Home A checklist for moving your finances abroad
Last update on October 31, 2019

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

Finally, after a likely long and arduous decision-making process, you are moving abroad. You’re ready to experience life as an expat. Maybe you haven’t thought about moving your finances abroad, but you’ve definitely thought of the most exciting parts of the move.

House hunting? Check.

Essential things for when you get to your new country? Check.

Farewell parties? Check.

As fun as the other things are, you need to carefully plan your finances to make the most of your new adventure. It’s not as simple as packing up all your belongings and shipping them to your new home, however; even though moving your finances abroad can be a complex process, it needs to be done properly. Banking in different countries is, well, different; regulations and services will vary from what you’re used to, which means your approach should, too.

Moving your finances abroad doesn't need to be difficult

Expat financial planning requires a lot of time and effort. To help you get started, here is an expat financial checklist that you can use – wherever you are planning to move.

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

Banking and moving your finances abroad

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 that are unnecessary.
  • Pay any outstanding debt, including items such as credit cards or store cards.
  • 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.
  • Explore options for mobile banking to make managing your money transfers and account management easier.

Pension

  • Find out how you can continue making contributions to your pension while living in a different country.
  • If you plan to retire abroad, find out how to can access your pension.
  • Find out how the tax system in your new country will impact your pension.

Investments and estate planning

  • Research how your existing investments will be affected by your move abroad. You should also look into where you should hold your investments.
  • If you want to invest, research the offshore investments that work for you.
  • Research how your estate will be affected by your move abroad.
  • If you have an individual savings account, make necessary contributions before you leave.
  • Contact a qualified investment specialist to help you organize your investment portfolio.

Taxes and moving your finances abroad

  • Inform your local tax authority of your intention to move.
  • Research the tax system of your new country. Look into whether or not there is a double-tax agreement between your home country and destination country and also how it 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.

Property

  • Hire an agent and solicitor if you are selling property.
  • Arrange management (such as finding tenants, collection of rent, and repairs) if you plan to rent out your property. In addition, acquire a relevant insurance policy.
  • If you have an existing mortgage, request permission from your mortgage provider to rent out your property and organize 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.

Moving your finances abroad can be tedious at any point in the process. You might find yourself steering your mind away from the stressful parts of the planning, in favor of the more fun bits of moving abroad. Even if you are well organized, you may need to speak to a professional to get advice that is specific to your needs. In addition, make sure that the adviser you are speaking to is regulated in the country of your destination.