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Articles > Financial


Ethical expat investment

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:51:20)
courtesy of Investasure Financial Services Ltd.

[Editor's note - Expatriates often struggle to find the right investment vehicle for their money, a task made more complicated by the various taxation and legal requirements of different countries. In recent years another element has been thrown into the mix: ethics. The following article explores the history of this new "style" of investment.]

Ethical investment has long been regarded as a 'minority interest' by investors but during the last few years this has changed due to the rapid growth experienced in this sector.

This growth and interest is due to the fact that this form of investing is now considered a most 'attractive investment option' for the discerning investor. But what is ethical investing and why has it become so popular?   more ...

Articles > Financial


Self-Employed Taxes in France – An Expat Guide

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:34:59)
France is a country of many beautiful images. One of the most prevailing is that of the small French business. Whether a small farm, the baker or the local carpenter and odd-job man, everything that comes to mind suggests a small and perhaps rural enterprise.

Although France has the largest economy in Europe and vast ultra-modern industries, this ‘shed based business’ is the image that many expats have of France. Indeed the small 1-2 person business it is an image cultivated by the French government as being part of the “French Way” and in fact small businesses constitute a very large part of the overall French economy.

It is therefore not too surprising that many expats upon arrival in France, and in need of income, become attracted by the idea of running their own business. From a practical point of view they may also find they have little choice as outside of the major cities work is VERY hard to find particularly for those not fluent in French or considered ‘local’.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Expatriate Healthcare Insurance

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:26:35)
by Medibroker International

Since the explosive growth of the past decade in global telecommunications and the Internet, more expatriates are working on contract overseas, than ever before. More families and couples are retiring abroad at an earlier age, being very familiar over the years with foreign holidays to such as Spain and Portugal, or Florida. Private Medical Insurance, Income Protection and Critical Illness cover are becoming vital pre-requisites of the expatriate, particularly if one has a young family. Overseas tours are well paid, but few companies offer the benefits of a decade or so ago. Expat tours are often only a 1-3 years. Thus, keeping fit AND having Healthcare Insurance is often essential for peace of mind.

There are two matters, apart from premium costs, where potential expats often have little information. The first are the costs of medical services. For example, the cost of a fully supported emergency evacuation to Europe from Saudi Arabia can be at least GBP25,000. A simple hernia operation costs about GBP1,500 in the UK today, probably 2-3 times more in the USA, with a hip replacement costing anywhere from GBP5,000 to GBP50,000 depending on the complications of such surgery. A major operation such as heart surgery or multiple pinning of bones following accidents can be many thousands of pounds in surgery and aftercare. Claims totalling GBP100,000 are no longer unusual. Thus, the costs of even a minor operation is often a big shock in itself. The second matter is definitions regarding Insurance Company Plans and Policies. What does it mean in benefit terms, to have a SpecialCare Plan or a Deluxe Plan, an UltraPlan, Standard or Budget Plan?   more ...

Articles > Financial


Why invest in property?

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:23:36)
Why real estate or why property, some people ask when looking for an investment. Well, as far as I am concerned, real estate/property investment is, and always has been, the most powerful type of investment for building wealth. It has been said that over 90% of the world's millionaires got there by owning property. The reason property is such a powerful way to build wealth is due to one key concept: leverage.

Once I realised this, I didn't look back. Now, if you are an experienced investor this may be obvious, but for the benefit of those who haven't seen the light, let me explain...leverage is your ability to magnify your returns by using other peoples' money (in this case, it's usually the bank's money). To give a clear example, say you have GBP20,000 to invest. This can be a lump sum or by releasing equity in your main residency.

So what is the best way of investing this money?   more ...

Articles > Financial


Overseas Banking for Expats - Getting a Bank Loan for Commercial Use

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:22:25)
Let’s be clear at the outset, for most expats getting this type of loan overseas is not going to be easy!

The situation varies hugely from one country to another, and do make sure you get country specific advice and guidance BEFORE you start making too many plans and commitments. Remember to ALWAYS consult a good and recommended local accountant at the very earliest stages of your journey down this road.

Even so, there are some practical things that apply to many expat overseas destinations.

The first obvious question is, “what is the difference between a personal and commercial loan?”   more ...

Articles > Financial


An Expat Guide To The Euro Zone

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:20:52)
There are vast books written on this subject, many by renowned academics and economists. It has been said, with some justification, that one needs a PhD to understand many of them.

Don’t worry! This short article isn’t going to start debating history, politics and the economic theory but rather it will look at some day-to-day issues of interest here for the average expat.

When it was first launched a few short years ago, there were many who thought it was doomed to failure from the start. How could a vast range of separate countries with their own currencies such as Guilders, Francs, Pesetas, Drachmae, Lire, Marks and so on, possibly just scrap them all and come together in one single currency?   more ...

Articles > Financial


Sun, Sea and Risk - Overseas Property and Pension Funds

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:19:15)
by Joe Lopez from The Rights Group in Spain

Spain and the Costa del Sol in particular, has been a favourite destination for legitimate and some not so legitimate UK nationals for many years. The last five years have seen a property explosion on the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca with new construction projects appearing just about everywhere, leading to ever increasing market prices which in turn have led to attractive investment opportunities for speculative off plan buyers as well as the ever desirable holiday home. This led last year to an estimated 50% of properties sold on the Costa del Sol being sold to UK nationals alone.

The change in legislation allowing overseas property to be incorporated into pension schemes brings with it great opportunity for individuals to really boost their pension fund for their retirement years. This fact has clearly not gone unnoticed by the financial advisors who have already been recommending this course of action for their clients.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Taxation of UK Government Service Pensions Abroad

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:17:30)
Recently one of our visitors enquired about what appeared to be the double taxation of his UK service pension in Germany. As this is a concern which might be shared by a number of expats in a similar situation we thought it might be useful to reproduce the question (anonymously) and the reply from a UK tax advisor here.


I am an ex-serviceman living in Germany. My Service pension is being subjected to what amounts to double taxation, which under Article 9 of the Double Taxation Agreement is forbidden. Article 9 states clearly that only the Government issuing a service pension may levy income tax.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Overseas Taxation For Expats

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:16:32)
The old saying about “death and taxes” is much overused, but it’s also pretty true.

Wherever you are in the world and whatever the political makeup of the local government, you can be sure that if they agree with the UK on nothing else they WILL agree on the need to tax people. Some cynics would say it is the only thing most governments know how to do.

This is a vast subject of course and of great interest to expats, but it is way beyond the capability of any single article to explore in-depth. There are numerous variables such as what country you’re living in, whether you are working or retired and how much savings you have, all of which would need to be looked at before saying anything specific about your circumstances. If you have any doubts or concerns, or need specific advice, you must contact a taxation expert in your new country who specialises in expat tax.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Overseas Medical Insurance

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (09:15:20)
One of the primary considerations when thinking of international or overseas retirement is healthcare and medical insurance cover. Many USA citizens already are very familiar with medical and health insurance at home but have little knowledge of how such plans work overseas, or even of the standard of medical facilities, hospitals, doctors and so on, in the location they are considering for retirement. This location may be France or Florida, the medical insurance considerations and healthcare insurance planning needs are similar.

Consequently, some major considerations are

1. The cost and benefit level of any international medical plan together with ease of use, assistance, and claims handling;

2. The quality of local facilities, hospitals, nursing care, doctor skills and knowledge of English in the area you are considering to make a permanent overseas home;   more ...