With the rise of remote work, growing political unease, and more concerns than ever about cost or living, international relocation has never looked so good. Here we explore the three main areas in which international relocation is changing and how these new trends are expected to affect American and Canadian expat retirees, digital nomads, and others.
Increased Work Flexibility from COVID
COVID hasn’t just increased remote work within the U.S., it’s allowed many employees to go global.
Digital nomad-ism is on the rise. The number of digital nomads with traditional jobs (as compared to independent business owners and contractors) increased by 42% last year in the U.S., growing from 6.3 million in 2020 to 10.2 million in 2021, according to the Digital Nomads: 2021 Report on Digital Nomad Trends - MBO Partners.
Because of this trend, many new government schemes for expats and digital nomads have been introduced. Countries like Costa Rica, Dubai, and Barbados have introduced visas for remote working professionals, allowing them to work overseas tax-free. Other countries, such as Greece, offer incentives to encourage expats to relocate, such as tax breaks and deductions.
Employees in many companies, particularly younger employees, expect remote or hybrid work to be an option, putting pressure on HR departments to figure out compliance solutions. For those employees looking to relocate permanently to another country, an Employer of Record (EOR) like Remote or DeelDeel could be the solution.
Saving Money with Geoarbitrage
‘Geoarbitrage’ is the combination of a low-cost of living with the income of wage rates from a higher-cost location.This combination enables digital nomads and other remote workers to invest in their lifestyles as their money stretches further in other countries. Being location independent is a big factor in making geoarbitrage possible.
Geoarbitrage is attractive to many as it allows people to save more of their income while living the same lifestyle. From a financial perspective, geoarbitrage is a good strategy to gain financial independence or retire early. People are even combining geoarbitrage with other money saving strategies to maximize their savings. Some of these strategies include downshifting, voluntary simplicity, and slow living.
Geoarbitrage is not free of controversy, though. Some believe it promotes gentrification and could potentially displace lower income residents if many higher earners move to low cost areas. This kind of gentrification can result in not only higher costs of rent and property values, but can also have impacts on an area's culture.
Retiring overseas continues to grow in popularity in the U.S. and Canada. Retirees abroad can benefit from lower cost of living, lower costs of healthcare, strong local expat communities, great climate and nature, and can often afford a larger space than they could in their home country. Government programs in various countries also provide incentives for expat retirees, such as a simple way to gain permanent residency, tax and legal improvements, and investment benefits.
An interesting example of the incentives governments provide to expat retirees is the Pensionado visa in Panama, which offers discounts on medical bills, airline and transportation tickets, loans and mortgages, and even movie tickets.
Within the overseas retirement crowd we are also seeing new trends, including more solo overseas retirement and roving retirement, which involves moving from place to place frequently, constantly exploring. With more and more people living longer and healthier lives, the idea of retirement is changing, and we expect to see more of these trends in the coming years.
The rise of international relocation has led to an increase in services and companies that can help new expats with the transition to life abroad. Whether you’re becoming a digital nomad, seeking to retire abroad, or weighing your options on how to make your savings stretch further, companies like StartAbroad are here to help. We take care of the details so you can focus on getting excited for your next adventure.
Georgina Taylor works in Marketing & PR at StartAbroad, a concierge international relocation service. She has a very international background as she was born and raised in Singapore, and attended University in Spain. You can reach her at Georgina@StartAbroad.com.
Additional Resources from StartAbroad and its Partners
Learn more about how we can support your international relocation here
Check out our video about how to safely relocate your pet internationally
Our partner, Make Costa Rica Home, has excellent resources on its Information Hub
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