Making the move to Australia and establishing a new home

Global Citizen By Kristie Kwok December 12, 2019

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

After months of preparing and anticipation, you’ve finally made your move to Australia. You found somewhere to live, set up a bank account and started work. You became part of the local expat community, and even began building new friendships.

Life in the Down Under has now started to settle into a familiar rhythm. So, what’s next? What can you do to deepen your sense of belonging in your newly adopted country? What will make it truly feel like home?

Strengthen your financial security

The more confident you are that you can enjoy and afford the local lifestyle, the more integrated you’ll become. One way to improve your financial confidence is to build some savings.

It’s a good idea to start with an emergency fund — money to tap into when something unexpected happens. Your savings buffer can be any size, but three to six months of normal expenses is a common target.

Further, budgeting expenses can help keep you on track financially. Your budget doesn’t need to be complicated. Once you identify the money coming in and going out, including regular payments such as rent, utilities, transport and groceries, then it will be easy to see what’s left over for savings and social activities.

Many Western Union® customers working abroad also prioritise sending money back to their native country. Factor this into your budget if it’s relevant, and use Western Union’s extensive money-moving network to transfer your hard-earned money into the hands of your loved ones.

Live in a bigger place — or even your own place

With a clearer picture of your finances, you’re better positioned to decide what you can do to live more comfortably.

Depending on your current arrangements, you might look to rent a bigger place or a house instead of a flat. You could move closer to work or somewhere with convenient access to transport. You might want a higher quality and more stylish home or to be in an area popular with the local expat community. Making these kinds of adjustments can inspire greater love for your new life and reaffirm your decision to move to Australia.

Ultimately, making the Great Australian Dream of homeownership your reality can bring deeper feelings of stability and security. Get to know your city before deciding where to buy, and bear in mind that you’ll generally need to be settled in your job, be considered creditworthy and save a 20% deposit — ideally in a high-interest savings account — before you can secure a mortgage with decent terms.

As you prepare to put down firm roots, independent government resources such as the Australian Securities & Investment Commission’s MoneySmart website can teach you the basics, including how the local financial system works and the steps involved in buying property.

Enjoy the Australian lifestyle

Many migrants move to Australia in search of a better life — to create wealth and improve their social status. If you live in an area with access to services, transport, jobs and influential social networks, you’re more likely to feel you’re exactly where you need to be.

With that said, where in Australia gives you the best chance of finding success and fully enjoying the lifestyle the country has to offer?

Although the answer partly depends on the industry you’re in, major cities — particularly Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra — are probably your best bet for a good balance between job prospects, salary and cost of living.

The Australian Government’s labour market data suggests employment is strong in the states and territory where these cities are located. Local online employment marketplace SEEK also found them to offer some of the highest pay packets in the nation. Better still, as reported by Bloomberg, living costs in similar Australian metropolitan areas have fallen as well.

But remember, beyond satisfying your financial and career ambitions, there are plenty of other ways to deepen your connection with your new country. With Australia being a proud sporting nation, you can forge strong bonds with other Aussies just by supporting a local football, soccer or rugby club. If the nuances in Australian English are confusing, turn to your local expat community for help. And if you want to be a social hit, carry your sense of humour everywhere you go.

Be prudent now and, before you know it, you’ll be calling Australia home.