The new generation of investors has already arrived, and certified financial planners and wealth managers all over are finding newer ways to cater to the financial needs and requirements of the global millennial citizen. This segment is dynamic, mobile, and thrives on doing new things and having new experiences. In fact, millennials are probably the next version of the erstwhile nomadic tribes. Why do I say that? It’s simple.
Millennials are people who have few geographical boundaries. Be it Tasmania or Tanzania, they have found a way to work from anywhere. Time zones and borders blur themselves for this generation of always-on-the-move investors.
While millennials get caught up making full use of the opportunities the world provides them, many of them don’t look deep enough into their own financial security. But they are not entirely to blame. It’s not like they are not interested, but with the kind of lives they live, managing personal finance may seem complex due to time constraints. Or maybe, they haven’t been able to see how financial planning can make their lives simpler. In any case, it is quite clear that traditional investment methods and simple financial planning strategies are not going to work with these individuals. Let’s see why.
Most of these young investors are not bound to one country—many move multiple times into new territories over the course of their careers. Not knowing where your career or life may take you in future puts you in a scenario where there’s little clarity on ‘settling down.’ In situations like these, the only thing that ensures consistency in your personal finances is having a solid financial foundation. Planning well equips you to face medical emergencies or for tasks such as booking last-minute tickets to your home.
Here’s a list of things you need to keep in mind while building a global portfolio.
Restriction on investments
NRIs may face certain restrictions while investing in different countries due to a variety of reasons; it can be due to regulatory policies, unfavourable tax implications or the amount required to qualify as investment. This country specific criteria gets exacerbated when you change your tax residency from one country to another. A conversation with a cross-border financial planning specialist would help you understand and address the nuances much better.
As an NRI, you need to be aware of your tax liabilities, especially if there is a dual-taxation situation. Some countries have a DTAA (Double Tax Avoidance Agreement) signed with India, which allows you to reduce your tax liability in one country or completely wipe it off as well. However, we’re not talking about someone who lives in one place forever; a true global citizen may move multiple times to different countries or have tax exposure in more than two countries at a given time. You are more likely to require professional assistance as each country has different tax codes and rules; while the US and UK tax your global income, some countries like Singapore completely forego tax on capital gains.
When you’re constantly on the move, liquid assets are your best bet for your emergency needs. Someone like you would need a specialised plan that allows you to quickly liquidate and utilise your assets whenever you need them, wherever you are. Financial assets that are carefully planned give you adequate control and ease of managing, while adhering to the changes in rules and taxes for different countries. Also, it is prudent to consider how easily you can transact from your accounts and investments for them to be useful to you.
Diversification is one of the best things you can do for your financial portfolio. Not only does it make sure that you don’t have all your eggs in one basket, but it also helps to ensure that your assets are adequately distributed across geographies and currencies. In fact, having assets in different currencies works in your favour as you can always gain from currency depreciation, if you have funds that need to be utilised back home in India. However, it would make sense to sit with a cross-border financial planning expert to help you evaluate the different options available at your disposal.
Life Goals & Estate Planning
You may not have thought about this already, but retirement and old age are real and require dedicated time and energy right now. Where you want settle down after retirement and how you want to live are big questions you will need to answer. And let’s not forget Estate Planning, because one day we will have to pass on our assets or support our near and dear ones during our lifetime. When you’re constantly on the move, it’s always better to be prepared for surprises from life to make financial decisions easier.
Investing overseas may look like a complicated task. But, with the right guidance, it can be made simpler.
(The writer is Managing Director and CEO of International Money Matters)