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Moving Abroad - Financial Aspects

Clearly the financial aspects of moving abroad are amongst the most important considerations. We all know that the costs of moving within the UK can seem exorbitant, so the potential for escalating costs when planning to live in another country is enormous. However, there are some sensible things that you can do to try to keep the costs under control.

This page of the Guide is not the comprehensive answer to your own personal financial situation - you need professional advice for that - but it does provide you with some tips on how to go about getting the most for your money during the process of moving abroad. It also lists some of the financial aspects that you should check before you take the plunge; you need to know that you will be able to afford to live in your new country once you have moved.

Moving

  • Make sure you do your research: do price comparisons in the area to which you want to move and ensure that you are not paying an inflated price.
  • Don't buy in haste. Take your time and give yourself a cooling-off period. Use the criteria exercise on the Making the Decision page to help you to make the right decision.
  • Make sure that you use a reputable mortgage broker to get the best deal. There is a good range of international mortgage brokers in the UK so shop around. As an example, take a look at www.seemoney.co.uk .
  • Transferring money can be expensive, so try to do it when the exchange rate is favourable. Use a currency broker that has a clearing facility with no charges attached. There are over 30 independent currency specialists in the UK; look at www.hifx.co.uk for an example of what they offer.
  • Try to secure the exchange rate after you have put down your deposit by using a 'forward contract'. Your currency broker will do this for you.
  • If you have a sterling pension and are moving to a country within the Euro zone, you can receive it in your new country of residence and fix the sterling/euro exchange rate for two years, so you know how much you will get each month. Note that this may change after Brexit takes effect in 2019.
  • Make sure that you cover all the bases in this country: tell the tax authorities, arrange for your UK post to be forwarded, make sure that you keep your UK voting rights and review all your own personal circumstances to ensure that you have done everything to ensure that things go smoothly.

Moving Abroad links


Obviously, you can make all your financial transactions yourself and save the charges that currency specialists will make. However, you must weigh up carefully whether the fees will save or cost you money in the long run. At least talk to some companies to make some comparisons and to make judgements based on the facts as you see them.

Affordability

Remember that your financial issues don't begin and end with paying for your property. There are other financial issues that you must research before you make your final decision, so that you know that you will be able to afford your chosen life style. You may believe that your destination will provide a cheaper cost of living than here, but do your research and confirm this to your satisfaction. Think about and investigate the following:

  •  The tax regime in the country of your choice
  •  Local property charges
  • The arrangements in your planned country of residence for the UK state pension and any other pensions that you have
  • Travel costs, both locally and for trips back to the UK
  • Transport links and local infrastructure
  • The Expert Expatriate: Your Guide to Successful Relocation AbroadFood and drink
  • Eating out
  • Entertainment
  • Household goods
  • Utilities, including water
  • Clothes
  • Medical care and the costs thereof

You can probably think of other expenses that you, as a household, incur. Make a list and then do your research on them. Remember, too, that the real cost of things will change according to the exchange rate, so make sure that you will be able to afford things even if the exchange rate gets worse.

Clearly, the financial aspects of moving abroad are key to the success of the whole exercise. Don't shortcut on them; investigate and research them as thoroughly as possible, get some professional advice (or at least research it, so that you can make an informed decision whether to pay for it or not) and be as sure as you possibly can be that the finances will work.


This Guide is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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