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Very often, people find themselves relocating to another country with work or to pursue a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity, or simply out of wanderlust and a sense of adventure. If you’re one of the 12.5% of Americans who decide to move to a whole new country, it’s important to go into the move with your eyes wide open.

Moving home can be a difficult experience. Moving between states can be extremely tough… But moving to another country can be an absolute nightmare. The inherent logistical problems of moving become multiplied many times over, with so many things to keep in mind and so many loose ends to tie up, it’s easy to become bamboozled by it all.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide of things to keep in mind so that you can leave on a jet plane and while you may not know when you’ll be back again, you’ll have the peace of mind to know that everything is safe and secure in your old home so that you can enjoy your new one.

Storing your valuables

It’s possible that you’ve used an international mover’s service to transport the bulk of your possessions to your new home, or it’s possible you’re travelling light and keeping everything you own in a bag in the cargo hold of your plane. But if you have valuables that you may not want to risk transporting them abroad (especially if you suspect you’ll be back) it’s probably a good idea to keep them in storage. Self storage solutions are fairly cheap and easy to move your stuff into and out of. Ensure that wherever you choose is secure, dry and weatherproof. The last thing you want is to return to find your treasured possessions damaged or stolen.

Legal and tax considerations

Make sure you declare to the SSA and the IRS that you’re leaving the country so that you will be able to claim your pension while abroad and avoid any potentially difficult tax misunderstandings.

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Moving your money

Whatever your financial circumstances, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your money prior to moving, so it’s vitally important that you keep an eye on the fluctuations of the international exchange rate for as long as possible prior to moving.

In the event of exchange rate spikes that favor the dollar, it’s likely a good idea to exchange whatever currency you can incrementally prior to the big move. Just remember that there may be restrictions on the amount that you can take with you initially, depending on where you move to. It may also be worth seeing if you can arrange a fixed exchange rate in advance so you know exactly what you’ll be paying. If your current bank has branches in your destination country then you’ll find that they’re quite keen on keeping hold of your money and will be very helpful in planning the logistics of moving it. Depending on where you move, the income tax brackets may be very different to what you’re used to so be sure that you factor local taxes into your monthly budgeting prior to the move.

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