Expat money matters: How to protect your cash
Getting your finances in proper order before relocating overseas is vital to achieve happiness and be rid of any worries in your new home.
Leaving the UK for an exciting new life overseas? Whether you are planning to stay away for good or just escaping the British winter, getting your finances in order is vital for your future health, wealth and happiness.
Expat health insurer AXA PPP International outlines the top things expats should consider including:
- Income – will your income be in pounds or local money, and what taxes will you have to pay?
- Banking – which is the best local bank for you?
- Healthcare – do you want to come back to the UK for treatment?
Some expats are paid in the local currency, while others have to bring cash across from the UK. Both have pros and cons. Being paid in the local currency seems simple, but can have tax implications and become problematic if the local currency loses value against the pound.
You may, for example, be taxed in both the UK and the country you are living in — meaning you have to make a double taxation claim and could end up out of pocket. If you receive your income in pounds, meanwhile, you’ll need to think about how to change it into money you can use locally. Withdrawing money using a UK debit card is not a good option long term. Charges can add 5 percent or more to the cost, while the exchange rates offered by banks are often poor.
That’s why savvy expats use specialist money transfer services to bring cash from their UK accounts to their local ones. These companies can generally offer lower charges and better rates, as well as services designed to reduce your vulnerability to currency fluctuations.
Choosing a local bank account is one of the most important financial decisions you will make when moving abroad. You might be able to open an account with a UK bank where they have branches overseas. But research all the options before making your choice.
Things to check include:
- Account fees
- Financial stability
- Interest rates
If you want a UK credit card for overseas usage, it is also important to choose one that offers fee-free spending. Just remember to avoid withdrawing cash using a credit card, and to avoid interest charges by clearing the balance in full each month.
Healthcare costs — and standards — vary widely around the world. You’ll need to pay for doctor consultations in most countries around the world, and the cost for the most straightforward check-ups might surprise you.
You will not benefit from the free care you are used to receiving in the UK from the NHS, which is funded by your National Insurance Contributions. Unless your employer offers health insurance as part of your overseas package, setting up a personal policy can therefore prove a very sensible move.
Things to check when choosing expat health insurance include whether the provider will settle hospital claims upfront and whether it will repatriate you to the UK for emergency treatment if necessary.
If you’re considering relocating abroad or have recently moved, why not give yourself one less thing to worry about by knowing your healthcare costs are covered. Call AXA PPP International today on +44 (0) 1892 596 420* to speak to their experts and get a quote.
*Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (UK time). Calls may be recorded and/or monitored for quality assurance, training and as a record of the conversation.
AXA PPP International / Expatica
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