5 INVESTMENT TIPS WHEN WORKING ABROAD

As the year draws to a close, numerous South Africans are frequenting jobsites as they hunt for opportunities further afield. If you are one of those who are on the cusp of finding work in a foreign country, you have the rare opportunity of reviewing and restructuring your investment or retirement savings plans before the fun begins.

Chris Nel

Chris Nel
Certified Financial Planner
and Admitted Attorney

Featured in

By doing this, you can curb your exposure to volatile exchange rates while managing the other risks that come with relocating to another country. There are 5 important considerations when restructuring your investment portfolio, which can help you to protect your interests.

1. Intentions

There is no way of accounting for life’s unexpected events, which makes it near impossible to have a clear understanding of what your future intentions will be. However, it is imperative to take note of what your short-, medium- and long-term intentions are currently. Not only will this enable you to make alterations as troubles arrive, but it can greatly assist in bridging the gap between your investment goals and your financial needs.

2. Currency

With the volatility of the Rand, South Africans are knowledgeable when it comes to the inherent risks around currency movements. This is one of the biggest hidden risks that must be considered when moving abroad while retaining investments in SA, or even globally. Again, these risks must always align with your financial needs.

Currency movements can become a double-sided coin. You may benefit from a sudden uptick, or you may be left short-changed depending how the coin lands. Either way, this daily swing in currency fluctuations adds to the underlying risk of your investments – especially in the short term. Currency diversification is a good thing when it comes to long term investing, but you don’t want to be withdrawing in Rands to fund a Dollar/Pound need, so it is important to consolidate your investments at the right time.

3. Taxation

Ben Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” While this is still true today, it’s always best to first take a glaring look at your taxes, because the tax hurdle can be a burden even in death.

It can be a daunting prospect to sort out your annual tax return in one country, never mind dealing with multiple tax jurisdictions. When moving abroad this is an almost inevitable consideration, and you need to make sure that you are aware of all the factors at play to find the most optimal solution.

When moving to a new country you need to take stock of how your investments are structured, and more specifically where these investments are based. In the modern age of global nomadism, it is becoming easier to invest anywhere in the world. Seek clarity on how and when your investment will be taxed and, subsequently, what effect the taxes will have on your investment portfolio, your compliance status in South Africa, as well as your estate.

4. Estate

The event of death is the second certainty to be cognizant of when bidding your country farewell. Should you pass away, you want a smooth distribution of your estate assets to your heirs. Leaving your family to chase endless paper trails in your absence is unnecessary and can be avoided.

The complexities of winding up an expatriate estate is often overlooked. Many people are oblivious to the major roadblocks that could crop up; not just for your heirs, but also for the appointed executors (if any) and the financial institutions involved. This issue is only intensified when you have assets/investments scattered around the globe, because then they will be dealing with multiple legal systems.

To protect yourself against this, you must be aware of where your investments and assets are situated, as well as the legal and tax implications on your estate.

5. Liquidity

This can be a vital component that will affect your decision-making, especially if you are relocating with your family. Before setting sail, you must always consider how accessible and liquid your funds or investments are. Not having money when you need it most, can be a fatal blunder when you are in a foreign country. It is always best to have a safety net for unexpected financial setbacks.

There are different investment vehicles and options out there. Some can create a lot of confusion and others are treated as secret recipes for expatriates. A well-structured global endowment, an updated will or a risk assessment could potentially make all the difference in preparing for life in another country.

In preparation for the big move, be sure to consult a financial professional who can provide clear and expert advice that caters for your needs and goals. Keep these five easy tips handy when meeting with your advisor. Discuss possible solutions to each point until you have peace of mind that your concerns have been addressed.

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