Your money and a move overseas

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MoneyPlus Features Team

2nd September 2016 at 8:48am

You’ve finally made up your mind to do what you’ve always dreamed of – to move abroad to sunnier, drier climes or take that dream job on foreign shores. More of us than ever are thinking about a move overseas.

But before you leave to pursue your dreams, do you know what the impact will be on your finances?

Think straight

The emotional ‘pull’ of a move abroad can often mean practical financial issues are overlooked, but to do so could lead to hopes of a life in the sun becoming plagued with dark clouds.

What could cloud the reality?

In short legislation and deferment – in the past some individuals have been left stranded high and dry by moving abroad without addressing their finances.

This can result in an inability to access their pensions in a flexible way and may entail significant delay, effort or even specialist advice to solve the problem.

However this can be avoided through pre-emptive planning.

Do your research first

There are a number of things you’ll need to research and take into account before you make the leap.

If you want to help avoid problems further down the line, some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself first are:

  • Should I leave my pension in the UK, or transfer it abroad?
  • How will my pension be taxed?
  • How will my non-pension savings and assets be taxed?
  • Do I need to restructure my savings and investments before I leave the UK?
  • What UK state pension will I be entitled to?
  • Will I be taxed in two countries, or is there a taxation agreement between the UK and my chosen destination?

With changes on the political landscape such as Brexit and exchange rates in flux, you’ll need to understand their impact. Even your Will might be affected by a move abroad. And what if you choose to come back to the UK, what are the financial implications of that?

Answering these questions might seem a difficult challenge, especially on top of everything else that needs to be done, but don’t be alarmed as help is available.

Important decisions need expert help

Ideally, you would have a good deal of notice – six months if possible – ahead of any move. This would give you the time you need to organise carefully.

The complexities in managing currency risk, an investment portfolio, and dual-nation tax reporting are many, so seeking out a trusted adviser who understands the financial nuances of living an international lifestyle should be high on your list of priorities.

And in some circumstances you may also need the skills of an accountant and/or solicitor with experience of expat markets, for example if you need advice on your Will, or you have complex tax affairs that may need specialist advice.

A good adviser can save you money and a lot of worry. If you’ve not already got an adviser then can be a good first port of call when trying to locate one in your area, and make sure that they can provide the sort of advice you’ll need.

Enjoy your move

Of course you’ll be busy on all the practical aspects of such a move – selling your home, finding somewhere to live, checking out healthcare provision, catering for any pets – but some focussed financial planning and getting the right advice first can ensure that dreams can become a happy reality.

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The information in this blog or any response to comments should not be regarded as financial advice. The information here is based on our understanding in March 2017. Your personal circumstances also have an impact on tax treatment.