There always seems to be a holiday around the corner, and most of the time when you travel abroad, you are subject to changing your money into another currency. Some of us still change our money at the airport, but the truth is that you always get a bad deal at airport currency exchange offices. It is a good thing to plan ahead if you have a holiday coming up, and check out how you can get the best foreign currency exchange rates.
Ordering Ahead for the Best Deals on Foreign Currency
One of the best things to do if you want to take your travel money with you in cash, is to order ahead. Most UK banks offer a special service and will always give you a better exchange rate than if you walk in and ask for the cash.
If you work in a town center, or close to your own bank, this is one of the best way to get a good deal on travel money. Some banks have special rates if you order a higher amount of travel money. In the long run, it may just pay you to exchange more money to get a better foreign currency deal.
The Post Office in the UK
If you often travel abroad and need travel money often, you may be surprised that the UK Post Office offer travel money as well as banking services. Look a little bit closer, and you will find the Post Office will surprise you with both their financial services and foreign currency exchange service. Many of them have extended opening hours, so making the most of this service is easy.
A Foreign Currency Prepaid Debit Card
Foreign currency prepaid debit cards have been around for a while now. There are some which charge next to nothing for the service of using the card.
All cards are different, so you need to make sure that you pick up the right prepaid debit card for you, and ensure it operates in the currency that you would you will be needing. Some foreign currency prepaid debit cards are now so flexible that you can change the currency in which they operate. That is really handy if you travel to different destinations around the world.
The most common foreign currencies this applies to are US dollars and the Euro, but you can find other currencies as well. Make sure that you don't pay too much for the service, but having one prepaid foreign currency credit card, could save you the trouble of having several cards and paying out extra fees.
As always, do check the foreign currency rate before you travel, and invest in your travel money. If you are a frequent traveler, it may even pay you to set up a bank account in a specific currency with your bank , or one of their offshore partners.
Should I Invest in Bitcoin as Part of my Financial Plan? Complete an Expat Pension and Financial Review in Time for Brexit
More and more people are becoming concerned about the future of currency and currency investments. Foreign exchange rates are always on the move, and you never know what the future is for any currency these days. One minute the US Dollar is shaky, and the next minute, Sterling is on its way down again. So many factors influence the value of foreign currency, and the Brexit process taking place in the UK, is having a huge impact on Sterling.
Brexit and Value of Sterling
The outcome of Brexit, could have an effect on both long term and short term investments. If you are holding your investments in foreign currency options, you will almost certainly see some sort of effect on the value of your investments. Predicting the future for currency investments, is becoming more challenging by the day, and even some so called financial masterminds do not seem to be too sure what effect a no deal will have on Sterling.
The likelihood is that foreign exchange value of Sterling, will fall even further if there is no deal with Brussels. If you are a British expat living abroad, that could have a serious impact on your pension and any regular currency transfers to the country you are living in.
Bitcoin and Crypto Currencies
Now could be a good time to review your investment options, and maybe even switch away from some of those traditional ways of investing. Bitcoin is not the only crypto currrency out there, but it is the one which most investors seem to be talking about. At the moment, even UK banking regulators are taking a look at Bitcoin, and some of the other crypto currency out there. It looks like it will not be long before crypto currencies go mainstream, and by then, they may even end up being out of many investors reach. After all, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, are increasing in value on a daily basis.
Bitcoin – World Currency of the Future
However, you should be careful before you make any investments in Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. It is possible some investors like Tim Draper will make a killing out of their Bitcoin investments, but you need to ask yourself if Bitcoin, is the right investment vehicle for you. At the end of the day, there is very little regulation surrounding Bitcoin, and even though many claim, it is going to become a world currency in the future, that day is still a long way of on the financial horizon.
Thinking Out Of the Box, and Making Up Your Own Investment Portfolio
If you would like to invest in something a little bit out of the box, perhaps you should start to consider investing in precious metals and stones instead. So far, you can truly say that the value of gold and precious stones has never really fallen. Of course, you need to know where to buy gold, and investing in gold online, may not be the best option. Buying gold can be a much better option.
Tips for Investing in Gold
Frequent cruisers are only too aware of benefits of investing in gold. There is a good reason why you see yards and yards of gold chain sold on cruise ships. First of all, you avoid paying VAT and duty, and number two, the more you buy, the better rate you will get from the vendor. Stick a clasp on, and it is likely you will bring that gold back home, without having paid any taxes on it all. In that case, your investment has already gone up at least 20%.
Holding your investmen physical gold is a valid investment option for many. Of course, you will get charged in US dollars when you shop for gold on board a cruise ship. Watching your exchange rate is vital. It is a good idea to have a prepaid debit card to hand to pay for your cruise ship investment at the end of the cruise. If you have a prepaid debit card, you will already have locked in an agreed exchange rate.
The truth is that you can do very well if you are brave enough to be your own investment adviser. Expat investment advice can be pretty fluid, and even risky at times. Learn from some of the top investors in the world, and start trusting you gut instinct.
How to Invest Your Money After You Have Sold Your Holiday Home in Spain: How to Make the Most Out of Your Investments
Once you have sold you Spanish holiday home and paid your taxes, you should hopefully have ended up with a nice pot of cash. If you still have another home in Spain, you may not be thinking about leaving Spain. But, just in case you are planning to move on, you should keep an eye on exchange rates.
How to Transfer Your Money Out of Spain
Transferring your money out of Spain using traditional means such as a bank transfer is not any longer cost-effective. It is better to use one of the many currency companies which operate legally in Spain. If you are considering investing your money in currency, the best thing you can do is to turn to a professional currency trader. And remember, Paypal is not a currency broker.
How to Invest The Proceeds from the Sale of Your Spanish Holiday Home
Unless you are planning on buying a property in the UK or in another part of the world, it could be a good idea to consider your investment options. Of course, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself.
Do you need to create a passive monthly income? A passive monthly income can be created by letting someone else manage your investments. You just sit back and hopefully watch the money build up. Before you go ahead with a passive investment strategy figure out what kind of return on your investment you like to receive every month.
It is a good idea to have a clear picture of how much you think your investments should be making every month. Do you know how much money you need to live on? Consider how you would like to spend your income you make on your investments.
How to Create a Passive Income and the Importance of a 12-month Emergency Fund
You can create a passive income in a variety of ways. But, you should never just put all of your money in one pot. That simply does not make sense and could cost you a pretty penny one day. Knowing how to divide, or split your money up, is just as important as investing your money wisely. As a matter of fact, one of the first things you may want to do is to create a 12-month emergency fund before you even set up your investment portfolio.
Top 10 Ways to Invest the Proceeds from Your Property Sale
In today's modern world, we have more ways to invest our money than ever before. You do not any longer need to deal with the investment company in your local town. Instead, you can just sit down in front of a computer and find the best investment advisor for you. Who knows? He or she may not even live your country. As long as your funds are secure, where your investment adviser lives, does not matter so much.
The investment market may seem daunting at first, and to a new investor, it may even seem scary. However, there are traditional and new ways to invest your money. And you can take control of your investments if you like thanks to the internet.
1) Invest in bonds – bonds are rather traditional ways to invest your money. You can choose to invest in government bonds, managed bonds or company bonds. If this is something you are hoping to do privately, it is a good idea to spend some time learning about the bond market, and how the bond market works.
2) Get back into UK ISA's. You are not going to be able to invest your entire investment pot into ISA's. But you may be able to drip feed your investment pot into ISA's over a couple of years. This could be a good way to invest any surplus income from an emergency fund. Please note you need to be a UK resident to invest in ISA's.
3) Invest in property – once you have come out of a property investment, you may not want to go back in and tie up all of your cash again. However, that does not mean that some of your cash can't be invested in property. Start looking around for property bargains, and remember that jurisdictions such as the UK often have clearer laws when it comes to investing for income.
4) Equity funds in company shares – if you don't have personal experience, you may want to turn to an investment advisor. Remember to check out fees before you enter into any agreements.
5) Share deals – it is easy to control your own investments when it comes to share deals, and there are a number of companies out there which offer starter packages.
6) Savings accounts – hopefully, you have placed your emergency fund in an account which gives you both instant access and interest. Go back to the bank and check out what other accounts they have available. Offshore banks often have the best offers, but don't presume your local bank will not be able to help.
7) Currency exchange rates – yes, you can make a lot of money doing currency deal but you must be prepared to appreciate that there is a learning curve. If you don't want to do venture into the world of currency trading yourself, find yourself an expert with a proven track record.
8) Micro-investments are popular and there are some great sites on the internet that will help you on your way.
9) Microloans are another way to get involved with investments on a personal basis. Many female personal investors have done well with microloans. It is not about the big bucks, instead, it is about consistency.
10)“Green investments” or environmentally friendly investments are becoming popular around the world. Do they actually offer you a return? Many of them offer an excellent return and come with some great incentives. Worth checking out if you would like to do something constructive with your money at the same time.
Remember investments can go up as well as down and that it is best to invest for the long and the short term. Spread your investments to limit risk – this is particularly important if you are coming up to your retirement.
We all try to save a little bit of money these days, and it is good to know what is the best discount shopping site in the UK – is it Wowcher or Groupon? Shopping discounts are becoming more popular by the day. In the UK, the two top discounts sites are Groupon and Wowcher. Both of them have some fantastic offers, and you save a lot of money by using discount shopping sites. But, can you say that one is better than the other?
Unless you use discount shopping sites a lot, it can be hard to distinguish figure out which one is the best. Both Wowcher and Groupon have their advantages and it is a matter of figuring out which one suits your needs.
Don't rush into anything. Even though both sites say that they have limited offers, and even a count down, there is always plenty of good offers available on both sites.
Pros and Cons of Groupon
The top reasons for shopping on Groupon in the UK includes being able to invest in designer brands at bargain prices. You may have to hunt around a bit, but if you love your designer brands, this is the best site out of the two. Some of the designer bargains on Groupon are a little bit last season, but you can certainly get great value for money.
Buying clothes on Groupon is another good idea. You can pick up some real bargains. At the same time, you need to be aware that at least some of the bargains may come from factory outlets in China. It does not mean that the quality is bad, you just need to be careful with sizes.
Investing in fashion jewelry on Groupon is another hot tip. Take a look around the site, and you will find plenty of deals on brands like Swarovski and some designer brands of jewelry as well.
When you are an addict to designer sunglasses like me, Groupon is the best site to use. It does not seem to matter what time of the year you log on, you can find some good deals on designer sunglasses. Many of the offers can be as low as 50% off the shop price. Certainly a deal worth having.
Furniture is also good value for money on Groupon. Sure, IKEA is a great way to decorate your home on a budget, but you should check out Groupon for your furniture needs. The delivery costs for furniture are reasonable, and you don't have to worry about walking through a great big store with many tempting bargains on bits and pieces. Just click and order, and your order normally turns up within days.
Pros and Cons of Wowcher
So, what about Wowcher? I think that Wowcher is a great site when it comes to discount days out. It is especially good if you live in London. As we all know, going out in London can be expensive, and Wowcher has some great deals on days out in London. Spa breaks and beauty treatments are both great value for money on Wowcher and worth looking out for.
The other thing that you want to check out on Wowcher is the holiday section. The site has become synonymous with deals on holidays and weekend breaks in the UK or abroad. Sure, there are other sites out there which have offers, but I have personally picked up some great deals on Wowcher.
Furniture deals on Wowcher are not always so great. But, that does not mean you can't use Wowcher when you feel you need to update your home. Look out for deals on bedding, duvets and pillows. Wowcher is also a great site for picking up deals on towels and other household essentials.
On top of that, you will also find plenty of deals on designer watches and some branded jewelry.
You can earn points as you shop on Wowcher. If you use the site on a regular basis, they will quickly add up and you can bag yourself bargains using your points.
What is going to happen when Brexit comes into effect? Let's be honest, no one really knows when Brexit it. That is apart from one thing – Brexit will one way or the other effect your finances. More than likely Brexit will have some negative impact on your expat finances. You can't really bulletproof your finances, however, there are steps which you can take to make your income and personal financial arrangement less vulnerable.
Our expat living standards are important to us. Many expats living in Spain or in other warm countries around the world, retired early to enjoy life. Brexit will have an impact on our standard of living in many different ways. Most expats in Spain are looking into how they can cut back on expenses to enjoy the things which we may now take for granted.
4 Things All Expats Should Be Doing Right Now
If you have not already done them, there are 4 top things which expats living in Spain should be doing right now. Keeping up your standard of living should be top of your agenda. After all, living in Spain is very much about enjoying life.
Expat Savings Reviews
How are your savings doing? I bet that you are concerned about your savings. If you spend more than 183 days in Spain, you will be classed as a resident. Even if you have what you may consider a relatively small amount of money saved, you should complete an expat savings review. Take a look around the Internet, and you will find there are independent financial advisers who are happy to help you complete a complimentary expat financial review. This is just as important whether you live in Spain or Singapore.
Your savings in Spain are one of the things which could help to top up your income should any UK based investments cause a problem after Brexit.
Brexit and Expat Pensions
Many Spanish UK expats have raised concerns about the state of private pensions after Brexit. The jury seems to be out on this issue. In fact, it could be that you may not be able to receive your UK private pension in Spain after Brexit.
As things are so unclear, and this is an issue for many UK expats in Spain and other EU countries, it is best to contact a financial adviser. There could still be some options available, but according to an article in the Independent, there is real cause for concern if the UK should crash out of the EU without a deal. Instead of being complacent, you need to review your options for your UK pension as soon as possible.
Brexit and Exchange Rates
Are you receiving a regular income from the UK in the form on rental income on a property or other type of income such as regular bank transfers? Once again, you need to make sure you take steps to protect yourself from the expected negative effect on Sterling exchange rates which Brexit is expected to have. Check out some of the currency transfer companies around. They have plenty of experience in currency forecasting and can offer better rates than banks.
Expat Health Insurance and Brexit
What is going to happen to health agreements? This is another thing which is up in the affair. Brexit will certainly make travel insurance for UK residents more expensive, but how will it affect UK expats living in Spain and other EU countries? This is the big unknown, and if you are concerned, now is a good time as any to check out expat health insurance.
The companies which offer expat health insurance range from Spanish companies to well-established UK health insurance companies such as Cigna and BUPA. One top tip before you invest in an expat health insurance. Make sure that you completely understand the policy. Most of the time expat health insurance will not cover the cost of medicines. You may have to deal with the cost of medicine in a different way. Before you buy international health insurance review what you are being offered and get everything in writing.
Brexit is going to mean a brave new world for many expats in Spain other European countries. You should familiarise yourself with all of the potential risks before a Brexit deal is accepted, or the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
If you are finding that your expat savings are already being devoured by inflation, you may be worrying even more now when Brexit looms over expat savings and investments. Many expats have now moved away from investments such as stocks and shares. An increasing amount of expats hold their savings in cash in the bank. Many quote Brexit as a major cause for concern when it comes to reviewing their expats' savings.
However, this may just be the perfect time to consider an expats savings review.
Expat Savings Review
Should you consider an expat savings review right now? Studies show that a very low number of expats would consider and expat saving view before they know the outcome of Brexit. But, reviewing the way you save your money is exactly what you should be doing. There is no way of bulletproof your finances against Brexit, however, there are acceptable risks.
Now could be a good time to look at moving some of that cash into stock market investments. Some financial analysts predict that the UK can be a serious mover and shaker when it comes to increased share prices after Brexit. At the moment, UK FTSE share prices are more reasonable than others, and now could be a good time to invest.
Expat Investments Review
An expat investment review should always be part of good financial planning. More than likely you already have some investments in place. It can be a private pension or other investment instruments. But, there are some who think that having access to UK based private pension funds may be difficult after Brexit. If you are an expat relying on the current or future income of a private pension in the UK, it would be a good idea to find out what the alternatives out.
One of the alternatives could be to take a look at if QROPS. Make sure that you use a regulated financial adviser if you are planning a forage into the world of QROPS investments. Once you start looking around, you will find it can be hard to distinguish the wood from trees, and getting some professional advice is always the best idea.
The commission charges on QROPS can be steep. Understanding all of the charges is key to taking out the right QROPS scheme for you.
I know that I have written about these topics before in this blog. However, almost every day I meet people who are concerned about their savings and pensions. Most of them are rather complacent when it comes to financial reviews. What matters more than anything else is that you are in control of your finances. Many people have no control at all.
When you find it hard to control your own expat savings and expat investments, you are the ideal candidate for a financial review. Don't be embarrassed. Contact a financial adviser and find out what action you can take to improve your investment return and make the most out of your expat savings.
Financial solutions for British expats living in Spain are now more urgent than ever before. The UK government seems to have lost complete control of its Brexit exit strategy if they ever had one. Many expats have carried on hoping that everything will be alright, but now it looks less likely that “everything” will be alright. There is a precious little time to review your finances and put the best strategies in place to prevent potential financial problems.
What Are the Top Issues Expats Should Be Concerned About Before a No Deal Brexit?
Pensions are of course the biggest concerns to many expats. Your state pension is not likely to be affected but your private pension may be an issue. It is likely that your private pension may be subject to a 25% tax from HRMC. This is what happens to expats living outside of the EU now. British Expats in Spain may also find themselves to this rather hefty tax.
Health insurance could be another issue. The Spanish government seems to be extending an olive branch but you never know what is going to happen. If the UK government does not offer the same deal to Spanish expats living in the UK, things may change. It could be a good idea to take a look at the range of private health insurers which are available in Spain just to make sure that you have options available in case things go wrong.
Should you go offshore? Depending on how much money you have available, it may be a good idea to take a look at some of the deals offered by off-shore banks. Some off-shore banks have very reasonable investments level and can help you with everything from credit cards to travel insurance. Take stock of all your investments and money that you have in your bank accounts to create a complete picture of your position before you contact off-shore banks. A good option would be to incorporate a company in a location such as Gibraltar.
Many expats are anxiously waiting to see what is going to happen. Maybe the best idea is to take some action and find out what you can do to help yourself to shore up your finances during this difficult and challenging financial period.
Since the 1980s, the financial service industry both in the UK, Spain, and other countries abroad, been making a lot of money from selling pensions. Unfortunately, many of these pensions have been mis-sold. For many expats as well as UK residents, this has meant huge financial loses. Some have even lost their entire pension pot.
QROPS stands for Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. When it comes to overseas pensions schemes, this is perhaps the most common pension scheme ex-pats may have found themselves talked into. It sounds great on the surface of it, but in the long run, a QROPS investment can be an expensive mistake.
Funds held in UK pension schemes have been transferred into QROPS often with companies which are not properly regulated. The initial point of contact is often a cold call and the operator may even come across as slightly aggressive.
The caller makes the QROPS sound great, and ex-pats often commit to them in their droves without having checked out the nature of the investment and the alternatives. They are promised a lump sum and a new pension in an overseas territory.
The truth is that companies do not offer QROPS schemes out of the goodness of their hearts. Financial brokers and investment firms make a small fortune out of selling these schemes. Commission rates vary a great deal, and you can end up paying anything from £8,000 to £30,000. There is little wonder why companies insist on them being such a good investment option.
Most QROPS schemes are not a good investment option for you. Instead, they really only make financial sense to the financial adviser or investment company selling them.
Self Invested Pensions (SIPP)
SIPP style pension schemes were mainly sold in the UK. On the surface of it, they sounded great but it would appear investors may have lost millions. SIPP pension schemes are set up to hold high-risk investments with high charging structures. Investors have commonly transferred their private or employer's pension into a SIPP after having been promised high returns.
If you have invested in a SIPP, it could be a good idea to find out what your pension is now worth, and at the same time, you should make sure you understand the charging structure.
Occupational Pension Schemes (OPS)
Occupational pensions schemes are often set up by unregulated companies to try to avoid the proper advice process. We have heard a lot about them recently thanks to employers the likes of Sir Philip Green. OPS plans are mainly set up by employers to help their employees save for retirement.
Most OPS schemes fall within three categories:
You should always review your pension arrangements. However, do not take the advice of cold callers. If you are thinking about making changes, speak to an independent financial adviser, or maybe speak to a couple to make sure that you are familiar with all of the options available.