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Tom Zachystal

Columnists > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Investment Account Considerations for US Expats

Posted by: scar on Wednesday June 24, 2015 (23:09:48)   (728 Reads)

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.

Dealing with financial matters has become increasingly difficult for US citizens living outside the USA over the last few years as a result of what is called FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), which has led to both US and non-US financial institutions being reluctant to deal with American expats.    more ...


Columnists > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Why Is My US Brokerage Firm Closing My Account?

Posted by: Jamie on Tuesday June 18, 2013 (13:49:49)   (2389 Reads)

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 really doesn’t understand the issue.    more ...


Columnists > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Expat Investment Forecast 2013

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 30, 2013 (18:35:40)   (2613 Reads)

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 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 ...


Columnists > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

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

Posted by: Jamie on Tuesday December 04, 2012 (17:55:42)   (2308 Reads)

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 ...


Columnists > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Managing US Pension Accounts When No Longer Resident in the US

Posted by: Jamie on Saturday March 10, 2012 (18:08:22)   (13116 Reads)

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 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 ...


Columnists > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

The Pitfalls of Exotic Expat Investment Strategies

Posted by: Jamie on Saturday March 10, 2012 (18:05:26)   (3053 Reads)

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 downside or the upside. 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 ...


Columnists > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Some Expat Income Alternatives for a Low Interest Rate World

Posted by: Jamie on Saturday March 10, 2012 (18:03:51)   (2714 Reads)

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.

In the current low interest rate environment prevalent in many developed market economies it makes little sense to park one’s investment money in conservative fixed income investments that offer poor yields; perhaps even yields lower than expected inflation rates. Given the fact that the first few years of Baby-Boomers are now retiring, and people in retirement tend to favor income-producing investments, it seems there should be considerable demand for alternatives to bonds.    more ...


Columnists > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Expat Investments in a Low Interest Rate World

Posted by: Jamie on Saturday March 10, 2012 (18:01:37)   (2970 Reads)

Tom Zachystal

by Expat Focus investment partner, Tom Zachystal

On August 9th Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, made an unprecedented announcement (although I guess by now we should be used to unprecedented announcements from the Fed). He announced that the Fed would keep US target interest rates low for two years. Never before has the Fed committed to a time-span for its interest rate policy.

Many investors were disappointed that the Fed didn’t announce a further economic stimulus measure but in fact the actual announcement is much more useful because it helps bring certainty to what has become a very uncertain investment market.    more ...


Columnists > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

How to Avoid Expat Investment Scams

Posted by: Jamie on Saturday March 10, 2012 (17:53:23)   (4285 Reads)

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 discuss 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 ...


Columnists > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

How does a QROPS UK pension transfer overseas work? (Part 1)

Posted by: Jamie on Saturday March 10, 2012 (17:51:17)   (2430 Reads)

Tom Zachystal

A number of readers have asked how the process of transferring UK pensions overseas typically works. In this part one of a two-part column we will look at the people and agencies involved in the transfer process and the various associated costs. In part two, we will look at the paperwork that needs to be completed and steps that need to be taken in order to effectuate a UK pension transfer.

First let’s identify the parties that may be involved in the transfer process:

- At a minimum your UK pension provider and the QROPS administrator must be involved.
- In the case of an occupational scheme, your pension might be administered by a financial services firm on behalf of your company; so your corporate pension administrator as well as the pension company representative might be involved.    more ...