Posted by Louisa Heath on January 12th, 2018.
New Year’s resolutions; it’s easy to make them, but by mid-January many of us start abandoning our goals.
While we may not be able to tell you how to give up chocolate or snuff out your cigarette habit, we can offer some top tips to help those resolved to move abroad in 2019.
Many sources advise us against making resolutions that are too big, warning us to aim for smaller, more manageable goals instead. And while packing your bags and moving abroad may seem like one of the biggest resolutions you can make, it doesn’t have to be such a mammoth undertaking. So long as you break the process down into more easily achievable steps this doesn’t have to become another failed New Year’s resolution.
So, what little steps can you take to successfully fulfil your resolution of moving abroad in 2018?
Telling yourself that 2019 is the year you’re going to finally follow your dream of moving abroad doesn’t carry the same weight as telling friends or family about your plans. Once a resolution is outside your own head it becomes more tangible, less of a daydream and more of a concrete plan. We’re generally more worried about disappointing others than disappointing ourselves, so publically declaring your resolution can give you the extra motivation to see it through.
It’s also important to prepare those important to you for the possibility of your leaving. Giving them plenty of notice gives them a chance to really get on board with the idea and throw their support behind your dream.
Saying that you will do something by the end of 2019 is really quite a nebulous timeframe. December seems a long way away right now and that takes away a sense of urgency from our resolutions. If you really want to achieve something, set smaller, specific deadlines.
Moving abroad isn’t something that can happen overnight, but the various steps of the process make for ready-built mini deadlines. For example, you could tell yourself that you will settle on your preferred location within a month, that you will have your visa application done within two months, and that and that you will put an offer in on a house within six months. This way each and every step is concrete and measurable, making it easier to tick each off and keep up your momentum.
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable parts of the process of moving abroad is choosing the location you want to settle in. This is also probably the stage that most people with a resolution to relocate to a new country will follow through on, even if they never move forward. Rather than just daydreaming about which places look the most picturesque, though, make sure to actually research an area beyond just scrolling through property listings online.
Research is the most important part of planning a move abroad so do as much as possible before committing to a location. Consider the more mundane, daily concerns as well as the view; how close are the nearest shops, are the roads good or is the area served by strong public transport links, what amenities would you struggle to cope without being in an easy distance. In order to make the resolution a reality you have to step away from the daydream to consider the nitty-gritty of everyday life and get as much of a feel for the place as possible.
Relocating to another country is not the cheapest of resolutions, especially not when compared to a pledge to give something up. While considering money matters may not be the most enjoyable part of planning a move, it is a crucial consideration. It all comes back to the idea of grounding your goal in reality; if you understand exactly what you can really afford to spend on your new home then you can start to narrow your search accordingly.
However, the cost of a home is only the first financial consideration you need to make. Does the country you’re moving to provide free healthcare, if not then you need to make sure you budget for health insurance in the planning stage. What other outlays will you need to make when living abroad, will it be cheaper to take your current car with you or buy a new one out there? The more of these questions you can answer the better picture you’ll be able to build about the costs involved and whether your resolution is actually achievable.
Moving abroad can involve a fair amount of bureaucracy, you’re having to deal with at least two governments after all. Whether it’s a temporary or permanent move, you’ll inevitably have to fill out at least a few forms, and that could include the daunting task of applying for a visa.
It can be very easy to look at the mountain of paperwork that you have to fill out and feel disheartened, to put it off for another day and then let time slip by. However, like the rest of the process, it’s important to tackle the paperwork one piece at a time. Try to figure out exactly what forms you need to get done at the start and then spread it out rather than trying to complete one after the other.
Also, while filling out forms be sure to check the dates on your passport and apply for a new one if it’s going to run out in the next couple of years. The key to a successful move abroad – and a successful resolution – is to be organised, after all.
Learning a second – or maybe third – language is a common New Year’s resolution in and of itself, and another one that can fall easily by the wayside over the course of the first month. While it may seem counterintuitive to add another resolution on top of your main goal of moving abroad, there’s no need to aim for fluency right away. Even learning a few basic words, or enough vocabulary to carry a short conversation with a local, can make the process of acclimatising to a new country easier.
While speaking another language, to even a basic degree, is a useful skill to have, it also forms an additional commitment to your country of choice. Once you know enough to hold a conversation in, say, Spanish you’ll have even more motivation to get to Spain and get in some proper practice. Even if your dream home is in an English-speaking country, though, you can still try picking up some of the vocabulary.
While understanding the ins and outs of your budget is all very well, the degree to which your Pounds will stretch in your new country is really quite variable. Depending on when you choose to move any funds you could see a difference of hundreds or even thousands, impacting what you can and can’t afford. However, if you plan ahead you can avoid a lot of this volatility and maximise your ultimate budget.
Make a point to find a reputable currency broker whose services suit your needs and discuss your requirements before you even settle on a property. Services such as forward contracts allow you to fix an exchange rate well in advance of any moving date, so you know exactly how much your transfer is worth and can budget accordingly. Wherever possible you want to take the stress and hassle out of the move in order to improve your chances of following through with the resolution, and a currency broker can help you do just that.
Decluttering is a smaller resolution that you can incorporate into the larger goal of making your dream move abroad. Doing your spring cleaning is a perfect opportunity to take stock of your belongings and consider just what you will want to take with you. In an international move it’s generally best to minimise what you bring along, to save on the moving fees if nothing else.
Start making a list of the important things right away, putting it somewhere you can see it to remind you of your goal and make it easy to add to whenever you think of something else. The sooner you start the less likely you are to forget anything, reducing the stress and breaking down the task into something smaller and more manageable.
Of course, at the end of the day there’s one thing that will really determine whether you succeed in following through on your resolution; you. If you want to make the dream of moving abroad a reality then it’s up to you to stick to your goal and follow through with it. That being said, the easier you can make the process of moving for yourself the better your chances of making your next New Year’s Resolution in a different time zone.
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