According to Moneyweb, South African expats have been returning in record numbers, with over 400 000 recorded South Africans returning since the financial crisis of 2009. If you’re one of those people facing the difficult decision of whether or not to return or to emigrate formally to your country of residence, there are important things to consider.

Your primary reason for leaving

You need to consider what motivated your move abroad in the first place and see whether those push or pull factors are still relevant. Crime may have pushed you to leave, or it may be that you wanted to see the world before your retire. The latter may push you to consider returning to the shores of your beloved rainbow nation.

Things have changed

Whether abroad or within South African borders – things are always changing. Do some research to see if the area you planned to return to still has the same ambience, whether the environment has changed or modernised. Consider whether the place you are living now still holds the same allure as it did all those years ago when you first stepped foot on foreign soil.

Money matters

If the state of the rand is anything to go by, earning in rands may not be something to look forward to. Of course, there are ways to invest intelligently abroad, but you have to ask yourself whether you will be able to maintain your current lifestyle if you return. Perhaps you work for an international company, in which case moving back may just suit your wallet.

Think of the family

People often move abroad to offer their children a better education and job opportunities. Likewise, children often return from their life abroad to settle closer to their families in South Africa. Either way, you must consider of these factors, and whether or not they play a part in your choice.

Returning or relocating?

Perhaps you are simply looking at a change. In this case, it may be a good idea to consider another country to relocate to instead of moving back to South Africa. If the travel bug is still biting, perhaps moving home won’t be the best option.

Still working or retiring?

The market for employees with international experience will always be open – depending, of course,
on whether or not your particular skill set can be applied to the South African marketplace. If you are retiring, this won’t be a problem, of course, but also consider whether you’ll be able to entertain the same hobbies and extracurricular activities you participated in overseas. Make sure your retirement dreams are realistic and suited to the area you want to settle, as well as financially feasible.

Emotional decisions

They say we tend to exaggerate the scope and intensity of our experiences through memory recall. Essentially, absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Be realistic about what it is you’re returning to. The grass may be greener on the South African shore now, but remember you felt the same way about your current home. South Africa, of course, will always welcome you back, but manage your own expectations so you don’t end up disappointed.

It’s not always that bad

Of course, the same can be said for your bad experiences. It may be that you’ve piled on these negative experiences to justify your reason for leaving. Since all South Africans haven’t jumped ship, it’s safe to say things really aren’t that bad. Perhaps bygones are bygones. And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to come home.

Let’s help you with formal emigration

Whether you’ve decided to stay in your new home or have decided to return to South Africa, cashkows.com can assist you with your financial migration – whether financial emigration, cross-border tax services, opening bank accounts or cashing in your policies. Talk to us about your needs, and we’ll be happy to assist.

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