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Recently Emmigrated, where to save?

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I've recently (3 weeks ago) moved to the Middle East and I have a £10k 'emergency get home fund' to cover getting me and the pets back to the UK if ever necessary
I want to earn on it whilst it's unused (currently it's sat in a 0% current account) which could be 'forever'.
I need to be able to access it with maybe 3 days notice (the time it takes to get vet checks done for an export license). We have a pension set up already that is split around bonds and shares.
What would serve me better? An ISA, a Savings Account, Savings Bonds (the government things) or Micro Loans?
Can I even do those as I no longer have a UK address?
What would be a good (and safe) alternative if not?
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  • Loui.Marshall
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    bumping for help :)
  • Plus
    Plus Posts: 433 Forumite
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    Who do you bank with in the UK? You'll have big difficulties opening UK accounts at new banks, but your existing bank may be more flexible. The best time to open accounts was before you left.

    Otherwise there's the 'offshore' crowd - Jersey, Guernsey, IoM - though the number of British High St names there has declined a lot in recent years. MoneyFacts has an account search. Be aware that you get much less saver protection offshore than you do in the UK (look up 'KSF IoM' for scare stories).
  • Loui.Marshall
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    We have a UK account with Barclays (that we don't really want to use anymore if we can help it) and an international account with Lloyds.
    I knew that opening a new account would be troublesome, if not impossible, I think that I can have an ISA this year - I just don't know if I have to remove the money from there next April or if I can just leave it in.
    I was hoping that someone with some ex-pat experience would be able to give a bit of first hand advice :D
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
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    I've recently (3 weeks ago) moved to the Middle East and I have a £10k 'emergency get home fund' to cover getting me and the pets back to the UK if ever necessary

    Wouldn't it have been better to think about this before you left this country?
    I was hoping that someone with some ex-pat experience would be able to give a bit of first hand advice :D

    There are a lot of ex-pats sites where there will people who have dealt with similar problems - more likely to get help on those.
  • Voyager2002
    Voyager2002 Posts: 15,346 Forumite
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    If you have an ISA you can certainly leave the money in there while you are abroad.

    Given that the money is for emergencies, and you might need it within a few days, I suggest that you keep it in an account that you KNOW is accessible. When I went abroad I put my savings into an "instant access" savings account with NatWest, but when I tried to withdraw it the transfer process did not work, and it actually took about six months before they allowed me to withdraw my money! Against this level of possible hassle, the tiny amounts of interest that you might earn pale into insignificance.

    Have you looked at savings accounts available in your new home? Presumably none of them pay interest, since Islam prohibits this just as strongly as Christianity does.
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 31,629 Forumite
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    Recently Emmigrated, where to save?
    Where you now are would seem the obvious answer! ;)
  • Vortigern
    Vortigern Posts: 3,249 Forumite
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    If you have an ISA you can certainly leave the money in there while you are abroad.
    I don't think you can contribute to an ISA if you are not UK resident for tax purposes.
  • Eco_Miser
    Eco_Miser Posts: 4,708 Forumite
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    Presumably none of them pay interest, since Islam prohibits this just as strongly as Christianity does.
    They won't pay interest, but they may pay a share of profits, as Al Rayan Bank does.
    Eco Miser
    Saving money for well over half a century
  • Loui.Marshall
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    Wouldn't it have been better to think about this before you left this country?
    Didn't have the money before I left the country, so no
    Where you now are would seem the obvious answer!
    I'm pretty sure that there aren't the same safeguards as there are in the UK that you get from the FSA etc.

    I guess I'll look more at micro loans . . .
  • bowlhead99
    bowlhead99 Posts: 12,295 Forumite
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    With a saving account you have an inherent trade off between your two potential objectives:

    A) putting money away for a long period (which could be 'forever'), demanding a high interest rate to counter the ravages of inflation ; versus

    B) maintaining the money somewhere with instant access (to serve its purpose as an emergency 'get home' fund at short notice when your local bank accounts are frozen etc), which will inevitably pay the smallest amounts of interest because the bank can't use your money for anything when it must keep it immediately available for you at all times.

    So, you pays your money and takes your choice. What is wrong with your Barclays account, that you "don't want to use any more if you can help it" or your Lloyds International one?

    NS&I income bonds are not bad though you will need a 'normal' UK bank account to receive the interest.

    You can't have an ISA as you did not get it before you left and presumably you want to claim split-tax-year treatment to be deemed non UK resident as soon as you left (you do not still want to be paying UK tax on your worldwide income). An ISA is largely useless for you anyway as any interest earned on £10k in the UK is going to be covered by your UK personal allowance and not subject to UK tax, thereby not needing an ISA protective wrapper ; meanwhile the ISA protective wrapper may not be recognised anyway by a number of foreign governments that seek to tax their residents on overseas income.

    The only advantage of leaving money in a UK ISA is that when you come back it is already in the ISA and so you do not need to wait multiple years to fit it back into annual ISA allowances. But for only £10k, that's only half a years' ISA allowance, so not much of an issue; in the year you return you will get a full year's allowance even if you only arrived a few days before the end of a tax year.
    I guess I'll look more at micro loans . . .
    Well, with those you have the issue of potentially material investment losses when people fail to pay you back or the middleman goes bust, so it doesn't allow you to store the £10k in safety for when it is needed.

    You also have the practical problem that you can't call in the loan early and may not have a secondary market to sell the loans onwards to some other sucker when you need the money back in a hurry (your 3-day maximum timeframe). Some providers offer an early withdrawal facility and rolling loans on short timescales, but the rates are at the poor end of the scale, especially considering that your capital is at risk.
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