Expats who move to Singapore often find that they fall into a trap of making the same old mistakes again and again. Organizing your money at home as well as abroad may well be two different things, but there should be some general advice we can take for both situations. Of course, these money mistakes can happen anywhere in the world, not just in Singapore. So, we have highlighted a few problem areas for expats and how you can avoid them.
Keep emergency cash handy
You should always keep an account with emergency cash. Ideally, this should cover up to six months of expenses or alternatively, it could be six months of your salary. This should cover you for any unexpected expenses or emergencies. It will also prove to be a life-saver if for some reason, your job does not work out or you find yourself out of work. If keeping a bank account is difficult, you can transfer money to a cash card, such as Revolut. With a cash card, you can easily withdraw money or pay for bills as with a regular credit or debit card.
Send money wisely
As discussed in a previous article, there are plenty of apps available for sending money abroad. These do not have to cost a fortune in commissions and poor exchange rates. By shopping around and doing some research, you can send money home without losing out. This is also another point to consider if you want to keep an emergency stash abroad.
Check your health insurance
We have also covered this in a previous post, but it is absolutely necessary that you check your health insurance once you receive confirmation of it’s activation. Do not assume that maternity, dental and eyecare are included. By going over the fine print with a representative of the company’s insurance, you can guarantee that you do not make any rookie errors and avoid a hefty bill.
Always have a plan B
What happens if your accommodation falls through? What if your job isn’t quite what you expected? What if you suddenly find yourself homeless and/or jobless? Or your partner does? Imagine the worst case scenario and then you can plan for it effectively. This may not necessarily involve extra financial concern, but it will certainly help for planning ‘in the unlikely event of’.
Try not to get into debt
This may be unavoidable and will depend entirely on your financial situation, but try not to borrow money if you cannot pay it back in the foreseeable future. If you owe money back home and have cash to spare in your new country, try to pay back more than you usually would. This will lower your repayments eventually and will mean you spend far less time paying your debts back.
Read the fine print
It may be worthwhile hiring a lawyer to guide you through the more expensive processes of living abroad, such as buying or renting a house, paying school fees and understanding your insurance policy. A little speculation in order to accumulate later is a worthy investment and it means that you are less likely to find yourself running into problems later. This may be particularly helpful if you are trying to broker a rental deal, and need to know the exact terms of your contract.
What else would you add? Do you have any essential advice for expats? Comment below with your suggestions!