Why it’s vital to take specialist financial advice if you’re an expat thinking of moving back to your home country

March 6, 2024

If you’ve spent time living or working as an expat in Singapore, there may come a time when you decide to move back to your home country, whether for financial or personal reasons. 

Making preparations to relocate back to your home country can be a busy time as you ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for your family and your work. As such, your financial planning needs might not be at the forefront of your mind. 

But failing to put robust financial plans in place could lead to costly mistakes or delays later on. What’s more, the process can be complex, so by trying to make sense of it all yourself you might miss out on opportunities for tax efficiency. 

Read on to discover some of the reasons to consult a specialist financial planner to help you ensure your move back home is smooth and successful. 

1. The tax implications of moving back to your home country can be complex 

Depending on your circumstances, such as how long you have lived in Singapore and what your personal tax position has been while you lived here, you may need to notify your home country’s tax system of your return. 

It makes sense to begin preparing for the tax implications of your move home as early as possible. Ideally, you’ll begin preparations from the start of your home country’s tax year to keep things as straightforward as possible. 

A specialist financial planner can help you navigate the intricacies of the tax system here in Singapore and in your home country so you can avoid costly mistakes. 

2. Managing your assets, investments, and pensions can create additional financial stress

Understanding which wrappers to use for each of your assets can be a complicated issue no matter which country you live in. But, when you’re moving from one country to another, it can become even more vital to make the most sensible choices. 

You might decide to sell assets before moving, or transfer assets into new types of wrappers to maximise tax efficiency. This may be particularly important if you have transferred your pension into an overseas scheme such as a QROPS while you have been living in Singapore.  

You might also wish to update your estate plan. In Singapore, Inheritance Tax (IHT) was abolished in 2008, but if your home country still has IHT rules, this might affect how you wish to pass on your wealth after you pass away. 

Your financial planner can help you to make the most sensible decisions based on your goals and circumstances, reducing the overwhelm or stress associated with this. 

3. Healthcare costs and insurance might be quite different in your home country

Healthcare in Singapore can be expensive, so it’s important to arrange suitable private health insurance. Depending on how healthcare is dispensed in your home country, you may need to update your insurance policies to ensure you are adequately covered. 

Sometimes, it can be challenging to find the right insurance for you, particularly if you are now much older than you were when you left your home country, or if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. 

Your financial planner can help you find the most suitable insurance and ensure everything is in place before you move home so that there are no gaps in your cover. 

4. Finding the right property to call home might take longer than you thought

If you have held property in your home country while you’ve been living abroad, you may already know where you are going to live. But there might still be some important preparations to make. For example, if you have been renting out your property, you might need to give your tenants a minimum notice period before they must vacate the property. 

If you don’t hold property at home, you will need to decide where you want to live and go through the process of purchasing your new home. 

If the property market is competitive, finding the right place could take some time. So, making your plans early on and enlisting the help of a third party might be sensible – your financial planner may be able to help you with this or suggest a trusted connection who can assist.  

Get in touch

Moving back to your home country is an exciting step, but as you can see, it can also present some significant challenges. 

Our advisers are specialists in helping expats in Singapore to manage their wealth and achieve their long-term goals. We can help you prepare for your move and ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for you and your family. Please get in touch to learn more. 

Either contact your financial planner directly, email us at hello@ascentawealth.com or fill in our online contact form to organise a meeting and we’ll get in touch.