Currency transfers – how to get the best rates with full security

Most expats have a need to move money between currencies and it makes sense to find a way to do this securely, easily and where you can save money.

You can do this easily, from your desk or sofa. Importantly, this is fully secure, properly regulated and in view of recent issues with some UAE companies, I only work with a currency broker with a good track record.

The online services offered by retail banks are rarely competitive and even if they do not charge a fee they make their profit on the poor rates of exchange offered.

There is a better way.  Everyone wants to make savings so this is how you can make easy savings and get value for your hard-earned money.

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A short story about protecting your family…

Your family is important. Your children are important. When you have dependents and loved ones, you want to make sure that they will be financially okay, no matter what happens.

Have a watch of this short clip to understand why you need to have life insurance.

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Investments in 2023. Where are we now?

When it comes to investment we are still living in interesting times. With so many unexpected global events in recent years and those that are ongoing, investing has not been a great deal of fun of late, and I fully appreciate the frustration of clients, of all investors.

This article is designed to provide some context and comfort. So read on…

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Financial Wellness. What is it and can you improve yours?

Wellness is a term that has become very popular in the past few years. We tend to think of it in terms of mental or physical health but it is time we looked at financial wellness.

Simply put, financial wellness is a relative measure of how well a person manages their financial life. We all want to be financially well and this article is about what it means and how you can improve your financial wellness.

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UK Spring Budget – March 2023. A summary for expats

Here we are again with another Budget and don’t they seem to come around fast?

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt has been in the role since October of last year and while he issued an Autumn Statement on 17th November 2022, he has had his feet under the big desk for a while now so should be in a better position to take economic steps for the benefit of the UK public.

This article is a brief overview of some of the main points with particular reference to any changes that have particular relevance to those living outside of the UK and especially in the GCC. The UK press will cover many points in detail but many of the points will not be directly relevant to expats so this article focuses on the points that could affect us.

The UK still has a cost of living crisis and the official inflation figure is 10%, a 40 year high. The price rises are being felt, as are the increased mortgage repayments. Salary increases are below inflation, energy prices are still high, and many people could do with some government support.

Interestingly, US inflation has fallen from its peak, from 9.1% to around 6% yesterday. Average European inflation is at 8.5%.

With a consensus that the UK could still enter into recession, the challenge is that expansionary spending could damage the steps being taken to try and keep a lid on further inflation.

As has become common in recent years, many of the announcements were trailed and leaked to the media as we there seem to be policy by feedback these days. We had been told that there would be support for working parents, an extension of the energy price cap, and an increase in the pension Lifetime Allowance.

Read on for a summary of the major points, and especially anything that affects expats

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Planning your financial future – the top 10 mistakes you want to avoid

Too many people bury their heads in the sand when it comes to planning for their financial future so we need to face some facts.

The reality is that most people are facing a significant shortfall in their retirement income.

According to recent figures, the average UK pension pot totals just £50,000 and the average pension income is £500 a week. That income will not just be from the pensions, but from other sources such as the state pension, personal investments or property.

The average UK resident has savings of just £17,365 and 34% have no savings or less than £1,000. Equivalent figures are not available for GCC expats but given that our incomes are higher than UK averages I would hope it is rather more. That said, I all too frequently come across people without any savings or investments.

In this article I  look at some of the mistakes you want to avoid and issues that you really cannot afford to ignore.

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UAE wills for Muslim expats – now available

The times, they are a-changing, to quote Bob Dylan, and that is the case in the UAE as Muslim expats can now write UAE wills and distribute their assets exactly as they wish, in the same way as non-Muslims.

This is a huge change, and very welcome for many expats, especially those who have bought property in the UAE. Provided a will is set up correctly, and formally registered, assets will no longer be subject to distribution according to Sharia Law.

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Time to update that QROPS?

If you are looking at this wondering what on earth I am on about, a QROPS is a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme – an overseas pension arrangement into which existing UK pension plans were transferred. A strange acronym but there will be many UAE residents who have one.

If you have one you need to read this article as there may be a better, more suitable, and cheaper option for you.

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2023 is the year to get serious about your financial goals

It has often been said that “a goal without a plan is just a wish”, meaning that action is required if you want to achieve your goals in life.

We all spend our lives hoping for the best but you need to do something if you are serious about your life goals, specifically your financial life goals.  Do you want to retire at age 55? Do you want to buy a holiday home? Do you want spend some years travelling the world?  Great ideas but how will you achieve them?

With proper planning you can take action to turn these wishes into reality so read on…

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Interest rates, inflation & UK mortgages – some facts

I know a few people are worrying about mortgage interest rates and are hesitating buying property because of that so let’s put the increases it in perspective. There are loads of complex and jargon-heavy articles in the financial press but we’re busy this time of year so this is a simple guide to what has been happening and why it’s not as bad as it may look.

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