Offshore Banking, Savings and Investment News
News and information for expatriate and international investors and savers.
A new website lets would-be expats find their ideal place to live abroad.
Yesterday we wrote about how research from Lloyds Bank has shown that British expats who live abroad enjoy a better quality of life in general, thanks to factors such as having more money and being in a better environment to raise children. However, where in the world should you choose to live to ensure you too enjoy a better life?
Whilst life in the UK can be great, surveys are forever highlighting that expats are happier and better off abroad. We would caution that this can only be your reality if you get your country choice right. Fortunately, we can bring you data from a brand new online resource for would-be expats about where in the world to choose for a better quality of life.
According to MoveHub, which came online in November of this year to offer support to anyone moving abroad, the best cities in the world to live in include Zurich, Canberra, Adelaide and Berlin. MoveHub has compiled data showing where in the world to live depending on your criteria – for example, quality of life, cost of living, healthcare and crime rates. So let’s take a closer look at their recommendations.
New research proves that you could have a better quality of life living abroad.
According to comprehensive research undertaken by Lloyds Bank, by far the majority of British expats surveyed report being happier living abroad and raising their children overseas, and they also comment that their lives are improved by their greater financial wellbeing now that they are expats.
As a stand alone statement that should be sufficient food for thought for anyone thinking about whether they would be better off living abroad, surely! But let’s look a little closer at the research to see what it is about living overseas specifically that makes expats, on the whole, much happier.
According to the findings of Lloyds Bank British Wealth research, as quoted in a recent Telegraph article: “Nearly three-quarters of British expats feel they have a better overall quality of life in their new country than in the UK, thanks to better wages and a lower cost of living.” So, is it all about the money?
The Expat Survey is still open for respondents to get involved: interim findings reveal the expat experience can be challenging!
In August we introduced Shelter Offshore readers to an opportunity being offered by The Expat Survey – i.e., take part in the largest ever survey of expats and win cold hard cash! Well, we wanted to let you know that the opportunity is still available, but only for a few more weeks. And now the team behind the survey are beginning to release some of the most interesting interim findings.
The Expat Survey is being done in 3 parts. The first part, which went live in the summer, is all about becoming an expat and integrating abroad. Entitled Migration and Lifestyle, the section has received strong interest with expats from almost 100 nations getting involved and supplying their feedback.
The second part of the survey, Retail and Finance, was launched successfully a few weeks ago, and now the very final section, Travel and Health, has just gone live. You can now fill in all three sections at once – and the competition to win £1,000 is still very much open. In terms of the findings collated so far, let’s take a closer look…
Reintegration into life in the UK as a former expat can throw up unexpected challenges that shouldn’t be underestimated!
I read an interesting article by journalist Becky Lucas last week; it was all about moving back to the UK after seven years of living in Dubai. Becky’s piece was about how she was surprised that re-entry wasn’t totally smooth for her, and that repatriation seems to bring with it a few surprises.
Her piece was very well written – and it’s a tale that every single British expat who has returned to live in Blighty will be able to relate to. When I returned to the UK fulltime in 2008 I was initially thrilled to be back. I’d loved much of my time abroad, but by the end of my 10-year expat adventure I was tired of being so far from my family.
However, perhaps the biggest shock of all is that now, almost six years later I am still not fully reintegrated, and I have a stronger longing than ever to relocate elsewhere again. It’s not that I know where I want to live – it’s just that having seen how well elements of life work in different cultures, I am very dissatisfied with elements of life in Great Britain. I wonder if all former expats feel the same way?
Are expats always welcome in their newly adopted country abroad?
I moved abroad for the first time in 1998, and such was my youthful arrogance I never for a second thought I’d be unwelcome in my new country! Perhaps the entire concept of immigration was less an issue in the mind of the masses in Britain, and so I’d never had cause to think that anyone would be unwelcome in another’s land?
Fortunately I was welcome, particularly when I learned the language and put down sufficient roots that proved I wanted to integrate and make my new country home. However, I was fascinated to read a recent report in The Washington Post about where in the world foreigners are more or less welcome.
The article was written from the author’s assessment of an almost hidden section in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. Having now reviewed the section myself I can report on how welcome – or otherwise – expats are in their new home countries abroad. And the findings may well surprise you.
A frozen pension and a weak pound price Canada out of the expat retirement market.
The title of this article should really be 431.67 reasons not to retire to Canada…but we’ve rounded up for the sake of neatness! The figure refers to the reduction in the number of pounds that your state pension will buy you in Canada today, compared to just 6 and a half years ago, according to a shocking figure about the erosion of the value of the pound.
The survey was conducted by HiFX to highlight the fact that anyone transferring money abroad needs to work hard to get the best rate of exchange. However, the figures illustrate a much bigger story than this for anyone contemplating where in the world they can afford to retire.
British pensioners who choose to retire to Canada are so much worse off than their peers elsewhere in the world because of the drop in value of the pound compared to the Canadian dollar – but also because the British state pension is frozen if you do decide to retire to Canada.
Get your pension out of the British system and save it from the taxman! Look at whether you qualify for a QROPS.
The latest HSBC Expat Explorer Survey findings suggest that over 25% of British expats still keep their retirement savings in the UK. The Survey shows that 28% of all expats have made the decision to retain pensions in their old home nation, rather than either utilising the options available in their new country, or using a dedicated expat pension tool such as a QROPS. This means that many Brits are at risk of excessive taxation eroding their final pension.
QROPS – qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes – are pensions ideally suited to those British expats who want to remove their pension from the ever-changing pension and tax environment in the UK. As long as you have over £70,000 in your British based pension and you don’t have defined benefits that will outstrip potential QROPS returns, most Brits are advised to consider their QROPS options.
However, as the findings from HSBC’s survey suggest, many Britons have yet to look in depth at the alternatives open to them for the protection and advancement of their retirement savings. This is a concern because for a lot of Brits there are many more advantages to moving your pension abroad with you, rather than leaving it to stagnate in the UK…
So why is Germany such a good place to raise expat children?
I am personally unsurprised by the general high ranking of Germany in the 2013 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey (it ranks 2nd as the best place to live abroad), having lived there for 7 years and now having been forced to relocate elsewhere with work, I miss living in Germany as an expat every single day.
The quality of family orientated life is high, the people are friendly when you make the effort to get to know them, and once you’ve mastered the language Germany becomes true home very quickly.
According to the Expat Explorer Survey Germany is the best place in the whole world to raise expat children. Also unsurprising to me! But if you don’t know Germany you might have a very different understanding of what the country is truly like…
Do you know everything you need to know to ensure that your expat money is safely invested?
As soon as you move abroad and become non-tax resident in the UK, everything to do with the safe investment of your money changes. Sometimes expats aren’t made aware of this until they have been living abroad for some time, and this can dramatically impact the way their money grows. For example, your UK pension is no longer as tax efficient once you’re non-resident in the UK for tax, your UK bank account is no longer ideal for international withdrawals of cash, and your UK financial adviser is no longer qualified to give you advice.
What’s more, there are 3 even lesser known factors that could affect your expat money that you may not even know about – affecting your wealth for the better or the worse.
In this report we’re going to arm you with 3 critical pieces of information so that you can inform yourself and ensure your expat money is safe, secure and best invested according to your own personal situation and plans and goals for the future. The good news is, there is plenty you an do to improve your situation.
What’s it really like to live as an expat in the sovereign Arab state of Qatar?
A great deal has been written and published widely about moving to live in Dubai, but much less is known about what it’s really like to live as an expat in Qatar. The sovereign Arab state is following hot on Dubai’s heels in some senses, for example the numbers of new expats arriving daily in Doha is on the sharp increase, and Qatar is becoming known as a destination where expats can earn a very decent salary and have a high standard of living.
However, because less is known about what it’s really like to live in Qatar, some newly arrived expats really struggle to adjust to the realities of life so far away from home. In this report we’re going to share 7 tops tips from British expats who are already settled in Qatar, and who have been through everything you’re enduring right now!
The good news is that the lifestyle achievable for every member of the family is high. The bad news is that bureaucracy and rules change so often that any advice relating to visas, healthcare, education etc., needs to be rechecked for validity often! Beyond this summary however, there is an awful lot to get to grips with.