Expat Planning: Moving Your Family- Part 3

by | Apr 27, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

In Part 2 of this series, we got the kids figured out in relation to the move. Part 3 is all about us, the parents! It is really easy to forget about ourselves or to forget about each other in a move.

See, there are lots of things to do: kids to take care of, schooling to figure out, housing to secure, shopping for stuff you need and on and on. It is really easy to just think, “My spouse is an adult, they will be fine.” Well…if that were true, I wouldn’t be writing this entry into my blog!

Now, let’s go through some scenarios.

Scenario 1: “One Spouse has a Job

The family has relocated to a new country because one of the parents took a job there, got transferred, etc.

What to do?
What to do?

What’s the issue here? Well, everyone in the family has something to do, something to purposely distract them, except the spouse that is not working.

Kids are in school and the working spouse is off to work. Kids get new friends and start a life, the working spouse is out to lunch with new friends at work.

So, what’s up with the non-working spouse? Well, not much! They are taking on things at the house, talking to a lot to friends and family back “home,” often waiting for everyone to get to the house!! That’s the challenge. They are alone.

Scenario 2: “Neither Spouse Has a Job, But They Need One”

This is the pressure cooker! The amount of pressure felt is a function of how much runway your savings give you.

The shorter the runway, the greater the pressure. The greater the pressure, the more pressure on the marriage, the more second-guessing the move, all that bad stuff.

Scenario 3: “Neither Spouse Has a Job or Needs a Job”

This is the financial freedom scenario because money isn’t an issue but, just like Scenario 1, you may not have anything to do. As a couple, you have each other, but might find yourselves short on friends and “purpose.”

I suppose there are other scenarios that exist, but there is a commonality in each of these situations. When you move to anywhere new, remember that you have left your former-life ecosystem to start a new one. You may take for granted how your previous life situation was normal to you. You knew how to live in it, move around in it, you had a purpose and the like.

Creating a New Life

Time to explore
Time to explore

You now have to consciously create a new life ecosystem in your new home. That takes time and effort. Depending on your individual mindsets, this can be an adventure or a really high hurdle for you individually or as a couple, and perhaps as a family.

So, what to do?

First, do not start blaming your new country. That’s like jumping into a pool on purpose and then

complaining that you got wet. You are now in Rome, so do as the Romans do. Remember, you left your previous home and came to the new country of your own free will.

Second, do not take each other for granted. Talk a lot. Know what’s on your spouse’s mind and together work through the challenges.

Third, work at making that new life ecosystem we talked about. Get out and get to know your new town. Meet other expats and even more importantly, make local friends.

If you are going to “do as the Romans do,” you may as well rub elbows with some Romans. Here is a biggie: Do not try to recreate your life in the States or anywhere else in your new country. Enjoy and respect your new town for what it is–after all, you chose to go there!

Now, what about the move itself? What sort of things do you need to consider to make it successful? Our next and final article in this series will take that on.

How have you, as a couple, handled the planning and execution of your move? Let us know any of your tips for success.

by: Darrell Forte