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Expat life fast tracks financial plans

Whether it’s saving for your child’s education, buying property or building retirement funds, accepting the challenge of a move abroad could help you achieve your financial goals.

Cost of living

In the 2016 HSBC Expat Explorer survey, expats say living abroad has accelerated their progress towards key financial goals rather than slowing it down. Three in ten (29%) comment on how expat life has helped them save more quickly towards their children’s education (compared with 15% who say they are saving more slowly). Two fifths (40%) agree moving abroad has accelerated their saving for retirement, compared with 20% who say the move has slowed their progress.

This trend was also true of other long-term saving and investments. Over a third (38%) of expats observe that life abroad has helped them to achieve these goals, while even more (41%) feel the same way about property ownership.

There is better opportunity for real estate investments and taxes, more affordable goods and the opportunity to travel easily at reasonable fares.- US expat in Canada

Financial benefits in the Middle East and expat hubs

Expats in Middle Eastern countries tend to say they can save for retirement more quickly than at home. This is particularly true for expats living in Saudi Arabia (68%), Qatar (59%) and Bahrain (53%) compared with an average of 40% globally.

In these locations, expats are also able to save more than they could at home (79% in Qatar, 77% in Saudi Arabia and 70% in Oman, compared to 53% of expats worldwide).

I value being able to repair and rebuild my property, support my children and have enough time for myself.- Czech Republic expat in Saudi Arabia

Moving to larger financial hubs can help some expats to build long-term savings and investments more quickly. This is the case for 56% of expats in Hong Kong and Switzerland and 55% in Singapore (compared with a global average of 38%).

Climbing the property ladder

Over half (51%) of expats in Canada and 46% in Australia are able to buy property more quickly than they would at home (compared with 41% of expats globally). This is good news for those planning to stay for the foreseeable future. Canada is a magnet for long-term expats, emerging from the survey as the place where expats are most likely to have lived for five years or more (80%), followed by Australia (74%) and New Zealand (73%).

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80% of expats in Canada have lived there for five years or more

The 2016 Expat Explorer survey is a global survey completed by 26,871 expats across the world. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March and April 2016. League tables are calculated using responses to 27 of the questions asked in the research. A minimum sample of 100 expat respondents including at least 30 expat parents is required for a country to be included in the league tables.

About HSBC Expat

We provide wealth management, banking and currency management services in a stable, central location. So if you move to a new country, your finances won't have to.

Expat Explorer collects key findings from countries around the world.

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