When first arriving offshore you may find yourself with an increased income, along with some or all expenses being covered by your company. This should present itself as a potentially temporary but once in a lifetime opportunity to place yourself ahead of the game and secure your retirement, secure your children’s eventual education needs and give yourself a giant leap forward towards reaching any other financial goals.
Budgets are conducted on a monthly basis and you should write everything down as precisely as possible, including larger non-monthly expenses amortised monthly like a holiday or new car. Remember also to save to your target rather than spend to your target. You should aim to spend whatever is left.
Remember that, even though you may be in sunnier climes, you are not on holiday. Try to restrict those taxis and restaurants and focus on making a real home in your destination. Find out about the best places to shop and don’t try to replicate the items you were used to at home, which may be expensive to import. If at home you travelled by public transport, why not try to familiarise yourself with the local system. Before you start saving, clear your credit card debts and other short-term loans as these are particularly expensive to maintain.
It is important to keep yourself a cash buffer. Accumulate six months expenses (you should know how much this is from your budget) in cash, or something like cash (a three month fixed deposit for example). At this stage, your financial adviser will have told you how much you’ll need to save each month to give you the retirement income you want. Remember to try and reach this amount on day one – don’t assume that in the future you’ll either earn more or your costs will decrease. Experience has shown that this may be far from the case.
If you are returning to visit the UK, book flights in advance - get the same flight for a third of the price by not waiting until the last minute. Also, if you can travel off-peak, do so. Try to get a local mobile phone from day one and turn off your foreign phone. Investigate cheap prefix numbers or phone cards for international calls. Insurance is essential, over-insurance is a waste.