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When we watch those TV shows set in sunnier climates with vast expansive (and expensive) villas, we can certainly reel off a number of benefits of being in those climates and tentatively look at how prices in certain countries. But when we dig deep into the weeds of moving to another country, we've got to ask ourselves if it is truly worth it.
Is It Financially Viable?
One of the top priorities for most of us is if we can do it properly and actually be better off. There are a number of ways you can do this. Firstly, you can look at the general exchange rate and do a like-for-like comparison based on your lifestyle and general expenses. Any currency calculator can give you an insight into if you would be better off, but of course, there's a number of variables that play here. There's the cost of living in that country with regards to things like the food, but you could also benefit from digging deeper beneath the surface and seeing if there's financial incentives to living in that country.
For example, in Puerto Rico, there are a number of tax advantages of owning real estate, such as not paying most federal income taxes for half the year but there's also other community-based benefits on top of this. The Act 20 and Act 22 real estate initiatives in Puerto Rico provide grants to non-profit organizations to give back to the Puerto Rican community so there could be an extra benefit of finding somewhere that may cost around the same as what you are spending where you are but looking at the bigger picture you might be better off in many other ways.
What is the Process of Getting Into That Country?
Moving to another country is stressful enough as it is, but we also need to look at the process in the round, and depending on where you want to go, the rules vary. It can also take a lot of time to become a naturalized citizen of that country. For example, in the United Kingdom, you can apply for citizenship if you have lived there for at least five years and have what is known as settled status. There's also the fees for becoming a British citizen.
Generally, when you are looking to go to another country, the toughest part is definitely filling out the forms and it can take a long time to get everything lined up. It is a massive task to do this, which is why you need to ask yourself if you feel moving to another country is worth your while. When we think we want to move to a sunnier climate after being on vacation there, we can easily become swept up in that vacation feeling. It's a very simple thing, but you've got to determine if it truly is worth your while going through the immigration or emigration process.
Will You Experience Culture Shock?
If you are looking to set up a whole new life somewhere else, why do you want to do this? If you are looking for that permanent vacation feeling, you might be surprised as to how life will feel once you truly settle into a place. Lots of people go far away so they can enjoy the sun, but there comes a period of time when they don't feel like they belong here. Lots of us have this nomadic sensibility, especially if we go traveling all of the time, and if we look at other people's houses in warmer climates and we think that we want a piece of that, we are neglecting the most common aspect of our emotion when moving to another environment, namely feeling homesick.
If you feel in your heart of hearts this is where you are meant to be, the culture shock can still creep in. This is why you've got to be aware that these things will happen, but it won't be like this forever. There's always solutions to minimize the culture shock sensibility, for example, joining an online expat group. You can find other people who were in the same position as you a few years or a few months ago. It gives you an insight into how to feel more at home where you are and also make friends in the process. Of course, we also need to remember that moving to another country is about embracing that culture. We can always feel like the outsider or the foreigner, and it is important for us to do our bit to make this place feel more like home by throwing ourselves into cultural traditions and showing people that we're not on the defense, but are actually looking to make this place a home rather than just a long-term vacation destination.
How Will It Benefit Your Soul?
As grandiose a question as this is, you need to ask yourself if this is the right thing deep down. Lots of us love the idea of moving to another country for essentially superficial reasons, for example, the glorious weather. But moving to another country is a big decision, and we have to come to the conclusion if what we are doing is going to actually benefit us deep down. Moving to a different climate is going to come with a number of health benefits, especially if you move further afield to Hawaii, but there's also the big question of if you will ever feel at home there.
So if you are looking at properties in a far-flung location that you want to take advantage of either financially or as a vacation home, you still need to ask yourself if these things will truly be worth your while or if you are just investing in something that is yet another distraction in your life. Moving to another country comes with a lot of benefits - financial, emotional, and many more - but we've got to decide if moving somewhere else is truly worth our while. Many people have done it and returned home, but others have certainly made a success of it. You've got to ask yourself some of these major questions.
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