Many expats find living abroad more expensive than they anticipated, research suggests.
The survey by AXA – Global Healthcare found 17% of expats said cost of living is the thing they miss most from their home country and 21% said it would prompt them to return.
This is despite 58% saying they enjoy a higher salary since moving abroad.
The greatest source of pressure on expats’ wallets was found to be rent and housing, with half of expats saying this was surprisingly expensive in their new home country.
Two-fifths (40%) said that higher education was more costly than expected, while 35% found that childcare costs put pressure on their purse strings.
AXA found that life is most expensive for those living in the United Arab Emirates. Almost three-quarters of expats in the UAE said rent and house prices (71%) and higher education (72%) are surprisingly costly, while two thirds (65%) found schooling to be more expensive than expected.
An expense that expats seem to be particularly concerned about is healthcare, with a quarter (24%) of those living abroad worried about the cost of treatment locally.
A fifth (18%) said they would travel to another country to receive healthcare because the cost of treatment in their new home is too high.
Tom Wilkinson, chief executive of AXA – Global Healthcare, said the key to being prepared for healthcare costs abroad – especially if you have a pre-existing condition – is to ensure that you have a good grasp of the services and facilities available in your new home.
“The standard and cost of healthcare will vary around the world, so it’s important to prepare yourself for the different circumstances you might come across. In countries where certain treatments are difficult to come by or particularly expensive, it may even be worth considering how international health insurance could help you to manage your healthcare needs,” he added.