Many of us were fortunate enough to have the unforgettable experience studying abroad in college. It was ideal: you had a few hours of class a week, then spent the rest of your time sightseeing and soaking up the culture of another country all for roughly the same cost of your tuition (minus the flights and the insurance and the numerous souvenirs…). But after college, travel opportunities become increasingly scarce. Without the academic bubble to protect us, we have to fit all of our travel into the two weeks allotted by our companies. How's one supposed to travel the world? The good news is, it's not so hard to get a job abroad. Whether you're dying to get back to the architecture of Eastern Europe or the lush landscapes of Australia, there are always ways to become an expatriate and knock off two toucans with one stone. Here are some tips to help you get there.
1. Save a Sack o' Cash
Before you embark on your journey, don't do like many friends of ours have done and flee the country with a one way ticket and one suitcase. While that seems romantic, being ill-prepared will send you home sooner than you expect. The first way to be prepared is to create a travel fund. This will ensure that even if your job abroad brings in less income than you're used to, you can have a buffer to even out expenses. According to Jetsetter, there are dozens of great apps to help you save money and bolster your fund.
2. Parlez-Vous Français?
Now, this one is common sense. While being in a country where you can't speak the language feels awfully adventuresome, it's not practical. You'll look silly putting your translation app in everyone's faces, and most foreigners appreciate at least an attempt at speaking their language. If you're planning on going to France, don't just dig up your old high school French textbook. Listen to French podcasts, read French newspapers and books, and get acquainted with modern French life.
3. Find The Job Before You Get There
There are a lot of ways to go about your overseas job search. One, is by attending overseas job fairs. The great thing about them is that they're totally virtual and free. You create a profile and the recruiters seek you out. You can also search specific jobs by location and sector. Use your current networking platforms like LinkedIn to tailor your profile to overseas jobs. Follow overseas companies and attend alumni events. There are even sites like Seek for Australia and Gumtree where you can search for jobs abroad on your own.
4. Consider Teaching ESL
English is becoming a universal language, with the help of Americans who teach English as a second language. All you have to do is get a certification, which varies by state, and then find a program that can send you abroad. At GoOverseas, you can search by country, length of contract, and job category, plus get all of your questions about teaching abroad answered. Alternatively, check out the local embassy of the country in which you want to work. They often have teaching assistantship programs or Fulbright fellowships for which you can apply directly through the website.
5. Consider Nannying
We know it's not the most glamorous option, but think about it. You have free room and board, sometimes food, and may even be invited on vacation with the family for which you work! Only do this option though if you like to care for kids and have related experience. The cool thing about this is you can do it for just a summer, or a few weeks. Here is a comprehensive resource for au pair jobs abroad.
6. Don't Go Into it Blindly
The most important part about making the decision to work abroad is to commit to it. If you're willing to quit your job and leave your home for an indeterminate amount of time, you better be serious about it. Make sure you have the appropriate work visa so you don't get sent home. Know which countries are safe and which you should avoid. Also, be sure to not get arrested. Familiarize yourself with the laws of Americans working abroad, which can be found here. A little extra research never hurt anyone.
Going abroad is a wonderful opportunity, especially if it's more than just a vacation.
For more on how to start your journey overseas, click here.
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.