Relocation April / May 2010

Manage Your Money When Living Abroad

One thing you don’t want to be worrying about when you’re organising a new job, accommodation, schools and a whole new life abroad is the financial aspects of your future life.

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 transport and these will eat into your savings. Initially, you won’t have time to search out bargains so you will shop at supermarkets or eat out more often … so factor this in to your calculations.

Once you’re sure you’re going to be fine on the money front, you need to think about managing your finances. It makes a lot of sense to keep a bank account open in the UK, or wherever your home country is, as long as it is a free or low-cost service and you are not incurring unnecessary charges. Keep only a small amount of liquid cash in the account for any UK obligations. For larger deposits, it makes sense to hold these offshore for tax reasons.

Also do not cancel your credit cards, as once you are outside the UK getting a new one can be very difficult.

In terms of making excess money work for you, there are many options once you are abroad. The major challenge is, however, deciding which currency you will need most. If you think you will one day return to the UK, most advisers suggest your investment base currency should be sterling. However, if you’re paid in dollars or yen, for example, this will have an effect on what you choose because of fluctuating exchange rates. Take advice and don’t leave it to chance.

The key is to take sound, qualified and independent financial advice because, as an expatriate, your tax 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.