Finally, you have your bank account sorted and your work permit is complete. A residence card has arrived or, if not, will soon be on its way. You have worked out how to transfer money back home and, more importantly, you have worked out not to give a taxi driver a VND 500,000 note instead of VND 20,000 (yes, we have all done it). But if you have made the decision to stay on, there may be a few things that have not yet crossed your mind.
If you have a property abroad on which you are paying a mortgage, you should tell the mortgage lender. It doesn’t matter if it is a variable rate, capped, interest-only or fixed. If the occupancy has changed and you have not been living there for over six months, they should be told. The mortgage lender may simply carry on as before, but some will insist that the mortgage gets changed to a buy-to-let mortgage if you are renting it out. From there, you will be required to change your building and contents insurance to a specialist landlord’s policy.
Any life insurance policy connected to the borrowing will also need to be looked at closely, as being offshore for more than 12 months may alter the terms of the policy. Look at an international life insurance policy, if possible, as they are not that much more expensive than a home-based policy.
If you have arrived here on the health insurance from your credit card or other home-based policies you will need to change this as, at renewal of the policy, you will have been out of the country for more than six months at one time and it will be classed as null and void. If you do need to get a new policy, there are some great insurance companies within Vietnam and abroad that will give you immediate cover.
As a rule of thumb, I always tell clients that they should have a level of emergency cash that is equal to at least three to six months’ salary. Whatever job you had in your home country, you most likely had an employer that paid into a pension fund: use the same percentage deducted from your old salary. You didn’t miss it then, so why miss it now? Build up the pot for emergency funds until you feel comfortable, then start looking further into investing money into the future.
The most important thing about living here is to enjoy yourself. Try to see something every day that makes you chuckle and be sure to check what money you give over in shops and taxis.
Paul McLardie is a partner at Total Wealth Management. Contact him at Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org