Ok, there’s 3 options why this post would be interesting for you:
- Maybe you registered for the Job+J1 Visa Program, presented an excellent portfolio, got accepted into our Pool of Candidates, we got you the position of your dreams, we’ve processed the paperwork, you got the J1 visa and now all that’s left is to pack your bags and head off to the Land of Opportunities!
- Or maybe you got an offer from an American company on your own and we processed all the documentation on both sides because you signed up for the J1 Visa Program, and the time flew by and now it’s time to decide what you’ll need most in the US of A!
- Or maybe you’re here because you Googled how you need to prepare financially before you go the USA, so I’ll take a wild guess that you’ll be going to America for 1 reason or another!
In any case, we are here to help you fly off without that constant doubt of “Did I forget anything important? What if I get stranded with no money?!”, so you’re welcome! Ok, let’s cover the basics:
The Minimum Salary
If you’ll be working in the USA (legally and on a valid visa, please!), then keep in mind that the bigger the city, the higher the costs of living are.
The minimum stipend you should accept for a professional position is $1200 per month. Unless you have an additional source of income, you’ll need at least this much to survive. Fortunately, this is a salary we haven’t come across yet… Especially if you’re an Architect with some experience – expect to earn significantly more!
The Best International Money Transfer
And if you want to transfer money between your accounts, or need your loved ones to send you some help for something, we’ve got you covered! This information is one I’ve wanted to share as it’s what I’ve been using for several years now and it really is the best!
While traditional international bank transfers cost a lot, take a while to arrive and sometimes fatal errors occur, my way costs barely anything, arrives in a day or two and is done in 2 clicks. In the technological world we live in I’m surprised some people still go the old route of bank transactions. Anyway, to my point here: it’s called TransferWise. You can thank me later.
The American Bank Account
You’ll need to open an American Bank account for sure in order to avoid high commission costs for using a different currency card and for all around ease. So consider location – check out the banks near you and decide which one to sign up to. Most banks have pretty similar offerings, so I’ll withhold from recommending any specific one here. The important thing is that the Debit Card you get works in all ATMs (even if there is a cost for using it in ATMs that aren’t your bank’s), so that you know you’ll never be without access to funds.
Also, if your card ever gets stolen – take a break, don’t panic and just call your bank and let them know immediately, so they can cancel it.
And another idea – use your card as opposed to paying in cash whenever possible because you can easily keep track of your finances through Online Banking and realize what you are spending on the most but don’t necessarily need and how much you have left to finish off the month with!
Money in Cash at the Start
Obviously don’t walk around with everything you have in your pocket, but do bring enough in the beginning to cover any initial expenses that you’ll have to pay in any case (accommodation, transport, food, etc.), so in case there’s a problem with your bank card (this does happen!) have at least $1500 in cash. My tip: don’t store it all in the same place when you arrive! For example, keep some in your wallet, some in a book, some in a bag, etc.
Remember to Tip
Ok, this one might not be your primary concern but it is an important one to mention. No matter how well you have thought out your finances, remember that tipping in the USA is almost a must unless there’s a problem. Generally the tip should be 15-20% of the price you are expected to pay, with this applying to situations like servers at a restaurant, hotel staff that help you out in any way, cab drivers, bartenders, hair stylists and anyone else providing a direct service to you. Some people rely on these tips for their main income, so it’s an important matter to respect.
We haven’t covered the information on preparing your taxes, emergency numbers and so on, but that’s because this short article is only about the main issues related to money that an international going to the USA must keep in mind!
I hope this was helpful and make sure to let us know on our Facebook page if we’ve missed anything important!