Thursday, December 13, 2012

Money, Money Money in the Netherlands

As with many other European countries, since the introduction of the Euro, the cost of living in the Netherlands has gone up, and the Dutch enjoy talking about how expensive everything has become and how they miss Guilders. Amsterdam now rates 57 on the Mercer cost of living ranking, having dropped seven places since 2011. According to Xpatulator, Amsterdam is the 38th most expensive city to live in out of 125 cities around Europe. It is also mentioned that the hardship index is 10 percent lower if you consider the current economic recession.

Wages in the Netherlands are average compared to the rest of Europe. They are certainly higher than in Spain and Italy, but lower than England and Germany. The average yearly salary could range from 18,000 - 35,000 euros a year. As of 2012, the minimum monthly wage in the Netherlands is 1,446 euros gross. From this salary, just over 30 percent goes to taxes.

The Netherlands hosts some of the world's biggest banking giants. Whether moving abroad or coming here on holiday, you should have no problem obtaining cash from an overseas account using a cash point. They are available often in several languages and accept most debit and credit cards.

All major credit cards are accepted in most shops etc but not everywhere. Hotels, restaurants, large department stores and tourist attractions will willingly take any card, but you can't use a credit card or a VISA/ MASTERCARD debit card in the supermarket. Cash is still widely used, even for large transactions. But the most common method of payment is with a Maestro debit card and pin code.

When you are an expat abroad you may find that making international payments and international money transfers becomes a regular thing. Parents of foreign students find themselves sometimes bailing out their son or daughter and thus sending money abroad.
Having access and accessibility to your funds wherever you are in the world is a necessity.

Nearly always, salaries in Holland are paid into your bank account and it makes sense then to have a Dutch account. However some expats keep their bank accounts in their own country for one reason or another and offshore banking is also another popular option, even if it isn't your primary bank account.

Offshore accounts can be really useful especially if you conduct transactions in different currencies or you have distinct financial needs that your local bank may not be able to meet. Living in a country facing economic or political uncertainty or instability may also be a reason to open an offshore account. Some of the best offshore accounts include many great packages to suit your needs such as Lloyds TSBOffshore

Offshore accounts offer a diverse range of savings and investment products flanked by high degrees of confidentiality. You must remember though that even though the bank is not located in the Netherlands you still have to report your savings and investments to the Dutch tax authorities.  

If having an offshore bank isn't for you than International banking may be. You may want to look into an international bank that deals with International clients. There are many around and they may offer you better deals when it comes to your international banking and if you do have to transfer money abroad on a regular basis then having an international bank account may be the better and safest option.

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