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Financial

Articles > Financial

Financial

What Affects Exchange Rates? Things Every Expat Should Know

Posted on Sunday August 25, 2013 (19:50:29)
Simon Hilton
by Simon Hilton, senior foreign exchange consultant at World First and official Expat Focus foreign exchange partner

It’s been quite a start to Mark Carney’s stewardship of the Bank of England. Having only succeeded Sir Mervyn King as Governor on 1st July, he’s wasted no time in making his mark, announcing an unprecedented plan of forward guidance on interest rates. This means that the Bank would be unlikely to raise the historically low 0.5% interest rate until unemployment falls to 7%, something which could take over three years. The thinking is that investors will take confidence from knowing that the rate will stay low for some time, and by encouraging them to invest and rather than sit on their money, this will help stimulate the economy.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Moving to Spain? The Time is Now

Posted on Wednesday July 31, 2013 (16:01:41)
Simon Hilton
by Simon Hilton, senior foreign exchange consultant at World First and official Expat Focus foreign exchange partner

Hot on the heels of Britain’s coldest May since 1996, we’ve just had the driest June in decades, and the driest July since records began. And as we enjoy the record breaking temperatures and fantastic sunshine, it makes you wonder why any of us ever harbour dreams of moving away from the UK.

I bet you won’t be wondering why in a few months time, when the cold and wet conditions are back with us, and the British weather reverts to type!   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Why Is My US Brokerage Firm Closing My Account?

Posted on Tuesday June 18, 2013 (14:17:19)
Tom Zachystal
Contact Tom for a free, no-obligation discussion of your financial situation if you are a US citizen living abroad or a foreign national living in the USA.

Many US citizens living abroad have recently been contacted by their US brokerage firms to inform them that their accounts have either been frozen such that they can no longer change their investments or that they need to close their accounts entirely.

Even large brokerage firms and banks such as Fidelity and Wells-Fargo in many instances no longer want to deal with non-US resident clients through their US offices. Often there is little in the way of explanation, just a letter in the mail or a phone call from a broker who is following instructions and doesn’t really understand the issue.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

2013 US Tax Changes and Investment Strategy for Americans Abroad

Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2013 (00:38:57)
David Kuenzi
by David Kuenzi, CFP®, Thun Financial Advisors

2013 ushers in a series of substantial tax increases for all American taxpayers. These changes alter the landscape for efficient investment management and financial planning. Investors seeking to maximize long-term investment returns must factor these changes into their wealth management strategies. This is particularly true for Americans abroad because the 2013 tax changes coincide with other significant tax and compliance changes related to FATCA.

In this note, we review the major changes taking effect on January 1st 2013. Next, we identify aspects of the changes that uniquely affect Americans living abroad. We then discuss a range of possible investment planning strategies that can be applied to mitigate the impact of the new, higher tax environment faced by U.S. taxpayers living abroad.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Expat Investment Forecast 2013

Posted on Wednesday February 06, 2013 (22:34:00)
Tom Zachystal
Contact Tom for a free, no-obligation discussion of your financial situation if you are a US citizen living abroad or a foreign national living in the USA.

This time last year I was writing about how the European Sovereign debt crisis was coming to a head and that we were seeing continuing improvement in the US economic picture. I suggested that we should avoid European markets until a resolution could be found in Europe, either in the form of an exit of one or more countries or by an unlimited pledge of financial support for needy countries. This turned out to be good advice, as US markets outperformed European markets in the first half of the year but, once the Europeans in essence pledged unlimited support for European banks and it became clear that Greece was not going to be allowed to default, European markets outperformed in the second half of the year.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Fiscal Cliff and FATCA – What Do They Mean For US Expat Investors?

Posted on Monday December 03, 2012 (22:12:20)
Tom Zachystal
To contact Tom for a free, no-obligation discussion of your financial situation please use our US expat investment enquiry form.

I have just returned from the town of Ajijic, a half hour out of Guadalajara, Mexico and home to about 10,000, mostly retired, Americans (as well as a large number of Canadians and even the odd Brit). During my week there, my colleague Marian Wellman and I put on a seminar on the topics of the coming US fiscal cliff, FATCA regulations, and the current investment climate. Much to my surprise, given the dry nature of anything concerning taxes, the seminar was heavily attended and standing room only; with most of the interest directed towards the first two topics – so I thought Expat Focus readers might also be interested in our overview.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Managing US Pension Accounts Outside the US

Posted on Saturday March 10, 2012 (18:24:04)
Tom Zachystal
To contact Tom for a free, no-obligation discussion of your financial situation please use our expat IRA / 401k enquiry form.

If you have worked in the United States for any length of time (either as a US citizen or a foreign national) it is likely that you have paid into a US pension account such as an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or a 401k (an occupational pension plan). The question then arises as to what should be done with such an account once you give up US residency.

There are three alternatives: You can transfer it to another pension account, you can distribute the money, or you can leave it in the current account.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

US Taxes - Things to Consider before Venturing Abroad

Posted on Tuesday January 10, 2012 (03:01:20)
Michael Kaplanidis
Things to Consider before Venturing Abroad

By Michael Kaplanidis, CPA, Water Street Associates

Working abroad can be exciting and financially rewarding, especially during our current economic climate. Before agreeing to an overseas assignment with a current or prospective employer, here is a list of things that you should consider:

1. Federal and State tax filing requirements As a U.S. Citizen or resident alien of the United States, you’re taxed on your worldwide income. What does this mean? Working abroad neither precludes you from filing a U.S. Income tax return nor paying income tax. While the IRS extends the filing due date by two months (June 15th) and provides a Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (approx. $91,500 in 2010) to qualified individuals, you’re still required to report your worldwide income on your Federal tax return. State filing requirements for individuals are based on each respective States’ and individual’s domicile or legal residency status and general filing requirements.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Pitfalls of Exotic Expat Investment Strategies

Posted on Tuesday January 10, 2012 (02:39:38)
Tom Zachystal
Tom Zachystal (CFA, CFP) is President of Individual Asset Management, a Registered Investment Advisor specializing in investment management and financial planning for expatriates. Click here to send Tom a no-obligation enquiry for financial advice.

For the better part of this year investment markets have been largely trendless. There have been many ups and downs but no clear breakout to either the down-side or the up-side. The current state of things, a slowing and fragile economy in Europe as well as issues with sovereign debt, better economic data in the US, and perhaps a more stable outlook in Asia with lower inflation and still good growth, support the view that we may be in for an extended period of up and down investment market performance. In such a market, and especially given the difficult investment market we recently suffered in 2008-2009, there is a tendency for investors to give up on mainstream investments such as stocks and bonds and to seek better investment returns in more exotic vehicles, or by employing more exotic investment strategies. These products and strategies are often poorly understood by the average investor and heavily sold by certain investment sales people because commissions to the advisor are usually quite high.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Top Three Differences between Mortgages in France and the UK

Posted on Tuesday January 10, 2012 (01:30:28)
Sharon Hill
by Sharon Hill, French Mortgage Direct. Click here to send Sharon a no-obligation enquiry for French mortgage advice.

Most people buying a French property need to raise some type of mortgage finance to help them make their dream come true. Often, the Estate Agent selling the property will offer assistance, putting the buyer in contact with a local bank. The local bank will rarely be in a position to offer advice and guidance and the purchaser could end up with a mortgage but no knowledge of the French mortgage market.

Lack of understanding can be catastrophic for buyers especially if they assume that French mortgages operate in the same way as in their home country. Without professional help, buyers could end up having their mortgage application refused by the lender resulting in not being able to proceed with the purchase, or with a mortgage unsuitable for their needs.

When choosing which French mortgage is the most suitable for you, it’s important to understand how property finance works in France.   more ...