As we plan our resolutions for the year ahead now is as good a time as any to get your finances in shape so that you can enjoy life as an expat in Singapore.
Here is a toast to 2017 and The Fry Group’s GYST (Get Your Stuff Together) New Year resolutions financial check-list for British Expats:
1) Renew your acquaintance with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
To paraphrase Robbie Burns horribly, this is one old acquaintance you cannot forget if you ever plan to return to the UK or if you have assets there. Check you are up to date with your taxes, your residence status is correct, and make sure your address and contact details are up to date. Have you claimed all the relevant refunds and allowances? A clean bill of health with HMRC can save a huge New Year hangover at a later date.
2) Make sure you have an up-to-date Will
Nobody likes to think about the worst happening and being an expat can throw up additional complications and considerations. It is sensible to consider drawing up a Will in all jurisdictions where you hold significant assets. Consider having a Power of Attorney which will allow financial decisions to be made in the event that you or a loved one are incapacitated for any reason.
3) Check your life cover and protection
It is worth reviewing your needs, your current protection level and what alternative cover is available in today’s market. Do you have enough cover for critical illness or loss of income?
4) UK property
With over 14 changes in the taxation of UK property in the last five years, it is worth checking which apply to you. For example, do you have a 6th April 2015 valuation for your UK residential property? Have you made an election for Principal Private Residence and are you recording the time spent in your UK property? Is your mortgage fit for purpose?
5) Review your financial goals
Make sure your investments still reflect your goals and attitude to risk. Whether you want to be mortgage-free in 10 years or retire in five, you are more inclined to stick to a plan if you have specific goals. Analysing your assets, liabilities, income and expenditure can help you to control your financial future to ensure that you stay on track and achieve your financial and lifestyle vision.
6) Be tax-efficient with your investment strategy
Make sure you integrate tax planning into your overall investment planning to ensure assets, liabilities and income are structured in the most optimal and tax-efficient way.
7) Review your pension provisions
If like many others you are planning to live out your retirement somewhere other than the UK, do you understand each type of pension you have and have you reviewed the options available with them? It would be prudent planning to review all the options with your UK pensions, especially if you plan to retire outside of the UK.
8) Running your own business
If your top New Year’s resolution is to strike out on your own business venture make sure that you plan your finances appropriately. Considerations include what will happen to the company if you decide to return to the UK, making sure you have appropriate insurance, and for more established entities looking to expand; perhaps into the UK market.
Whatever the New Year brings, all of us at The Fry Group wish you a prosperous and exciting 2017.