Cross-Border Financial Planning
We understand the many unique challenges you go through.
Is there a way to successfully manage your finances while living abroad without leaving money on the table?
Historically, the vast majority of U.S. expatriates have been limited to working with personal financial planning consultants who lack certain knowledge when it comes to managing your finance while living abroad. Unfortunately, those relationships have proven ineffective and in many cases – quite costly.
Expat Financial Planning helps Americans outside of the U.S. efficiently manage their finances while creating a safe and sound future for themselves and their families.
We understand the financial challenges and opportunities posed by living abroad. We help American expatriates deal with these complexities so that the right choices are made and pitfalls are avoided. Our goal is to make our clients’ time abroad a catapult to a secure financial future as well as the adventure of a lifetime.
What is different about cross-border planning?
1. Cross-border planning analyzes your current investment and tax strategy as an American living abroad, considering two or more countries.
2. Cross-border planning helps you optimize U.S. state and federal income taxes before moving or living abroad by considering two or more tax systems.
3. Cross-border planning analyzes host country taxes and treaties to avoid expensive financial mistakes in the U.S. and the host country.
4. Cross-border planning analyzes deficiencies in domestic estate planning, considering two or more legal systems.
Financial plans are offered by many firms, but on top of what regular financial plans offer, we include:
1. A customized report of U.S. taxes implications while living abroad.
2. A customized, high-level overview of the host country’s tax system and its relevant treaties with the U.S.
3. Customized recommendations for what to do with your investment accounts when you no longer live in the U.S.
4. Customized Investment strategies and advice exclusive to your situation and host country.
5. Tax recommendations for your particular situation
6. Referrals to qualified professionals in specialty areas
We understand the challenges you go through.
American expatriate’s financial issues we commonly advise on:
- Currency risk management.
- Compliance with U.S. tax laws including FATCA, FBAR and PFIC rules.
- Tax and estate planning issues related to foreign spouses and multinational families.
- Use of U.S. and non-U.S. pension plans while working abroad.
- Retirement abroad planning.
- International tax planning.
- Estate planning for U.S. citizens living abroad.
- Expatriate insurance for U.S. Citizens.
- Education savings.
- Charitable giving.
We are financial educators before being financial planners, and we guide clients and prospects by answering questions that most expats have not thought of asking themselves.
Top countries that we commonly advise on:
Five Key Cross-Border Wealth Management Questions to Answer Before Moving Abroad
1. Will your current investment strategy still work?
Strategies and investments that worked well in the U.S. may not work after you move. For example, U.S. mutual funds cannot be sold outside the U.S. Under its MIFID II regulations, the European Union will generally not allow EU residents (whether they are EU citizens or not) to buy U.S.-based investment funds unless they are working with a U.S. investment advisor. At the same time, U.S. citizens should also avoid buying non-U.S. investment funds that will be deemed tac-toxic PFICs (Passive Foreign Investment Companies) by the IRS.
2. Will your current advisor, custodian, or investment firm still be able to help you?
Due to compliance and regulatory complexities, many U.S. investment firms refuse to work with individuals outside the U.S. This could mean that your current advisor or broker can no longer serve you once you are overseas. Check with your financial service providers before you go, rather than be surprised later when your options are much more limited.
3. How will your new country treat and tax your current investment accounts?
Each country has its own unique tax laws. How your new country of residence will tax your U.S. investment and retirement accounts may be quite different than how the IRS taxes those accounts.
For example, Roth IRAs are a great way to save for retirement and avoid future taxation in the U.S., but the unique tax-free nature of Roth accounts is not recognized in many countries, such as Germany, Italy, and Japan. On the other hand, the UK and France fully recognize the tax-free nature of Roth accounts under the terms of their double taxation treaties with the U.S. Still other countries, including the Netherlands and Denmark, allow you to take tax-free withdrawals, but assess an annual tax on the Roth account balance.
4. Can you break U.S. state residency and save on taxes?
If you are moving overseas for the long term, you will want to break state residency to avoid paying state income taxes. To ensure you do not get a surprise state tax bill, you will need to take definitive actions – sell property, close or move bank accounts, drop vehicle registration, etc. You will likely also have to file a final part-year or non-resident state tax return and possibly make a declaration to the state tax authority to formally cut ties.
5. Will your estate plan work in your new country?
Estate planning is a key component of cross-border wealth management. Just as every country has its own unique tax laws, every country establishes its own unique set of estate and inheritance laws and probate procedures. Even a simple will may fail to distribute your assets as you wish if its stipulations conflict with your new country’s succession laws.
Probate tools such as revocable trusts are designed for tax and legal efficiency in the U.S. but will not be effective in many other countries. Even worse, they may create unanticipated and punitive complications in those countries. For example, many countries treat inheritance via a trust structure as coming from a third party and therefore subject it to a higher tax rate than if it came directly from a relative. Another potential risk is that your new country completely ignores your trust and hence, your wishes. Even the UK – a country with a long tradition of using trusts – applies punitive taxes to trusts depending on how they are structured.
Much of the world has strict forced heirship rules and high estate or inheritance tax rates. Before you leave the U.S., ensure that your estate plan does not make an already difficult situation even worse for your loved ones.
These five questions are simply the tip of the iceberg, but they are important considerations as you start your new adventure off on the right foot.
Expat Financial Planning can help you solve some of the most common needs that Americans moving abroad have, such as:
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We are committed to helping Americans navigate the tricky waters of cross-border planning