While enjoying the amazing experience of living across the globe, a lot of serial expats, and particularly expat spouses, end up after few years completely detached from the safety net that is very difficult to build when not being geographically attached to one place. For example, having a proper retirement, health care and tax plan, building a secure estate or building savings, dealing with children’s education challenges abroad and the costs that go with it, but also fostering the relationship in the tandem and remaining on the same page despite all these transitions. These are all the areas of life that can have some harmful outcomes when living abroad if not planned and thought through ahead of time.
This episode is not about painting a disastrous picture of expat life, in the contrary it is about fully enjoying it as long as possible. As the expression says, “better be careful than sorry”!
We also have to address the elephant in the room here, trailing spouses are very often in a situation of financial dependence. And although they manage most of the time their household’s finances and the family plans, they often take care of their needs last and have a very small cushion or fall back plan for themselves if for example their marriage falls apart, or something happened to their partner.
To start this conversation, I couldn’t think of a better expert than Rachel Yates, who spent all these years advocating for expat partners’ rights and educating them on how to create their safety net while building a healthy foundation for their families. She is the founder of Expat Life Line that provides resources and trainings to plan your expat life. In this extract she shares some very important messages and knowledge about expat life. You will also find many additional valuable insights in the full version of her interview on Tandem Nomads, www.tandemnomads.com/14.
Along the same line, Hui-Chin Chen brings her valuable perspective as a financial advisor. She is the co-founder of Pavlov Financial Planning and writes about money and financial planning on Money Matters for Globe Trotters. Hui-Chin insists on the importance of looking at the common values and goals with your partner to plan your financial security. She shares with us more tips to deal with money on www.tandemnomads.com/30.
The following extract is with Jeremy Piccoli, he was an expat partner himself when he followed his wife to Switzerland. He shares his experience as a male trailing spouse, but I mainly interviewed him in his capacity as a tax expert for AIR INC, a global mobility services company. In this extract, Jeremy shares a list of important information employees should ask their employers regarding their expat packages and taxes when getting a job offer abroad. He also shares more details in the full version of this episode, on www.tandemnomads.com/42.
We end this best of series on Expat Life Planning with a topic that is very touchy among expats, and yet very crucial to be aware of. What happens when expat couples divorce? As you will see, if not properly thought through ahead of time, the implications of a divorce can be quite dramatic, especially when children are involved. In fact, in some cases trailing spouses, whose visas are dependent on their marital status, do not know that they are legally prohibited from taking the children back home without an official approval of the ex-spouse. In some extreme cases, spouses who do go back home with the children without a clear authorization end up facing child abduction charges under international law. Needless to say that on top of that, in case of divorce, trailing spouses have to consider the fact that if they do not get the parental custody, they might not be able to stay in the foreign country, where the children are, if they wish to, because their visas are depend on their marital status.
Here is a great extract with Lucy Greenwood, lawyer and partner at International Family Law Group , who tells us how to handle effectively these very complex situations and avoid getting in these kind of troubles with international law. In the full version of this episode, you will hear some crucial information to know about international family law. So please make sure to check this episode on www.tandemnomads.com/38
Also, as I believe that it is so important to make sure to know about these regulations on international marriages and international family law, I summarized for you some of these major points in this blog article, click here to find it.
Be it regarding relationship challenges, money, administration, taxes or anything related to your future and the future of your family, it is very important for me that you fully embrace the fact that researching and educating yourself on your rights and obligations should never be a tabou, but rather a responsibility you take and an empowering thing to do for yourself, for your partner and for your family.
The only way to be able to build a healthy and sustainable relationship in your tandem while taking care of your needs, it is by discussing, planning and agreeing with your partner on these important fundamentals. The earlier you do that, the better outcome you might get to fully enjoy your life abroad.
In the next episode, we will focus even more on you as an expat partner and your needs to build a portable career.
If you found this episode valuable, please make sure to share it with your friends who might need to know about all these important factors of expatriation!