The Emigration Balancing Act

The Emigration Balancing Act

October 16, 2023

Emigrating from one's home country is a significant decision, influenced by a myriad of factors. For high net worth families in South Africa considering a move to the United States, the decision becomes even more complex, as they must weigh the emotional and financial considerations of such a life-altering move in order to make an informed decision.

Emotional Considerations

  • Family and Culture: Emigrating can strain family bonds and disrupt cultural ties. Leaving behind close family and friends can be emotionally challenging. The impact of this separation is profound for families who have close-knit family structures. Before deciding to move, one must consider how this might affect their emotional well-being and the well-being of their children.
  • Adaptation to a New Environment: Relocating to the USA involves adapting to a new culture, legal system, and social norms. This adaptation process can be emotionally taxing, especially when navigating unfamiliar territory. Education, healthcare, and lifestyle changes are all aspects that need to be carefully considered.
  • Homesickness: Feeling homesick is a common emotional challenge when living abroad. Missing the sights, sounds, and traditions of home can be deeply emotional. It's crucial to be prepared for this potential emotional strain.

Financial Considerations

  • Investment Opportunities: The United States offers a wealth of investment opportunities. High net worth families can diversify their portfolios in a stable and developed market, potentially earning greater returns. The country's strong economy, innovation, and access to global markets can be enticing. However, these opportunities come with their own set of complex tax and regulatory considerations that should be carefully navigated with the help of financial experts.
  • Tax: The US tax system can be both an attraction and a financial burden. While the country offers favorable tax benefits for investment and estate planning, the tax code can be complex and may require expert financial planning to maximize these benefits. It's essential to weigh the potential tax savings against the cost of compliance.
  • Cost of Living: In most cases the cost of living in the United States is higher compared to South Africa. This includes housing, healthcare, and education expenses. While there are areas in the USA with a lower cost of living, it's important to consider how these factors may affect your financial situation.
  • Legal and Immigration Costs: Obtaining visas, complying with immigration laws, and understanding the legal requirements of doing business in the United States can come with significant legal and immigration costs. 

Emigrating from South Africa to the USA is not a simple decision. Balancing the emotional and financial considerations is crucial. While the United States offers numerous opportunities for growth, investment, and a high standard of living, the emotional strain of leaving one's home country and adapting to a new environment should not be underestimated. High net worth families must carefully assess their priorities, consult with experts, and create a comprehensive plan that addresses both the emotional and financial aspects of this life-altering move. Ultimately, the decision to emigrate should be a well-informed one that aligns with the family's long-term goals and values.


Caleo Capital USA (Caleo Capital NA LLC) are an integrated wealth advisory and asset management firm that serves high-net-worth South African families who have relocated or are planning relocation to the United States. Emigration and relocation is complex both administratively and emotionally, with so many aspects to consider. Financial planning for the average high-net-worth individual is no simple task, but tax, retirement, trusts and estate planning is even more complicated when your financial life spans international borders. Caleo Capital has established relationships with reputable partners who assist with a range of challenges facing newly immigrated clients.

Caleo Capital USA (“Caleo”) is a State Registered Investment Advisor.  Caleo and its affiliated persons only conduct business in those states in which it is lawfully registered or exempted from registration. This material is for discussion purposes only, and Caleo is not soliciting any action based upon it. This material does not constitute, and is not to be considered, an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any product, security, advisory, risk management, or other service mentioned herein. It has no regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situations or particular needs of any specific recipient.  This material is not to be construed as investment advice nor is it intended, to constitute legal  or tax advice. Be sure to consult with  legal and or tax professional before implementing any strategy. For information regarding Caleo’s business operations, services, fees and registration status, please contact the firm or visit and search for Caleo  or for CRD #308542.