There’s always plenty to report on in the world of expats and international moving. It seems like every day brings challenges to life outside the U.S., however that doesn’t mean leaving your native country for life in a new and exciting place isn’t a positive experience – it just means you have to be more educated about the world and, as we know, that’s never a bad thing.
Here are some of the latest news items to keep you up-to-date in the world of expats…
Saving Less – Western Expats in UAE are Saving Less for Retirement
A first-of-its-kind study recently revealed something that has been suspected by financial advisors, but never quantified by a study, until now. The first Standard Life Western Expat Wealth Study gathered data on the investment habits of 400 western expats across the UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong. The study revealed that UAE-based expats had the least inclination for savings. The study also showed:
– Spending on luxury items was lower in Singapore (51%) and Hong Kong (47%) than in the UAE (97%).
– 35% of western expats plan to return home compared to 90% in Singapore.
– Western expats in Hong Kong (84%) believe they will have sufficient income to lead them into retirement followed by the UAE (76%) and Singapore (47%).
Standard Life plans to use the data to offer service that meet the financial realities and aspirations of expats in the three areas.
Ghana: Good for Expats. Great for Business.
Within Africa, Ghana is proving itself as a growing economy. And while it hasn’t exactly been at the top of the list of countries expats are flocking to, that could change in the future. Thanks to sound management policies, the country survived the global financial crisis relatively unscathed – sustaining a stable GDP along the way. Couple this with the fact that Ghana is an exciting cultural destination, and you’ll see why it’s slowly gaining a positive (and well-deserved) reputation.
Unlike other countries, the varied cultural groups within Ghana have a peaceful co-existence that contributes to a vibrant atmosphere for expats that includes a wide range of cuisine, cultural events and diverse languages.
Expat Worries Mounting in Dubai
The image of expats in Dubai is typically one of luxury, but not everything is rosy there. In fact, The Telegraph recently laid out key some concerns of expats living in the popular emirate, which included:
– Rising housing costs: Housing costs are rising here faster than anywhere in the world and there’s fear that rental prices aren’t far behind. And with a large number of cash-buyers in the region, many families who require mortgage to buy are being pushed farther from the city to more affordable areas.
– Traffic deaths: Vehicle accidents were responsible for 101 deaths in Dubai during the first seven months of 2013. That’s roughly one death every other day. Even Dubai’s top traffic cop called the statistic “socking.”
– Deteriorating health conditions: Long working hours, lack of exercise and poor diet are all leading up to an epidemic of diseases that include hypertension and diabetes. Doctors are even reporting that UAE residents are starting to have heart attacks decades ahead of people of the same age in Europe.
Note that these three problems are essentially social problems that, with the right amount of personal and government accountability, can be overcome. However, until then these trends are having real and serious impacts on the lives of expats in this coveted destination.
Italian Government Seeking Greater Declaration of Assets Abroad
The Italian government is getting a little more nosey when it comes to people’s assets in- and out of Italy. Until recently, there was a minimum reporting threshold in place, but now, even accounts and assets of minimal value must be reported. And, while expats aren’t typically taxed on these accounts and assets, failure to report them carries hefty fines and more scrutiny.
On the flip side, the country is scrapping its controversial municipal real estate tax on primary homes. Second homes and holiday homes are still subject to the tax. It will be replaced by a service tax that combines all the present local taxes. Expats in Italy who are renting will feel the impact as the new tax shifts the burden to occupants regardless of whether they are also the property owner.
As always, we’ll keep you updated of new and important topics in the world of international shipping and expats.