Planning your financial needs after expatriation

Published:  15 Apr at 6 PM
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Managing money as an expat can be totally different than the same task back in the home country.

More than ever before, emigration is now the goal of professionals looking to catapult their careers into the top echelon with financial benefits to match. In addition, digital nomads are indulging their dream of travelling the world, using their online expertise to pay the bills as they go. Even retirees are now choosing far-flung destinations with cheaper costs of living and far better weather than at home. All three expat categories have one thing in common – learning to manage their budgets against a background of currency fluctuations and totally unfamiliar rules.

For expat professionals who’re earning enough to need one, finding a knowledgeable local tax expert who’s familiar with both the home country’s tax rules for expats and the laws in their present country of residence is essential, especially if you’re from the USA with its unique double taxation for citizens living and working overseas. At best, you’ll save money, and at worst you’ll know exactly when to renounce your USA citizenship to save even more. Another tip is to keep your expenses and income in two separate accounts as it will make life far easier for your accountant when returns are due. It’s also an idea to keep a reasonable balance in an account in the home country, especially if you’re still paying off loans or servicing direct debits.

If buying a property either in your home country as an investment or in your present country of residence for occupation, ignoring the banks and going for a specialist broker is the sensible idea. Second or third tier mortgage lenders are by definition far more flexible as regards where your income is being earned and the currency in which it’s being paid. Setting out a plan for property purchase rather than just diving in will pay dividends if you approach a recommended property agent with good knowledge of the area and good advice as regards long-term capital appreciation.

If you’ve found the love of your life in your new location, another point to consider is the possibility of moving back home at some time in the not too far distant future. Different countries have different rules as regards bringing foreign spouses in, most of which are based on personal finance. Talking with a lawyer specialising in rehabilitating mixed-marriage couples can ease the strain of the move well ahead of time and allow for the necessary financial and practical plans to be set up.
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