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The importance of your advice, Chuck, will only be fully appreciated by those who did not follow it. The value of a prescription is directly related to the amount of pain it stops. Your points here can save much money, a lot of distress and some careers.

I understand why small companies want flexibility and to cut individual deals tailor-made for each individual going overseas. But I worked with one company that work up one morning and realized they had over 50 expats and each had a different package. It was costing them an arm/leg to manage just from a legal and tax perspective alone. Once they decided to move toward a single package model the current expats communicated via the grapevine and came up with what they thought was the ideal one! This, despite none of them were affected -- they were all grandfathered!

It's scary that people don't realize that an expat assignment is an investment and done wrong is very costly. My company is a very small privately held company. When I suggested that we look into creating a policy and connecting with vendors, they looked at me like I had 10 heads. The response was to just give them more money. The process isn't thought out at all and the scarier part is that they don't partner with any vendors. I'm not sure why people have accepted assignments with my company since they are beyond vague and no assistance is provided. I don't have a vast knowledge in the area of mobility, but it's a topic that I'm interested in. I do have enough sense to know that just providing money to someone doesn't help to provide a successful experience.

As Sam Goldwyn famously said: "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."

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