Managing expat finances – Finding the best advice

Managing expat finances – Finding the best advice

5th March, 2013

You’ve found somewhere to live. You’ve settled in. You’ve sorted out residency in your new home country. But what about your long term finances? It’s best to get the money side of life sorted out before you leave but because it isn’t always possible, I thought it would be useful to take a look at how to get your finances in good shape in your new home country.

Your first stop – identifying a trustworthy, experienced financial adviser

If your existing employer is relocating you, they might provide the support you need. You could go it alone and navigate the waters of your new home country’s system yourself, provided you have the time and inclination. Or you could find a good financial adviser – someone who already knows the ropes – to support you. There are countless financial products on the market, they differ by country and every nation’s regulatory system is different, which is why so many time-poor expats take the adviser route.

Company relocations

Large international blue chips often have teams of financial advisers available to make sure people like you access the right level of expertise. Some can provide guidance on tax matters too. If they don’t have internal resources, your employer might be able to put you in touch with a trusted accounting firm like KPMG or Ernst & Young.

If your employer doesn’t offer support or have suitable contacts to recommend to you, it’s down to you. Every country has its own financial advisers, but how do you know whether they’re properly qualified, reputable, trustworthy, affordable and experienced enough to handle expat finances? You need an adviser who will stay with you, get to know your circumstances and become a long-term partner, especially if your employer may post you to several different countries during your expat career.

How to find a good expat financial adviser

Here’s a financial adviser checklist to help you make the right choice.

  • Ask your expat community to see if they have discovered a firm or individual they trust and are happy to recommend
  • Ask your fellow employees and consult your employer’s HR/Finance departments
  • When you identify someone suitable, ask for client testimonials and follow them up
  • Check the adviser’s status to see who regulates them and under which jurisdiction they are qualified to operate
  • Ask for proof that they have the right levels of experience in the country you are moving to or have already moved to
  • Check if they already have experience working with expats
  • Ask about their qualifications to make sure they are properly trained, and that they receive on-going training to help them stay up to date
  • Always meet them in person before you make a final decision to discuss your circumstances and needs in detail

How will a good financial adviser support you?

You might have savings, in which case a financial adviser can deliver valuable advice about the tax rules and regulations in your new home country. You might be taxed differently and if so you need to know for sure you’re making the right decisions.

If you want to invest a good adviser will help you identify your attitude to risk while minimising the risks and maximising the potential. A professional will help you get your priorities straight, simply by taking the emotional heat out of the situation and seeing the wood for the trees. Of course you should remember that financial advisers are paid for their services and you should ensure that you understand and are comfortable with the costs involved and how these will be paid.

Consult our detailed expat country guides

Why not download our free eBook, The New Expat, which covers medical considerations, family matters, accommodation issues, financial arrangements and plenty more to make your expat life easier?

Share your expat finance experiences

Have you had any particularly good or bad experiences navigating expat finances? Please feel free to leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter: @now_health or on the Now Health Facebook page so we can share them with our readers.

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Alison Massey

Group Marketing Director

Now Health International

Alison Massey is a 15-year digital marketing veteran, who has spent the last seven years using social media to help expats and soon to be expats find out what to expect from a life overseas. An expat living in Hong Kong herself, Alison is the Group Marketing Director of Now Health, the award-winning international health insurance provider.

Contact Alison Massey

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