Businesses and companies are constantly changing and expanding, especially in terms of the international market. Because of this, more and more employees are getting job offers abroad. These opportunities can be exiting, lucrative, and look great on a resume, but it’s important to understand all of the ramifications before signing on the dotted line and boxing up your apartment.
Here are some of the more important questions you need to ask yourself before accepting:
What kind of expenditures will I incur during the move?
Generally speaking, most employers will pay for the direct costs of the move: shipping company, plane tickets, interim hotel stay, et cetera. However, you’ll more than likely be responsible for dealing with your assets. It’s possible you’ll have to pay to break your lease or take a loss when you sell your home.
What are the short term and long term effects on my finances?
It’s important to understand the tax implications when working abroad. Depending on which country you’ll be living in, it could work to your advantage with significant tax breaks or you might get double taxed on your income. Furthermore, you’ll want to know how your healthcare and lifetime retirement benefits such as Social Security will be affected.
What will be the cost of living?
Again, depending on the location and what currency you’ll be getting paid in, this can be less, more, or equal to your country of origin. Specific factors to consider is if you’ll be renting or buying a home, using public transportation or buying a car, and schooling costs for children (if you have them). Additionally, if your spouse works, there’s a chance that they won’t be able to in your new country so there can be a significant loss of income and resources.
Is moving abroad a good career move?
Working internationally typically looks great on a resume and provides invaluable experience. However, changing locations can mean a big change in your professional relationships and hierarchies. Plus, different culture’s work ethics can vary greatly, so you’ll need to be prepared to adapt accordingly.
Will I (and my family) be happy in the new country?
If you’ve never been to your potential host country, then a scouting trip is a must-do. You’ll want to ensure that you feel comfortable and that the culture – of both the company and the country – are in line with your own values. In the end, this is the most important factor to consider. Even if the price is right, if you don’t enjoy your life and work abroad, then what’s the point?