Emigrate for a better quality of life

If you’ve started thinking about running a marathon or doing a tough mudder, when hitherto you’ve lived a sedentary lifestyle, or if you’re planning on rocking some drastic new hairstyle or blowing your savings on a Lamborghini Countach similar to the one in the poster on the wall of your childhood bedroom, then you’re most likely going through your very own mid-life crisis. Even if none of the above really appeals to you, but you’ve been feeling uninspired by work and life in general, if every day seems to run into the next, you’re probably going through the same thing.

You may be feeling depressed and bored and not even going through a mid-life crisis, too. You might have a stable job a big city that pays well, but after you’ve deducted your rent or mortgage payment, taxes, utilities, transport and food, there’s nothing left. You might wonder why you bother trying hard – were you born just to exist this way, paying taxes, rent and having just enough to eat?

These situations might make you look around for another place to live or another way to live. Just because you were born and raised in one country, doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire life there. Of course, pretty much everyone is every country is told that their country is the best and that they’re special and lucky people. So how can that be true if you’re not happy? Should you be trying harder? Or is this just not the right place for you?

Some might say wanting to emigrate is a symptom of having a mid-life crisis and to get over yourself. However, it might just be that if you’d emigrated earlier, you wouldn’t be having a mid-life crisis at all.

You have to choose somewhere that’s a good fit for you. If money is a concern, think about your budget. Can you work remotely or will you have to search for a job in your new country? Either way, you’ll have to ensure you get the right work – most countries don’t allow those entering on tourist visas to work. If you’re not sure what skills you have to offer in order to gain employment, you might be able to teach your native language (if you’re moving to a foreign-language country). If you’ll live from a pension you might need to take advice as to whether it can be drawn overseas or not. Also, most countries do not tax their citizens on income made overseas but the US does and pursues those who try to avoid paying.

Take into consideration the type of lifestyle you want to live in order to narrow down your search for a new country to live in. If you want to spend your weekends snowboarding, you can rule out Saudi Arabia straight away. If you want more bang for your buck, you’ll struggle in Norway. Security is often a concern – join some expat online forums for the countries you are considering and read up on what people say about safety and security. Some places which until recently have had nasty reputations, such as Colombia, have settled down a lot and are attracting foreign investors who can live “rich” lifestyles for relatively little. Some countries which may have appealing lifestyles have surprising drawbacks – South Korea, for example is one of the few countries in which racial discrimination is legal. That means, if you’re not Korean, you should be expected to be discriminated against and accept it as part of your life there.

Before you go out and purchase those fancy sunglasses (essential if you’re planning somewhere like the sun-drenched Andes, where you always need clear vision, especially when driving), you might want to invest some money in language lessons, perhaps stock up on things you’ll find more expensive overseas (electronics are usually more expensive in developing countries than in developed ones. Countries like China consider many cosmetic products and perfumes to be luxuries and tax them accordingly, causing them to cost a lot more than you would expect). Sell off or give away things you’re not going to take with you. Pack as lightly as you can – you’ll find stores and markets in your new home are replete with the things you need to live well there.