Soaring costs of living worldwide can confuse relocating expats

Soaring costs of living worldwide can confuse relocating expats

Soaring costs of living worldwide can confuse relocating expats

Unexpectedly high costs of living are driving newly arrived expats back to the home country.

Expats on overseas reassignments are expected to be able to cope on their increased salaries as well as being given allowances for accommodation, kids’ schooling and other perks if they’re lucky. However, the soaring costs of living in many popular expat destinations are causing enough concern for newly-arrived professionals to consider terminating their contracts and returning home.

For many, an overseas posting is desirable as it adds to expat reputations and looks good on resumes, but accommodation and children's’ education costs are soaring worldwide, leaving less for a comfortable lifestyle with no financial worries. New research into the dilemma makes for interesting reading as regards the situation of expats stunned at their costs of living in major hubs.

The majority of online surveys and country descriptions tend to underestimate the actual cost of living at a reasonable level, emphasising how inexpensive a destination is without taking into account soaring costs in the housing, schooling and entertainment sectors. This persuades many would-be expats to take on contracts at rates unlikely to reflect the reality of life in their posting. Once contracts are signed, it’s too late to discover that rent for a miniscule apartment costs the same as that of a mansion back home.

Expats heading for the UAE are especially at risk of agreeing to a salary which falls short of what’s needed for the expected lifestyle, with 75 per cent of survey respondents admitting costs were far higher that had been expected. Schooling, including higher education, was another cause for panic as regards the full costs. Healthcare is a perennial concern, with private hospitals in favourite expat locations hiking their charges into the stratosphere along with healthcare insurance, now a necessity for entry into many countries worldwide.

It’s easy for articles on the subject to simply state ‘be prepared’ but, for expats on relocation packages, it’s almost impossible to plan ahead for all eventualities if expected costs don’t remain relatively stable. For those unsure whether to relocate or not, taking several weeks to visit the country itself and carefully measure all needs against their actual local costs as well as against the salary offered. Research of this type can be done online, but it’s almost impossible to differentiate between advertorial sites and real-time information.

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