Former Winnipegger Baruch (Brent) Labinsky’s inspiration to write his latest book “A Financial Guide to Aliyah and Life in Israel” came from wanting to help make the transition for new olim smoother and greatly improve their odds of making a successful aliyah.

“Using the advice offered in my book will immensely increase the chances of a financially stable – and even profitable – aliyah and life in Israel,” said Labinsky, son of Benson and Sharon Labinsky.

“The Israeli system may seem similar to what North Americans are used to,” Labinsky said, “but it is in reality quite different. The tax system, for example, is structured differently. Most Israelis don’t have to file tax returns. Taxes are automatically taken off their pay cheques. Only the self-employed are required to file returns.”

Labinsky made aliyah in 1993 from Canada and has lived in Ramat Beit Shemesh with his wife and seven children for the past 11 years. He found the transition process difficult and could not find a single source that provided helpful information on Israel’s complex financial system. That is what he hopes his book will remedy.

The 230-page book covers the gamut of issues including having a financial plan, insurance issues, understanding the Israeli employment market, asset management in Israel, retirement and estate planning, the banking system, the tax system, renting or purchasing a home and living on an Israeli salary.

He notes that the Israeli standard of living is much closer to the North American standard than it used to be. “Nevertheless, you have to be a lot more careful about how you spend your money,” Labinsky cautions. “Cars and homes are much more expensive. And you really have to save for larger expenditures such as simchas or retirement.”

Readers of the book may want to start at the back with the “Frequently Asked Questions”. Labinsky tackles questions such as where to go after you get off the plane (he recommends that you rent a place first until you have adjusted, built up a social network and decided where you want to live.), whether to take time to learn Hebrew on an ulpan or look for work immediately (he suggests doing both at the same time), how and where to open a bank account, what benefits new olim are entitled to, how to manage your finances in Israel and what to bring with you to Israel and how much it may cost.

He also includes in the book glossaries of financial and Hebrew terms.

“The number of olim who are coming from North America has been growing in recent years thanks to organizations such as Nefesh b’Nefesh,” he says. “And there are tremendous opportunities. Virtually all North American olim find jobs within a year.”

He adds that the hi-tech industry in Israel in particular is flourishing. “Modern day Israel is an economic miracle,” he says. “The stock market has outperformed other major stock markets around the world.”
This book is written for both the layperson and the professional. It spans a range of financial issues, from pre-Aliyah (creating a financial plan, real estate decisions, asset management) to post-Aliyah (employment benefits, banking, living on a budget, tax planning, and more).

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