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更新时间:2017/11/15 20:23:27 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

The real reasons expats may find themselves worse off

For less than a month’s rent in her hometown of Vancouver, Lydia Lee is having a second storey built onto the villa she rents on the tropical island of Bali.

来自温哥华的莉迪亚·李(Lydia Lee)在处热带的巴厘岛上租了一栋别墅房子,她在上面加盖了第二层楼,所需经费还不到温哥华一个月的租金。

Relocating to Indonesia seven years ago has meant she’s been able to build her business and afford a much more lavish lifestyle than she could at home. A life coach, Lee can now eat out every day, employ a cleaner and get weekly massages.


She ditched her six-figure salary in marketing and business development and now works for herself and travels the world. But relocating overseas doesn’t always work out so well financially.


Financial shocks


Not all expats find they can afford to live the high-life. InterNations, a networking resource for expats, recently surveyed more than 12,500 people living in 188 countries or territories and the picture the data paint of their finances is remarkably diverse.


While professionals who move to Vietnam, Mexico and Colombia – all countries with relatively low costs of living – find their purchasing power increases substantially, expats in other locations – including Italy, Israel and Greece – said they’re often unable to meet basic expenses due to the high cost of living.


And things can quickly unravel.


For Russell Ward, a move down under put a significant strain on his finances and health. He moved to Sydney in 2006 with his Australian wife, who was keen to return home. They were drawn to the sunshine, warmth and ocean views – a welcome alternative to Canada, where the Englishman had been living since 2003.

对罗素·沃德(Russell Ward)来说,移居澳大利亚给他的财务和健康带来了极大压力。由于妻子思乡心切,他们夫妻二人2006一起移居悉尼。他们喜欢那里的阳光、海景和温暖的气候——这些方面都比加拿大好得多,这个英格兰人从2003年开始一直居住在那里。

The couple were working in sales and government respectively, but quickly realised how much more expensive life was going to be. Everything from groceries and clothing, to the booming housing market in Australia’s largest city, meant daily life was more expensive for them than in Canada. The Wards found themselves struggling to make their mortgage payments.


“Even with no kids, we were experiencing a very lean time,” says Ward. “We soon realised that we'd changed the view out the window for the better but had replaced it with more expense.”


They cut down on eating out and socialising, but in 2010 the financial pressure pushed Ward to a complete emotional and physical breakdown. He ultimately lost his job and the Wards sold their home in order to rent something cheaper.


But this was a turning point. After launching a content writing business, TheInternationalWriter.com, Ward and his wife took the decision to move back to less-expensive British Columbia in Canada and settling in Squamish, near Vancouver, in 2016. “It was honestly the breath of fresh air we needed,” he says.




The differences in the way expats’ finances stack up, can, in part, be explained by analysing their motivations for relocating. The most popular reasons given for relocating to a new country were either to fulfil a sense of adventure, or for quality-of-life related to health or climate. So, many weren’t in it for the money in the first place: only 15% said they were primarily motivated by financial incentives.


Although HSBC’s 2017 Expat Explorer survey found that just over half of expats surveyed said they can save more money in their new country than they did at home, less than 60% have more disposable income than they did before they moved. And this proportion looks set to decrease.

虽然汇丰银行的《2017外籍工作者报告》(2017 Expat Explorer)发现,超过一半的受访者表示在新的国家攒的钱比在自己的祖国更多,但只有不到60%的人拥有比搬家前更多的可支配收入。而且,这一比例似乎还将降低。

Local compensation packages


Even at large multinational corporations, more and more expats are being put on ’localised’ packages – meaning that employers are asking employees to make a permanent move (often to a subsidiary or home office) instead of taking a temporary assignment, often for fewer perks and with no promises of a return ticket.


Dr. Yvonne McNulty, a senior lecturer in the School of Human Development and Social Services at Singapore University of Social Sciences, says that the proportion of expats on generous compensation packages is now less than 50% and rapidly declining.

新加坡新跃社科大学(Singapore University of Social Sciences)人类发展与社会服务学院(School of Human Development and Social Services)高级讲师伊冯·麦克纳尔蒂(Yvonne McNulty)表示,获得慷慨薪酬的外籍工作者比例目前不到50%,而且还在快速下滑。

“For companies, localisation is simple,” she says. “It reduces their costs. For expats, it’s more complicated. While they receive fewer traditional financial benefits, they receive in exchange an intangible benefit of not being financially tied to their organisation, and with more freedom to change employers.”


Even for those with generous compensation packages, many expats struggle to control their spending.


“There is an implicit lifestyle you can be expected to adopt, which can mean excessive spending, drinking, going out and holidays,” says McNulty. And while full-package expats tend to live in a bubble, localised expats typically have a different experience. They tend to stay abroad longer – if they can afford it, McNulty says.


But even for those who do move abroad with support from their company, a pile of cash isn’t always enough to keep them happy.


Houman Lessani moved to Singapore – which has expats on some of the most generous compensation packages in the world – from Vancouver, in 2013.

胡曼·莱萨尼(Houman Lessani)2013年从温哥华搬到新加坡,那里的外籍人士拥有全世界最慷慨的薪酬。

His firm, a mining company, gave him a housing allowance and generous salary that enabled his family to afford live-in help. But after two years of a high-flying lifestyle that involved travel all over Asia, the novelty of his increased wealth started to wear off.


Lessani, his wife and their son eventually moved to Perth, Western Australia in 2015 and they’re much happier. They now have less disposable income but Lessani has found a better professional fit.


“I pay much higher taxes, and we can’t afford live-in help for my son here or to go out for dinner all of the time,” he says. “But this just works better for us.”