As I’ve been planning and researching about moving overseas, I’ve done a ton of reading. Some books are location specific about particular countries and even particular cities, but there are also books about moving in general — leaving the country that has been your home probably all your life and inserting yourself into a completely different culture where nearly everything has changed and all the things that made you comfortable are likely gone.
I really hadn’t found one of these books that made much sense or was very useful. I like to use my Kindle tablet to read books electronically, especially those that I can read free from the Kindle Unlimited program.
Move Overseas! Overcoming Fear to Make the Best Decision of Your Life: How to Plan Your Move Now turned out to be different from any book I’d read yet. The author, Trevor Laene, is someone who has been through. Leaving behind a six-figure salary to move to Thailand, he spent several years examining all his options and planning his future based on factors that worked for him.
Unlike so many Kindle books of short duration, this one didn’t waste a lot of time with filler and fluff to stretch very little content into a book. Even the discussion of whether you should or shouldn’t make a move was highly relevant and provided insightful reasoning to help you make a decision based on your personal needs and desires, not the encouragement of the author.
Despite having read several dozen books on the subject of moving and living overseas, I still found a great deal of new and valuable information in Laene’s book. The chapters on banking and health care provided a great deal of useful information and resources that I hadn’t heard of before. For example, Laene sugests getting three bank accounts — two in teh US and one in the country where you live — to spread out your funds so that money is always available in the event of an unexpected issue like a lost ATM card. (Getting a replacement from A U.S. bank is possible. My bank, Bank of america, says they will overnight a replacement card to me even in Peru, though they said it might take an extra day to get to me.)
His discussion of international health insurance us the best I’ve come across yet. While I am aware that both private and public insurance options are domestically available in Peru, I didn’t think about coverage when I travel to other countries in South America. He provided some links to resources for coverage when I’m traveling as well as reassurances that international medicine is probably not as bad as we think. (Okay, maybe it’s not so great in Peru, but it’s not terrible if you can get to Lima.)
The Tax Planning chapter wan’t all that relevant to me because my personal finances are very simple, but I learned some important facts such as that tax returns may be submitted 90 days later if you live overseas, though tax payments must still be made by April 15 if you want to avoid interest and penalties.
The chapter on Budgeting is especially relevant to me and to anyone planning a move. Unless you are independently wealthy, finances should be a major part of your decision. Knowing exactly what you will have to spend as well as factoring in all the possible expenses that you might have will help avoid unexpected crises.
Though it didn’t really apply to me since I know pretty much what country I will move to, he included an in-depth discussion of an Excel matrix (available online) that is easily adaptable to anyone’s priorities which will make it much easier to give you a rational idea what is the best place for you to live based on your needs and desires.
This is one of only a handful of books that I’ve read twice in a row so I could go back and take notes of important information and links. If you’re considering moving overseas for any reason, I heartily recommend this book.