Saturday, March 15, 2008

Expatriate Financial Considerations For Retiring Abroad

More than a million British citizens are collecting their state pensions from destinations abroad. With the sights, sounds and local flavour of countries as diverse as Spain, New Zealand or even Belize attracting retirees, getting in on the trend or retiring abroad appeals to more than one up-and-coming retiree.

If the countryside of France or the mountains of Bulgaria sound too good to pass up to you, you’re going to need to make sure you have a few things in order. Finances of course are one of the main considerations and in this article we’ll examine expatriate financial considerations for retiring abroad.

For Britons who want to move out of the UK in retirement, there’s more to planning for the financial future than just making sure a pension is in place; some of the top considerations no matter the retirement destination include:

• Exchange rates. This is a very big concern - in countries where the pound spends very well today, there is no guarantee that this will be the case tomorrow. Retirees are often urged to take advantage of opportunities to transfer assets into euro-based accounts (where applicable) and to lock in to a specialist exchange rate for direct deposits of pensions where possible…speak to your financial adviser about what’s right for you.

• Basic banking concerns. Plan on having to juggle two accounts if you intend to keep a British bank account open (which is a sensible thing to do if you are eligible). Make sure you have online access to this account as time differences might make contacting the bank directly via telephone a little tricky at best. It’s also always a good idea to inquire about local banking in your retirement destination as well; having a local account will make paying routine bills a whole lot easier.

• Pension concerns. If you intend to stay within the European Union your state pension shouldn’t be too much of a concern. If you move out of the EU however, there is a chance that inflation increases will not be credited to you and your pension will be frozen. Take care to research the ramifications before selecting a retirement destination.

• Taxes. This is a sticky situation to say the least! Typically you will find you are taxed at the local level within your country of choice but you might still find HM Revenue & Customs tax you as well. Countries where there is a double tax treaty can help make this issue go away. Destinations that have a tax treaty with the UK include the popular retirement countries of Portugal, France, Spain and Italy. Pay close attention to the tax issues however, or you might find your retirement pension doesn’t go as far as you thought it might.

Buying property abroad and moving aboard during retirement is a major British trend. With the whole world waiting to be explored and many countries offering a better standard and lower cost of living than the UK it certainly makes sense. To ensure you have your finances in order, closely research the regulations and situation in your country of choice. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence…make sure you cover the expatriate essentials relating to all aspects of your financial situation before you commit to retiring abroad – where necessary speak to a financial adviser about your personal situation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Going to Work in Sweden

Because of its reputation as an extremely high taxation nation, Sweden is not usually the first choice of nation for would-be-expatriates looking for an overseas location in which they can live, work, explore and enjoy life in a different land with a different language and culture. But having said that, taking tax out of the equation and because there are actually many reasons why Sweden is an attractive nation to reside in and seek employment in, an increasing number of international citizens are taking up residence in Sweden, with the nation home to around 11,000 British expats already for example.

If you’re thinking of going to work in Sweden this article covers everything from labour laws and visas to finding accommodation and just how much tax you really do have to pay on your hard earned income!

The quality of life that you can enjoy in Sweden is very high – education, healthcare, housing and social welfare for example are all exceptionally well funded by the government and mean that each and every citizen of the nation stands a good chance of a decent quality of life. As an expatriate working abroad you might think that you will not be entitled to the same standards of living or the same levels of access to healthcare and education for your children for example – but you’d be wrong.

Depending on the nation you herald from, if you have the right to live and work in Sweden you have the right to free or heavily subsidised healthcare, you have the right to have your children educated for free up to the age of at least 16 and you have the same rights as Swedish citizens when it comes to pay and working conditions too…in fact, Sweden is an exceptionally fair country.

If you’re British you can live in Sweden for three months without needing any sort of visa…if on the other hand you know you want to move permanently and get work in Sweden then you can either apply for a residence visa before you go from the Swedish Embassy in the UK, or you can apply for residency after you’ve moved to the nation. If on the other hand an employer offers you a job and relocation to Sweden you’ll automatically get a residence permit for five years unless the position offered is temporary, at which point you’ll be given permission to reside and work in Sweden for the duration of your contract.

If you come from anywhere else in the world other than the UK you’ll need to check with your nearest Swedish embassy to determine your rights to reside and take up employment in Sweden before you make a commitment to move there.

In terms of the main employment centres they are Stockholm and Gothenburg with Malmo another popular spot for some expatriates. Naturally the very fact that there are plenty of job vacancies in these cities means that the demand for accommodation is high and therefore housing costs are higher than elsewhere in Sweden too. Many Swedish citizens rent their properties with a lot of subsidised municipal housing available – this means that rental law is well developed and tenants’ rights are well looked after.

And finally – yes tax in Sweden is high…how else can the nation afford free healthcare, education and an abundance of municipal housing not to mention numerous other social welfare type initiatives and benefits? So while you pay top dollar out of your wages to live in Sweden, you do actually have something to show for it other than a massive, well equipped army! Income is taxed upwards of 35% depending on how much you earn and the municipality in which you live, and then there is another national income tax on top of this which can go up to 25% of you annual salary.

Monday, March 10, 2008

How To Increase Your Article Subscription

We know that freelancing has become a competitive business, with hundreds of writers competing for the same, limited number of assignments, and any writer who can best showcase their abilities is the one who lands the job.

Editors don't have the time nor the inclination to sift through the hundreds of resumes they receive. If your credits and clips are not right there on an editor's desk, or available with a single click of the mouse, the assignment is going to go to the writer who managed to got there first, even if you're the better writer for the job.

More importantly, if you have a resume, your resume better be a good one, because it is competing with other resumes. If you already have an online resume and not getting any feedbacks, you can certainly blame the resume. Without a good resume, people have no idea that you even exist, you may as well be invisible. We live in a market economy and you must learn to market yourself effectively and aggressively - or suffer in a 'go nowhere' situation.

Now the question is "What makes a good resume"? Anyone can type up words on a piece of paper, but a professional resume writer knows how to market your skills by choosing powerful, competitive, words and uses them strategically in order to trigger positive responses. A professional resume writer knows how to highlight your experiences, skills, achievements, education, and accomplishments - and knows how to market you effectively with an individually designed resume.

So in order to get your writing clips into the hands of the editors looking for writers, the best method is to have your own online resume. It is obvious that a personal site has become a must for today's freelancer, but what's needed is a site that showcases your entire writing resume, that highlights;

Publishing Works
Writing-related job history
Any published credits
Specialty or genre
Easily accessible and visually attractive clips, whether scanned or in document form

An editor is then able to access all of your information at once, instead of being forced to slog through links after links. With everything in one place, an editor is also more able to get a feel for your abilities and range. Whichever method you decide to choose, getting your resume and clips online will definitely give you a better access to editors and "hopefully" even making sales tomorrow!

Once you have your online resume, link it with your article page and start putting articles on it. As you no doubt already know, writing articles is probably the most effective way to promote your web site.

It's a very simple principle - publishers want a vast quantity of good quality content that they do not have to pay for; you provide that content, with the proviso that at the bottom of your article, they include your resource box with a link
to your web site. It's a win-win situation. With your article published on heaps of web sites, and in several ezines, it's enough to set your traffic counter spinning.

Next blast it in the search engines. Search Engines love this. They are constantly checking for fresh content and our job is to give it to them with the right keywords!!

Many authors make the mistake of submitting articles that are actually little more than solo advertisements for their web sites. The chances of such an article getting published are virtually zero.

Getting your article (and online resume link) submitted by a professional submission service is a great idea. This may cost a little, but is worth every penny. All you do is register yourself, pay and submit your article.

These type of companies will submit your article to 1,000's of publishers and article directories in seconds. This is a great way to get name recognition for yourself, increase traffic to your website, sell products, get subscribers for your newsletter etc.,