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Plan, research and plan some more – getting yourself ready to move countries

The world has never been more connected. Globalisation has had a profound impact on us all, and now, more than ever, people are seeking opportunities for work and lifestyle changes abroad.

This, coupled with some people’s view of an uncertain and challenging future for South Africa has seen the conversation of moving to a foreign country becoming a hot topic.

Whatever your reason for wanting to emigrate from South Africa, it is crucial that you do as much as you can to research the country you are planning on moving to. The research should cover (but certainly not be limited to):

  • What is my expected budget going to be?
  • Do I qualify for social benefits? e.g. health, schooling, etc.
  • What are the costs of relocation? Moving, deposits of property to buy/rent, transport, etc.

The majority of this work has to be done by you and should also involve at least one visit to the country you plan on relocating to.

Once you have gathered the information, you should discuss it with your Retiremeant™ Specialist and understand what all of this means in relation to your Financial Plan. Your Specialist should help you make the most informed decision possible.

Moving for family reasons

If you are moving to a new country to be closer to your children or grandchildren, you need to consider what this move means not only for yourself but also for them. Are you going to be a social or financial burden on them? Will they make career and family decisions influenced by you? What is your plan if they move and you are left in this new environment?

Again, this needs to be researched and discussed at length with your family and your Retiremeant™ Specialist.

Tax considerations

The final step of moving would be to make sure you get all your tax affairs in order.

As a South African resident living in this country, you are a South African taxpayer under residency-based legislation. You would only cease to be a South African taxpayer once you relocate to your new country. Currently, the process of financially emigrating from South Africa must be done through a bank (preferably your own), who facilitate your application with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Different assets are handled in specific ways by the SARB. For instance, a Retirement Annuity can be withdrawn fully, subject to tax, but a Living Annuity has to remain administered in South Africa. Your Specialist would be able to guide you with this, particularly from a financial planning perspective. Making the right application through your bank to the SARB is crucial in ensuring your move offshore is as smooth as possible from a cash flow and financial point of view.