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An Immigrant's Guide to Setting Financial Goals Thumbnail

An Immigrant's Guide to Setting Financial Goals

7 MIN READ

There is beauty in being fortunate enough to move from one country to another and start again. While it’s an exciting time to know you’re on your way, figuring out the financial system is not an easy job.

In your first few months, you will have a lot to do to get your footing of a new country, a new financial system, and with new goals to get you set up for success. You should be able to create a secure life wherever you land, and with our help and suggestions below, you’ll be able to set up smart financial habits to enable you to build that life.

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Financial Goals To Set

There are several defined financial goals that you should have before arriving in a new country, and setting financial goals is going to help to keep you on track. Let’s go through them all one by one.

Open A Bank Account

The very first thing that you need to do is open a bank account before you arrive. You need somewhere to put your savings, because by keeping it in cash, you run a big risk! It could take only a moment for you to lose everything. Here are some things to consider:

  • Banks in your new country will be different to home

Every country has its own financial rules, and there is an element of fear surrounding using a new bank. The best thing that you can do is to research the major bank accounts in the new country, get reviews online and speak to people who have used their services. These recommendations will make all the difference to your start in a new country.

  • As an immigrant, you can open a bank account

It’s a common misconception that you won’t be able to open an account as an immigrant, but it’s not true. You can open a bank account in a lot of different countries, as long as you have the right details and you can find a bank that will accept your ID number. 

Work Out Your Expenses

To be able to truly  manage your finances in a new country and start setting financial goals, you need to know what your fixed expenses will be. There are plenty of online calculators that can give you a clear idea of what you should be able to earn and pay out in a new place, and the fixed expenses are those that rarely change - such as rent, bills, and groceries. There are two main reasons that it would be a smart idea to research these expenses:

  • You’ll know what you need to live

It’s far easier to plan a new life elsewhere if you know what you need to earn to keep you comfortable. It gives you a clear goal in that you can find work that will cover your expenses plus a little more for savings. Taking small steps to ensure that your bills are covered is important!

  • You can manage your extra cash

Once you know what your fixed expenses are, you can plan for the discretionary expenses that are in addition to this. You can also set savings goals and start to put the cash toward personal development and education. Allocating some of it toward retirement is also a smart goal to have. You can't make a plan for your money until you know what you need to spend, though, so it’s best to get started.

  • You can save for retirement

Once you have your budget in place, you can start saving for your future retirement. Your employer may well have a retirement plan attached to your job, but that doesn't mean that you can’t start your own, too. It’s important to take action towards your future.

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You Need An Emergency Fund

You’re in a new country, so one of the biggest goals that you should always have should be to have an emergency fund. Your rainy day fund has to be saved in the bank for the times you really need it, such as needing to fly home, cover urgent medical bills, or to survive if you lose your job. It’s always a good idea to keep hold of six months of expenses, just in case. 

  • The most important fund is the emergency fund. 

There is a lot of power in your emergency fund pot. If you lose your job or have an accident, you’re covered and can live for a few months without being in work. It’s something that will give you a little room to breathe should you need it in times of trouble. No one wants to think of their money being allocated to keep them alive if they have an accident, but practicalities are important. This is the fund that will give you a sense of security and peace of mind, and it will be what can empower you to keep going if you know you have a back up.

You can free up your cash and worry less about living paycheck to paycheck all because you set a goal to back you up in times of hardship. Emergency funds are a must, and you should start thinking about it from day one.

Six-Month Goal Setting

It’s so important to have goals when you move to a new place. Setting financial goals - such as finding work with a fair salary and building up your savings for a downpayment on a house - are important.

You don't want to spend your hard-earned cash without a plan, or you could find that you end up with nothing. Building your life requires a financial plan, and clear goals for the next six months are a necessity when it comes to hitting those goals. Let’s break it down a little: 

Identify the most important goals to you

What do you want from life in a new place? Of course, you can adjust the goals that you set at any time, but you should consider what the most important goals are to you. This will help you to direct your cash to the right places. Let’s say you want to save a deposit to buy your own home, or something smaller - like buying a winter wardrobe when the cold hits. You should be very clear about what you want your money to achieve. 

Educate Yourself and Make a Plan

As a new arrival, you have a lot to learn. Speaking to the experts is going to help you achieve what you desire from your new country. Knowledge is power, and you can gain that knowledge from the right people, the right podcasts and the right blogs that can help you on your way. The more you learn, the better chance you have at making smart decisions about your money.

Delve into personal finance books 

Reading personal finance books is going to help you to learn more about how to manage your money. They don't have to be textbooks that are too complicated to understand, but they should be able to direct you to where your goals need to be. 

Listen to podcasts

On the go, listen to financial planning podcasts to help you set realistic and measurable goals. Go online and find a podcast that discusses a topic that interests you.

Meet with financial advisors

Set up an appointment with a financial advisor who can help. They’ll direct you to a plan that suits your needs and help you to set up your goals accurately.

By starting with these steps, you can really find your feet as an immigrant in the United States. Good luck!

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MYRA provides personal finances for international and multicultural families in the United States. Our services include financial planning, investment management, and tax preparation. 

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