Offshore Banking, Savings and Investment News
News and information for expatriate and international investors and savers.
How to find the best expat destination and live a better life abroad.
Apparently Australia is the best place in the world to live – according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Better Life Index anyway! And obviously most of the hundreds of thousands of British people who have already emigrated Down Under agree.
But what is it about Australia that makes it the perfect place to enjoy a ‘better life’? And would the criteria that see Australia scoring so high in the OECD’s Index actually match your own personal requirements for a new place to live a better life abroad?
When it comes to choosing the best place in the world to start a new life it comes down to personal preferences. But we have to agree, the OECD’s Better Life Index is a great place to start your research – even if you already know that Australia tops the league! Here’s how you can use the Index to find your own perfect nation – because whilst Australia tops many of the Index’s own criteria, your individual preferences may see a different nation topping your own personalised chart.
Does living the best expat life possible have to come at a very high price?
The interesting results of two expat-centric surveys have been released this month. The first discusses where one can find the best quality of life in the world, the second talks about the most expensive places in the world for expats to live.
At first glance it seems there’s a direct relationship between where in the world you can find happiness, and where in the world you will have to pay a very high price to live! But does that exclusively mean that a high quality of expat life is expensive? Is happiness really synonymous with wealth?
We decided to take a closer look at the findings and draw our own conclusions…
Expat mortgages are available for British expats who want to buy, buy-to-let or remortgage in the UK.
As everyone knows, it’s harder than ever to get a mortgage in the UK at the moment. And if you’re an expat, it’s impossible right? Wrong! Whilst some headlines might suggest otherwise, we can categorically assure you that expats are being approved for mortgages to buy property in the UK, as long as they approach the right lenders.
Yes, some of the bigger banks and lenders have pulled all of their finance for international citizens – but some of the smaller private banks and also UK based building societies recognise that there are plenty of high calibre potential clients out there, and they are willing to lend them money to buy homes in the UK.
We have identified a number of lenders and brokers all willing to work with expats, and we thought we’d share these with you as well as the criteria that you will typically have to fulfil to be considered for a loan. The British property market really is ripe for an expat’s picking right now – so don’t be put off by the concern that you might not be able to raise the capital required to purchase.
The EU is suing Spain for misinterpreting the European Health Insurance Card: expats need to be aware of its restrictions
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) has been in the headlines of late because of the news that the European Commission is launching legal action against Spain over the refusal of some Spanish hospitals to accept the card and the scheme that it forms a part of. However, it’s not just Spanish hospitals and clinics that have been abusing the system, some expats have inadvertently been under the misapprehension that the EHIC covers them for long-term healthcare abroad.
Perhaps British expats need to understand the European Health Insurance Card restrictions more than most, because healthcare in the UK is free – therefore the assumption of some Brits living abroad is that the EHIC gives them long-term free healthcare overseas too. Unfortunately that is not the case…
The EHIC is intended to allow qualifying citizens the right to free or reduced cost emergency medical care overseas in any of the 27 EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Certain care for long-term conditions or even maternity services is also covered…but the EHIC is not for expats to use once they have relocated to a new nation permanently. What’s more, it’s not even a replacement for travel insurance for those simply travelling overseas.
HM Revenue and Customs is introducing new QROPS legislation to further protect expats and their pensions
In its ongoing battle to make QROPS (qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes) as well regulated as possible, HM Revenue and Customs have a number of brand new draft proposals doing the rounds at the moment. Interested parties have until the 21st of June to comment if they feel the new proposals need amending or redrafting. From the average expat’s point of view the new proposals mean very little at first glance, but in truth these new rules should make QROPS even more secure for anyone considering transferring their UK pension pot overseas.
When QROPS were first introduced following Pensions A-Day back in 2006, legislation was too lax and there were far too many corrupt individuals out there keen to exploit all of the loopholes to potentially rip expats off. Nowadays, thankfully HMRC has clamped down on the worst schemes and even the worst offending nations, delisted as many dodgy QROPS as possible, and put more measures in place to protect you.
However, what do you need to know to ensure that you’re making the right decisions for the long-term growth and protection of your pension, and how can you be sure that a QROPS transfer is right for you…?
Are you making the most of your time abroad by saving and investing your wealth appropriately for your expat status?
As soon as you move abroad and become non-resident in the UK for tax purposes a whole new world of financial opportunity is opened up for you as an expatriate. That’s the good news! The bad news is that with opportunity there comes risk – and the main risk is making the wrong decisions for the benefit of your wealth. As an expat you have to think differently about your money…
For a start you’re exposed to different issues that can affect your wealth, from currency conversion risks to the risk of choosing the wrong offshore jurisdiction for the safe investment of your money. Fortunately, if you take expat appropriate advice from qualified and regulated financial advisers, you are more likely to be as well informed as possible, and ensure every decision you make is the right one for the long term health of your wealth.
That said, if you do decide to go it alone and make your own financial decisions, there are 5 common traps that expats need to avoid if they want to prevent their wealth’s health from risk and potential erosion. In this report we will highlight the main risks, and also explain how you can get in the right international mindset for the benefit of your expat finances.
As more British expats move their money out of sterling, where is your money safest?
According to the BritishExpats.com website, British expats have been moving their savings out of sterling and into their local currencies. Since September last year there has been a significant change in the way Britons are choosing to hold their money.
Whilst the move may seem relatively small in percentage terms at first glance, it does add up to quite a loss for the UK’s pound as greater numbers of Britons abroad believe more in the strength of their new nation’s currency, compared to the UK’s pound.
In an article penned on the subject, the excellent website references research carried out by Lloyds TSB International which has identified that whilst in September 2012 26 percent of British expats had the majority of their savings in sterling, this has since dropped to just 13 percent to date. But this really begs the question, which currency is best for your expat savings?
Expat Explorer 2013: it’s time to submit your answers in the biggest expat survey.
The annual Expat Explorer Survey has been released for 2013 by HSBC, and it’s time to take part. It’s a survey open to all expatriates, and last year over 5,300 expats from over 100 countries took part. The aim of the survey is to get as good an impression of all aspects of expat life around the world, in a bid to be able to present a clear picture of what it’s like to live abroad in different nations.
Websites like ours find the results fascinating, because it allows us to inform our readership about where in the world expatriates prefer living, where they earn more, have greater disposable income, where the lifestyle is the best, and how expats make the most of their money when living, working or even retired abroad.
However, the survey is only worthwhile if enough expatriates take part, which is why we’re promoting it today for all expats everywhere! Despite being run by HSBC, the survey ensures your complete confidentiality and privacy. Expat Explorer 2013 will hopefully be the biggest and best yet, as greater numbers of expats now know about its existence. Please help us spread the word, and get involved too. The more people who respond, the greater the ultimate resource will be in the end.
HMRC’s rules relating to residency have changed and some British expats now owe tax in the UK.
Did you know that there has been an overhaul of the rules relating to residency and domicile in the UK? Are you non-resident abroad for taxation purposes? Are you sure? You might have thought you could just ensure you spend 6 months living abroad and avoid all UK taxation for the tax-year in question – but chances are you could now be wrong.
Expats are discovering that there have been changes to HMRC’s rules relating to residency for tax purposes, which came into effect on the 6th of April 2013. For most Britons living abroad the new rules have no impact upon them whatsoever. And if you’re permanently resident abroad and have no assets or liabilities in the UK you can probably forget about the new rules…
But for everyone else, you need to take a look and ensure you’re not affected by the changes - because if you are, you could now have a tax liability in the UK that you never even knew about. As always when it comes to taxation, never assume – always ensure. This is because the onus is always on the individual to pay what they owe or face the consequences.
Expats living in Spain and with overseas assets fear a tax or asset grab by the Spanish tax authorities.
No one can fail to have noticed just how heavily impacted certain nations have been by the global recession. Spain is one of the most badly affected countries: unemployment, and in particular youth unemployment, is running at a record level for example, and poverty is impacting growing numbers of citizens.
As a result of the dire state of the Spanish economy, the government of Spain is desperately looking around for ways to raise much needed tax revenue. And following hot on the heels of what happened in Cyprus earlier this year, everyone is concerned that the Spanish may launch an asset grab of their own.
These are particularly worrying times for British expats living in Spain – compounded by new declaration rules which came into effect at the beginning of this month, and which require anyone with overseas assets worth in excess of EUR 50,000 to declare them to the authorities. A great deal of confusion abounds about these new rules, so we hope to clarify them and explain how Britons can potentially protect their position in this article.