If you dread the daily commute to work, you could consider a completely new way of life without having to sacrifice your job or salary. A growing number of workers are joining the group known as ‘jetset commuters’, an alternative lifestyle that’s on the rise.
Research has shown that the average commute into work is rapidly growing in Britain, with 3.7 million people facing journeys of two hours or more every day. With spiralling house prices – especially in south-east England – and the cost of commuting, it’s little surprise that some are seeking a different solution.
What is a Jetset Commuter?
The idea of travelling to another country to work may sound ludicrous but the changes in the working environment are beginning to make it possible. Rather than commuting every day, some workers opt to spend part of their week living away from home.
Jetset commuters don’t fly back and forth every day, but instead commute once a week. Many only go into the office for a couple of days but some work for a full week before returning home for the weekend.
An increase in flexible working, improvements in technology such as video conferencing and high-speed broadband are making it increasingly unnecessary to be physically present in the office. This means that it’s just as easy to work from home – even if that home is in another country.
Admittedly, not everyone wants to work away from home in the week, but the financial benefits, combined with less travelling overall, makes it an appealing option to consider.
A Pricey Place to Live
The UK is one of the most expensive places in Europe to live, and London, unsurprisingly, one of the priciest cities. In fact, there are 12 UK cities which rank in the top 50 most expensive to live in Europe – and they’re not all in the south east. Along with London, Brighton, Reading and Oxford, there’s Bristol, Manchester, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Belfast, Birmingham and Glasgow.
Cross-border commuters are seeking to escape the extortionate costs of living in the UK, and enjoy a better quality of life at the same time. The numbers are still relatively small but it’s a growing band of workers, enabled by the more flexible attitudes of modern employers.
More to Consider
On the face of it, the principle seems simple: jump out of bed, grab a coffee and hop on a plane. Of course, it’s never quite as easy as it sounds.
If you’re working in one country and living in another, there’s a whole array of financial implications that need to be taken into account. One of these is taxation; if you’re not careful, you could end up being taxed in both countries. The good news is that the UK has a double taxation treaty with many countries which ensures that the same earnings aren’t slapped with a tax bill twice.
Your employers may also have to consider whether it adds additional legal obligations to their compliance requirements if you are physically in another country while carrying out the work.
None of these issues are insurmountable but need to be carefully weighed up when considering a move that involves cross-border commuting.
A Matter of Currency
Would you like to wake up one day and receive a sudden pay rise? Of course. How about doing the same work but getting paid less? Not so good…
For those working and living in countries that use different currencies, this can be the reality unless you plan ahead and protect yourself by using the services of a currency exchange.
Most cross-border workers from the UK live in Europe, and sterling has not been having much fun against the Euro recently.
From an exchange rate that peaked at around €1.40 in 2015, the pound has slumped to less than €1.10 on average, weakened by the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit. For those getting paid in sterling but converting currency to Euros, the reality is a drop in earnings.
The other factor to consider is bank charges. No-one expects to get charged by their bank for receiving their wages, but if your bank account is registered overseas, you could lose up to 5% of your salary.
Using a personal currency exchange expert can help mitigate the fluctuations in exchange rates, as well as ensuring you don’t have to pay extortionate bank charges.