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Financial

Financial > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Investment Account Considerations for US Expats


Tom Zachystal

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. In our financial planning practice we receive many enquiries from US expats regarding how best to deal with banking and investment accounts, especially US retirement accounts, and whether offshore or non-US investment accounts are a good idea for US expats.    more ...


Financial > Sharon Hill

Sharon Hill

Top Three Differences between Mortgages in France and the UK


Sharon Hill

Most people buying a French property need to raise some type of mortgage finance to help them make their dream come true. Often, the Estate Agent selling the property will offer assistance, putting the buyer in contact with a local bank. The local bank will rarely be in a position to offer advice and guidance and the purchaser could end up with a mortgage but no knowledge of the French mortgage market.

Lack of understanding can be catastrophic for buyers especially if they assume that French mortgages operate in the same way as in their home country. Without professional help, buyers could end up having their mortgage application refused by the lender resulting in not being able to proceed with the purchase, or with a mortgage unsuitable for their needs.    more ...


Financial > Oliver Heslop

Oliver Heslop

New UK Non-Residence Tax Rules And Their Implications For Expats


Oliver Heslop

As the expatriate tax director of Global Expatriate Tax Services Ltd and the official UK expat tax partner here at Expat Focus, I advise a large number of UK nationals based in the Middle East. I often first meet these clients by email and they ask “What is UK tax non-residence and does it matter?” Answer – Yes, it is vital! If you work abroad and you fail the UK non-residence tests, the UK tax can tax your total global earnings (including Middle East salary). A major tax advantage is lost. Our typical client in the Middle East does not expect to pay UK income tax on earnings. Also, the income tax due in their new country is also typically zero. So, it becomes critical that these Britons in the Middle East are no longer UK tax resident.    more ...


Financial > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

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


Tom Zachystal

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 ...


Financial > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Managing US Pension Accounts Outside the US


Tom Zachystal

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 then 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 ...


Financial > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Pitfalls of Exotic Expat Investment Strategies


Tom Zachystal

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 down-side or the up-side. 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 ...


Financial > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Expat Income Alternatives for a Low Interest Rate World


Tom Zachystal

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.

These alternatives should pay a good income stream, should be relatively conservative, should be able to withstand an inflationary environment, and should offer diversification benefits to stocks.    more ...


Financial > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Expat Investing in a Low Interest Rate World


Tom Zachystal

On August 9th Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, made an unprecedented announcement (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 ...


Financial > Expat Focus

Expat Focus

Currency Transfer for Expats – Transferring Money Overseas


Expat Focus

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 ...


Financial > Tom Zachystal

Tom Zachystal

Avoiding Expat Investment Scams


Tom Zachystal

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 ...