The Easy Guide to a Traveler’s Money Management (Part 4): Taxes and Insurance
Throughout May, Nathalie dives into money management for travelers in five parts. Which credit card is best? Can a regular ol’ traveler invest her money? Is it possible to earn and adventure at the same time? Nathalie has your most burning questions covered, so you can put those money worries aside and prioritize what truly makes you happy: travel.
Once you’re abroad and you have enough money to live on, are you done? NOPE! When traveling or living abroad, there are certain things that affect your money that aren’t bank accounts or investing.
Paying taxes is something that pretty much everyone is loath to think about, but it’s one of those necessary annoyances that can get out of hand if you don’t take care of it promptly and properly. Depending on your country or countries of citizenship, your tax process will be different.
The most important point regarding taxes is not to forget about them!
Another important note is to not panic because it is very likely that no matter where you are living, there is just a slim chance that you’ll end up paying more taxes for living abroad than you otherwise would. If you’re living and working long-term in a country that isn’t your primary residence, there very well could be an agreement between both countries that ensures you only pay taxes in one of them. It is possible you’ll have to file your taxes in both countries, though — annoying paperwork, yes, but no extra money coming out.
Make sure to find yourself an accountant in both your home country as well as the country in which you’re living, and make sure to put them both in contact with each other if need be because they may have questions that you’ll have a hard time answering. Above all, do your research to figure out the applicable agreements and laws of both countries to make sure you don’t pay double for things that you aren’t required to.
If you don’t have any assets in a secondary country, or if you’re simply temporarily traveling, then you have nothing to worry about.
Fast advice: No matter where you are in the world, always remember what date taxes must be filed in your home country. This isn’t just a legal issue; it’s expensive to forget to file your taxes, and why pay more than you have to?
Insurance is often something we hate paying on a regular basis, until we actually need it…then we’re really happy we have it.
When traveling, the most important insurance to think about is health insurance. Healthcare fees can vary widely from country to country, and the scariest thing is being hurt or needing help and not having the money or insurance to pay for that help.
Before going anywhere, always remember to find the insurance that works for you.
Some things to consider:
Does your present health insurance cover you overseas in all countries and in all cases?
Do you want secondary insurance along with your primary insurance to cover things that you don’t necessarily need to think about back home?
Types of coverage and prices are all over the map for health insurance, so do your research. Some things to look out for when researching types of primary or even additional secondary insurance are:
Certain dollar amounts
Some insurers only cover up to a certain dollar amount, whereas others cover certain procedures, regardless of the cost. Some will even omit coverage depending on the place or activity.
If you’re anything like me, the first thing you’ll look at is whether certain activities are excluded. Many insurers won’t cover you for injuries sustained during extreme sports (rock climbing, skiing, surfing). If you’re going to be doing these things, make sure to choose an insurer that covers you in ALL cases.
What about routine doctors’ visits? If you’re just traveling for a short period, this is a moot point, but if you’re planning on traveling for long periods of time, you never know when you’ll need some assistance that isn’t considered a life-or-death emergency.
Some insurers will cover every procedure once you’re in a hospital, but what if you’re far from a hospital and need to be transported to the nearest health facility? If you’re lucky, this will be an ambulance ride costing a few hundred dollars at most. If you’re less lucky, this might be an emergency airlift costing tens of thousands of dollars. Either way, it’s something to think about, depending on where you’re going. For instance, if you’re headed to New York City, you probably don’t need evacuation coverage, but if you’re doing an eight-month backpacking trip through southeast Asia, you may want to think about it.
How does the insurer take care of the payments?
With some insurers, you simply give your information and coverage ID at the hospital, and you don’t see another piece of paperwork. At the other end of the spectrum, some insurers require that you pay everything upfront and then provide them with the paperwork when you get home before they pay you back. If you aren’t able to cover every type of hospital expense at a moment’s notice and wait a while before being paid back, the second option – paying everything upfront — probably isn’t for you.
Beyond health insurance
You shouldn’t ignore other types of insurance while you’re traveling. Basic travel insurance – for trip cancellation, baggage loss, etc. — should also be considered if don’t want to risk losing the money you’ve already spent on travel purchases. Be sure to check with your credit card provider(s) because many now cover most, if not all, travel insurance needs!
No one wants to think about taxes or insurance policies when they’re at home, let alone when they’re traveling abroad. But not being properly insured or forgetting to file your taxes are parts of your money management that can really derail travel plans. These are prime examples of actions you can take that may save you an enormous amount of money and headaches by simply being prepared.
Why does money management even matter to travelers? Find out here!
How can you make money while achieving your travel dreams? Here’s how!
Nathalie was raised by two immigrant scientists who taught her, from a young age, the value of a dollar and, most importantly, how to align her spending with her values above all else. She has always been fascinated by personal finance, and her deep love of the outdoors and simple living has led her to be a naturally frugal adult. Her parents taught her both the beauty of compounding interest and the importance of living below her means. As such, she is her own financial advisor, re-balancing her portfolio every quarter and investing in real estate in her home city — all on her modest budget.