Given what the last 18 months have thrown our way, paired with the tug on the heartstrings of not being as close as we wish to our loved ones during a global pandemic, it is no surprise that many are making the huge decision to return to the UK.
We recommend planning as early as possible before making the momentous return home, as there are many things to consider and surprises which may creep up if you do not plan in depth beforehand. It’s important to remember that it will undoubtedly be a stressful experience, although the better you plan, the smoother the process. As there are so many things to consider before returning, to help you plan effectively, we’ve pulled together 12 handy tips for you to consider before packing up and moving.
1. Make sure you’re (all) sure
First, is it the right decision for you and your family to repatriate to the UK? Before finalising your decision to return, do lots of research. Don’t make rash decisions and discuss the desire with trusted friends and family. Will life improve for you and your family when you return? If the answer is yes, you know you’re on the right path.
2. Consider your personal circumstances
You may have changed your individual circumstances since you last lived in the UK. Maybe you have grown your family since being abroad or met a long-term partner. Ensure that the relocation works for your and your family’s needs, whatever your circumstances now.
3. Consider changes in the UK since you moved
Depending on when you moved abroad, there will be a lot of changes in the UK. Time spent away from family may colour your views, and the fairytale of returning home may be viewed through rose-tinted glasses. Brexit has made it more complicated for those who want to return to the UK, making it more complex to move away from the UK again.
4. Consider the timing of your move
When planning the date of your official move, make sure it works for you and your family. Are you starting a new job and want some time to settle beforehand? If your children are starting a new school, you may want to move before a new school year and give them enough time to attend ‘settle in’ days. It’s important to consider how the transition between your present home and the UK will work for everyone.
5. Get organised
An in-depth list is an excellent starting point. Set a deadline for each task and work through them one by one. This may sound simple, but it will allow you to organise the many things you need to remember to make your relocation as smooth as possible.
Ensuring your finances are in order before a move is important. If you have a particular area in the UK you would like to live in, have you researched the house prices? Perhaps you haven’t considered elements such as stamp duty when it came to saving for a house deposit. Many situations can creep up and eat into your finances. An emergency fund or buffer is recommended.
So, before returning to the UK, finance should be thoroughly taken into account.
6. Have a buffer
Before you move, build a financial buffer or emergency fund. This will allow you an emergency fund if the unexpected were to happen.
7. Re-open UK bank accounts
A good option is to open an international bank account, which can be used before your move and on your return to the UK. After you have opened a new bank account, you may choose to close your current ones.
8. Check exchange rates
Keep on top of exchange rates. If you need to transfer substantial amounts to and from the UK, it is important to time this and give yourself plenty of wiggle room to save considerable money.
9. Get advice around tax
Get advice from a tax professional who knows the ins and outs of regulations in both countries to maximise your income. Do this before you return to the UK so that you can take action on investments, property or other assets.
10. Ensure you understand your pension
Research your current pension entitlement and how this will change when you repatriate to the UK. The UK Department for Work and Pensions are great for advice on any further questions about your entitlement and obligations.
11. Pursue expert advice
If you have a property in your current country, talk to a trusted estate agent and financial experts in the UK about your options and the best solutions for your family in the current climate. Be aware that you may also incur capital gains tax on any profit when selling your foreign home.
12. Study property prices
This may be a given, but property prices in the UK shift a lot depending on their location, and in recent years the housing market has shown no sign of slowing down. Make sure you check the prices of the type of property you want to live in the UK.
Repatriating to the UK after spending years abroad can be a daunting process, requiring lots of planning and consideration in many areas. The best advice from a trusted advisor can ensure you move home to the UK. happens as hassle-free as possible, giving you time to focus on your family, anxieties and the excitement which comes with the momentous move.
At GSB, our repatriation experts have extensive knowledge and experience in helping our clients repatriate to the UK in a relaxed, tax-efficient and smooth manner.
Ross Whatnall is CEO and co-founder of GSB and a highly experienced private client director. Ross holds many insurance and investment management qualifications, including CISI, CII, LIBF and CFA. He started his career in private banking with HSBC in the UK before moving to the UAE in 2013 to focus on serving his private clients.