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Articles > Financial


Currency transfer - Top tips to avoid losing out on exchange rates

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (05:05:32)
By Elisabeth Dobson, Head of Private Clients at World First

Small shifts in foreign currency exchange rates are common and happen in short spaces of time. However, over the past few days (article written September 17, 2009) sterling has dropped off steadily by over 2%.

If you have entered into a contract to buy your property abroad and before you’ve paid for it the exchange rate shifts to go against you like this, it effectively increases the sterling cost to you.

For example, last August a house on the market for €250,000 would have cost you £194,850. But at the moment it would cost you about £222,301 – an increase of £27,451 in a matter of weeks.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Overseas Pensions and Social Benefits for Expats

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (05:04:02)
Many expats living overseas, particularly those approaching or at retirement age, start to worry whether or not they can get their pensions and other benefits paid outside of their country of origin.

The good news here is that in the vast majority of cases this is never a problem, though there can be some things worth considering. Do please remember that the issues relating to receiving your state pension overseas can vary hugely depending upon your nationality, your work and contributions history and the country you are moving to. There are too many variables here for a short article to consider so YOU MUST CONSULT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE FOR DETAILS RELATING TO YOUR SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES. What you read here are general statements of principle only.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) - Intro

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (05:03:02)
It's always a little sad when one has to start worrying about pensions.

Expats are no different to most people in that the word 'pensions' reminds us that aging is inexorable and that we need to think about making some sort of provision for that period in our lives when work may be a thing of the past.

For expats there are always added complexities. Will the pension be payable locally? Will it be taxed back in the old country? What are the currency issues? How will legislation 'back home' affect me if I'm living overseas?

This is a vast and complicated area and this is the first in a short series of articles that will examine one particular aspect of the pensions maze – QROPS. This slightly scary acronym stands for Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pensions Scheme and relates to how expats can move their pensions out of the UK to their new country of residence.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) - Why?

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (05:01:12)
In the first article in this short series, we outlined a little of the background to the UK government's decision to permit pension fund transfers out of the UK to overseas arrangements in certain circumstances. We also had a brief look at what exactly a QROPS was.

In this article we will look briefly at why an expat may choose to move their funds out of the UK into a QROPS.

Protect your interests!

There is no apology here for stating again that if you're considering what to do with your pension funds then you MUST consult a qualified and registered expert. Any article of this nature must of necessity be summarised and non-specific. Your circumstances will be individual to you, so do not make decisions based exclusively upon this article or any of a similar nature.   more ...

Articles > Financial


Currency transfer - Stay in control, no need to panic!

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (04:55:40)
By Elisabeth Dobson, Head of Private Clients at World First

At the time of writing, we have just seen sterling lose around 3% in value against the euro – in a matter of days.

Whilst on the surface this may seem insignificant, if you’re relying on a sterling income to finance your life in Spain, a shift like this could be make or break time.

The pound started to tumble against the euro during the course of 2008 and in January and March this year, we have been close to parity. Suddenly, paying your euro mortgage is costing you significantly extra or your weekly shop is eating more into your pension. It is a fact that sadly many British expats have had to return to the UK as they just cannot afford to continue to live in Spain, with the increase in prices the strengthening euro has brought about.   more ...

Articles > Financial


UK Expat Tax Specialist Oliver Heslop talks to Expat Focus

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (04:53:11)
In this edition of the podcast (download here or listen online from 07:40 onwards here) we talk to UK expat tax specialist and Expat Focus partner Oliver Heslop about some of the basic issues British expats, or those who have moved to the UK from abroad, should be aware of regarding UK taxation. Oliver worked in Arthur Andersen's expat teams for over 10 years before taking an expatriate advisory position with Ernst & Young in 2007. He joined Shipleys as a principal in 2010 as a highly experienced UK tax specialist dealing with cross border issues arising from the movement of people between different countries and businesses. Oliver works with a variety of expatriate clients - some are large multinationals with secondees in 30 or more different countries while others may have one or two executives appointed to senior positions abroad who require tax planning. To contact Oliver directly for advice please use our UK expat tax enquiry form.

Articles > Financial


Ethical expat investment

Posted on Saturday December 03, 2011 (04:51:20)
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 (04:34:59)
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 (04:26:35)
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 (04:23:36)
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 ...