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The benefits of offshore banking for the mobile expatriate

Updated 15 Nov 2020

The life of an expatriate can often be very busy. You may have a number of different interests in a number of different countries – properties at home, work in your new country, children studying abroad – and all of these topics have the potential to prey on your mind.

The universal tie between these varying international interests is money. We need money to manage our multiple affairs. So when you are living and working in a country that isn’t your native home you may find it difficult to control all your different interests with a standard high street bank account. However, there is a better option, an option that can offer not only convenience but also financial benefits - offshore banking.

There are three main benefits that are associated with offshore banking, especially for expats:

  1. Reduced tax liabilities: As an expat you may become a non-resident of your native country, in which case if you manage all your finances in an offshore account you may be able to legitimately avoid paying taxes in your native country, instead paying often favourable rates of tax in your offshore jurisdiction.

  2. Greater convenience: You have the option of managing your money in different currencies. As an expat you may receive pay in one currency, have to pay bills in another while also needing to know how this will translate into the currency of your true home. Taking into consideration the needs of an international customer, most offshore banks also offer 24 hour access and assistance. You will usually be able to bank and complete transactions in a number of different currencies, and have full access no matter where in the world you may be.

  3. Investment options: Within an offshore jurisdiction you may also find that you have more option with regards to possible investments and financial products. The financial institutions in offshore jurisdictions are more tuned to the mind of the expatriate investor, and as such they will offer products that reflect the international attitude, often suggesting products you will simply not find in a high street bank. These financial products and investment options will be able to help you continue to develop and protect your wealth.

If you are not familiar with offshore banking then it’s possible that you still hold some of the ancient notions of offshore banks as hubs of criminal activity, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

An offshore jurisdiction, or offshore financial centre, is simply an area that specialises in offshore banking, and usually has low rates of tax. Traditionally, if you bank ‘offshore’ it means you are banking outside of the country in which you are residing. There are many offshore jurisdictions around the world from Guernsey to the Caribbean. Different jurisdictions differ in many ways, and picking the right jurisdiction will not simply come down to that which is closest.

Offshore banking can also give an expat security and stability at a time when economies over the world are crumbling at the drop of a penny. Depending on where you are working, you may have slight concerns regarding the economic situation, but with an offshore account in a stable jurisdiction, you will be safe in the knowledge that your money is not at risk.

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