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International Moving: Money Matters

Banking, Investments, Taxes and More

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International moving, means moving your money, too. When we moved to another country, we didn't prepare financially before we left. Now, while we kept a lot of our savings and investments in our home country, we also moved some with us. Opening a bank account, dealing with foreign taxes and trying to figure out how to buy property can all be a little overwhelming. So, if you're planning on moving overseas, check out these tips that we've compiled to help ease the transition.

International Moving: Banking Overseas

Depending on where you're moving to, before you leave find out how stable the local economy is. This will determine how much money you take with you and how much you leave behind. I strongly recommend keeping some of your money in your home country, just to ensure there's something there should or when you decide to return. Just make sure it's secure and that the account won't be devoured by monthly or annual fees.

Also, speak to your bank about transferring money when you need it. Ask how long it takes to transfer and what they'll need from you to do so. This will ensure everything is set-up before you leave.

Many countries will allow you to open up a local bank account, but also check to see if they'll allow you to keep an account in your own home currency. When we moved from the U.S. to Canada, we kept a separate U.S. fund-account to store our U.S. money until the Canadian dollar drops a little more, then we may transfer it to the local currency and make some extra money in the process.

If in doubt, ask your local banker or financial advisor. Just make sure you know where your money is, how to access it and that you have a local contact should you need some support.

Taxes

United States citizens have to report their international income on their tax returns. Canadian citizens, on the other hand, must continue to submit Canadian tax returns for the first six months that they live abroad. Canadian taxes are based on residency, which is defined as 6 months plus one day.

The best advice is to seek assistance from an accountant or tax specialist that has international experience and knowledge. I strongly recommend this type of service, despite the cost, as you may be eligible for deductions and credits, plus some countries have agreements or treaties between them that defines the tax law.

For U.S. international tax information go to the IRS website for details and forms. For Canadian citizens, go to Revenue Canada's website. If you earn any income while you are overseas, you may be required to pay tax on that income. You should check the rules and regulations with that country's embassy or consulate before you leave the United States, or consult the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

Other Important Documents: Wills and Insurance

Our lawyer advised that we prepare two sets of wills before we moved overseas. This is to ensure that should anything happen, our estate at home and in our adopted country is secure and not tied up in red-tape. It's important to make clear instructions for what should happen and who should be contacted.

You should also speak with your insurance company regarding life insurance coverage, and any insurance you have for property left behind. Again, make sure you and your family are protected should anything happen.

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