Andrew Wood lists vital areas where resolutions are worth making and keeping.

How are your New Year resolutions shaping up? Often a source of amusement mixed with friendly competition among friends and family, such promises of change are usually short lived. Only the minority commit to resolutions—usually those who will ultimately benefit from making improvements for themselves.

As an expat in Asia you have a lot of resolutions to stick with (or not). Security and adequate arrangements for your future are a couple of the important factors contributing to a successful life ahead. Each is important and collectively they create an archway of protection for you; no matter how young or old you are or how precarious your situation appears to be.

Let’s take some one-off examples to demonstrate:

Retirement Planning

Do you have a satisfactory pension provision? Have you created any supplementary addition to your pension?

Expats are often shocked at the amounts they ought to be providing for themselves. Inflation is a stealth attacker, creeping up on us without warning. For a number of years now we have seen steady low inflation but the reality is still there.

The antidote to this is compounding growth. If you are saving regularly you are building some inflation protection into your overall plan which will certainly help. The positive effects of dollar cost averaging are quite remarkable, allowing you to make greatest use of this phenomenon over a period of time.

Personal Protection

What is your most valuable single asset? Most people do not think in reality but it is actually your power to earn a living. Many people insure their belongings and personal property; even their pets. But they overlook themselves as valuable people.

If you were to suddenly die would you leave any liabilities behind for which your heirs would need to take responsibility? A mortgage or a loan would be prime examples.

If you were disabled for life being unable to work again, how would you survive? Your family would need ongoing financial support and this could be secured by life assurance cover.

Succession Planning

Are you aware of the global rules about probate and wills? Your executors are required to obtain a grant of probate for each jurisdiction in which you have assets. This process can extensively delay your beneficiaries from access to resources to cover their living costs, causing serious financial difficulties for them. Is it not bad enough that they would be grieving from your death without having these types of difficulty to deal with? Creating wills will assist greatly. Also, where assets are more substantial you would be wise to investigate the use of trusts.

Tax Planning

Most expats see this subject as low priority until they realise just how exposed they can be. This is not just about your income tax liability, it can relate to capital gains, inheritance tax, liability on pension income including the complexities of double taxation agreements where you have assets and from where you generate income. Tax is complex usually requiring highly specialised evaluation and advice.

The Unknown

Many expats unexpectedly face difficulties they had never envisaged. Situations will often rear their heads out of nowhere, creating havoc in your life. They are diverse and often create very difficult circumstances which need to be dealt with.

One example could be the refusal of a work permit where you have secured a job. Governments often appear fickle and unfair in these types of area. Such denial can change your life for good when you are effectively an innocent bystander.

Resolution?

Do you have a resolution for 2018 about how your life may be improved in the long term? No matter whether you are a new expat or a seasoned old hand at living abroad, it is almost inevitable that there are some aspects you are unaware of. These can be uncovered and dealt with to ensure you are on course to cope with any eventuality which may arise in the future relating to your ‘business of living life.’

Create some goals for yourself today and seriously look at how you will achieve them in a practical way.

Questions to the author can be directed to Business Class Asia at: [email protected]

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