More and more of us are becoming digital nomads. The rise in technology has spawned a whole generation of people living and working overseas. We can work from a café in France or on a beach in Bali. If you need a break from your life, there are many benefits to living overseas, not least the change of scenery, but there are a few practicalities to consider.
Dealing with Property
If you own a property, deciding what to do with it when you move overseas is not something you can ignore. In theory, you could leave the place empty while you travel the world, but in practice, that’s a seriously bad idea. For one thing, unwelcome visitors might decide to move in, and for another, your insurance probably wouldn’t cover damage if the place is empty.
Basically, you have two choices. You can either sell up if you think you won’t be coming back and you’d rather blow your money on cheap beer in Thailand, or you can find someone to live there while you’re gone. If it’s the latter, look for a tenant. Collecting rental payments should cover the mortgage and other bills while you are overseas. Assuming your home isn’t trashed in the interim, you can evict the tenant and move back in if you ever return from your travels.
Earning a Crust
You will need an income when you travel. If you work in an industry such as IT or something creative, this probably won’t be a problem. However, take into account different time zones, internet access in your chosen destination, and other variables. If you need a ‘proper’ job when you relocate, start looking for something before you leave home and make sure you have a legitimate visa to work in that country. Otherwise, your stay could be curtailed rather abruptly.
Money is essential. Unfortunately, accessing funds in an overseas bank account can be expensive due to bank charges and other fees. It is usually better to open a local bank account. Check what you will need in order to do this before you travel. If you work for clients based all over the world, you can accept payments via PayPal and other payment providers, but factor in the extra fees for handling such payments.
Paying the Bills
Check whether you have any long-standing bills to pay while you are overseas. Examples include insurance policies, pension plans, and debt repayments. Make sure you have enough money in the account to service these payments.
None of us like to think about paying taxes and some of us like to dodge paying our taxes by living overseas. Sadly, the Tax Man doesn’t forget about us when we move abroad, so we are still expected to lodge our tax return at the allotted time each year. The good news is you don’t need to travel home to do this. You can use an online tax return service and forget about filing taxes for another year.
Living overseas is a great life but remember to deal with your personal finances before your trip, and while you are abroad. Sticking your head in the sand with regard to taxes and bills is not a good defence when the ATO comes looking for you.