Digital nomads are often perceived as people with the best of both worlds – work and life. It is estimated that there are more than 35 million professionals living as digital nomads across the globe.
The Fintech industry has also been seeing significant growth in the number of expats living the digital nomad dream. In fact, there are many professionals in different sectors of Fintech including product development who aspire to work abroad as digital nomads.
However, as Vladimir Galabov, a globally renowned principal analyst at Omdia says, while the prospect of working in a place with great work-life balance seems quite attractive (who wouldn’t want to travel and work at the same time?), there are several important things you need to consider before you pack your bags and office to that exotic destination.
You need to understand how digital nomads operate and then make sufficient preparations to ensure everything runs smoothly wherever you relocate to.
Who is a Fintech Nomad?
A Fintech nomad is no different from other digital nomads. He or she is typically a Fintech professional who travels while ensuring a steady flow of income to sustain his or her life away from home.
Fintech nomads often seek to exploit the concept of geoarbitrage, which basically means earning a higher income while living in a place with a lower cost of living than their home country.
For example, a person living in Mexico or a Central American island as a citizen of the UK or US while working for a company based in your native country.
How to Succeed as a Fintech Nomad
According to Vladimir Galabov, there are several things you need to consider to succeed as a Fintech nomad including the following:
Define and Understand Your Expectations
“You need to know exactly what you are looking for before you head off to that nomad adventure,” says Vladimir Galabov. Basically, ask yourself what you want as a Fintech nomad.
Are you looking for a laid-back life closer to a serene beach? Are you trying to escape the hustle and bustle of a big city? Do you want to enjoy the fresh air in the quiet solitude of the mountains while earning a living or are you actually fleeing from the rising costs of living at home?
Keep in mind that your expectations may come with some sacrifices. For example, enjoying the solitude of the quiet mountains or a tropical island may be accompanied by poor internet connectivity and the absence of some of the most common technologies that you are used to at home. Vladimir recommends finding a perfect balance between your expectations and productivity.
Consider Immigration Formalities
After you have identified your dream destination, it will be time to find out exactly how you will become a Fintech nomad.
Take time to research deeply about the country’s visa requirements and what rights the visa gives you. Find out what is not allowed in the country, the legal duration of stay, and costs associated with the visa application process.
“Keep in mind that many countries will not allow you to work if you only have a tourist visa,” says Vladimir. “The good news is that many countries including Portugal, Estonia, and Barbados have recognized the economic value of digital nomad lifestyle and have special visas for professionals who have a higher income. So do your homework and understand the country’s immigration formalities before you make your next move.
It is also important to consider how well the destination you are moving to is connected to the internet. For any digital or Fintech nomad, internet is as important as water and air. Find out more about Wi-Fi speeds and the cost of the internet connection.
Make sure you have reliable mobile data access too. You could ask the leading ISPs in the country about the kind of packages they offer. Always seek to buy local SIM cards as roaming charges from your home network can be quite high.
Have Someone to Represent You at Home
You’ll also need to make some arrangements at home before you leave. Have someone back home to receive your physical mail and forward them to your destination.
You will someone need to interact with your bank and authorities on your behalf while you are away. “You may even consider signing a power of attorney for your representative to be safe in case of emergency,” advises Vladimir.
Take Care of Legal and Tax Obligations
The carefree and exciting Fintech nomad life may seem quite attractive but do not forget that you have legal and tax obligations at home. Take time to sort out every pending legal and tax issue you may have before you leave.
While still on the legalities, Vladimir recommends getting the help of an attorney with experience in the laws of your next destination to advise you on whether to register as a self-employed individual or open a company in the new country.
Find out where you are supposed to pay taxes to avoid being taxed twice. Having a clear picture of your tax obligations will help you to avoid hefty penalties and lawsuits in the near future.
Learn to Manage Your Finances
According to Vladimir Galabov, one of the most important parts of Fintech nomad life is developing smart money practices.
Life outside is not as streamlined or familiar as it is at home so you need to learn how to manage your finances more efficiently on a global scale.
Vladimir recommends opening an account with a local bank to avoid the hassle and costs of currency exchanges. Always choose cashless transactions wherever possible. Use reliable and cost-effective international money transfer services that do not require a bank account when sending money back home.
Learn the Language and Have Fun
A digital or Fintech nomad life comes with the benefit of learning a new language. Do not waste the opportunity to pick up one more language during your long stay in the new country.
You even have the opportunity to practice the language with the locals. At the very least, pick up some of the essential phrases and words that help you to communicate more easily with the locals or even save you in case of emergency.
Finally, Vladimir reminds aspiring Fintech nomads to have fun and enjoy their new life while working abroad. While work is, of course, important do not forget to learn new things, meet new people, build your network, and have fun.