The cost of living in a new country

Aside from the cost of moving to your new home which will involve removal costs, initial deposits and selling fees, once you are settled in your new home have you considered the actual cost of living in a new country? Many perceive that a new country might be cheaper – after all, you have probably been on holiday to the said country and marvelled about the cost of wine and beer or how cheap it is in the supermarkets. While on the surface it can seem like a lower cost of living is this a reality?

Cost of everyday items – food, petrol etc.

Depending on where you are moving to will depend on the cost of everyday items like groceries and fuel. While many popular countries like Spain have seen significant rises in the cost of living it can still work out about 20% cheaper to live there. This doesn’t apply to everywhere though, and cities like Madrid and Barcelona are among the most expensive cities in the world to live in. If you want to look at how the cost of living compares in the various countries you can find some useful tools online.

the cost of living in a new country

What taxes will you have to pay in your new country?

Taxes will vary depending on where you move to and whether you are employed or self-employed. If you are spending more than 183 days or 6 months in a country, then you will need to pay tax in the country that you are moving to. If you are not becoming a permanent residence then you may need to still pay tax in your country of original and the new country. To check which rules apply to you there is lots of information available online. This website for example shows you on a country by country basis when you need to pay tax and how much you are liable to pay. In <href=”http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/work/taxes/income-taxes-abroad/poland/index_en.htm” target=”_blank”>Poland for example, there are two levels of personal income tax – 18% and 35%, depending on your level of income.

Childcare – how much does it cost?

Childcare costs vary hugely from country to country and you will need to research how much it will cost you in your chosen country. If you are currently living in the UK for example you can pay around £1,000 per month for full-time childcare. There are also free sessions available the term after a child’s third birthday. Whereas in Norway the cost of childcare is around £300 per month. In Poland and other countries childcare if offered for children between 4 months and 3 years after which they attend Kindergarten until the age of 6.

Education – What are your options?

When you move abroad you have a few choices. In many countries the state schools are excellent and you can confidently send your child to one. Not a problem if they are very young – within no time at all they will pick up the new language. If they aren’t so quick to pick up the language then they may feel a little isolated to begin with. If you rather that they were with other children from similar circumstances (English speaking and having moved abroad) then many countries have excellent international schools.
The cost of these international schools can be prohibitive though and many expats moving abroad with children look to have the cost covered as part of their relocation package. The cost of education can be the deciding factor for many when it comes to whether they make the move or not. Many parents moving abroad choose to send their child to boarding school in their country of origin so as not to disrupt their studies however for those wishing to keep their family together this is not an option. The best advice is to do your research and find out what options are available to you.

Healthcare – how much is private health insurance?

When you are planning to move to a new country you will need to research what healthcare options are available to you? Are there things that are available to residents as standard and what will you need to pay for? Then you will need to arrange a healthcare cover that covers you for all eventualities. Whilst the odd doctor’s visits for antibiotics may be the worst you aver ever encountered you need to plan for all eventualities – even the unthinkable. You don’t want to be living a new country when you suddenly become ill with something that requires intense treatment with no healthcare cover. Make sure you shop around and find the best for you and your family – a policy that will pay out for broken bones, mystery illnesses, diagnostic treatment, preventive treatment and hospital stays. Hopefully, none of this will ever be needed but you must be covered just in case.
Once you know the country and city that you are moving to then you can carry out a cost of living comparison using tools that can be found online. It will compare things like rent, groceries, eating out and many other factors to give you an idea of how you will need to budget when you move. Another good tip is to prepare a spreadsheet of all your current outgoings – work out which of these things you will need when you move, which you can remove and which you need to add. As you carry out your research you can start to build the numbers in to get a more accurate reflection of the cost of living in your new home.