Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Money Matters Associated with International Move

I wanted to write down some moving logistics for people who might find themselves in similar shoes as us later. Moving after having lived somewhere for two years is entirely different from moving abroad the first time, because...
* Now you have a bank account that you get your salary directly deposited into, that you have to close before you leave the country (without butchering any direct deposits).

* If you want to wire any money to your Stateside accounts, you have to allot about a week to do that BEFORE you close your foreign accounts.

* You have presumably been contributing to a foreign social security system, presumably with matched contribution from your school and presumably it's some significant amount of money that you wish to get back at some point. It's not totally straight forward how this is done, because if you want the full amount back (including your school's full contribution up to your length of contract), I believe the standard operation is to start the refund process AFTER you leave the country, which means someone else than you will have to pick up that refund for you...

* In order to take care of some of these things smoothly, you may have to transfer your power of attorney onto someone else who will remain in the residence country after you leave. Obviously, you should choose someone that you can trust, but also the paperwork process can be a bit of a hassle and take up to a week.

* If, like me, you are moving to another foreign country afterwards, you should contact the school well in advance to figure out if there are temporary places to store your stuff. In my case, I've had to wire over some advance payment to my relocation agency in order to get a storage unit started for me (which, again, takes time and some follow-up energy).

* Did I mention that you cannot assume that you will be able to afford the moving costs?? Good thing Geoff and I don't have much stuff, because the estimates we got from two different moving companies for our ridiculously few items were both around $2000. I guess that depends on where you're shipping from and to, but the point is that you want to look into this stuff early so that you will have options. In our case, the only things we're shipping are my teaching supplies, in small boxes. Everything else we're going to squeeze into our two suitcases per person as when we arrived here.

...Anyway, all things considered, I'd say that our moving process is going swimmingly. My only regret is that I am an idiot and didn't go in time to a Salvadoran doctor to get my wisdom teeth removed while it's still dirt cheap. (The doc refused to do it since I'm flying out in under 2 weeks.) But, I am hopeful that perhaps it won't be too bad under the German insurance to take care of this little weisheitszahn problem. (My first German word!)


  1. Have fun in Germany. I can't wait to read about all your teaching and other adventures.

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