Every year thousands of Australians decide to take the leap to leave Australia’s shores in search of opportunity and adventure as Australian expats. There are many popular expat destinations around the world for Australian expats including Singapore, Hong Kong, London, New York, San Francisco, and China. While there has been a slowdown in the number of new Australian expats as a result of Covid-related travel restrictions, we expect that this will continue to rise going forward.


Becoming an Australian expat can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both personally and financially, but it’s important that you do your homework to ensure that your personal finances are in order as early into your expat journey as you can. This week our team at Ally Wealth is sharing our top tips to ensure that your finances are in order and you can truly enjoy your expat experience.


  1. Review your superannuation


One of the most common mistakes Australian expats make when it comes to preparing to become an expat is ignoring their superannuation just because they’re moving abroad and won’t be contributing for an extended period of time. Firstly, it’s important to highlight here that superannuation is generally open to anyone with an Australian Tax File Number, whether they’re working abroad or they’re living and working in Australia.


When it comes to your superannuation you should review at a minimum the following; any personal insurances that you hold and whether you’re still covered while you’re living offshore, that you have your beneficiary nominations up to date for your superannuation, whether you’ll still be making contributions to your fund and that your investment strategy remains in line with your financial goals and risk profile. Many insurers in Australia won’t cover Australian expats residing offshore so it’s certainly important to do your homework here.


  1. Don’t ignore your tax returns


If you still have taxable income in Australia, such as rental income from your residential investment property, then it’s likely that you will still need to be filing a tax return back home. Be sure that you have a plan to stay on top of this, whether with your Australian accountant or if you plan to complete your own tax return ensure that you’re regularly filing.


  1. Have a plan to save for your retirement


Depending on where you’re relocating to, you may be eligible to participate in the local country’s pension or retirement plan. Your company may even be offering some guidance or assistance with your retirement savings, however, in many countries, this is not the case. In Singapore and Hong Kong for example, for those on working visas, it is the responsibility of the employee to plan for their own retirement savings.


It’s therefore important to explore what plans and vehicles are available to you as an Australian expat, and equally as important, is to check how this plan may work for you when you do eventually repatriate to Australia.


  1. Ensure that your children are protected


When it comes to protecting your children, it’s important to check what documentation you need to have in place for Temporary and Permanent Guardianship nominations. For many Australian expats, your preferred Permanent Guardians may reside in Australia, which means that you may need to nominate a temporary person to look after your children while the Permanent Guardian travels to your country of residence to collect them.


  1. Consider your health insurance plans


Health insurance is an important step in planning for your expat experience and this starts with exploring your options for your health insurance back in Australia. It’s important to seek professional advice here to explore what’s going to be a suitable strategy for you, including assessing your new employer-provided health insurance, what to do with your existing Australian health insurance, and whether you need a ‘top-up’ policy for your time abroad.


  1. Set your budget as soon as you can


The life of an Australian expat can be an expensive one, and before you know it, a year or two can pass by quickly without having saved a dollar. This is why it’s important to set your budget, have a plan for your retirement savings and any other savings to achieve other financial goals, and avoid over-spending. There are plenty of apps available to create budgets for you, or you can simply create an Excel spreadsheet, and keep yourself on track to make the most of your time abroad.


If you have any questions about becoming an Australian expat, or would like to meet with our team to ensure that you have the rights plans in place to make the most of your time abroad, please feel free to reach out for an obligation-free discussion.


Ally Wealth Management is the trusted ally in finance for Australians at home and across the globe. As both Australian expats and residents, the founders of Ally have a unique understanding of the common personal financial challenges faced.

Book your complimentary appointment with our team at Ally Wealth Management to discuss how we can help you to achieve your financial goals.

Ally Wealth Management Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Sentry Advice Pty Ltd ABN 77 103 642 888. Sentry Advice holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) No. 227 748.

General Advice Warning: The information contained herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal advice. You should not act on any recommendation without considering your personal needs, circumstances and objectives. We recommend you obtain professional financial advice specific to your circumstances.