Written by Canarian Weekly Business
WHEN was the last time you gave your finances a health check? If it was a while ago, you could be paying more taxes than necessary, or missing out on new opportunities.
You will benefit most from a holistic review, looking at how your savings, investments, other assets, tax planning, pensions and estate planning are structured, and how they can best work together.
Protecting your wealth
While you will want to preserve your wealth and see it grow over time, this can be challenging in today’s economic and political climate.
The prolonged period of low interest rates, for example, has made it harder to achieve decent returns on lower-risk investments, aggravated by creeping inflation. And, of course, Brexit continues to stoke economic and currency uncertainty.
At times like this, careful cross-border planning plays a particularly important role in securing your financial security over the long term. You need to weigh up which issues affect you most and establish what you can do to protect against them.
DIY vs expert advice
Most people, who have built up or inherited wealth, will benefit from an independent and expert review of their finances. After all, it is difficult to look at your broad, financial situation from a truly-objective point of view, or fully understand the complex tax implications. It is quite easy to get DIY tax planning wrong, and potentially invite an unexpected tax bill, or even a tax investigation.
For the best results, talk to a financial adviser with cross-border experience. They should take time, and use relevant tools to thoroughly understand your unique situation, needs and objectives, to establish tax-efficient solutions for you and your heirs.
While all investments - even bank accounts - carry risk, a suitably-diversified portfolio can help manage risk, within your comfort level. It is essential to establish a clear and objective view of your risk tolerance, to determine the investment approach that will best suit you. An adviser is best placed to do this, objectively, using psychometric testing, for example, combined with their knowledge of your family’s situation in Spain, and your financial goals.
Understanding local taxation
If you live here, all elements of your financial planning - from investments to estate planning - should be set up for Spain, not the UK. Ideally, your adviser should be based locally in the Canary Isles, and have first-hand experience of the issues facing expatriates here, financial and otherwise. Crucially, they should also have in-depth understanding of cross-border tax planning, including the Spanish tax regime, and how it interacts with UK rules.
A local adviser can also react quickly and help you make adjustments if your personal circumstances change, or if there are Brexit developments or tax reforms that may affect you, including new opportunities.
Protection through regulation
Make sure you only deal with an adviser who has higher-level professional qualifications, and is authorised by a reputable regulatory body, such as the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as well as being authorised to give advice in Spain.
Note that using a UK-regulated adviser is mandatory if you want to transfer from a “defined-benefit” pension scheme worth £30,000 or more a year, but it is recommended for anyone considering their pension options.
Remember: if you are living in the Canary Isles, your finances should be set up for here, not for your old life in the UK. The sooner you set up a strategic, long-term vision to protect your wealth, the sooner you can relax into a prosperous future in Spain.
All advice received from Blevins Franks is personalised and provided in writing. This article, however, should not be construed as providing any personalised taxation or investment advice.
Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at www.blevinsfranks.com