A little over two weeks ago the coast of Oregon paid host to a total eclipse of the sun. It began at 9:06am local time, when the sun’s glaring disc started to develop a small but growing dimple. By 10.19am the sun’s indomitable force was reduced to a bizarre glow, a doughnut of light in the sky punched through the middle with cosmic blackness, as a curious dusk temporarily descended on the millions that had gathered to witness the event. Total eclipses of the moon are rare, and worth celebrating, and those that have witnessed them profess to never forgetting them. We now understand the science behind them, but ancient cultures saw dragons of the sky devouring their sun, and tried to frighten them away with whatever weapons were to hand. Or they represented great omens of the future, tools for fortune tellers and soothsayers alike to work their magic.
As an American living in the UK, almost nothing related to your financial affairs is easy. The consequences of seemingly simple decisions – such as how to pay for a new home or purchase a mutual fund – may create unnecessary tax charges and complexities. There are a number of key milestones that occur, from the time you arrive in the UK to the time you approach retirement. Many of these changes will impact the appropriate wealth management strategies for American expats. Understanding how rules will change for you over time will allow you to plan ahead and make prudent financial decisions. We begin these series of articles with some initial considerations for your first three years in the UK.
News this week from Bloomberg announced that US retirement account balances have again hit all-time highs for the third consecutive quarter in 401(k) and IRA accounts, according to data from Fidelity Investments. Whilst this is partly due to the US equity markets continuing to hit all-time highs it also reflects increased employee and employer contributions to these retirement accounts. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-03/americans-keep-crushing-it-with-their-401-k-s
Many people don’t like to think about what will happen in the event of their death. For US persons living in the UK, the subject of inheritance tax is one that can be very important due to the large differential in the nil rate inheritance tax bands available in the UK as compared to the US. A lack of understanding about how inheritance tax works can end up costing loved ones hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. However, proper planning can help minimise the amount of inheritance tax payable and help ensure that loved ones are left with an estate that will provide for their needs after death. Proper strategies will largely depend on whether an individual is deemed to be UK domicile or non-UK domicile at the time of death.
Being an American living outside of the US can be difficult, with all of the complex reporting requirements and potentially adverse tax consequences of owning foreign securities. Sometimes, the seeming hassle sparks expats to start considering giving up their US passport. Below we will discuss a few of the many financial considerations associated with expatriation.
It is common for people to have questions about UK visas. The process can be a daunting one. There are broad considerations that need to be given attention as one goes through this process. And, depending on your visa status, it is important also to understand your obligations.
Daily life in the US and the UK has its similarities and its differences. Almost any American who lives in the UK can put together their own list based on their perspectives and past experiences. Everyone gets homesick from time and time and it is easy sometimes to get caught up and dwell too much on the familiar and under-appreciate the differences.
Bill Bryson is an American author who lived in the UK for over twenty years. At the point in time when he decided to return to the US, he took one final trip around the country and wrote a travel book called ‘Notes from a Small Island’ providing humorous insight into daily life in the UK. Twenty years later and having returned to live in the UK, Bill took a new journey around Britain to detail what had changed. Bill’s musings are summarised in ‘The Road to Little Dribbling.’ It is a book that doesn’t back away from highlighting in jest all of the perceived positive and negative changes and yet finds comfort in the country that has clearly won his heart.
With the 131st Championship well underway, Wimbledon fever is in full swing.
As we get closer to the quarter final, semi-final and final rounds, nearly everyone in the UK will be focused on results. As with any year, there have been shock early exits and commanding displays from some of the favourites.
American Independence Day is traditionally one of the hallmarks of summer filled with outdoors events, BBQs and fireworks. It is a day of patriotic celebration and family events throughout the US. With 4th of July tomorrow, we lay out some ideas below on how you can celebrate the holiday this year. Being an American in the UK certainly shouldn’t stop you from finding your own ways to celebrate and feel at home.
Missing home? Here are our top four suggestions for a meal in Britain’s capital city where you can find a little patch of America.