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Australia is one of the top expat destinations attracting expats from South Africa and all around the globe who are drawn to its sunny climate, outdoor lifestyle and natural scenery. But what many people might not realise is that the cost of living in Australia can be on the high side. The cost of living index rates Sydney as the most expensive city to live, followed by Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Toowoomba.

In order to make the most of your life in Australia, you have to manage your finances carefully. Here are some tips to help smooth things along financially.

Money matters in Australia

Opening up a bank account

Australian banks will normally open a bank account for an expat if they make an appointment within six weeks of arriving in the country. Online bank accounts are also an option. Before you approach a bank to open an account, ensure you have your tax file number which you can get from your nearest tax office. Before you open an account, make sure you find out what you will be charged for converting your current currency into Australian dollars. Shop around to find a reputable company that will offer you a reasonable exchange rate.

Buying a car

As an expat, you must be aware that if you apply for a loan to purchase a car or anything else, the loan’s term needs to be shorter than your temporary residence visa. Due to Australia’s vast distances, most cities tend to be spread out, making a car a necessary purchase. Car insurance is compulsory and will cost around $3000 a year for third-party cover.

Buying a home

Lenders in Australia tend to be conservative and there is a lot of paperwork involved. Before lending, lenders will also do a thorough check of your financial situation to ensure you can repay the loan. There are certain expat-focused lenders who will specifically lend to expats and can offer at least 20% of the home’s value as a deposit.

Dealing with tax

If you work in Australia you will need to pay tax on your income and in order to do so, you will need a tax file number. Once you have a tax file number, you will also be required to pay capital gains tax on any investment profits you accrue while you live in Australia.

All employees in Australia pay tax according to what they earn. The tax-free threshold is $18 200 and the tax bands range from 19% if you earn between $18 201 and $37 000 and up to 45% if you earn more than $180 000

Making a move to Australia? Finglobal.com has in-depth knowledge and accreditation to see to a smooth financial migration to your new home. Leave your details and we’ll contact you for a free assessment.
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