This depends if you reside in the US, and if not whether you have US sourced earnings. If yes, then several retirement plans are available to you on a pre-tax basis, e.g. various Individual Retirement Accounts (Traditional, SEP & SIMPLE IRAs), as well as Individual or Employer-sponsored 401k plans. Money compounds in these plans tax free until withdrawn. Penalties typically apply for withdrawals before age 59.5.

For children under age 21, UTMA savings accounts are available on a post-tax contribution basis, However, they do provide some tax advantages and money withdrawn may be used only for the benefit of the child.

There are also 529 College Savings Plans, where withdrawals are not taxed if used towards university education and related expenses. 529 money can be also be used to fund education at several leading universities outside the United States. Please contact us for a list.

We believe that money is a means, and not an end, so percentage formulae cannot determine how much to save. The world is divided into spenders and savers, so it is important to save something each month or quarter, irrespective.

You will most likely live longer and work pensions are less common today. Hence it is your responsibly to plan for enough savings for a long retirement. One may consider maximizing one’s tax advantaged work retirement plans first, and if possible also save money into a brokerage account to build a nest-egg that (unlike retirement money) is immediately accessible.   

Generally for US citizens living broad, we think that liquid portfolios of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs etc should continue to be managed in US domiciled accounts, unless you need to live off that money or if you need funds to purchase a home. Investments in overseas domiciled mutual funds are taxed at a high rate by Uncle Sam.  Also, your US-based retirement accounts (IRA, SEP IRA, 401k etc) cannot be transferred elsewhere without penalty (unless you have reached age 59.5).

Generally, if you are eligible for foreign pension plans, then your US social security benefits may be reduced up to 50%. However, this is not always so. For example, if one receives money from Israel National Insurance, then this does not impact the level of your US Social Security benefit. For further information read my article on Linkedin.

This is possible but in almost all cases, tax treaties between the US and the country of your residence ensure you are not paying double taxation. If your tax rate is higher in the country of residence than the US, then you will still file a US tax return but most likely not pay additional taxes.

Where you pay and how much depends on many factors, such as if you are working, immigration status, and specific tax jurisdiction. For more specific answers we will gladly refer you to an expat-focused CPA.  And don’t forget to file your US tax return every year!

There is a role for technology in investing, and robo advisors are part of this trend. However, their investment results are varied, and they typically classify clients into one of a few risk buckets, that do not always take your personal circumstances into account. Many of these platforms are turning their efforts towards working with advisors to provide you with the best individualized client experience.    

Please note that a few robo advisors have been forced to shut down, having not gained sufficient scale to justify continued operations.

We have great respect for those who put their own financial knowledge and experience to work for themselves and their family. But we also believe that you deserve the time to remain focused on your own career and other pursuits, and we can be a very valuable resource in this regard. Be assured that we appreciate a client’s desire to remain actively involved, and will always make you feel a sense of partnership.