Last update on December 04, 2018

Before moving abroad, make sure your finances, pension plan, housing payments, tax arrangements and investments are carefully organised for the big move, too.

Finally, after a likely long and arduous decision-making process, you are moving abroad and are ready to experience life as an expat. You have made your list and carefully planned out your move.

House hunting? Check.

Job applications? Check.

Farewell parties? Check.

You have done all the exciting parts of the planning. But have you also carefully planned one of the most important parts of your move – your finances? It is not as simple as packing up all your belongings and shipping them to your new home. Expat financial planning requires a lot of time and effort, and to help you get started here is an ‘Expat Financial Checklist’ that you can use – wherever you are planning to move.

Expat Financial Checklist

Simply tick them off as you go and you will be all set for your new adventure abroad.

1. Banking

Before you move:

  • Inform your bank of your intention to move abroad.
  • Update contact details with your bank.
  • Enquire about fees and accessibility while you are away.
  • Cancel any direct debits or standing orders which are unnecessary.
  • Pay any outstanding debt (credit cards, store cards etc.).
  • Consider opening an offshore bank account (with multi-currency options) to keep your money safe and secure.

After you move:

  • Open a local bank account for day-to-day finances.

2. Pension

  • Find out how you can continue making contributions to your pension while I’m away, if your want.
  • If you are retiring abroad, find out how you can access your pension.
  • Find out how the tax system in your new country will impact your pension.

3. Investments and estate planning

  • Research how your existing investments will be affected by your move abroad and where you should hold your investments.
  • If you want to invest, research what offshore investments will work for you.
  • Research how your estate will be affected by your move abroad.
  • If you have an ISA, make necessary contributions before you leave.
  • Contact a qualified investment specialist to help you organise your investment portfolio.

4. Tax

  • Inform tax agency (for example, HMRC in the UK) of your intention to move.
  • Research the tax system of your new country, including if a double tax agreement exists between your home country and destination country, and what applies to you.
  • Find out if you will pay Capital Gains Tax on any existing properties or assets in your home country.
  • Find out if you will pay Capital Gains Tax on any properties or assets in your new country.
  • Contact a qualified tax planning expert to help you if you need advice.

5. Property

  • If selling existing property, hire an agent and solicitor.
  • If planning to rent out existing property, arrange management (such as finding tenants, collection of rent, repair) and relevant insurance.
  • If you have an existing mortgage, request permission from your mortgage provider to rent out your property and organise suitable insurance
  • If you have an existing mortgage, reset (increase) it so that interest payments on mortgage offset as much of the rent as possible.

Organising your finances before and after you move abroad can be tedious. You might find yourself steering your mind away from the stressful parts of the planning, in favour of the more fun bits of moving abroad. In certain, even if you are well organised, you may need to speak to a professional to get advice that is specific to your needs, but you have to make sure that the adviser you are speaking to is regulated in the country of your destination.