Dealing With Your Finances at Home When Moving Abroad

Moving to a new country is an exciting time: you’re trying to navigate a new culture and maybe even attempting to learn a new language. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fun parts and forget about the less glamorous aspects of making money abroad, such as managing your finances.

Chances are that you will continue to incur expenses – such as paying loans or taxes – that will continue to go through your bank account. Consider using these tips to help ease the practical transitions of life in a new country:

Open an overseas bank account

Some countries, such as the UAE, require a local bank account for paying salaries into; however, this isn’t always the case. If you would like to keep all of your finances in one place, find out whether you’ll be able to use international bank accounts for payments. That way, you can use your account to pay ongoing expenses from home while performing everyday banking and having your salary deposited into in your new country of residence. If you’re Canadian, you can open a TD All Inclusive Bank Account where you can deposit cheques, but not pay any fees on withdrawals from overseas ATMs.

budget for small trip

Contact your bank manager and find out whether an overseas bank account is available in the country you will be moving to, and what steps you have to take to open one.

Get your bank’s app and international contact details

Apps are great because they can be used anywhere you can access WiFi. They are also securely encrypted on your phone or tablet, giving you access to your account on the go. According to Ákos Turny, Head of Product Management at Misys, tablets are great for managing finances and beyond.

“The extra space on the screen enables activities which are not even possible on smaller phone screens.  It seems that tablets are a nearly perfect channel for more complex financial activities: advisory, calculations and on-line applications or even managing wealth,” Turny says.

As a result, many banks are offering tablet-optimised apps, so be sure to ask your bank if they have one.


Find out what the international phone numbers are for your bank in order to contact them from abroad. Keep the numbers handy – you never know when you might need to send a payment or report a lost or stolen bank card.

Get access to your online banking

If you haven’t already signed up for online banking then it’s best to do so before you go. Many banks will send your login details by post and you’ll have to be home to receive it. Online banking services are accessible in most countries; however, some will not allow encrypted data to be sent over public phone networks. If you have any doubts, contact the local consulate or embassy before trying to access your online account.


Get a Virtual Private Network

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows users to connect to a network owned by a private entity – that is, one that does not belong to a service provider subject to federal laws. They allow for secure connections, protecting personal identity and location, as well as circumventing blocked websites. It’s useful for living abroad when trying to access websites from home that automatically redirect to a foreign URL – for example, typing in but being sent to when in France. It will work with banking as well!

Choose The Right Credit Card For You

No matter where you’re from in the world, there’s always a good credit card to use on your travels. Why not rack up some useful points along the way, or get cash back on all of your purchases. The key is to find cards that have huge sign-up bonus and a low (or no) annual fee. American & UK credit cards are great for points, but if you’re a Canadian, you’ll have to search a little harder.

Trying to figure out your finances when moving abroad can be a daunting task, but with enough research, you should have no problem finding the right financial situation that will work for you. In the old days, people had a lot more trouble trying to change over their banks and complete transactions abroad, but with today’s technology and the information found on the internet, it’s easier than ever to move your life to a new place. Whether you’re moving to China to teach English or just need an overseas account for travel, with these simple tips you should be able to enjoy the adventure, without worrying so much about your money.

Written by

Nick Wharton & Dariece Swift

Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging. Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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