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Financial

Articles > Financial

Financial

International Mortgages – Better than ever and easier than you think?

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (23:10:44)
Stephen Burdett
by Stephen Burdett Cert PFS DipFA, MBL Financial

With global interest rates at an all time low and international real estate prices at rock bottom, has there ever been a better time to buy a property? There is a common misconception that as an expat living overseas, it can be almost impossible to get a mortgage, especially in the current economic climate. The reality is that the opposite is the case. Several major UK banks have international subsidiaries providing the internationally mobile expat with a range of services, including mortgages for an investment property or a holiday home overseas.

Available in a range of currencies and for properties in most developed countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Dubai, the UK and Europe, mortgages are being offered at rates from as low as 1.69%.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

The Importance of Writing a Will for Expats

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (23:08:48)
Ivan Doherty
by Ivan Doherty, Chief Operating Officer & Investment Advisor, IFG Asia

There are many things that expats need to consider when assessing the overall framework of their financial planning – bank accounts, pensions, life cover, medical insurance – but the one that is most often ignored is writing a Will. After many years of giving financial planning advice, my simple explanation is that nobody wants to think about ‘the end’, let alone put it in writing.

Dying intestate (without a Will) whilst living in a foreign country can be particularly time consuming and troublesome for family members who have to sort it out, indeed the legal costs and paperwork can mount up very quickly indeed. The process can run into years, not months!   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Managing Currency Risk Part 1: Principles of Sound Currency Management

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (23:05:44)
David Kuenzi
by David Kuenzi, CFP®, Thun Financial Advisors

Introduction

Currency issues are often one of the most vexing and least well understood issues for investors. This is especially true for Americans abroad whose salaries and other income sources are often denominated in currencies other than U.S. Dollars (USD). The good news is that understanding how to properly incorporate currency considerations into a sound, long-term investment strategy is much easier than commonly understood. In this note (part 1 of a two part series) we pull back the opaque veil of “currency risk” that clouds investment and financial planning decisions for Americans abroad. We sketch a few, easy to understand principles that all investors can use to guide choices around currency denomination of savings and investment.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Commentary on the HMRC consultations on a statutory residence test and the taxation of non-UK domiciles

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (23:01:51)
Andrew Robins
by Andrew Robins, Tax Director, RBC Wealth Management:

“The consultation documents published today on the subjects of residence and domicile represent a significant step forward both in terms of the Treasury’s approach to these complicated areas, and to its way of dealing with interested parties.

“The consultations show that the Government has listened to many of the concerns raised by the industry for years. If the proposals are implemented in anything like their current form, life will get much easier for anyone who needs to work out their UK residence or domicile position.

“The consultations cover a lot of ground, but have a consistent approach of simplifying existing rules and providing taxpayers with more certainty. In many different places the documents show a willingness to take a pragmatic approach, getting rid of unnecessary complication and making life simpler both for the taxpayer and for HMRC.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Why State Taxes Make Roth Conversion a Huge Opportunity for Americans Abroad

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (22:57:39)
David Kuenzi
by David Kuenzi, CFP®, Thun Financial Advisors

Introduction

This article analyzes how the exemption from state income taxation enjoyed by most Americans abroad significantly alters the calculation that determines whether or not Roth contributions and/or Roth conversion make financial sense. It concludes that the exemption from state taxes makes Roth conversion an especially attractive financial opportunity for Americans abroad that should be capitalized on while they are still living outside the U.S. Note: Readers of this article will find that an earlier note published by Thun Financial Advisors, IRAs, Roth IRAs and the 2010 Conversion Decision for Americans Abroad (available at www.thunfinancial.com), provides a more basic introduction to the concept of Roth accounts and how Americans abroad can strategically use them to build long-term wealth.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

IRAs, Roth IRAs and the Conversion Decision for Americans Living Abroad

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (22:52:15)
David Kuenzi
David Kuenzi, CFP®, Thun Financial Advisors

Updated, December 2011; Originally Published December, 2009

Introduction

Even under the most conventional of circumstances, American taxpayers struggle to fully understand the myriad of tax advantaged retirement investment options they have. IRAs, 401(k)s, Roths, Individual 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 527s, and defined benefit employer pension plans are some of the many possible investment choices from which American taxpayers might choose. Each has slightly different tax implications and a separate set of complex compliance rules, contribution limits, mandatory withdrawal requirements and other features. Being an American abroad, however, further complicates matters by injecting additional tax and planning complexities into the equation. The good news is that Americans abroad generally have the same opportunities as do Americans at home to accrue tax benefits from tax advantaged retirement accounts. In fact, under certain circumstances and with proper planning, expats may gain more than most from the proper employment of these accounts.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Capital Allowances On Furnished Holiday Lettings in Portugal – A Basic Guide

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (22:29:16)
by Property Lynx Lda based on information provided by Davis Langdon LLP

After the 2009 Budget, it was announced that the ‘Furnished Holiday Lettings’ (FHL) rules were to be extended to any country within the European Economic Area (EEA).

It was also announced that the rules would be withdrawn from April 2010, but following a change in Government, the rules will remain in place in their current form until April 2011. After that date, there will be some tightening up of the qualification criteria together with some restrictions in the way that loss relief is given.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Avoiding Expat Investment Scams

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (22:21:27)
Tom Zachystal
by Tom Zachystal (CFA, CFP), Expat Focus partner and President of Individual Asset Management

You have worked hard to build a nest egg and would like to invest your money in order that it work for you to provide for the lifestyle you desire; but while searching for investments or investment advisors you find it difficult to know who to trust or which investments might be appropriate for you. Many people find themselves in this situation and some end up being taken advantage of by smooth-talking sales people masquerading as investment advisors.

In this article I highlight three scams we have seen over the years and point out warning signs to look for so that you are not caught unawares. This list is far from comprehensive so if you are uncertain about a prospective investment then I invite you to contact me directly and I will evaluate it for you, often at no charge.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

How does a QROPS UK pension transfer overseas work? (Part two)

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (22:13:42)
Tom Zachystal
by Tom Zachystal

This is the second installment of a two-part column on the process involved in transferring UK pensions to Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS). In part one we looked at the people, agencies, and costs involved in the transfer process and here we will summarize the paperwork that typically needs to be completed.

Whether you are dealing directly with a QROPS administrator or with an intermediary, you will be asked to complete a letter of authority that allows the agent to contact your UK pension administrator on your behalf to obtain information regarding your benefits. The agent will inquire regarding the transfer value of your benefits, whether you have any protected rights to transfer, and as to the paperwork the scheme requires to be completed in order to facilitate a QROPS transfer.   more ...

Articles > Financial

Financial

Currency Transfer for Expats – Transferring Money Overseas

Posted on Friday December 23, 2011 (22:09:16)
There are many ways of sending your money from one country to another without ending up in a mess. As in many things, expats can save themselves a LOT of trouble and cost if they do a little research and shop around.


Standard International Bank Transfers

Let’s consider the basic sort of expat money transfer requirement, and make the assumption you want something a little safer than using brown envelopes full of cash in the post!

For most expats, currency transfer consists of getting small to medium sized amounts transferred regularly from your UK bank account into your new overseas bank account in the local currency. These may be pensions payments, benefits, or any other form of income.   more ...