Congratulations, you’ve landed a new job! It can be very overwhelming starting a new job, especially in a new country. Once you’ve finished your language exams, received your visa and job acceptance notice you’ll be amazed at how fast time goes. When you’ve started your new role, the first week or two will pass very quickly as you get used to an entirely new culture, workplace, workmates (mate!) and commute. Before you know it your first pay cycle will arrive and you’ll be wondering what to do with your earnings in this new currency. Here are some tips to consider that will help you manage your money in a new country.
Get the best Checking Account possible
As soon as you arrive in the country you’ll need to open a Checking Account. They’re necessary for all of your day-to-day transactions and will be required as proof of address when you apply for a drivers license or I.D card. There are many reasons why you should do your due diligence when you sign up to a new bank. All banks have different product options and fee structures that make them unique in the marketplace.
At the minimum, your new bank should have:
1. EFTPOS / debit card
It is estimated that 89% of all transactions in Australia are made either electronically or with a card*. EFTPOS is a service that was a sweetener in the 90’s but is now a necessity that all banks are required to have in order to be competitive. When you sign up to a new bank, make sure that the EFTPOS or debit card is virtually free. Most banks will offer a free card on sign-up so read the fine print and make sure that you won’t be obliged to pay an annual fee for access to your card.
2. Low or no account fees
Shop around and find a bank that will provide you with low or no fees. There are many banks that will waive your fees if you make a minimum monthly deposit and others that have a low monthly flat fee.
3. Online banking
Online banking gives you the ultimate flexibility to manage your account and finances from home. Some banks have exceptional online services that will give you access to a virtual teller which enables you to do simple things like apply for loans and get replacement credit cards. Make sure the bank that you choose allows access to the services you need online.
4. Phone banking
Sometimes you have a question that could be solved easily by a simple phone call. Phone banking is perfect for this. A good customer service centre will help you solve problems, apply for loans and assist with your day-to-day banking requirements.
5. Rewards programs
Many banks go the extra mile and attach rewards programs to their bank account offerings. These programs are varied and could include Qantas Rewards, Woolworth points and a whole swathe of other programs. Take the time to look around and see if there are any offerings that interest you.
Simple money management rules
Before you do anything with your new pay packet it helps to have a plan. There are many different methods that you can use to manage your money. A general guideline is to apply the 33/33/33 rule. That is 33% on rent, 33% on day-to-day expenditure and 33% into savings
To get more ideas about how to manage your money in a new country, we recommend visiting a reputable money management website or to speak with a financial planner.
Now that you have a checking account ready you’ll need to think about putting aside some money for a "rainy day”. You’ll need to assess your level of savings commitment and the ease at which you need to access your money. Usually an account with easy access to your money will have a lower interest rate, making it much more suitable for short term savings.
Here is a list of savings accounts for Australian banks.
A term deposit gives you a higher interest option for saving but makes it difficult to access your money. You will be required to lock your money away for a certain period of time like 3,6,12, 18 months or longer and you will be given the option to reinvest your money when your investment matures.
After you have enough "rainy day” money and a savings account that has sufficient emergency money, putting your money in an index fund could be a valuable long-term investment. There are many index funds to choose from and the detail of which lies outside the scope of this article.
When payday arrives
In Australia, most people will set their essential bill payments so that they are automatically paid on payday. These bill payments include:
1. Utilities - phone / internet / power
Paying them this way means that you won’t need to worry later in the pay cycle when due dates come up. You can set this up online at home with most banking services.
Sending money overseas
If you are sending money back home, there are a few key things that you need to think about before you send it.
In the past all money transfers and transactions have been handled by banks or via agents, which are very expensive. Over the last 10 years the market has opened to online money transfer companies like OrbitRemit. These online money transfer companies offer a competitive service that is much cheaper, faster and offer a better exchange rate.
There are so many online money transfer companies out there it is hard to distinguish the good ones from the cowboys. The best indicator of a good online money transfer company is their trustworthiness score that can be found on Trustpilot.
There are many tools available that give you visibility over exchange rates to your home currency. If you time the remittance right, you could save yourself a lot of money. The best way to pick the right time is to get an idea of what has happened in the past and then use your own judgement as to whether it is a good time to transfer. DailyFX offers a great tool that shows past exchange rates.
Contrary to this, there is a school of thought that all of the time is a good time to send money overseas. The right time to send money is up to you, your needs and the urgency of the transfer.
No matter which provider you use, there will be a remittance cost attached. Usually the cost associated with online money transfer is an upfront fee. Online remitters are up to 80% cheaper than banks. For example, an $1100 transfer back to India with a bank could cost up to $50! An online money transfer company like OrbitRemit will allow you to send money to India with no fee.
At the end of the day every person's circumstance is different and the way you manage your money in a new country may be very different to someone else. If you need further guidance, we recommend that you read around and talk to other people that are in a similar situation to you. Good luck with your new job!
At OrbitRemit, we work harder to save you time, money, and provide peace of mind with your international money transfers. We make your money count for more with our great exchange rates and low flat fees. All of your payments are 100% guaranteed and are fast, secure and easy to setup!
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