Expats can become bogged down with adapting to a new life abroad. This leaves little time and even less focus to properly deal with what is one of the most important things you’ll ever do – planning for a financial future. Whist wages are often higher overseas; pension plans and social welfare are seldom provided. Looking after your own financial future is the name of the game here.
To assist you with investments, it would be wise to seek out a reputable independent financial adviser (IFA). Independent, in this instance, means that the individual in question does not work for a specific financial institution and will offer you a much wider range of options than an adviser who is tied to a specific company. When you bring in an outside party to help with your personal finance matters you need to make sure that the IFA is trustworthy and provides high quality advice as standard.
The most important thing is to feel secure with the IFA you choose - make sure you enjoy a good rapport and that you feel they are able to recommend a clear path towards reaching your goals and are able to overcome any obstacles.
Don’t be afraid to ask very direct questions when seeking an IFA. Be specific about your individual investment needs. Remember, it’s not all about investment returns – clients of IFA’s are at least as interested in preserving capital against inflation, reaching a desired income level from a lump sum, making their investment secure, tax efficient and securing the smooth passage of their estate.
Enquire about the investment procedures and ask if your IFA has his or her own style, or if they follow that of the agency. Be clear about all fees and payment plans, the standard management fee doesn’t always cover all costs. Payment to an IFA is usually in the form of commission or an upfront fee. When it comes to the actual advising you will usually be shown a ‘key features’ document. To gain an understanding of their worth ask the IFA to compare the products found in the document with other similar products.
Many recommended products will be similar across offshore IFAs. What differs is their service offering. The level of service you can expect should be put in writing and should be clear and concise.
Be wary of IFA’s who tick the danger boxes. A reputable IFA will never be the type to offer a golden ticket investment that simply must be acted on immediately, nor will they promise unfeasible levels of return. Also the right IFA will be very interested in your own financial circumstances, beware of those that neglect to be so.
It’s important you temper your first instincts with clean and logical analysis – your financial adviser should treat you as a reasonable adult giving you the information you need to make a fully informed decision.