March 7, 2022

How your financial footprints in other countries affect your wealth

Financial footprints

Movement in and out of Australia by mining and resources executives, professionals and business owners leave financial, tax and legal footprints in each of the countries they live and work in that can affect their wealth.

These impacts are felt in terms of earnings, the amount of tax to be paid across multiple jurisdictions, and in the unfortunate circumstances of illness, injury or death the serious issues associated with claiming insurance benefits, executing Wills and estate plans.

While this article provides a high-level overview of a range of financial matters that need consideration and action, the key is to address each of them in context of your longer-term plans.

In my experience, actions taken now have a high likelihood of impacting outcomes later, and not always for the better. These matters most commonly affect your assets, tax position, personal risk events, Wills and Estate planning.

Assets: From a financial planning perspective, the starting point is articulating what and where your assets are held. With this comes a clearer understanding of your wealth position now, and that’s the launch pad for developing your financial plan for the future. This usually involves giving thought to your values and attitude to money and wealth, what you want to achieve and how you wish to accumulate assets moving forward, both in Australia and other countries.

There are many structures available for accumulating assets…contributing to superannuation, paying down debt to own assets outright, investing in your own name or via a family trust.

Individual plan strategies need to focus on particular approaches for accumulating assets, which will also need to align with other supporting strategies such as those indicated above – tax management, debt reduction and super.

Insurance: Your personal risk strategy underpins your wealth goals and often your financial legacy.  It is crucial to ensure any existing insurance cover is carefully reviewed. If you do not have insurance, then it’s important to consider the insurances appropriate for living and working in other countries.

An important footnote on insurance is to arrange it BEFORE you go.

Obtaining insurance that’s right for your circumstances when you plan to work overseas is often difficult and will need expert consultation and negotiation with insurers on your behalf. Once you leave Australia and you’re residing in another country, trying to organise insurance can be near impossible.

Carefully reviewing your insurances and understanding the policy definitions that state what you’re covered for and what you’re not, and the terms of the benefit payments should a claim be necessary, are of utmost importance.

Tax: Living and working in multiple countries adds an extra layer of complexity to your tax circumstances. In addition to your tax obligations in your home-base of Australia, you will also have tax obligations in the countries in which you work.  It’s common for mining and resources personnel to have multi-jurisdictional tax obligations which can all differ in their tax payment requirements.

Your tax obligations across numerous tax jurisdictions also need to be understood against an overlay of your employment income, cash bonuses, executive share scheme and investment income such as dividends or rental income.

Tax effective management considerations will likely include ownership of income producing assets such as shares or property and who holds those assets. If you’re a couple, it may be more appropriate for those assets to be held in the name of the lower income earning spouse, in order to save on income taxes. But there may be a significant cost due to tax implications from a prior or new tax jurisdiction which captures those assets.

Specialist international tax advice is necessary for understanding and capitalising your overall wealth position.

Legal: Estate law differs across different international jurisdictions. It’s important to note that Australian Wills are NOT automatically recognised by other countries.

In the worst-case scenario of your untimely death, being legally underprepared can result in your wealth being tied up in drawn out international legal proceedings. This will no doubt cause additional and considerable extra stress on grieving family members and potentially financial hardship.

There are solutions and steps you can take which will be covered in the next article in this series, by Estate Lawyer, Robert Lamb, but suffice to say it’s crucial to get your International Wills and Estate Plan in order before you leave Australia.

Next steps
Whether your overseas secondment or foreign posting is for the purpose of furthering your career, exploring business opportunities or to have an adventure in a different country, having your personal administration in order before you go (or come back) is essential.

As we have explained here, there are financial, tax and legal matters that directly impact your wealth position.

May I suggest your next step is to review each of the four matters raised in this article – your assets, tax situation, insurance review and legal requirements for your Will and Estate when living and working overseas.

While seemingly separate matters, they are interconnected and collaboration between professional advisers is the key to creating properly integrated solutions that will deliver your overall wealth outcomes. The founding principle of Resources Unearthed is to provide access to experts who can work together for mining and resources personnel so they may be successful – personally and professionally.

May I invite you to contact me to discuss your needs and the important personal administration matters that need to be addressed when taking up assignments overseas.

To find our more, please contact James Marshall on +61 (0) 7 3007 2000 or email contact@resourcesunearthed.com.au

Resources Unearthed is a solutions hub that provides integrated financial, legal, property, accounting and business advisory services for executives, professionals and business owners in the mining and resources sectors.

Further Reading:
ESS multi-jurisdictional tax issues here. https://www.resourcesunearthed.com.au/ess-different-tax-jurisdictions/

International work requires an International Will

Stratus Financial Group and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306. This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should not act on it without first obtaining professional financial advice specific to your circumstances.

*Please note: For advice and services relating to this matter that are not offered under the Fortnum Private Wealth AFSL, in accordance with our collaborative advice model, when required, such matters are referred to appropriately qualified professionals.

 

 

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