Lesson #1: on currency

When we first moved to the UK I was advised to keep currency in whatever location you were planning to live in long term. I did not listen, and we moved some money with us from Canada to the UK.

Along came the economic crash, a 30% decline in the GBP and a painful lesson when we moved that money back to Canada.

This time around we opened up a multi-currency account and have kept money in the currency that it was originally “created”, only transferring between currencies when needed. A fortunate thing as the Japanese Yen has declined 25% against the Canadian/US dollar since we arrived.

Lesson #2: on moving currency

If you are moving a lot of money and planning on moving permanently, you are not an expat and this isn’t for you.

When we moved to Tokyo I was getting some pretty annoying “wire transfer” charges. Annoying is a euphemism for large. I switched to using checks. Simply deposit the check from your home country, pay a nominal fee, and wait (in my case, it magically leaves my Canadian account in 3 days but takes 28 days to appear in Japan). A flat rate and much lower cost.

Hopefully, these lessons will help a fellow expat.