3 hidden factors that affect your earnings abroad
One of the main reasons teachers work abroad is to save money. But I find that teachers who have not yet worked abroad sometimes lack the knowledge to fully evaluate one job against another and so they fall back on the easiest thing.. ‘What is the salary?’. But relying only on the salary can lead to a disastrous decision. Below are 3 hidden factors that could hit your wallet when working abroad.
- Cost of living. This is one of the biggest factors that can affect your savings – how far will your money go? Even people who have not travelled outside of their country have experienced that a hotel room in a major city such as New York or London is 3 to 5 times that of hotels in a smaller city or rural area and the same is true abroad. To avoid being burned, when you look at a salary always look at the salary compared to the cost of living for things not covered by your package. You may find that you can save more money in Kazakhstan on a salary of $2000 a month than you would making $6000 a month in Switzerland.
- The benefits package. Every school offers different benefits. How those benefits packages are constructed and how well they apply to you can make a huge difference to your wallet. For example, in some countries benefits payments are taxed at a lower or higher rate than your salary. Do you get a bonus? How much? Schools will sometimes provide an allowance rather than an apartment – how far will your money go? Will you need to supplement it to live near the school or in the place you want to live? Will you need to buy furniture? How much will transportation cost? Some schools supplement their salaries with different payments for daily transportation, food and even dry cleaning costs so make sure you add it all in when you look at the remuneration.
If you have children, benefits can make a huge difference – are school fees fully covered? If not, which is often the case in parts of the world like the Middle East, this can cost you 1-2 months of salary for each child. If not fully covered, how much will it cost you? What about books, uniforms, transportation, lunches? Will your family get medical coverage? Flights? Visa costs? Suitable housing? All of this should be factored into your decision.
- Sending money home. You have spent many months working and living abroad and now you have a nice chunk of cash to send back home to pay for student loans, bills and savings. Most people think to get their bank to do the transfer but this is one of the most expensive ways to send money home – they often charge fees and they give you a poor exchange rate. Instead, you should shop around for a specialist money transfer company – they often do not charge any commission and you get a much better exchange rate, so you get more in your pocket at the end. We have negotiated rates with Rational FX for our teachers and their friends, and by using a money transfer company you will be able to enjoy more of your money when you get home