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Four Expat Investment or Financial Planning Considerations

By Don Freeman
This week we will discuss four of the 8 Expat investment considerations, the column will continue next week. The following are some of the key areas you will need to have a plan for and likely consult with knowledgeable experts about:
Exchange Rate or Remittance Planning. If your income is largely fixed and denominated in a currency different from the currency of the country you are an expatriate in, you will need to have a plan for dealing with exchange rate fluctuations as well as the transactional cost of remitting your money to you. In the worst case scenario where the exchange rate makes a big and sustained movement not in your favor, you may have to plan on making major cut backs on living expenses or even return home.
Inflation Planning. Chances are, your home country has low inflation as well as low interest rates, but emerging markets like Thailand tend to have much higher rates of inflation that your income or investment returns will need to keep pace with while keeping risk in mind as high returns can often mean higher risk of losses.
Emergency Planning. As an expat, you need to tie up cash in a much bigger emergency cash fund than you would otherwise need to back home. This emergency cash fund should be large enough to cover things like medical emergencies where cash may need to be paid upfront or to cover repatriation to your home country should you need to return home. You also need to keep in mind and plan for the likelihood that various social welfare entitlements like unemployment compensation or disability from your home country probably won’t cover you while living abroad and you may even need to reestablish residency back home in order to qualify.
Tax Planning. If you are an expat from certain countries like the United States where there is worldwide taxation or maintain a residence in you home country, you could face double taxation (unless there is a tax treaty in place) - meaning you need to consult with a tax expert to find out what taxes you and your investments could be liable for as investing in various offshore investments marketed to expats as a way to lower taxes may actually not make sense.
Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket, Thailand with over 15 years experience and provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. 089-970-5795 [email protected]

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Four Expat Investment or Financial Planning Considerations