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Articles > Financial


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

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (03:22:25)
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 (03:20:52)
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 (03:19:15)
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 (03:17:30)
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 (03:16:32)
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 (03:15:20)
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 ...

Articles > Financial


Foreign property investment - understanding opportunity cost

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (03:13:27)
by Alan Forsyth

Understanding the Opportunity Cost of any decision you make is critical - to ensure you make the best choices to maximise your profits, long term earnings.

While most investors have got involved in property investing because they understand the opportunities to make money through leverage and capital growth or high yields, I still see and hear of many who do not fully understand opportunity cost.

Remember anyone that gets into property is usually in it to generate money or income - how many deals/properties you own is insignificant.

So what does opportunity cost mean?   more ...

Articles > Financial


The Trailing Spouse Learns Banking

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (03:11:40)
Submitted by an Expat Focus reader

Early on in our relationship, I decided to impress my would-be husband. I enrolled in a course on financial issues - learning all about bull markets, bear markets and share prices. I spent 12 weeks sitting in the hall of the Australian Stock Exchange learning about dividends and options. I am not sure whether or not it impressed him when I casually mentioned that the market seemed a bit 'bullish' but, at any rate, I learned some of the jargon. After we were married though, my lack of knowledge as far as financial issues are concerned became glaringly apparent. I think it is one of those left brain /right brain things. He was the financial whiz. I was the literate one. He used a calculator. I picked up a book.

When we had children the division continued. He helps with maths homework; I help with English homework.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Expat Budgeting and Cost Of Living

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (03:10:33)
Most of us would love to be able not to worry about our monthly finances or the cost of living. Assuming for a moment that you’re not one of the super-rich, it’s probably a fair bet that you’ve researched the cost of living in your new home country or the country you’re thinking about moving to.

If you’ve not been in your new country for that long, then you may also have experienced the bafflement of checking your monthly outgoings and thinking “that can’t be right based on what I read back in the UK.”

In either situation, you’ve probably read a pile of statistics from numerous sources and had lots of conversations with other expats. All this told you that the cost of living in your new country should be massively cheaper than ‘back home’ and you’ll be able to get by on a pittance.

So, why is the reality so often different?   more ...

Articles > Financial


Spanish Capital Gains Tax

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (03:08:48)
by Lucy Peacock from Home Espana

Spanish tax laws are often confusing for Spaniards and non-Spaniards alike. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) - the tax which you must pay on the profits from selling your home in Spain - is no exception. The following is a brief overview of the rules, which we hope will allow you to work out very roughly how much you would have to pay if you sold your property. You should consult a lawyer for complete advice.

CGT is payable on the profits you make from any property sale. That is, it is payable on the difference between the purchase price (as stated on the original "escritura") and the sale price, less the buying and selling costs. The CGT tax rate for Spanish residents is 15%, calculated as part of income tax. Non-residents pay a flat rate of 35%. If you purchase a property from a non-resident, you are required to withhold 5% of the total purchase price and pay it directly to the tax authorities.   more ...

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