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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  11 Apr 2013

PERSONAL FINANCE: Expats Are Confident About Personal Finances, New Poll Finds


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More than half of British expats feel positive about their current financial situation, according to a poll carried out in the first quarter of this year by the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisation.

54 per cent of those surveyed by the deVere Group, the expat wealth management specialists, said they felt upbeat about their current finances, 19 per cent reported that they were not feeling confident, and 27 per cent said they didn’t know.

The organisation’s potential and existing expatriate clients in China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the UAE and the US, participated in the poll.

Of the findings, deVere Group chief executive, Nigel Green, comments: “Of course it’s hugely encouraging that the vast majority of British expats around the world are feeling positive about their current financial situation, although the findings were, perhaps, to be expected for three key reasons.

“Firstly, because there is – despite recent events in parts of the eurozone – an underlying feeling that the global economy is gradually beginning to pick up. For instance, China didn’t suffer an economic ‘hard landing’ and the US economy didn’t fall over its fiscal cliff.

“Secondly, many expats - especially in places like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Russia, Hong Kong and China - leave the UK for career promotions and salary incentives and, therefore, are bound to be feeling confident about their personal finances because they’re likely to be some of their adopted country’s top earners. Traditionally, many high-flying positions in such markets have been awarded to expats as they have often had more professional experience.

“And thirdly, whether attracted by higher salaries or lured by a country’s lifestyle, which is often the case for those residing in destinations in France, Spain, Italy and Thailand, amongst many other places, expats are often able to use their expat status to their financial advantage – primarily by significantly reducing their tax liabilities.

“There are various attractive, expat-exclusive ‘vehicles’ which can allow individuals to grow and safeguard their wealth. These include international investment funds and HMRC-recognised Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS), which allow expats to avoid inheritance tax and lifetime allowance charges and provide the opportunity to draw a substantial tax-free lump sum.”

Mr Green concludes: “A combination of these three factors, I believe are the basis for expats’ financial optimism.”

The total number of British expats around the world at any one time is famously difficult to gauge, but recent Home Office figures suggest that there are approximately 4.7 million Britons living overseas. However, many experts believe this figure could be considerably higher.

472 expatriates were polled by the deVere Group between January and March 2013.

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