There is SO much to get organised once a decision has been made that you are planning on moving to live abroad. Trust us, having done it we know what it takes. In fact, we have ants in our collective pants and are forever moving from one country to another and we still find the whole thing complicated, time consuming and stressful. But, as you are no doubt aware, (or at least clinging to the hope of!), it is worth the hassle in the end.
So, the one thing you don’t want to be worrying about when you’re organising new schools, new jobs, new accommodation and a whole new life are the financial aspects of your future life. However, if you’re a regular reader of this site you’ll know that the one thing we go on about ad nauseum is the fact that financial failings are the number one reason why expats return to the UK unhappily. So, for those with little time on their hands but a basic requirement for some sound and solid money related information, here is some fundamental financial advice for people moving to live abroad.
You need to be realistic about your living costs when relocating overseas. You will incur large up-front bills relating to sorting out accommodation and transportation and these will eat into your savings. After that, you don’t want to see a drop in your living standards and so whilst shopping at the weekly market may mean you can eat for less, if you’re moving to work overseas, chances are you won’t have time to shop at the market and will be buying in supermarkets, ordering in and eating out as much as you do now…so factor this in to your calculations. Make sure you are not going to severely and negatively impact your life financially speaking by moving abroad.
Once you’re sure you’re going to be just fine on the money front you need to think about managing your money now that you’re living overseas. It makes a lot of sense to keep an account open in the UK as long as it is a free account and you are not incurring charges for using it. You should only keep a small amount of liquid cash in the account for any UK obligations. For the cash you keep on deposit as part of your overall savings portfolio, it can make sense to hold that offshore for taxation reasons. You need to clarify this with a financial adviser however, and care should be taken if you repatriate as tax will become due in the UK on this offshore account.
In terms of making excess money work for you, there are many options open to you once you move to live abroad. You can have access to and potentially benefit from onshore and offshore savings and investment assets for example…but you should think about the currency in which you will be saving the majority of your money.
If you think you will one day repatriate and return to the UK, many advisers suggest your investment base currency is therefore sterling. However, if you’re paid in dollars or euros for example, this can have an effect on what you choose because of fluctuating exchange rates. Advice should be sought and care should be taken.
Take sound and qualified, experienced and independent financial advice because as an expatriate your taxation situation changes fundamentally when you move abroad and what’s more, you are exposed to far more options when it comes to making your money work for you…