Finances Abroad

by James & Miel on November 7, 2007 · 0 comments

Living overseas alters a number things related to financial management. Here are a number of issues that I’ve had to contend with:

Time Difference – Being between 9 and half to 12 and half hours away from customer service hours takes some getting used to and planning ahead. This most often means that I’m up late at night to make calls. The good thing about this is that I get people when they are fresh in the morning. You’d be surprised what a great difference that makes! :-) I’m normally used to catching folks at the end of the day just before their shift is over.

Mail Management – My dear husband James has been fabulous with keeping up with mail. Normally during one of our weekly calls he goes through my mail and opens up my bills and so forth. While most of my financial matters are taken care of online, it is important to pay attention to the random piece of mail that might not be junk.

Online Banking, Bill Pay, Stocks, Retirement, Student Loans, etc. – Financial management from overseas wouldn’t be the same without the net. That can’t be overestimated. I had all of these systems already set up back in DC, so not a great deal has changed in this way. I just rely on it much more.

Skype Rocks! skype is the best invention ever and making keeping up with things that much easier. I love the silence that comes after a customer service agent hears that I’m in Afghanistan. Sometimes you can even get them to move a bit faster, but at two cents a minute I normally just let things take their course.

Random Quirks – One thing that does make are large difference is the absence of certain mechanisms that systems at home rely on. For instance, it’s not so easy for me to drop a letter in the mail. Fax doesn’t exist in Afghanistan. I don’t have paper checks. I don’t have a US number. If these things come up I rely on my dear husband James to help bail me out.

In general most things take about the same amount of management as they would back home. It just helps to stay on top of things. So far I haven’t experienced any major issues.

Wish me luck!

Miel

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