Aviser: Expat Finance Special

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Australians are great travellers: it’s a right of passage for many to spend time living abroad at one stage or another of life. But what happens to your personal finances and sense of financial security when your career or heart call you to live away from this wide brown land?

This month, Aviser Finance offer insights into the relative complexity of managing finance as an expat. Expats often need to deal with multiple currencies, multiple tax laws and multiple banking systems, making their ability to take advantage of local interest rates or refinancing opportunities that much more difficult. In this blog, we speak to two Aviser clients who are also expatriates – exploring the challenges of managing investment and finance from afar. Martin and the Aviser team are proud to help many of our expatriate clients stay up to date with local finance trends, taking advantage of low interest rates, appropriate refinancing and more. Here are two stories that illustrate the importance of connecting with a trusted broker ‘back home’ when you’re an expat – those of Mark, who works for a leading airline in Dubai, and Darren, who is HR Director at ITV Studios in London.

Aviser: How does being an expatriate complicate your financial position? Are there any difficulties unique to the expat community which are complex to overcome?

Mark: The biggest challenge being an expat is in keeping up to date with changes relating to tax laws etc while you are away. Having a strong team to guide you is key. A team who advise you on all strategies available and suggest the best gig for you.

A: What did you know about refinancing before you engaged Aviser?

M: To be honest, not much at all. I was aware that interest rates had gone down, however the potential savings that I could achieve were only explained after speaking with Aviser. To say that I was surprised is an understatement!

A: Why did you decide to refinance your homeloan?

M: The potential savings. Martin worked out the impact for me and then simply explained that for a few hours work on my behalf it would be the easiest money that I would ever make. He was right! It would also help me reach my financial goals sooner than I had realised.

A: How has refinancing improved your lifestyle or your financial position?

M: My loans were previously spread over a number of lenders as they had been taken out over a period of years. Refinancing them into one bank has increased simplicity and saved me time, effort and money.

A: What do you have the ability to do now that you have refinanced and restructured your loans? Have new opportunities appeared which are you financially free to take advantage of?

M: For me it’s all about paying the loans off faster and then moving onto the next property when my debt to equity ratio has improved slightly. Having timelines in mind that I wanted to achieve really benefited me getting what I wanted from the refinancing.

A: How important was Aviser’s expertise in assisting you to better structure your loans?

M: Unbeatable. Whilst I still could have achieved what I wanted without their assistance, the quality advice, service and knowledge that Aviser provided was priceless. I certainly wouldn’t take out any further loans without engaging them first.

A: Has refinancing assisted you to grow your property portfolio? If so, how?

M: Not as yet however it will within the next 12 months.

A: If you had one piece of advice for expats considering refinancing or engaging a broker, what would it be?

M; Relationships. Only partner with people that you trust, who deliver what you want and not what they want. The team at Aviser spent considerable time listening to my goals and aspirations before suggesting any product for my consideration. This was vital. I felt that I was driving my financial future with the best advice possible being provided along they way. Look at what the adviser does and not just what they say. When you are so far away, if you agree to have a Skype hook up at a certain time, are they there or do they miss the call? You have to trust your advisor completely.

Aviser: How does being an expatriate complicate your financial position?

Darren: Being a UK and Australian tax resident makes it a bit more complicated to navigate and ensure you stay on top of investments in both countries. Following what’s going on in Australian economy, with housing and interest rates becomes more difficult the longer you are away. You also need to think about where you plan to live your life and where you will retire. Keeping track of superannuation and other investments is a part time job sometimes.

A: Are there any difficulties unique to the expat community which are complex to overcome?

D: Just following the Australian market is much more difficult when you are abroad. You don’t have the same sense of what property areas are up and coming and how the value of your own property is being impacted.

A: How has Aviser helped you stay connected to the property market in Australia?

D: Aviser helps me stay informed on the local market and have always provided great advice. They also helped me with advice and referrals to property management companies who manage my property.

A: Would you consider buying or refinancing again from your position overseas as an expat?

D: Yes, I want to continue to invest in both Melbourne and London where I live. Investing in both markets provides a great opportunity to invest in two very distinct markets, providing security and good returns.

A: What support would you need to feel comfortable building a portfolio whilst being away from the economy you’re investing within?

D: I need to trust my advisors. Being away from Melbourne, I can’t easily “shop around” and meet other experts. Luckily, I know and trust Aviser so feel I’m well supported.

A: Have you made decisions about your financial position based on information and support from Aviser about local lending conditions?

D: Yes, Aviser have helped me. I have also referred them to other friends who have also been helped.

A: If you had one piece of advice for expats considering refinancing or engaging a broker, what would it be?

D: Ask the broker for references and check them out. Do your homework. Great brokers have clients eager to sing their praises. Talk to Aviser and arrange a Skype meeting – face to face is always best to help build a relationship and being abroad doesn’t stop that from happening.