1. First steps
Take half the stuff and double the amount of cash as you need. This is a travel motto that relates to short voyages and permanent ones. When moving overseas you must budget for renting or buying a place, flights, removals, storage, visas, legal fees and putting in place an emergency cushion. It is cheaper and easier to only take essentials and consider selling stuff you don’t need – like that battered old sofa – for extra cash before you go. If at all possible pay off debts. If you are unable to do this get in touch with creditors before you go to avoid any future financial headaches.
2. Cost of living
Relocating from the UK to a different country can be cheaper – a town like Berlin is more affordable than London, whilst South Africa is good value for money but has its flaws, like a higher crime rate for example. Australia, Switzerland and certainly Scandinavian countries like Norway are some of the most high-priced countries in the planet to move to. Therefore it’s important to consider the type of lifestyle you plan to lead within your destination country and if you can still afford to live there comfortably if the exchange rate swings against you.
3. Fix exchange rates
Utilizing something called a forward contract allows you to fix a rate first for up to 3 years based on the currency rate at the time of booking and gives you a guaranteed rate at which to transfer. This means you will know exactly how much money you get in the future no matter what the currency market does in the meantime. However, a post-Brexit UK has resulted in a weaker Great British Pound (GBP), which means the pound, doesn’t stretch as far as it did in most cases.
4. How to send money abroad
Using a currency broker, is a safe, secure and cheaper way to transfer money abroad and, unlike with most banks, UK-based private clients are not charged fees. Independent research shows that someone buying £10,000 worth of euros could get as much as 3% more than they might do with their bank.* You could also arrange frequent international transfers to settle payments or get caught up with commitments and, as global exchange rates are always fluctuating, you can use the currency broker’s free rate alert service.
5. Tax is taxing
Settling your tax affairs between your new home and the UK can be very complicated – especially if you have investments or property. It is worth getting expert advice to help you understand the rules better and to ensure that you are not paying tax twice when retiring or working abroad. Research the tax arrangements of the country you are heading to. What you pay in tax will vary from place to place, and the rules may be slightly different. Also, if you are leaving the UK to live abroad permanently or going to work abroad full-time for at least a full tax year you must tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
6. Move your pension
Most people who retire abroad have two sources of income: a state pension and a private or employer pension. If you are retiring abroad you need to investigate how moving overseas may affect any benefits or retirement income you receive.
You may be able to transfer your UK pension savings to an overseas pension scheme – known as a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pensions Schemes (QROPS).
7. Consider healthcare
Health insurance can be expensive, especially in North America, and unlike the UK most healthcare systems are not free at the point of delivery. If you are moving abroad on a permanent basis, you will no longer be entitled to medical treatment from the NHS, because it a residence-based healthcare system. Therefore, before leaving for your new destination, it’s important to check what health services are available to you in that country. Budgeting for any additional healthcare costs you may face, like regular health insurance payments, is important regardless of how healthy you are.