Before you move abroad, think about how you’ll manage your finances and any additional banking services you may need, such as managing money in more than one currency. Considering these issues before you move will make it easier when you arrive.

Relocating to another country for the first time can be daunting. You’ll not only need to consider everyday banking such as how you'll be paid and what you'll do with that money, but also longer term issues such as savings, investments and tax.

The benefits of offshore banking

For many people moving overseas, the most convenient way to manage their finances is with an offshore bank account for expats, which you can open before you leave the UK. These accounts can be useful for expats, who are likely to have to manage their money across more than one currency. It allows you to settle transactions both at home and overseas using a range of currencies.

If you’re earning an income in the currency of your new home, you might still have financial commitments back in the UK. Equally, if you’re going to be paid in sterling while overseas, you’ll have commitments in the local currency, unless you are completely cutting your ties with the UK.

Offshore banking services can be useful to many people living or working abroad. Multi-currency accounts allow you to deposit money in sterling, euros or dollars – useful if you have to manage income and outgoings in different currencies. Keeping some of your wealth offshore may also help reduce worries about the political instability in a particular region or country.

Holding different currencies in an offshore bank or savings account is also a way to manage the risk of exchange rate fluctuations. For example, if you’re paid in euros but still have fixed commitments in sterling back home, a rise in the value of the pound against the euro will make these commitments more expensive. Keeping some of your savings in euros could reduce the risk of having to spend more to cover these bills. Of course, if the pound falls in value against the euro, these bills would become cheaper.

Find out what approaches can minimise the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations on wealth that’s spread across multiple currencies.

Finally, an offshore bank account could help you to move money back home, either to your own accounts, or to someone else’s. It’s worth investigating international money transfer services before you leave the UK, as this is an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Case study - Sami's story

Sami Anabtawi, 28, from Brighton, works as a civil engineer for Arabtec, a construction company based in Abu Dhabi. He moved to the Middle East after studying Civil Engineering at the University of Brighton.

He didn’t open an international bank account before he left the UK, partly because he was finishing his degree. Instead, he opened a local account when he arrived in the Middle East. He said: “The majority of UAE companies will only pay into a UAE bank account. You also need one in order to buy a car.”

However, he said that applying for some financial services from local banks could be complicated. “If you require some services, such as a credit card, then it becomes harder.” He added: “You might have to supply a no objection letter from your sponsor or the current company you are working for.”

Sami still needs to make regular payments back to the UK, including paying back his student loan. “I set up a standing order every month to transfer small amounts of money back to my bank account in the UK.”

This is not ideal, says Sami, as each time he makes a transaction there are currency exchange costs involved, but at that time he had no other options available. It would have been better to open an international bank account to minimise costs.

What other banking solutions are available?

If you hold an international bank account with Barclays, you will be able to manage your money offshore and open multi-currency accounts. Barclays International bank accounts are available to clients who maintain at least £25,000 (or currency equivalent) in savings and investments, or open an account in order to apply for an international mortgage with us. Clients who hold at least £100,000 (or equivalent in another currency or currencies) have the option of a dedicated Barclays Relationship Manager to help them plan for their financial goals.

Keeping on top of your tax obligations

You will need to inform HM Revenue & Customs of your plans to leave the country. You may still need to pay UK tax, even if you’re non-resident, in cases such as receiving income from renting a property in the UK.

You should also spend some time investigating your tax obligations in the country you are moving to – for most people, the tax system in the country in which they live and work is the one that takes precedent.

You will also need to review your current financial arrangements and decide whether they remain appropriate. For example, while you may want to continue putting money by for the future using the same sorts of assets – such as cash, fixed-income assets, property and equities – you may need to change the way you hold them. For instance, only UK tax residents can open Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs). Be prepared to take professional and independent advice on financial planning.

Conclusion

Whether you’re moving overseas for work, retirement or simply a new life abroad, it’s important to keep on top of your finances if you’re going to get the most from your time. Expat offshore banking can help, making it easier for you to manage your finances in multi-currencies.

THINKING OF MOVING ABROAD?

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