A life insurance policy is often used as an investment vehicle which has the added benefit of being tax efficient. This is a useful tool in the armoury of Australian expatriates living abroad. Rachael Lee Montgomery, our Australian financial consultant based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, explains why.
Life insurance: a key part of your financial planning
Life insurance is one of the key elements of a holistic financial plan. It protects your loved ones in the event of your untimely death, compensating for the loss of your income by paying a lump sum to your family. It enables them to maintain the standard of living that they are accustomed to by covering regular outgoings such as a mortgage, car insurance, living expenses and school fees.
However, life insurance can also be used as a tool to create additional benefits regarding tax efficiency for individuals, and this is particularly pertinent to Australian expatriates living abroad.
Infinity maintains relationships with a variety of international life insurance companies and can therefore offer you advice on the best international life insurance plans available for your individual needs. Contact us today to discuss the ideal international life insurance policy for you when you live overseas.
When selecting term life insurance, make sure that you do not find yourself one of the excluded countries for your insurance company. You can check this by reading your existing life insurance policy term carefully and making sure what they cover and what they do not cover. Your main goal is that your family is cared for in the event of your death and that they won’t need to generate debt to cover certain costs, such as funeral expenses and substantial inheritance tax.
Investment options for expatriate Australians in Vietnam
Many expatriates who leave Australia become non-residents for tax purposes (see more on this as it can be complicated!). This gives you a much greater choice of options when it comes to investment opportunities and can be extremely beneficial in financial planning.
However, many expats plan to return home someday, and their financial planning needs to take this into account. It is exceedingly important to understand the key benefits and monthly premiums when you buy life insurance abroad. You also need to be sure that the insurance company that you choose to purchase a life benefit from will take care of your family members. You will need to be sure what kind of life cover is offered. Is it tied to life expectancy? Does it cover accidental death while living overseas? Does it include an income protection policy for the life assured in case of serious injury, or is that something that is not included in your premium benefit?
Try to find a provider that offers worldwide coverage as far as possible so that your expat lifestyle and repatriation costs can be covered in full should the worst happen. If certain countries are excluded from your insurance plan, then it is best to know this in advance. Foreign nationals who are global citizens will require a more comprehensive life insurance plan to cover them wherever they may be, regardless of whether they are there for travel obligations related to a new job or whether they have just travelled as part of their usual nomadic lifestyle.
Starting a new life in the country of Vietnam can be extremely exciting, and part of this excitement is related to new investment opportunities. One of these is International life insurance, specifically term life insurance. Choosing the right kind of cover and policy term for your needs is essential, especially if you are engaging in high-risk activities for work or leisure. When you join the expatriate group, remember that international life insurance is always part of your plan. There are extensive coverage options in many Asian countries, so make sure to select a coverage option suitable to your needs and personal circumstances.
Australians and the taxation of offshore investments
In July 2010, the Australian tax authorities changed the scope of which offshore investments were subject to taxation for Australians returning home with the introduction of the Foreign Accumulation Fund (FAF).
This change related to overseas life insurance policies is significant, and so are the consequences. According to FAF rules, these are now treated the same as domestic life insurance, which means that they are not reportable and are not taxed on an annual basis.
This makes life insurance cover an extremely useful investment vehicle for expat Aussies. In addition, International life insurance can offer an expat peace of mind no matter what expatriate group they belong to.
The advantages of life insurance for Australian expatriates in Vietnam
Tax-efficient capital growth
Your investments will accumulate in value, but you won’t pay tax on the capital gain.
Ability to switch funds
Any funds bought or sold within the life insurance wrapper have the potential to be tax-friendly to the individual. This gives you the flexibility to switch up your investments and make decisions based on investment potential rather than other factors.
At present, one real benefit of this kind of investment kicks in after ten years, as you can potentially benefit from reduced taxation on any funds you withdraw from the wrapper.
Estate planning advantages
In the unfortunate event that you pass away, your loved ones can potentially receive benefits tax efficiently. This will provide even further relief to your nominated beneficiaries in the sad event of your death.
Huge choice of investments
Almost any tradable asset can be included in a life insurance wrapper regardless of the country you find yourself in, and your life benefit stays the same.
You can choose to trade in any currency or many currencies. The one which suits you best will depend on your financial planning goals, and this is something to discuss with your financial planner.
In this article, I have given a very brief outline of the significant long-term benefits of life insurance wrappers as an investment tool for Australians in Vietnam. Obviously, as with many financial products, the devil is in the detail, and I advise you to seek the advice of a professional financial planner with experience in cross-border planning.
If you are interested in the material discussed briefly in this article, you are welcome to direct questions to Rachael at email@example.com or Infinity Vietnam.
Essentials of an Expat Life Insurance Policy
Expat term life insurance is essential. Make sure that your family members are taken care of in the event of your death.
Make sure that the following benefits are included:
- Make sure that more than accidental death is included in your coverage.
- Guaranteed premiums will help your financial planning.
- Coverage that includes permanent disability while you live abroad can be very helpful.
- Policies that include income protection insurance can bring great peace of mind.
In order to take out an expat life insurance policy, you will likely need to declare existing medical issues and will need to provide information about your family history. A detailed medical history is necessary for comprehensive life insurance coverage. Be prepared for medical questions.
If you are planning on moving abroad, then it is important to start your life insurance journey with a thorough medical exam to ensure guaranteed premiums for your term life insurance plans. Being honest about preexisting medical issues during the application process. Be wary when you follow an online application process; try to always make contact with a broker or consultant in your new country.
Will Moving Abroad Affect My Existing Life Insurance Policy?
Various scenarios will determine what happens to your life insurance policy when you move abroad. In most cases, if the information you initially gave to your life insurance provider is accurate, you should remain covered when you move abroad. For example, if a UK expat gives a UK provider a valid UK address as their place of residence and the correct UK bank account with a correspondence address that will fund the insurance, their life insurance policy should remain valid while they’re living abroad.
My main focus is to assist expats in Vietnam with personal financial planning strategies for retirement, Insurance, UK pension reviews and transfers, and investment properties.