Life admin – it’s something everyone has to deal with. Correspondence, finance, tax, registration forms, paying bills, etc. It’s so necessary and so painful. And in a foreign language? Excruciating. Getting the answers you want feels like banging your head against a brick wall. It’s hard to talk to customer service without getting shut down for not speaking German. The credibility of replies on English-language social media forums is questionable at best. Lately, I’ve been getting all sorts of requests for help with expat life admin tasks, things like “can I pay you to sort out this billing issue?”, “I got a scary letter from the Finanzamt, can you help me understand it?” or “Can you find me a medical specialist who speaks English?” I can, I can and I can! Introducing Life Admin from Red Tape Translation.
Here’s how it works. You buy an hour for 49 Euros and send me an email telling me exactly what you need to get done. I get started and keep you in the loop. If we need to make three-way calls, we schedule a time to do so. I note who I’ve talked to or when I left messages, what was said and send you updates as I go. I can talk through forms with you over the phone or fill them out and send them to you as a PDF to check before you send them away.
The first hour is a minimum fee of 49€. If it takes less than an hour to finish the job, you can use the remaining time for more Life Admin, or apply the remaining credit towards another Red Tape Translation service any time within the next 12 months. If it takes more than an hour, and you’re happy to continue, I’ll just bill you (in 15-minute increments) until everything’s wrapped up.
Common Ways to Use Life Admin:
- To-dos when leaving Germany: de-registering (Abmeldung), canceling contracts and utilities, tying up loose ends
- Canceling or changing your gym membership, cell phone plan, internet or TV providers
- Understanding and responding to German letters from authorities and government departments
- Contacting Kitas or schools to register your interest in a childcare or school placement
- Finding an English-speaking medical specialist near your home and booking the next available appointment
- Notifying a change of address, setting up mail forwarding
- Sorting out gaps in your pension payment history
- Sourcing an original birth certificate for an ancestor born in Germany
- Switching insurance providers
- Enquiring about a bill that has been sent to a debt collector, suggesting a payment plan
- Coordinating tradespeople, organising repairs
- You tell me!
One important thing to note – I’m not a licensed tax, legal or insurance professional, so I can’t provide you with financial or legal advice or recommend which insurance provider you use. Once you’ve made your decisions on those things, though, I’m ready and willing to help you fill out the paperwork to make it all happen.
So gather up everything in that pile of documents you’ve been avoiding for months, scan it in and book an hour of Life Admin. Leave some detailed instructions on the form or if you’re not sure what has to be done, ask me to find out. I’ll get right on it and keep you in the loop. In the meanwhile, you can breathe easy knowing that you’re getting your affairs in order, and you can focus on the many more exciting things that brought you to Germany in the first place: work, study, love, leisure and the excitement of expat life!