Additional Articles about Offshore Investment, Expat Finance, Overseas Finance and More
Countries that score well on the quality of life rankings are very popular with those wishing to retire abroad. A high proportion of expats based in Spain (38%), France (33%), South Africa (24%), Thailand (24%) and Canada (17%) are retirees, with many having moved specifically for this reason. In Spain, one in four (25%) expats moved there to retire, alongside 21% in France and Thailand.
While scoring well on quality of life overall, these countries scored particularly well on food, local diet and healthcare, which could explain why many expats decide these countries offer the ideal location to spend their retirement years. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
While close to two-thirds (63%) of all expats surveyed said they are earning more in their host country than in their country of origin, expats based in BRIC countries scored much higher (Brazil, 69%; Russia, 82%; India, 70% and China, 75%). In addition, with the exception of Brazil which fell slightly under the overall average, expats in BRIC countries were also more likely to see increased career opportunities within their host country (64% overall compared with; Russia, 82%; India and China, 70%). -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
While there are many benefits to moving abroad, the most commonly cited benefits relate to personal development rather than financial gain. 81% of expats believe broadening their horizons and gaining life experience is the most important benefit of becoming an expat. This is even more important for those in Russia (97%), the Netherlands and Belgium (both 92%) where expats feel they have gained valuable life experience since relocating.
A better quality of life was cited by two-thirds (66%) of expats as the key benefit to relocating, especially in countries such as Australia, France, Spain and Canada where improved quality of life is a key feature.
In comparison, career development (60%) and financial wealth (55%), while still important benefits for expats, were largely cited as being less crucial than life experience opportunities. Career progression was particularly important for expats based in the UK where 91% of expats cited career progression as one of the key benefits of moving to the country. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Qatar and the UK are the two countries that perform worst in the health and wellbeing category, ranking 13th and 14th respectively. Children in these countries are more likely to have an inactive lifestyle, spending more time in front of a screen watching TV, playing video games or surfing the internet. Only one in ten expat children in the UK play more sports than their country of origin and less than one in four (24%) spend more time outdoors than in their country of origin.
In Qatar, 39% of expat parents say their children are playing more video games. Parents in Middle Eastern countries also say that their children are more likely to spend time on the internet since relocating, with Qatar at 61% and the UAE at 59%, compared to those who ranked highly on the health and wellbeing league tables (Spain 33%, Canada 46% and Australia 36%). This may well be a consequence of the high temperatures in the Gulf countries, where the heat makes outdoor activities difficult during the hot summer months. Out of all the countries surveyed, expats living in Spain feel the country provides the best environment for healthy and active children. Spain ranked 1st on this Children in Spain are also least likely to eat junk food on a regular basis compared to where they used to live (ranking 4th out of 14 countries). In contrast, expat children in the US (ranking 14th) are most likely to eat more junk food since moving. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Expats in Russia remain the wealthiest in the world, with 36% of expats in Russia earning over $250,000. This number has actually increased over the past year – 30% of expats based in the country earned over $250,000 in 2009. Both Singapore (32%) and Bermuda (27%) also have a much higher proportion of expats with an annual income of over $250,000, significantly higher than the overall average of 13%.
Mainland Europe, however, dominates the bottom five positions on the Wealth Hotspot league table. Almost two-thirds (62%) of expats living in Spain earn below $60,000, as do almost half of the expats living in France (47%), the Netherlands (47%) and Germany (45%). This is much higher than the global average of approximately one quarter (26%) of expats earning below this figure across the world. In fact, the only other country to join mainland Europe in the bottom quartile was South Africa, where around one-third (36%) of expats earn less than $60,000. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Expats tend to spend more time with expat friends, rather than making new local friends in their host country. Nearly three in five expats (58%) agreed that they’re more likely to go out with expat friends rather than local friends. But this figure increases dramatically for some countries. Expats in Qatar (85%) and the UAE (84%) are most likely to only integrate with fellow expats, followed by Bahrain (81%), Hong Kong (79%) and Saudi Arabia (73%). -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
While education can be more costly for expats, those based in Singapore (42%) and the UAE (37%) were most likely to find the cost of education more expensive than in their home country (compared to an overall average of 20%).
Despite these costs many expats benefit from financial support from their employer when moving abroad in what appears to be a growing trend in an era of greater global mobility. Of those who were posted abroad by their employer, nearly a third receive support towards their children's education within their employee benefits package with those heading to Qatar (55%) and Singapore (50%) most likely to receive this. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Making friends is a key component in helping expats to deal with the challenges of moving to a new country and to settle into their new home. However, Europe is the hardest region to make friends according to this year's report, with European countries dominating the bottom five places in the ease of making friends league table.
The Netherlands proved to be the hardest of all with only 36% of expats based here finding it easy to make friends when relocating, alongside 40% in Germany, 42% in UK and Switzerland and 44% in Belgium. This could be largely attributed to the language barriers expats heading to these countries face. Spain and France do fare better, placed 9th and 12th respectively, while Bermuda (1st) and Bahrain (2nd) hold the top spots. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Although expats tend to use a large variety of vehicles to save and invest, a large proportion of wealth in longer term investments is repatriated, the most common being property (30%), equity (22%) and bonds (11%), whilst general savings, banks/ building society savings and investment into company shares are predominantly carried out within their host country. The use of offshore centres for saving and investing appears to be under-utilised, with the most popular investment vehicles for expats being managed funds (16%) and foreign exchange (12%).
Expats in the Middle East are the most likely to repatriate their property wealth, with very few investing in property in their host country (49% of expats in Qatar invest in their country of origin compared to 0% investing in their host country and in Saudi Arabia 60% invest in their country of origin whilst 0% invest in their host country). -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
According to this year's survey, expats believe that their children enjoy better quality childcare and a better education whilst living abroad than they did in their home country. While these benefits are a great draw for parents looking to move overseas, many expats believe that the overall cost of raising children actually increases when moving to another country.
In total, 52% of expats suggest that the standard of education available to their children is better than that of their home country, with only one in five (20%) believing that the standard of education had deteriorated. Those in Belgium were most likely to have seen an increase in the standard of education since relocating (81%), alongside France (73%) and Qatar (69%). These countries respectively occupy the top three positions on the improved standard of education rankings. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Out of all the countries surveyed, expats living in Spain feel the country provides the best environment for healthy and active children. Spain ranked 1st on this measure out of 14 countries, followed by Australia and Canada. Favourable climate conditions in these countries appear likely to have contributed to these high health and wellbeing rankings. 81% of expats in Australia say their children spend more time outdoors than in their home country. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Expats based in countries that score low on the overall experience league table were most likely to contact their friends and family more frequently since becoming an expat. Expats based in Saudi Arabia (32%), Qatar (24%) and Russia (24%) which all score within the bottom quartile of the experience league table, agree they spend more time contacting friends and family than they did before relocating (compared to an overall average score of 19%). -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Expats in the UK are the most likely to be accumulating more debt (11%), followed by Australia (9%), despite the fact that many expats in these countries are also able to save more than in their country of origin (53% and 51% respectively). Spain (29%) and France (36%) have a much smaller percentage of expats saving more than in their country of origin, but again this is likely to be due to the larger number of retirees amongst this population. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Expats with children based in the UK (80%), Hong Kong (64%), UAE (59%) and Singapore (53%) were more likely to agree that the cost of raising children was higher than their home country. In contrast, Mainland Europe appears to be the most cost effective region for raising children– with Germany (1st), Spain, Belgium (joint 2nd) and France (4th) all ranking highly in this regard. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Moving abroad can understandably be daunting for any potential expats and this year's report reveals that emotive worries cause much greater concern than practical issues. The most common concern for expats ahead of moving to their new country is re-establishing a social life (41%), feeling lonely and missing friends and family (34%). The same worries are also much more prominent for female expats. Nearly half of female expats surveyed (48%) shared concerns about re-establishing their social life in their new country, compared to only 37% of men and 44% of female expats shared concerns about missing their friends and family, compared to less than one third (29%) of men. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Although saving levels amongst expats as a whole have dropped since 2009, 61% of expats are still saving more whilst working abroad and one in five (20%) are able to pay off more debt than when they lived in their country of origin. Only 5% of expats surveyed overall are now accumulating more debt. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Expat parents also felt their children were likely to be more internationally minded having grown up away from their country of origin, with 89% expecting their children to live or work abroad in the future. This outlook may well be significant for their future wellbeing and wealth given the growing economic strength of emerging markets and the exciting career opportunities that exist overseas. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Saudi Arabia (85%), Qatar (83%) and Russia (76%) are the most popular countries for those citing financial gain and increased career progression as one of the key motivations to become an expat. However, these countries typically score very low on the quality of life rankings (Saudi Arabia 20th, Qatar 19th and Russia 24th out of 25 countries). In contrast, expats moving to countries that score well on the quality of life league table such as South Africa (3rd), Spain (6th) and France (7th) are much less appealing as destinations to those looking for increased career progression and financial gain. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
In the 2009 Expat Economics report it was clear that wealth was moving East, with centres located throughout the Middle East and Asia home to a larger percentage of high net-worth expat individuals. In 2010, the Middle East, Singapore and Russia dominate the top quartile of the Wealth Hotspot leader board, while expats in mainland Europe and South Africa are accumulating the least amount of financial wealth. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
Expats believe their children are enjoying their new lives abroad, and are highly likely to be learning new languages since relocating. Expats also think their children are safer following their move overseas and that the quality of childcare and standard of education available has improved – yet the cost of childcare and the cost of raising children are likely to have increased in most cases after relocating. -- from HSBC Bank International Expat Explorer 2010 Survey
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