A 2011 America Wave survey found that 2.5 per cent of Americans (or 6 million people) planned to relocate to another country for more than two years, and 10 per cent of those planned to leave the country for good. This was the largest number ever reported, and it represents the shifting attitude of Americans about exploring life in another nation. If you’d like to relocate overseas, even if just for a few years, here’s how to plan your move and negotiate with your job to get what you want.

Research Your Big Move

Before you discuss relocation with your boss, research the costs of moving and of living in your chosen locale. If you have a spouse and children, relocation costs you need might include:

  • Travel expenses for the entire family
  • Temporary living arrangements while you house-hunt in the new city
  • Moving costs
  • Housing costs to support renting your new home and any expenses associated with leaving your old home
  • Family and spousal assistance
  • Special item storage or moving assistance
  • Help finding a suitable English-language school for children

Get information on the cost of living internationally using Expatistan.com/cost-of-living, an on-line database of real-time price information covering 1,607 cities worldwide. Or visit Mercer.com for the consulting firm’s 2013 international cost of living rankings. Once you have accurate research, determine the expenses you will negotiate for and which you can leave on the table. If you definitely need spousal support and cultural training, offer to absorb the cost of temporary housing or speciality item storage to sweeten the deal for your employer.

As you move through the planning stage, consider how a move will affect any additional income you bring in. If you receive payments from an annuity, for example, the exchange rate in your new country can alter the cash value of your regular pay-outs. If the exchange rate is against you. For example, if you’re living in the Eurozone and the euro is worth more than the dollar. You’ll lose money for the duration of your overseas contract. It may be worth it to look for a company that buys annuities to purchase your future payments for a lump sum.

Successful Negotiation Tips

As you conclude your research, you should have a strong plan for negotiating with your boss and a good idea of what your baseline is. You may decide that plane tickets, moving expenses and are non-negotiable, for example. Chances are you’ll spend the most energy negotiating over your salary and benefits. As you review the initial contract, make sure it specifies:

  • Your salary and any relocation expenses
  • Your tax liability (and your employer’s) while you are abroad
  • Whether you will be paid in local currency or U.S. dollars
  • What relocation benefit your employers is prepared to offer

Make sure that any contract you sign details the rights and responsibilities of both parties, including your job duties, to avoid any confusion overseas.

Photo by Flickr user DFID – UK Department for International Development