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A Really Cool Tool for Expatriates

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It takes a certain courage to pull up stakes and move to a new country far far away. But more and more people are doing just that.

The number of people moving abroad has jumped in recent years, as global travel has become much more commonplace. The United Nations estimated that in 2010 there were 200 million living outside their home country – that’s three percent of the world population. There’s an estimated 6 million Americans living abroad.

If you’re someone who’s thinking of joining this ever-growing crowd, there’s a great new tool that can help you find the perfect destination. It’s the result of the latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey, which surveyed more than 5,000 expats around the world about their finances and quality of life. The tool is Expat Explorer Interactive, a dynamic database that allows you to search HSBC’s rankings based upon the criteria that’s most important to you.

The tool allows you to search the database on three broad categories of criteria – economic considerations, the experience of living there and childcare. Each category offers you choices of data that may be important to you.

If you want to compare countries based purely on economic issues, Singapore, Bermuda and Thailand ranked highest. If you’re looking for the best expat experience, the top choices are the Cayman Islands, Thailand and Spain. And when it comes to raising kids, Canada, The Netherlands and Hong Kong are your best bets.

But you can drill down much deeper. As an illustration, if you select “healthcare” and “healthy diet” as your criteria, the tool tells you that Spain is the best destination for you (Spain is the most popular expatriate destination). Thailand, France, New Zealand and Singapore round out the top five. If you decide you’re going to take the whole family and add in the criteria of your kids eating less junk food, the top five consists of The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Australia.

It’s pretty cool.

HSBC analyzed the data from the survey and some strong trends emerged that wannabe expats should consider, including:

  • Financially-minded expats head to the Middle East, but not as much as they used to; now they head to Asia.
  • The global financial crisis has not seemed to deter expats; in fact, the EuroZone has a very healthy number of expat “lifers.”
  • It’s “challenging” to raise children in the Middle East; Hong Kong is the safest place to raise a child.

If you’re thinking of moving to a new country – or if you’re company is thinking of sending you abroad – this is must-have information.

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Linda Barbara

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