Practical tips to finance an expat experience in Western Australia
Australia – the sixth largest county in the world, yet a population of just 22 million people. No wonder Brits flock there in numbers to escape the squeeze of London, the cold of the North or the comparatively gloomy beaches that lace the country. Moving abroad is always going to be a fantastic experience, but do be prepared for all the costs involved, from flights, visas and accommodation to everyday items and tourist attractions. With Western Australia, and particularly Perth becoming a more popular alternative to Sydney, here are some tips to make your experience more manageable:
Open an Australian bank account before going abroad
Going abroad as an adult and trying to set up a bank account can be fraught with difficulty, as you have no credit history. However, if you open up an account from your country of origin, you can get round these problems. It might even be worth opening up a new bank account in your own country if you are not currently with a bank that also operates in Australia. The advantages of having a bank account already open are that you can access your money as soon as you arrive, and, if you get a job, you already have the bank details to pass on so you get paid sooner!
Set up your healthcare plan
Like the NHS in Britain, Australia operates a healthcare system called Medicare, which you are eligible to apply for once you’ve applied for you visa or been approved for a permanent visa, have permission to work in Australia or can prove relationship to an Australian Citizen. You can sign up for Medicare before arriving in Australia, but you’ll need to provide evidence of status, including passport and visa. Note that Medicare only covers up to 75% of the cost of treatment, so you will also need private healthcare cover for the other 25%.
Be prepared for higher prices than at home
While in Europe and America we still seem to be suffering from the economic downturn, we’re always hearing about how Australia’s economy is booming and they’re all enjoying themselves in the sun. However, the cost of living there is higher than in most other places, so that’s something you really need to prepare for. In Perth a loaf of bread can cost around A$3, half a litre of domestic beer around $9, and a single lime can cost $2.25!
Consider a loan
The bottom line is, when moving abroad you’ll want to make the most of it. You’ll want to experience the things you can’t in your home country, try new experiences and travel around. Depending on what you want to do, and your credit status, it might be worth taking out a loan, perhaps to fund a great trip, or to help you buy a car so you can see the country in the way you want to. You should consider getting the help of a broker, who would be able to get some of the best finance deals in Perth, and really make your experience as an expat the best it can be.