Being an expat and managing your finances overseas

Alfred Moller

Alfred Moller

Record numbers of Australians are leaving to live and work overseas. Expat lending specialist Alfred Moller has five top tips for Australians who have made the move.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the year ending 30 June 2018, 289,000 people left Australia to live overseas, an increase of 12,200 from 2017, the highest number on record. During the same period almost 91,000 Australian citizens decided to emigrate.

So, you’ve finally made the move. What next?

1. Find a local accountant who can operate in both the Australian and local tax jurisdiction

Finding an accountant prior to tax time will assist with education and allow ample time to plan effective tax strategies.

2. Separate your finances

Ensure that your income and expenses are separated into at least two different accounts. Not only will this make it easier for your accountant come tax time, but it will also allow transparent documentation if you pursue finance. You may also elect to keep a minimum balance in your Australian bank account if existing loans are set-up for direct debits.

3. Find a good broker

If you intend to purchase an Australian investment property or a home to return to in Australia, speak to a specialist broker, NOT your existing bank. A specialist broker will understand each bank’s foreign income policy while a bank can only recommend their own products, which may not suit you. For example, only one major bank will accept income derived from United Arab Emirates Dirham, but there are suitable second and third tier lenders who will. Let’s put that into context: John may be a director of a fortune 500 company in Dubai, however the bank may not lend to him purely based on the currency of his salary.

4. Engage a buyer’s agent to assist you in purchasing a property

Buyers agents such as Milk Chocolate help purchase established Australian property specifically for Australian expats. An efficient agent will ask questions such as the intention of the purchase:

  • Do you intend to live in it when you move back to Sydney?
  • Is this a holiday home, short- or long-term rental property?
  • Have you considered diversifying your property portfolio with a commercial property?

5. If your relationship status changes, plan ahead

If you have met your partner while overseas have a discussion ahead of time as to whether they intend to move back to Australia with you. If it is the case, speak to an Australian migration agent such as Four Points Immigration and plan ahead of time. This will remove the headache and any unwanted surprises when you return to Australia.

Being an Australian expat can be a difficult and stressful time of your life and the population of Australian expats globally is expected to increase. By following the aforementioned tips you will put yourself ahead of the game.

By Alfred Moller, Expat Lending Specialist, Residential and Small Business Lending Specialist

ABS: 3412.0 – Migration, Australia, 2017-18
ABS: 7.3 million migrants call Australia home

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