available around the world now,
and even services that allow you to rent devices to make
your own PC a hotspot.
Forward your mail. If you already know your foreign address, change the address for your most important mail, such as credit card bills and bank statements. Cancel mail order catalogs and magazines you can do without and change the address on the ones you cant. Otherwise, find a mail service, relative, or friend who will send you your mail regularly.
Learn the language. Take time to learn at least some basic words in the new language before you get there.
Be patient. It is a big effort to move. Before you go it feels like you are spending a lot of time researching costs and arranging things. This is only the beginning. After you arrive, youll be running from office to office, tracking down missing shipments, or arranging permits and services. Youre in a new country and you have to learn to do things someone elses way. Thats part of the adventure.