Sorting out your finances at home whilst being abroad can be a real challenge particularly if you are going overseas for a while, say globe trotting or on secondment.
When I seconded abroad I initially went to work in Saudi Arabia for 5 months, this eventually turned into 17 months. Either way I had to make plans to cover my financial commitments at home.
I was single at the time and had bought a house so had bills to pay. I was fortunate enough to have a close friend who I trusted and gave them power of attorney over some of my financial affairs. You can assign power of attorney to someone to look after your monetary affairs in your absence and it is just like they are you in their dealings with financial institutions. I must insist though that you have to completely trust them, after all it is your money they are looking after. Seek legal advice if you need to learn more about this, or if you are in the UK speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau.
If you have a partner or family member it maybe easier for you to choose them to be the people responsible to manage your bills at home.
Power of attorney is maybe something most people are not prepared to do for obvious reasons and it can be legally complicated. Thankfully in this modern technology based world there are plenty of other methods available.
I registered for most of my bills to be paid by direct debit/standing order. In that way I knew many of my bills would be paid automatically and wouldn’t ever be late.
Since my secondment the use of online billing has advanced even further. In this way I can log in at any time and see how my bills such as mobile telephone, credit cards etc are accruing.
Online banking has also developed significantly and I struggle to think of a UK bank who don’t offer online banking facilities for current and savings accounts. Not only can I pay bills and one-off expenses online but I can also move my savings around quickly and easily.
In the late 1990′s I had to load up a CD to my computer and dial-up to do my banking; since then web-based interfaces are all the rage so I can manage my bank from almost any computer with internet access.
If internet access fails there is also the trusty telephone banking. This might cost a little bit in international phone calls but at least you can pay that all important bill. With the advancement of Skype and the potential to reverse the charges then you might be able to avoid high call costs.
If like me you were fortunate enough to have an overseas secondment you may have the benefit of an inflated salary and living costs paid for. This is a prime opportunity to make some savings so don’t forget to sort out your cash ISA before you go abroad. You can lock in a good tax free rate so that you’ll have the benefit of increased savings when you return home.
Some other things to think about include insurance. Not only should you have travel/medical insurance for your travels. You may also want to think about putting your home (and maybe car) on auto renewal for your insurance.
As an extra point about your car, if you are from the UK you may want to consider making a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) to the DVLA. This means your car is off the road for the entire time of the notification and you don’t have to pay road tax.
Other things to consider are the length of time you’ll be abroad. If it will be for an extended period of time then I’d recommend that you discuss the impact with your national revenue bureau. Tax rules change all the time and you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you’ll reduce your tax bills.
So they are some of my tips, how are you sorting out your finances at home whilst being abroad?