Foreign Exchange in Expatland – What You Should Know

 

Whether you’ve just started your new life in Expatland or are looking to move back to your country of origin, the need will undoubtedly arise to exchange foreign currency.

Your personal circumstances will determine why you need to exchange currency, the frequency by which you transact and the volume. A currency need will typically arise from:

  • Transferring life savings
  • Selling and/or buying a property in your country of origin and/or Expatland
  • Pensions transfers
  • Repatriating income
  • Investing in assets domiciled in Expatland
  • Sending money home to friends and/or family

So what should you be aware of when converting your currency and sending or receiving cross-border payments?

  1. Are you really getting the best rate?

You trust your bank with your day-to-day banking needs so surely they must be the best option for your foreign currency and international payments needs? The reality is however, that for retail clients the daily buy/sell rates set by the banks often include a cost to transact plus additional sending and receiving fees.

By doing your research and venturing beyond the banking relationship to an alternative foreign exchange provider like XE Money Transfer, you’ll find that you will be able to take advantage of a much higher rate of exchange and no transfer fees – saving you thousands of dollars on your international money transfers.

  1. Protect yourself from currency risk on high value transactions

When making high value transactions that occur over a longer period of time, you may want to mitigate currency risk by locking in a favourable rate of exchange.

Currency risk refers to the uncertainties faced by fluctuating exchange rates and can have a significant effect on the outcome you achieve when it comes to executing your currency conversion.

Contrary to what you may think, you are not restricted to simply accepting the spot rate you are given on the day.

At XE, we provide a range of risk management transactions from Market Orders to Forward Exchange Contracts (FECs) and more complex structure options and our team will be able to advise you on the right strategy to ensure you are getting the best rate of exchange and are not left at the mercy of exchange rate movements.

Handy Hints for Moving

 

Relocating to a new city or destination is an exciting yet daunting time for the individual, couple or family.

The best piece of advice you’ll hear, is to plan for your move well in advance. It will help to reduce the stress which can be overwhelming at times, especially if its your first venture into Expatland.

Tips on What to Do Before You Move

Declutter. It’s not only cathartic to do a clear out before the move but also makes perfect sense. It’s much more difficult and stressful to try and declutter when the packers are there. The packers can’t make those decisions for you, “Should that stay or should it go”?

Organise rubbish collection, garage sales and donations to thrift / charity shops in plenty of time before packing day. You’ll feel better for it and you’re not paying for transporting ‘stuff’ that you may very well throw out when you move into your new home.

Accept help when it’s offered from friends and family. Put your super cape away! It’s o.k. They want to help! Whether for child-minding duties, replenishing the mugs of tea or coffee or cooked meals, it all helps in reducing the stress. Especially on packing day.

If moving with children, get some small packing boxes in advance from the moving company. Let them draw on them, colour them in, write their names on them. They can pack those precious soft toys in preparation for the move. Imagine their excited faces when they recognize their own boxes arriving safe and sound at your new home.

Decide in advance what you will need to:

a) Take on the flight. Those items you’ll need immediately on arrival.

b) What might need to be sent airfreight (that can be expensive) but you can get access to it earlier than if it’s shipped seafreight.

c) Then what needs to go into storage at your destination until you find your new home.

Most important of all, choose an experienced, industry approved relocation company.

When the Relocation consultant has expat experience themselves, they understand and appreciate the stress and pressure that comes with the move. Remember they are your first port of call on this amazing journey, so you want to feel confident and happy with the service they offer.

Get that right at the start and they will assist and support you, listen to your concerns and advise you, as you embark on this exciting journey.

Written by:  Nuss Relocations

Importance of Corporate Travel Insurance

 

It is highly recommended that any Expat whose business involves overseas travel, should effect a Corporate Travel Insurance Policy.

A Corporate Travel Policy will provide coverage for overseas trips up to a duration of 26 weeks.

The scope of cover provided under this type of policy include Medical Expenses, Death & Capital Benefits, Loss or damage to Baggage, Electronic Equipment, Loss of Credit Cards, Theft of Money, Hire Car Excess Expenses, Loss of Deposits and Cancellation Charges, Kidnap, Extortion and Ransom.

Below are actual case studies of recent Medical Expenses Travel Insurance losses incurred whilst claimants were overseas. This reinforces the absolute necessity to protect yourself and your business from these exposures whilst undertaking business and associated leisure travel.

David (an Australian Resident) was insured under a Corporate Travel Insurance Policy while he was on a short-term working assignment in the Solomon Islands.  On 12/09/2017 he started feeling unwell with abdominal pain and presented himself to a local clinic.

Provisional diagnosis was infectious Gastroenteritis, acute abdominal rupture and appendicitis. There were no clinics available for the claimant to undergo diagnostic imaging and hence he was placed in an air ambulance and evacuated back to Australia.  The total amount of the claim was $57,527.37.

Edward attended an international business conference in the Philippines.  At the conclusion of the conference he stayed on for an additional week’s holiday.

During that holiday he was struck by a motorcycle and sustained multiple soft tissue and musculoskeletal injuries including left clavicle fracture, multiple fractures to left and right ribs, crush fracture of the 12th thoracic vertebrae and right shoulder ligament ruptures.  The total amount of the claim was $23,428.57.

Gerard, a 73-year-old director of an IT company, planned a 6-week overseas trip with his wife, to the USA commencing June 2017.  Unbeknown to him, at the time of embarking on the journey, he was developing what would become a significant cardiac infection – “bacterial endocarditis”.

By the time he landed in the USA his cardiac symptoms fully manifested resulting in cardiac infection, multiple body organ sepsis and several strokes secondary to the above.

Gerard was admitted to high dependency specialist care.  The claimant’s wife and Insurers were advised that Gerard most likely would not survive.  Gerard was transferred to palliative care where he eventually passed away some two months later.  The total amount of the claim was $1,300,000.

Although this case had a sad outcome, it highlights the importance of having travel insurance to protect against what can be substantial and significant costs.

By: Michael McMahon
Gibson Insurance Brokers

So What’s the Deal with Sydney Property?

 

Cutting through the white noise of the Sydney property market is tough right now with every media source both nationally and in Sydney talking about how we currently have the lowest auction clearance rate since T-Rex roamed the earth and how the RBA is “watching closely” at the levels of pain and gain in the market to monitor macroeconomic policy.

Put simply, its credit crunch 2.0.

Access to credit has dropped off a cliff and serviceability criteria of mortgages has all but reduced the borrowing capacity of mature local Sydney residents and investors to first home buyer status.

I hear my expat clients say “well now you know how I feel!” as expats have been left behind in the mortgage stakes for a few years now by the big four Aussie banks. Sydney locals now a feeling the expat credit frustrations that we all have been dealing with for some time.

So what’s the deal with Sydney property? Well, its pretty simple. Locals are finding it very hard to buy property now. So let’s strike while the iron’s cold.

Most of my savvy clients that have made their highest returns from Sydney property in a down turn. Parts of Sydney that have experienced strong annual growth over the last 2-4 years in some cases are down in value by double digits. That has just happened this year but this window won’t last forever.

Now is the time to buy in Sydney for the highest returns. As a buyers agent, I am being swamped with great deals at the moment from agents that are finding it hard to move properties and do not want to tell the broader market that the owners have to sell. Its the perfect time in the cycle to get a great deal.

By: Michael Radovnikovic

Personal Insurances for Expatriates – What You Need to Know

 

Personal insurance relates to the insurances which protect you against sickness or injury to cover your costs of living and lump sums. Coming from another country to Australia, you are then exposed to a whole lot of new risks, issues, costs and lifestyle.

One of the key things you should be protecting is your personal well-being.

As you are in a new country, you don’t want to be put in a position where you have moved (and your family) and you can’t fund or support yourself.

In Australia, the rules are quite different and the insurances you may have had from another country could be invalid.  This is the first thing you should check preferably before you leave the country of origin. Our biggest asset is usually the least insured, that is our ability to earn an income.

Our guide on personal insurances, written by Scott Douglas from IMFG will equip you with all the information you need to make informed decisions regarding your insurances.

It’s very important to seek appropriate advice by a fully licensed Adviser who can provide you with what is necessary. The adviser will do a full needs analysis and make a recommendation on the products that are appropriate to you and your needs. With this guide, you can familiarise yourself with all your options and get a clear understanding as soon as you get to Sydney.

To read our guide please click here

Property Services – What You Need to Know When Buying a Property in Sydney

 

Sydney is considered globally as one of the most prime locations to buy property. It very much is about three key factors – location, location, location.

Which is to say Sydney has;

  • a globally stable and transparent political system
  • the centre of Australia’s commerce (the employment capital of Australia), and
  • the highest population of any Australian city with approx. 6 million people and has constrained geographical supply.

Sydney has been under the spotlight from overseas buyers in recent years for these three factors and spearheaded by key social fundamentals:

  • Strong education facilities
  • Safe place for children to grow up, and
  • A stunningly beautiful lifestyle.

Michael Radovnikovic from Radley Property’s guide to Sydney Property Services will equip you with the right information to ensure  your next purchase in Sydney is a successful one. Michael believes that, on a global scale, Sydney remains undervalued and with strong population growth forecast between 2018 and 2036, a strategy for securing property has never been more important.

This guide is essential help for anyone who wants to secure the right property for the right price.

Download the publication here.

General Insurance – Having the Right Cover

 

Taking out the right insurance will help you protect your family and your business. And there isn’t a more crucial time to protect your family than moving to a new city in Expatland. But what insurance do you need?

Michael McMahon from Gibson Insurance Brokers has written a guide to help you understand what insurance is needed to ensure you have the right level of protection.

In this guide Michael touches on the following types of insurances:

  • General Insurance
  • Personal
  • Business Insurance
  • Vehicle Insurance

This is essential reading to help you evaluate your insurance needs when moving to Sydney.

Download the publication here.

Personal Taxation – Sydney

Moving to Sydney is an exciting prospect for many people who are attracted to stunning beaches, our laid back but enthusiastic approach to life, the tolerance and freedom of our society and the opportunities in our economy.

There is little doubt that Australia is regarded as a high taxing country.  However, for those who are able to qualify as ‘temporary residents’ Australia has some excellent tax concessions which we explain in this Personal Taxation Guide, written by Matthew Marcarian from CST Tax Advisors.

In this publication Matthew also cover the basics of Australian capital gains tax rules as they generally apply to individuals moving to Australia. In addition it covers topics such as:

  • Taxation of Worldwide Income
  • Tax Residency
  • Trusts
  • Land Tax

This publication provides a non-technical plain language guide to the questions that are commonly asked by Expats wanting to live, work and invest in Australia.

Download the publication here.

Expatland Legal – Sydney

 

When moving to Sydney, there are many things you need to consider from a legal perspective.

Australia’s legal system, also known as a ‘Common law system’ is based on the model which was inherited by those countries whose development was influenced by British Colonialism, in particular the Commonwealth countries.

This will be quite a change for those of you from Civil law jurisdictions who are moving into Australia.

This publication, written by Nicole Leggat from NL Legal aims to outline some of the major things to think about ahead of your move to Expatland.

In this publication Nicole highlights issues regarding:

  • Purchasing property in Australia as a foreign resident
  • Employment Law and Disputes with your employer
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Family Law and Estate Planning

This guide is essential reading for anyone planning to move to Sydney.

Download the publication here.

How to Take Advantage of a Changing Market

 

Sydney’s residential property market has been booming year on year for the last few years but as we have all known, these rates will not happen again. In the first half of 2018, we have seen a growing percentage of properties sold prior to auction.

With clearance rates at an all-time low, 50-60% for Sydney and Melbourne, there’s no better time to be a buyer.

We can always be sure that some people just have to sell, so be persistent and secure the property early if you can.

  1. Know your market

Data. Data. Data. With so much readily available information about Australian real estate, there’s no excuse not to know the fundamentals of your market area. No matter where you are living, you can access clearance rates, recent transactions, planning changes and builder/developer track records. A good place to start is an email subscription to CoreLogic, Domain, realestate.com.au, Property Observer and The Urban Developer.

  1. Don’t Settle

With lenders tightening their belts with local investors and more sellers concerned that they have missed the opportunity at the peak of the market, there has never been a better time to take your time to find the right property that meets your needs. Whether it is an investment or a home to repatriate back to, be sure to do your due diligence properly. In a cooling market, there’s more to choose from so don’t just jump at the first property that you see.

  1. Negotiate ‘Off Market’

Buyers are often confused by the term ‘off market’. The first preference is to always negotiate and secure a property before it is listed and many properties are bought on this basis. The other option is to take a listed property ‘off-market’ prior to auction. This not only reduces the stress of the auction experience but also ensures exclusivity over the property. With sellers extremely nervous about falling clearance rates, agents are now encouraging vendors to consider ‘off-market’ negotiations due to the lack of confidence in the market and reassessing their expectations for record-breaking sale prices.

Written by: Michael Radovnikovic – Radley Property

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