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Ways to make the most of your money

While the cost of living is lower in South Africa than places like London and New York, there are some costs that you will need to think about if you're planning to relocate there.


If you're relocating to an area where it's necessary to live in a cluster development or a gated compound, you may want to think about the cost of security devices or personnel, if this is not included in the price of the property. A good estate agent will be able to advise you about this. In some areas, the complaint is that the police are too slow to respond to emergencies. You may want to consider the services of a private firm, if necessary, to make sure you're covered.


While there are many areas in which public transport is relatively safe to use, there are others where a car is essential. If your commute to work or school is likely to cover some distance, consider how you are going to get there and what the cost of buying a car and keeping it on the road is going to be.


There are some different education options open to parents in South Africa, including government schools, and those administered and financially backed by a governing body (known as Model C schools).

In general, expats tend to send their children to private schools, especially since this category includes the international establishments in the larger cities that cater to those who want to learn the language associated with their home country (there is no formal teaching language, although English is commonly used).

If you are relocating as part of an intra-company transfer, your company may be paying the school fees for your children so that cost won't be a concern, but if you have to foot them yourself, this is another financial matter you will need to think about.

To secure a place, most private schools will charge an administration fee, a joining fee, and a yearly tuition fee. On top of this, you’ll need to consider transport costs (sometimes this is provided by the school at extra cost), learning materials, and uniform. Fees will vary from year to year and from city to city and will increase as your child moves up the school system.

Money and banking

The currency in South Africa is the Rand, which you may see written as ZAR or R and it is divided into 100 cents — available in denominations rising from 5 cent coins up to 200 Rand notes.

The four top banks are ABSA, Standard Bank, Nedbank, and First National. With the standard banking facilities like payment card and access to cash available, it is easy enough to open an account with the proper ID (like a passport). If you'd like credit, then this may be a little more difficult if you have no credit history in South Africa. This is why many expats choose to open an account in their home country before moving — made even easier if they happen to bank with a multinational with a base in South Africa. There are exchange controls in place that affect the way that money is moved out of the country, but your bank should be able to explain how this works and how to repatriate your money if and when you choose to go back to your home country.

Taking care of your money and your children’s schooling is so important when you’re considering a move to a new country. Equally so is ensuring your health and wellbeing by making sure you have the right level of health care insurance. Talk to our friendly team today and give yourself one less thing to worry about.

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