One of the first things you properly ask to know as an expat when you move to a new country is, ‘Is it going to be expensive?’ If this country is Qatar, there are perks that will help keep your expenses down.
Cost of living
Thanks to high revenues from the oil and gas industry, the Government can subsidize the cost of water and electricity heavily, allowing you to keep household expenses down easier. This works out well when it comes to buying household goods, electronics and furniture, which tends to be a little more expensive in Qatar but cheaper than importing them.
Non- nationals in Qatar can buy a property for 99 years in specific areas of Qatar and can extend this for another 99 years. They will be granted permanent residence and can also transfer the property to their heirs.
If you want to buy a property, you can apply for a home loan in Qatar from HSBC to finance the purchase. The good news is that you won’t be subject to property tax, making it easier to pay loan costs, interest rates or other expenses associated with buying a home. Prices in the more popular locations tend to be higher and the waiting lists are longer, so you may wish to consider somewhere slightly less popular. The cost of petrol in Qatar is inexpensive, however, making it cheaper to use the car to get out and about.
Working in Qatar
Have you been lucky enough to secure a job in the wealthiest little country in the world? Expats who have been relocated to Qatar to work normally have a senior role and earn a better salary. Your employer will also help you to secure your work visa and residence visa (yes, you need them!), which saves you a lot of hassle, and they will be your sponsor while you’re in Qatar.
Much better than all of this, you are not subject to income tax to the Qatari Government. You may, however, be subject to taxes in your home country.
Maybe you’re worried about the cost of healthcare while you’re out in Qatar. Don’t worry, for whether you have a job or otherwise, this is relatively inexpensive because the Qatari Government heavily subsidizes welfare services. Besides, most employers who have hired expats will normally have arranged health care provision for them.
If, however, you don’t have an employer or your employer hasn’t taken care of health care provision for you, you can apply for a HamadCard. This will entitle you to highly subsidized health care and dental care at Hamad Health Corporation.
Shopping for Bargains
While you’re out shopping, at some point you’ll probably have to, or wish to, haggle as part of the culture! You can negotiate yourself a bargain, but once you do so avoid paying for it by credit card. This way, you stop yourself from paying possible surcharges and undoing all that hard bargaining!
So now you can pack your bags, knowing the perks you can look forward to while you’re out in Qatar: affordable health care, fuel and utilities, tax-free income and the chance of permanent residence. Oh, and don’t forget about the weather, of course!
As you can surmise from the title, last week was atypical and unique. Early in the morning hours on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, my father passed away. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease with some serious memory impairment for the past 2 years, but eventually got bad enough that my mom could no longer care for him at home. Physical decline accompanied his mental decline such that the last six weeks of his life, things went downhill fairly quickly. At least it wasn’t all drawn out.
If you have been reading the blog, you know that we went out and pre-paid for the funeral in order to spend down assets to help my dad qualify for medicaid while allowing my mom some money to live out the rest of her life. Her mother lived to 94, so she could have another 25 years left and is still in good health currently. Ultimately, he died before the application was even ready so it really didn’t matter, but it did open up the door for financial discussions.
Do I Have Enough Life Insurance?
Of course during these times, we always reflect and confront our own mortality so I have been looking at some of the financial aspects of my life and other aspects as well. I am pretty well convinced that I have enough life insurance. If something were to happen to me today, the amount of life insurance that I would receive would pay for the funeral, would pay off every liability (including my portion of a commercial building) plus leave enough left over that my wife could easily live for the rest of her life without working.
Passive income from the rental properties should be enough to live off without even touching the extra cash left over from life insurance. Of course assuming I survive today, my plan is to get some of that debt paid off which would make the numbers look even better. Which brings me to the next point.
I will give my parents kudos for not having any debt at all. My mom lives in a paid for condo, has two vehicles and has some cash set aside along with a death benefit that she will receive. Unfortunately, it is not all that much, but will help out. Her biggest issue is that she operated on the belief that retirement means saving what you can and living off the savings.
When we looked at her budget, it worked as long as my dad was alive. Now that he is gone and looses his pension and social security, her budget will be somewhere between $500-$1000 short per month. Looking at that kind of burn rate, she could probably make it for 15-17 years. I suppose we will need to reassess her budget at the beginning of the year after everything has settled down a bit.
But it still gets me to thinking that savings are not enough. I want some passive income.
Finding Passive Income
I am clearly not at the point where I can retire, but I also don’t want to spend the next 25 years working full-time either, especially if I might be in line for getting Alzheimer’s. I would like to be in a much better position in the next decade. That is going to involve eliminating a lot of debt. Once that is done, then I will be looking into purchasing assets that will throw off cash so I can meet expenses without having to work as hard.
Real estate and dividend stocks will be my main focus, but the first step will be to free up the cash by eliminating debt payments. I look at all the money I spend on mortgages, student loans, auto loans, credit lines, and credit cards and figure that I could be in such great shape if I wasn’t working so hard for others.
I will probably put together a little blog on debt so I can record my thoughts and keep myself accountable. Once I get it together, I will let you know, but I really want to get this debt thing under control in the next 5 years so I can start looking at slowing down. I am putting together a plan and will execute it accordingly.
Obviously, I have had plenty of other thoughts over the past week. I am glad that my dad didn’t have to suffer any longer than he did. It could have been worse. The service was nice. It was good to see all the people. And getting back to work was difficult. At least, it is a slower time of year.
Anyway, thanks for reading. Hope your December is not too crazy with the holidays. I am looking forward to another year coming up counting on the Mayans being totally wrong.
Here are the carnivals that included articles from my blogs in the past week or so: