If you’re looking to head away and take on an exotic new expat life in a foreign nation, it’s likely that money is going to be at the forefront of your mind over the coming months. To make sure you’ve got a firm grasp not only of your own financial status, but also the state of economics around the world, it’s worth doing some background work to ensure you get a firm handle on global economics.
Research currency and exchange rates
Thanks to the internet, currency exchange has become a lot more convenient, meaning you can now move money around at their leisure to comply with the most preferable rate possible. Banks are not always your best friend when it comes to exchange rates so it pays to shop around for the best option of moving around large sums of money and who offers the best exchange rates and terms. If in doubt, pick up the phone and ring around and talk to a financial expert who can simply outline your best options.
QROPS have proved to be a complicated topic due to their ambiguity but it’s important to at least be aware of them. Trying to put it simply, QROPS stands for “Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pensions Scheme” which effectively allows you to move your private pension offshore. There are many possible benefits to this such as avoiding UK taxation on your pension, avoiding currency fluctuations and giving you greater control of your savings. As with all money-moving schemes there are risks associated with QROPS so it’s important to get some advice and fully analyse the pros and cons.
Many expats find that when they retire they are not entitled to a state pension because there are gaps in their National Insurance (NI) history. If you have missing years of not paying NI you can simply not just buy your way back onto the scheme but you can pay up to six years arrears to make up the necessary contributions of 44 years for a man and 39 years for a woman. To avoid this situation, you can first check your NI record by getting in touch with the Inland Revenue Centre. If you want to make sure you’re fully eligible for a UK state pension then you can organise voluntary NI contributions while you’re out of the country.
Though many see renting as just throwing money away, it can prove to be the safest option in what is an unstable housing market all over the world. Unless you’re fully committed to spending the rest of your life abroad you may be best advised to rent in your soon-to-be adopted homeland and leave your UK property up for rent also. No one can predict the future but you might find it difficult to sell your house in the UK and find it even more difficult to up sticks overseas in a few years time. The real estate market in Greece, Spain and Portugal has crashed completely whilst the likes of Australia and New Zealand have some of the highest priced properties in what is still a slow moving sector.
If you’re planning on moving abroad then it’s of vital importance that you get in touch with a financial expert so that you can assess what to do with your money and can avoid getting caught out by confusing foreign regulations.