Why Do People Choose to Become Expats?

Expat in BelizeThere was a time that people would choose to move abroad after they retired or because an employer was transferring them to an offshore location. These days, people are choosing to become expats (short for expatriates) for a wider variety of reasons. Could one of those reasons apply to you?

Here are some examples of what motivates people to make this type of move.

A Higher Quality of Life with Less Income

There are places around the world that allow people to live comfortably while spending less money. It’s not just things like places to live or food that may be less expensive. Things like entertainment, furnishings, and utilities may be significantly less expensive.

This certainly appeals to anyone who is retiring soon and will be living on money from pensions, private retirement plans, and returns on investments. It also appeals to those who plan on being in the work force for some time but happen to be in the process of building a name for themselves. The ability to enjoy a reasonable standard of living, even if your income level is more along the middle range, is a great reason for becoming an expat.

Distancing Yourself from Political Unrest

How do you feel about the way things are going at home? Perhaps you find yourself at odds with the direction on policies like infrastructure, border safety, support services, and other elements that are usually part of the work of a national government. You may even feel that the current direction will ultimately lead to severe consequences for everyone, including those who are in favor of what’s currently happening. You don’t want to be around for that.

In this scenario, the idea of moving to another nation that strikes you as more stable would be worth considering. Look for one that offers a reasonable amount in terms of government services and operates with a form of government that you are able to support. While you’re not likely to find a place where you’re in full agreement with everything the government does, being in a place where you can support the most of what’s happening will help you feel safer and more hopeful for the future.

The Chance to Live with Less Stress

Life can get hectic and leave you feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. Escaping stress completely isn’t possible, but there are ways to reduce it. One is to find a place to live where the pace of life seems to be more manageable.

Imagine how it would be to live in a country where people seek to achieve more balance between their work and home lives. Think about being in a culture where there’s time set aside for people to rest from their labors and don’t seem to be in a constant rush. If you’ve been pushing yourself to always be busy and find that the grind of constant multi-tasking is getting to you, living in such a place could be your salvation.

Educational Opportunities

Seeking an education is also a good reason to consider becoming an expat. In some places around the world, the cost of earning a degree is so prohibitive that people give up on their dreams and settle for less. That’s not the way things have to be.

There are countries where the cost of going to a university are easier to manage. Instead of incurring debt that takes decades to pay off, it’s possible to graduate and owe nothing. This is true for students who are working full-time as well as those who will focus primarily on their studies.

Once your formal education is completed, you may find that staying and working in the country is what you want. You can often do so and continue your status as an expat or pursue obtaining citizenship.

More Affordable Health Care

There’s no doubt that health care is one of the factors that people take into account when they consider moving abroad. The goal is often to find a place to live where the cost of everything from routine doctor visits to surgical procedures are more affordable.

Many people are surprised to learn that national health programs are available to expats. In some countries, there’s little to no difference between the services offered to citizens and those who are living there for a time. While the hope is that no event happens that requires hospitalization, knowing that the stay will not put the patient on the path to bankruptcy provides a great deal of peace of mind.

The Ability to Become a Homeowner

Real estate can be so expensive that some people give up the hope of ever becoming homeowners. That hope is renewed when they begin to look at the idea of living abroad. There are places in the world where it’s possible to purchase residential real estate and pay off the financing in as little as a decade.

This means even people who earn more of a middle-class income can obtain a mortgage, lock in affordable installment payments, and own the property free and clear well before they reach retirement age.

For those who become expats after retiring, the fact that the mortgage payments are so affordable means that they can look forward to paying off the debt in a short amount of time. In the interim, the amount of those mortgage payments often compares favorably with what they paid for leasing a house or apartment at home.

Living in More Diverse Culture

Some people thrive in surroundings that contain familiar elements while also affording exposure to something new and different. The chance to live in a different nation that has a blend of cultures and traditions provides such a setting. Elements of home are found among expats who hail from the same country while exposure to different ways of thinking and doing come from the locals and other expats who come from other nations.

Living with people who come from so many backgrounds offers the chance to appreciate more of what the world has to offer. Rather than relying on books, videos, and other forms of media, it’s possible to experience those cultures and actually be a part of them. When it comes to broadening horizons, few approaches work as well as being an expat.

Broadening the Scope of Career Opportunities

The chance to pursue a career path is another common reason to consider life as an expat. Simply put, you’ve gone as far as you can go with your current domestic employer. Even moving to a different domestic company is not going to provide much in the way of upward movement. You’ll have to broaden the search in order to keep growing.

You could find that opportunities for advancement are better if you’re willing to work for an offshore company. Depending on your education, skills, and experience, there may be plenty of changes to move up the ladder once you relocate. That employer might be a springboard for eventually striking out on your own and founding a brand-new company. Along the way, you may even fall in love with the place and decide that you’ll stay there even after retiring.

Making the Move to Expatriate

These are simply a few reasons people choose to become expatriates and live in other countries. If you want to experience life in another country for an unspecified amount of time, look for expat communities in countries of interest. They’re a great source of information about what life is like for an expat there.

Belize has a strong expat community. If your considering this beautiful country for your expat experience, contact our team at Caye International Bank. We can assist you in learning more about establishing offshore banking and investment accounts as you settle into your new life here.

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About this author


Luigi Wewege is the Senior Vice President, and Head of Private Banking of Caye International Bank, published author of The Digital Banking Revolution - now in its third edition, has co-authored economic research which was presented before the U.S. Congress and currently serves as an Instructor at the FinTech School. He holds an Italian MBA with a major in International Business, as well as a BSBA with a triple major in Finance, International Business, and Management - cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.