But talking about finances is not something we easily do. With today’s blog, I want to give a better understanding of what Financial Wellness means, share steps that can improve financial wellness and connect all this to the expat life.
By definition, the Financial Wellness involves the process of learning how to successfully manage financial expenses. And I believe we all agree that having financial security and financial freedom, in the present and in the future, does have an impact on our overall well-being.
Financial well-being thoughts
Perhaps you can relate to some of these :
- Have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances
- Have the capacity to absorb a financial shock
- Be on track to meet your financial goals
- Have the financial freedom to make the choices that allow you to enjoy life
- Being able to plan for the future
[sources: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/financial-well-being/about/ and wikipedia]
But same as with all other wellness aspects as well the financial wellness is very individual. Not only because the household income varies. As well the day to day requirements, own expectations, locations and family situations are never the same.
Taking care about finances is hard enough as it is, but when you are an Expat and move frequently this topic often adds an additional layer of stress.
Others often assume that we move around out of financial reasons. And while that might be true for some out here, and some locations, I challenge and that and say it’s not the norm anymore. Moves even add an additional layer of financial stress!
After all, every move comes with additional costs to get settled, to create a new home. And when children are involved often expensive international kindergartens and schools have to be taken into account.
Not to forget the variation of costs of living
Taxes, (global) insurances, changes in retirement plans. You might find yourself in extremely expensive countries/cities and that can have a significant impact on your finances. And don’t overlook that you might have to reduce a double income to one income due to visa restrictions.
Add to that that we often live further away from family and want – or are expected – to fly home for the holidays and flight fares, especially during holiday seasons, are adding up. Or you want to keep a “home base” in your home country that needs to be financed on top.
Not all companies provide the same support, yes some might indeed cover a whole lot, but more often than not that is not the case.
Yes, moving often sounds like a dream, but don’t overlook the financial strains that it can add! And I only mentioned a few here.
No, I’m not complaining, after all, we as a family chose this way of living. But I want to make a point that it’s not always easy. No, it can be damn hard.
This part is often overlooked, misunderstood and kept silence. And due to the fact that we barely speak about finances to anybody than outside the own family this part of the wellness pillar can make you feel lonely and disconnected.
It’s a tough one to handle because when you experience an imbalance in your financial wellness, it plays into so many other layers of your life.
I’m not a financial advisor – I wish we would have started with one years ago to be honest – but I came across these resources and leave them with you if you want to go a bit deeper into this area. https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201501_cfpb_digest_financial-well-being.pdf
When I think about finances this ABBA song always comes up in the back of my mind “Money money money… must be funny in a rich man’s world” 🙂
But despite all this, and yes money does make life easier, it’s not all about money. After all, this way of living is as well about making sure that we get rich in experiences, no matter how big or small they are!
Wishing you a “rich” week ahead