After many years of living overseas, I’ve decided to return home to the “blessed” nation of Malaysia. Here are some of my personal tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.
So you’ve finally decided or still deciding to return back to Malaysia after years of living overseas. You must have good reasons to make this big decision because it is tough to “rebuild” your life somewhere from scratch and it takes a lot of courage and sacrifices to get out of your comfort zone.
The following tips are written based on my experience. Each person has his or her own unique situation so please use these tips as a guideline, not your ultimate guide.
1. You must have enough money or credit
Assuming you have been working overseas for many years and due to favourable exchange rates, you should have saved enough cash by now. Be prepared to spend money on a lot of things to help you settle down and to remain sustainable for a few months if you have yet to get a new job.
2. Find a House or Apartment to Rent
Haven’t owned a house to stay yet? It would be a good idea to start finding a place to rent while you’re still there. I started my search at least six months before moving back to Malaysia. Since a lot of information is now available online, I relied purely on the internet to find a house that suits my preferred location and budget. Here are some websites you can try:
3. Find a job in advance if possible
Start looking for job so that your income doesn’t stop. I own a small home-based online business which I can run as long as I have internet so it wasn’t a big issue for me. Some of the job sites which you can use are JobStreet and LinkedIn.
4. Get a car
If you’re going to be in Klang Valley, or anywhere in Malaysia, it’s extremely important to have a car to commute due to Malaysia’s under-developed public transportation systems. Unless if you live in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, you can probably skip this part because it’s relatively easier to commute within the city using the LRT and buses.
I was lucky enough to be able to use my friend’s car for a few weeks before finally getting my own car. Of course, there was the challenge of getting a car loan but that got sorted in the end. Just be wary of some dishonest car dealers. Bring a friend who is experienced with the local car market to help you find your ideal car. Once you have it, consider getting a Smart Tag if you are based in the Klang Valley because you’ll need it for sure.
5. Buying a house
When’t the best time to buy a house? Right now. If you already have saved up enough while living overseas, you may want to consider buying a house or an apartment as soon as possible because the prices will not go down. I’ll be writing another blog post on the process of buying a house because that’s quite a big topic to write on. Bottom line, if you’re paying cash, good for you, if not, know your budget, you must have at least 10-20% (in cash) out of the price of the property. You MUST have a proof of income that shows money is deposited into your bank account regularly.
6. Shop for furniture
If you’re alright using any ordinary furniture you can head to any of the local furniture stores. However, if you do want a bit of style but don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket then Ikea would be an ideal choice. They may not be the best but the prices are reasonable and there are plenty of choices.
Building your network is extremely important to help you settle down or expand your horizon and sometimes may help you land a job too. I’m not the best person to provide advice on this because I spend a lot of my time in front of the computers but I build my network using the internet.
I already have an account with a local bank which I’ve been using to pay bills and for remittance while I was overseas. Opening a bank account should be easy and straightforward if you’re a Malaysian. Make sure you sign up for online banking because you’ll need it to pay various bills such as your credit card, internet, utilities and even your car or home loans.
Most people need the internet pretty much for anything nowadays. Since my business runs off the internet it’s absolutely critical for me to have a reliable internet connection. There are plenty of choices such as TM Unifi, Maxis Broadband etc but TM Unifi was clearly the best choice at that time. I’m currently staying at a place where TM Unifi’s fibre optics connection is already available. I visited a TM Unifi agent at a nearby mall to initiate the installation and subscription.
10. Everything Else…
As I’ve mentioned earlier, each person’s experience is unique. Always be prepared and anticipate as much as possible of what might happen. Living in a big city like Kuala Lumpur means you will need extra cash in hand so think about getting some extra cash for rainy days. If you have kids you will have to think about schools. Don’t forget to get a medical insurance too!
I hope these tips are useful to help you prepare your move back to Malaysia. I will try to update this article if there’s anything I missed. If you find this post is useful please do me a favour by clicking LIKE, +1 or Tweet about it.