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06/03/2012Expert tips: Financial planning
Expatica financial expert Craig Welsh offers five tips on how to manage your finances effectively, especially if your life and work involves country-hopping.
- Bank Security
In light of the recent turbulence in the banking sector, you need to know if your bank deposits are protected by a government scheme. Each country has a different position on this, and offshore accounts in particular should be checked.
- Start saving for retirement early
The sooner you start to save, the longer your money has to work for you. It's becoming increasingly clear that both state and company pensions probably won't be enough for you to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Making your own provision for retirement is therefore becoming increasingly important. For the expatriate, an international savings plan provides flexibility, portability and tax-efficiency.
- Review existing pension arrangements
Recent legislation allows people with pensions left in the UK to move their pension overseas into a Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). This can be tremendously attractive as it offers a more flexible way of taking retirement benefits. It can be complex, however, and depends on your situation
- Diversify your assets
This is the golden rule of investing. Any investment portfolio should be well-diversified across a range of asset classes and take a global view. Too many investment plans are focused on one country or region, or even based on the fortunes of one company's share price. There are some excellent mutual funds available that can provide good growth and some protection in rough times, as well as 100% capital protected options.
Don't overlook your protection needs! The first step in financial planning should be to ensure that you and your family are suitably protected against unforeseen events, such as serious illness or death. Think about how your dependants would cope with the sudden loss of income (for instance, how this would affect their standard of living) and put proper protection plans in place.
Craig Welsh / Expatica
Craig Welsh runs the Amsterdam office of Spectrum IFA Group, a pan-European company which specialises in financial planning for expatriates. Spectrum IFA is an independent company and so works on the client's behalf and covers the following areas: Retirement Planning, International Savings Plans, Investment Advice / Wealth Managment, Insurances, Tax Planning.
For more information, and to ask Craig Welsh a question (or an IFA Group advisor in another location), visit our Ask the Expert section under the Finance category in your Expatica country of residence.
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