Home » Currency 101 » If you’re emigrating, this is what you need to know about money

When you first move to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or other far-flung destinations, you might not be buying your own house straight away, but you’ll certainly have a lot of expenses. You need to take care of your currency transfers or budgeting will be impossible. For all your transactions before and after you emigrate, here is how we can help.

Few of us are brave enough to buy a property when we first emigrate. After you’ve settled in a bit it can be a great way to establish deeper roots in a country. But in the meantime, most of us will be renting. So why bother with a currency specialist like Smart? Here is why we’re not just there for when you buy a property.

Even if you don’t buy a property straight away you’ll have a lot of money flowing there. A thousand or two for a rental deposit, another for a relocation service, nursery fees, spending money… The costs can soon add up, especially if you use an ordinary high street bank.

Don’t spend any money on your move abroad until you’ve read The Currency Guide to Emigration, free to download.

Typical flows of money include income from renting out your UK home. Or perhaps you’re still doing a bit of freelance or consultation work for your former British employer, or you’re receiving pension or investment income.

Smart can help in three particular ways. Firstly, we can help remove the risk that payments go astray with our Regular Payments Plan. Secondly, we can fix the exchange rate with a Forward Contract so your income isn’t constantly changing. That’s essential when it comes to budgeting. Thirdly, we can efficiently transfer money if you are selling a UK property.

Budgeting for regular payments

When you move abroad you have a lot to think about, from settling the kids into school to putting up with work colleagues taking the mickey out of your accent! Any certainty is worth its weight in gold. In the past two years or so £100 would have got you anywhere from 159 to 220 Australian dollars and from 168 to 218 New Zealand dollars. If you are relying on your money from the UK to survive, that adds up to a lot of uncertainty.

So whatever happens, if you agree a rate of, say, US$1.27, that’s the rate you’ll get no matter how far the pound subsequently falls.

With a forward contract you pay a small deposit to fix your exchange for up to a year ahead. So whatever happens, if you agree a rate of, say, US$1.27, that’s the rate you’ll get no matter how far the pound subsequently falls.

Knowing exactly what your pounds arriving from the UK will be worth allows you to budget effectively. When you bear in mind that some countries take a decidedly dim view of expats falling into debt, it’s a weight off your mind to know what your income will be.

Customer service

Although some of us are completely au fait with online banking, many long-distance emigrants like to have a dedicated account manager or trader available on the telephone too. It’s reassuring when you’re sending significant sums of money halfway around the world. We have all the online currency solutions you’ll need, but when you need a question answered quickly just give us a call.

Currency risk

If you’re lucky enough to own a home in the UK, when you come to sell it a forward contract is even more useful. The major risk with currency transfers is “exchange rate volatility”. The value of the pound changes every minute of the day and if it sinks just when you’re changing your money you can lose a fortune. Your personal trader can offer guidance on the best time to make your transfer.

With the Cheadles

The Cheadles enjoying life in New Zealand

Louise and Kevin Cheadle and their kids moved from Hertfordshire to New Zealand. They were a bit nervous about moving their money – especially the big transfer when they sell their house – with anyone other than their high street bank. “So, we decided to move small amounts of money with Smart Currency Exchange to start with, which was absolutely fine with them. They exchanged £6,000 into NZ dollars for us and deposited them safely in our Bank of New Zealand account. We also had to secure a rental property with a NZ$600 bond, which Smart dealt with too.”

For the big transfer, the Cheadles’ talked it through with their personal trader at Smart and created a strategy. Now, when the exchange rate gets to £1/NZ$2.12 their trader will give them a call and at that point they can decide to send the money through. No need to constantly check the exchange rate themselves!


Find out how we can help you

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