5 Financial Tips to Know Before Moving to the U.S.

Did you know that about 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country? That’s about 20% of all migrants in the world. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably considering joining those millions stateside and moving to the U.S.

Last week, we discussed financial considerations to keep in mind when moving out of the US, so it only makes sense that this week we would cover what to do when you move into the States.

Any international move comes with its unique set of challenges, both financial and otherwise. For those looking to move to the United States, the story is no different. A move to the U.S. can be costly and time-consuming, but with proper planning and some help from the experts, you can create a financial game plan to ensure the process goes smoothly. 

Watch Global Certified Financial Planner Kim Hall’s Webinar: 7 Tips to Prepare for an International Move 

5 Financial Tips to Know Before Moving to the U.S.

In all likelihood, your financial situation will look a little different in the United States than in your home country. These five financial tips will help you prepare before you make the big move. 

1. Healthcare is Probably Different

If you’re moving from a country with universal healthcare, such as Poland or Switzerland, the U.S. healthcare system might be a bit of a shock. While health insurance rates might seem pricey, it’s important to realize just how expensive medical care in the U.S. can be. 

According to Healthcare.gov, the average cost of a three-day hospital stay in America is a whopping $30,000. A broken leg will set you back about $7,500. For intense care like cancer treatment, you could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills. 

Health insurance premiums vary based on your region, what coverage options you need and the insurance carrier. However, average annual costs for a middle-aged individual fall somewhere in the $6,000 and up range. 

You can find health insurance options through your employer or through government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid

2. Applying for Citizenship Can Be Costly

If you plan to apply for permanent residency or citizenship in the U.S., you might need to save up some extra dough, as there are application fees.

An application for permanent residency costs $1,070. After five years or living stateside, immigrants can apply for citizenship for an additional $680.

3. You’ll Need an American Bank 

It’s important to have a local place where you can handle taxes and exchange rates in person. A local bank can also help you receive your salary and pay bills. 

When researching banks, make sure they offer account options for non-residents. You’ll likely need to apply for an account in-person and have your documents available, including proof of address, two forms of identification and a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

One note: As I’m writing this, the US dollar is exceptionally strong (1 dollar = 1.03 Euros), but that’s not always the case. Check the latest currency exchange rates to make sure you’re prepared. 

4. Cost of Living Varies – a Lot

The United States is one of the largest countries in the world. Across the 50 states, you’ll find a large range in average cost of living. 

For example, the cost of living for a four-person family in Mississippi clocks in at about $80,500. That same family’s cost of living would be over $110,000 in New York – the state with the second highest cost of living in the U.S. after Hawaii.

Keep in mind that as cost of living varies, as does standard of living. There are several factors that should contribute to your choice of location, including culture, costs, job opportunities and more. 

Rather than basing your budget off of national averages, I recommend researching costs specific to the area you’ll be living in.

5. Find a Local Advisor to at Least Help You Get Settled

If you don’t have an advisor, consider working with one to at least help you navigate the transition between countries and get your assets in order.

A cross-border planning specialist, also known as a Global Financial Planner, has specialized training in helping clients through international moves. Ideally, you can find an advisor that specializes in cross-border planning between your home country and the United States. 

An advisor can help you with short-term processes, like setting up a bank account or moving your investments, as well as long-term goals like retirement or life insurance planning

Register for our Upcoming Webinar: 7 Tips to Prepare for an International Move – Oct. 20, 2022, at 12 p.m. Pacific

Make Your Move with Clarity

Our advisors can help you prepare for your move to the United States. Click here to schedule a consultation with Clarity Wealth today.


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