Experience Living Overseas as Expats

If you are planning a return to the UK having spent time abroad, things may have changed significantly. As a result you should be prepared.  Aside from your financial planning, key points worthy of note include:

  • Your credit rating – if you have lived overseas for many years, or never lived in the UK, you may not have built up a credit rating. Many items (telephones, loans, mortgages, credit cards) are driven by a credit rating. So it may be that your bank will need to assist here, at least in the short term.
  • Cost of Living – the UK may be a more expensive place to live than Hong Kong, although this is unlikely! But do plan ahead to ensure you are aware of any impact of your move on your lifestyle.
  • Cash Deposits – you may need to access a significant amount of cash for a few weeks. This may be required to buy replacement items which may have been lost in transit, or which you have chosen to leave behind. For instance, some electrical items run on different voltages in the UK such as televisions, fridge/freezers and computer equipment.
  • Schooling – in the UK children can only be enrolled into a school when they are physically in the country. So, you may want to plan ahead, bringing children over slightly ahead of time. You can then research the area to ensure you’re in the right catchment for the school. Of course, there is no guarantee that you will be able to secure a place. This is particularly pertinent if you want your child to attend a ‘good’ school which may be over-subscribed.
  • Property – it may be useful to rent in the short-term, to get your bearings and identify where you might want to purchase a property and global websites can help enormously in this area. Do be aware that UK houses can be smaller than those overseas.
  • Practicalities – you must register with your local doctor, dentist, local council as soon as you can, in order to access services.

Our own expat experiences

James Sutton, Director, The Fry Group Hong Kong

‘Moving overseas was daunting at first, especially with the speed at which it all happened. Leaving life, family and friends in the UK felt like a huge step. Having good advisers helped – making sure my UK affairs were in order, my house was let, and any possessions were placed in storage or sold, so I could look forward with excitement to my new life in Hong Kong.’

Vanessa Karlowski, Paraplanner, The Fry Group Hong Kong

‘One of our best decisions was arranging to stay in serviced accommodation; it afforded us the time and opportunity to search for a longer term rental with less pressure.’

 Justin Davies, Senior Financial Planner, The Fry Group Hong Kong

‘We decided to rent in the short term, as a significant amount of time was needed to find the right place to live – we took our time exploring the area, talking to colleagues and finding out where best suited us and our life. Finding a good estate agent is essential so remember to ask for recommendations from those who have already found property.’

Sheila Dickinson, Senior Financial Planner, The Fry Group Hong Kong

‘Remember that you will arrive long before all your belongings do, so make sure that you take with you some personal items, such as favourite family photos and small momentos to make your new place seem more like home. And it might take a while to register with a new doctor and dentist and even find a new hairdresser so it makes sense to ensure you have visited all before you leave the UK.’


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