Moving overseas - finances - must does and must don'ts!(18 Posts)
DH just accepted 2 year contract in the Middle East which starts in Sept, so still in the excited phase of things at the mo. But, have started to think about all things money and it seems like a minefield! Sooo, those of you that have done it what do I definitely need to do and what should I definitely not do on the financial front...
We're hoping to rent out our house so there is that to think of, but what about pensions, kids savings, travel insurance, paying UK NI, opening bank accounts overseas, transferring spare cash (hopefully there may be a little!) back to the UK....
Any info most welcome!
your house rental income will be taxable in the UK and will need a tax return doing. Keep a UK bank account for this, set everything to online and make a note of phone numbers as geographic format. As non-resident landlords you can ask the agent to pay the rent to you gross - you still have to pay the tax eventually but it helps cashflow. Money moves by online banking.
you can do tax returns online BUT last time I looked, the HMRC system didn't allow this if you were non-resident for tax purposes (the very people who need it!). Check this, otherwise you'll have to post the return for the earlier deadline.
travel insurance is a bugger if you haven't been in the UK for six months before. You need to have a UK address and be registered with a GP. See if your husband's company can help.
things you can't have while you are declared non-resident for tax purposes: new ISAs (the old ones can stay), tax relief on stakeholder pensions. Not sure on other pensions; again, ask the company.
savings accounts can all stay where they are, but do keep an eye on the current pitiful interest rates.
Set your credit cards to pay off either the minimum or the balance each month, whichever works best for you.
See if your current bank will allow you to do easy/ cheap transferring internationally. It's often income/savings dependent but if you are eligible it makes things a whole heap easier.
If you rent your house you need to let your mortgage provider and insurance company know. They may well make you remortgage on a buy to let basis (ours didn't) and your insurance premiums may go up (ours did).
Transferring money back is not hard - either Internet banking or interbank transfer. Check with your bank abroad and at home about fees - they can add up.
I'm not sure how you do your kids' savings but ours have one of those child trust fund accounts each and we just keep a bit of money from the income from our house rental to transfer in every month (set up as a direct debit).
Keep some money in the UK for house emergencies, periods where your house hasn't got tenants, months were you have lots if bills and they eat up all the rental income (this happens frighteningly often, especially as tenants seem to need tradesmen to fix all those little things you would do yourself as a home owner, or just put up with!).
Be aware your child benefit will stop - if it hasn't already with the change to the income threshold.
Get good critical illness/life insurance etc cover just in case.
Check the repatriation part of your DH's contrast. Who pays when you want or need to come home, either at the end if your contract or in case of sickness or other emergency.
I don't know the answer re UKNI - you used to be able to make voluntary lump sum contributions to keep up, but I'm not sure. That should be an easy question for a government department to answer, though.
Thank you so much - some really useful points from all of you! Glad to know kids savings can stay put - they have child trust funds but their own savings accounts too for pocket/birthday money & didn't really want to have to move them.
Do we need travel insurance & what type of policy should we get? Hoping to come back at Christmas then next summer so would we be better getting an annual policy or should I do single trip cover once we're out there? Sorry, trying to get my head around the whole not living in the UK thing!!
I think you will need to get travel insurance from the country you're living in for the trips back as you won't be eligible for UK travel insurance as non-residents.
However if you are on a secondment with your husband's job they will probably be paying flights back for you and it may be more straightforward to just ask them to include insurance as part of the package (they will have a cover - all corporate travel policy for employees). We have just been re-located to Australia and my husband's work covered our travel here, which includes a few weeks travel insurance to cover us for medical, theft, etc until we get ourselves sorted.
We have no return trips back in my husband's package so I will book them myself and arrange travel insurance from here (but may be more complex from the middle east).
Also have a look at some of the bank websites some do quite good guides for expats leaving the UK. I know HSBC do one that will cover some of the tax and other issues. As a non-resident you can apply to have savings interest paid gross (so without tax deducted at source). You can make NI contributions too so that you will have full pension (if such a thing exists in the future). How long are you going to be away for? When you leave you should notify HMRC and complete a form so that they know the date from which you are non-resident (I think it's a P85 - but it's a long time since we left so don't quote me on that!). HMRC will then generally inform you about NI contributions and what you need to pay - they did with me in any case.
Not too sure about insurance we've always just bought it locally .
If you want to keep your current UK cell number, transfer it onto PAYG before you go. Useful for when you come back.
It can be easier to set up bank accounts in the new country from the UK. If you are an HSBC customer, they allow you to do this (can often only set up a savings account but still easier). I set up my Dubai bank account from the UK. It made it easier when I got there, as then I just went in and added a current account to an existing customer profile.
Just to confirm that you're not entitled to the tax break on pensions (personal or stakeholder) but you can still contribute to them if you wish (no real point though).
Your husbands company should be provincial you with a tax consultant who specializes in expat tax... Whilst they can give financial advice they can help with most of the things you mention. If he's working for a large multinational then it'll usually be one of the Big 4.
Think the travel insurance is starting to make sense - thanks for the pointers. Travel is covered so will check if insurance is included - good suggestion.
Thanks Merlion for the info on savings interest & contacting HMRC - will add to my to do list which is getting ever bigger!
Anyone got any favoured banks to use both here and overseas?
HSBC- choice of expats everywhere.
Just the fact that they are truly international helps a lot- can get a "global view" on their internet banking which means you can see all your accounts together etc, wherever you move, they are usually there.
You will find that service levels vary by country, but even where they are a bit crap, they re usually less crap than the alternatives :-)
HSBC are hopeless! We choose a local bank that gave air miles on the cc and pay for everything local with that. You can bank with lloyds tsb or barclays offshore and sweep any savings into that or back to the uk, but the interest rate on savings is appalling in the UK. If your husband opens an account locally to be paid, and something happens to him, it will be frozen and you can't get money out until the will is sorted out. It can take months. Even if its joint account, I think ( not sure)
When you arrive in the ME, get a will done ASAP to ensure if anything happens to one or both of you, the money and dc come under international law.
If you go on expatwoman there is a site for where you are in the ME and lots of help and advice.
Lavenderhoney - thank you so much, that's very useful information. We are updating will prior to leaving & wouldn't have thought about it not carrying weight overseas! Will def checkout the site you mentioned
I've just had a reminder for my TV license. It seems I can get a refund! So, don't forget to cancel that before you leave.
You can also ask HMRC to send you a pension forecast which will detail how many years of state pension you have already earned. You can then make voluntary contributions when you are overseas - approx 14 GBP per week.
ripsishere, just had my renewal through to, called up & they said to let them know 2 weeks before I want to cancel & will sort out the refund, great stuff!
Shanghaidiva - thanks for that, have the NI contributions on my list but didn't think about getting a pensions forecast - mind you, how long before there is no state pension??
If you don't already have life insurance and critical illness in place it's worth getting something sorted before you leave as UK life insurance policies are much much cheaper than expat ones. You will need to triple check that the policy will still cover you if you're not resident (some do, some don't). If you already have life insurance etc in place then check with your insurer that you'll still be covered for if none resident.
Agree HSBC is useless - a lot of people use them thinking they're the same as back home and it will make life easier. It doesn't. However, if you have enough in savings to qualify for a premier account (aka a lot - it's hundreds of thousands) then apparently they're quite good.
Depending on where in the ME you're going your English (or whichever) will may be valid. Certainly is in my sandpit (Qatar).
Living - thanks so much, very useful info. Think may just make do and mend on the bank front as do not have the funds for some of the expat accounts I've come across. I managed many moons ago with a local account and a UK account so will try this route again, though may be entirely different in ME!
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