Moving abroad needs careful preparations at home as well as abroad. There are almost endless things from to-do-list finished to end the old life and start a new one. But there are two major items which you should keep in mind in your moving plan. They are income and housing.


Moving abroad entails many of the same tasks that we have to consider when moving from one neighborhood to another, or one state to another. There are utilities to terminate and there are utilities to start. There are bank accounts that need to be established in your new destination. You need to obtain housing. Questions and more questions! Do you rent or do you purchase? Do you sell your old residence or do you rent it out? The answer to all these and more questions require an answer and an action. The list is probably almost endless, but there are two major items which can not be neglected in the early stages of planning your move abroad.


1. You can not live without economic resources, so make sure your bank accounts are set up so you can access them from abroad. ATM, debit, and credit cards are the most common methods of access. As soon as you are able, establish a bank account in your new destination. For retirees on U.S. social security, there are numerous countries to which you can legally have your checks directly deposited. If your destination is one of them, you might consider this option.If you are a U.S. citizen, keep in mind that your tax obligations follow you throughout the world. Any income earned anywhere in the world is still taxable, and even if you have no such income, you are still responsible for filing an annual tax return. Having an accountant in your new destination and back home will keep you from inadvertently failing to satisfy some tax requirement.


2. Housing is a necessity. If you plan to move out of the country indefinitely, a decision has to be made concerning your residence at home. If you are renting, case closed. You simply plan to leave when the lease runs out. If you own, you either have to rent your residence out or sell it. My suggestion is to rent it out and plan to also rent for at least six months in your new destination. Even the best laid plans some times fail, and who knows, you may not like your new destination. Don’t be too quick to cut all your ties in the first year. That is a critical period for adjusting to your new destination.


Some routine tasks can not be anticipated but must simply be handled on a day to day basis. Arranging your finances and housing should not be included in this group. They must take priority in your pre-move arrangements. You can never completely eliminate problems (how dull a life would that be?), but you can soften their effect on your relocation by planning for the most significant areas.


Dr. Lamar Ross, a cultural anthropologist by training, has a special interest in training individuals for expatriate living and providing information on unique travel destinations. He is an author, educator, photographer, internet entrepreneur, and international traveler. He has lived in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and India and has traveled extensively in 29 different countries. His pensionado visa for Panama has been approved and he will be spending more time in Panama in the near future. For more information on expatriate living, check out the blog Expatriate Traveler Notes. Check out also his Everything Travel Blog.