Mexico offers expatriates the best overall financial benefits in the Americas, according to our survey

Moving abroad can be financially rewarding, according to HSBC's latest Expat Explorer survey, with 57 per cent of expatriates saying that they have more disposable income since relocating.

Although money is not the most common reason expatriates give for making a move – more say that they are looking for a new challenge, or want to improve their quality of life – many places offer opportunities to earn high salaries. Some 18 per cent of expatriates in Asia-Pacific (including Australia and New Zealand) and 16 per cent in the Middle East earn more than USD200,000 each year. Expatriates in Switzerland have an average salary of USD181,000, the highest of any location covered in the survey, which assesses the views of more than 20,000 expatriates worldwide. 

In Hong Kong, 85 per cent say they spend more on accommodation since moving, but 67 per cent say they have more disposable income

Other locations offer lower living costs and new opportunities to make savings and investments. Overall, Vietnam, Qatar, the Czech Republic and Mexico are the best destinations in their respective regions for expatriates aiming to make their money go further. Some 76 per cent of expatriates in Qatar have more disposable income since moving; 68 per cent in Vietnam and 60 per cent in the Czech Republic have been able to save money since relocating; and 63 per cent in Mexico spend less on day-to-day bills.

Dean Blackburn, Head of HSBC Expat, said: “Managing finances is a key part of moving abroad, whether that is sending money back home, saving for the future or getting a foot on the housing ladder. This can be difficult, but many destinations also offer the chance to earn more or lower living costs.”

Higher salaries may be more than enough to make up for a higher cost of living. In Hong Kong, 85 per cent say they spend more on accommodation since moving, but 67 per cent say they have more disposable income.

Some expatriates maintain a current and savings account as well as a pension and property in their home country as well as in the country in which they are currently living. This may be one reason why three in 10 say that it has become trickier to manage their personal finances since moving.

Local legal requirements – such as the process for setting up bank accounts – vary significantly from place to place. Most expatriates in New Zealand, Singapore and Australia, for example, say that setting up financially is easy, but other locations are perceived to be more challenging.

Mr Blackburn said that appropriate preparation could help expatriates prosper. He said: “With the right planning, you can spend less time worrying about money and more time enjoying the expat experience.”

Note

The Expat Explorer survey is commissioned by HSBC and conducted by YouGov. The latest survey was completed by 21,950 expatriates from 198 countries through an online questionnaire in March, April and May 2015. Respondents shared their views on different aspects of life abroad including personal earnings, careers, experience and family.

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