The other day I came across a video about the best places to live, work, or retire abroad. While this isn’t the first time that I have seen these types of lists or compilations, this video really caught my attention. I immediately started to think “is there a such thing?”.
I know that best locations exist for individual expats based on personal preferences. However, is there truly such a thing as a best expat country for the average person? I started watching the video to determine what criteria was used to rank the countries that were on this list. Within the first few seconds the narrator indicated that the list was derived from data collected from an expat survey that’s conducted annually. I only watched enough of the video thereafter to see the top 3 ranked countries.
Afterwards I thought how misleading and misinformed these types of lists can be for the average person considering moving abroad. There are so many factors involved in choosing the right or “best” expat location for each individual. What appeals to one person may be the complete opposite for the next person.
What is the Best Expat Country?
I don’t feel that any harm was meant by the title or information presented in the video. However, I do think that prospective expats should focus more on what matters to them. Expats may be able to find their ideal country by exploring such lists. However, these oftentimes very short lists are in no way representative of the global population.
This is why I typically steer away from presenting these types of posts. I even steer clear of these types of conversations with my clients, family, and friends. Instead, I help people focus on what’s important to them as an expat. First, I have them complete a comprehensive expat profile survey so that I can gain a better understanding of their overall personality. Then, I conduct a 60 minute meeting with them so that we can discuss their survey results in more depth. Finally, I customize a list of expat countries that I feel are suitable to their needs and desires.
It is important to keep in mind that we are all individuals with different personalities that can and do shape what best meets our needs. Therefore, it is necessary to approach your expat journey with these objectives in mind. You should effectively “know thyself”. Take some inventory of your own likes and dislikes, and needs and desires. Then, focus on the countries that readily offer the things that are conductive to you.