3 Biggest Mistakes expats always make

thai girl date 28 Sep

3 Biggest Mistakes expats always make

Wherever you are in the world, if you are a long term expat, you often sit at your favourite haunt and watch the newbies making the same mistakes over and over again whilst you laugh to yourself, however there is a small part of you that thinks how exciting the world was back when you first arrived and finding your feet in your new homeland.

Here are 3 things experienced expats will be glad to tell you and help you avoid making your own mistakes if you can stomach their old man moaning for just an hour.

Getting a Job

People step off the plane with a couple of wonderful holidays under their belt aiming now to live in the land of smiles, and just get a job, and seem to feel that the ‘holiday experience’ will continue, spending 100 bucks a day on food, alcohol and whatever sexual pleasures that came with your 2 week vacations. 

You are labouring under the misapprehension you can get a 2,000-5,000 USD a month from job here in Thailand as a construction worker, or an accountant, lawyer etc. Nope, read the fine print! You cannot work in Thailand in a profession that a Thai person can do, which is ethical really.

In your home country you are quick enough to complain, as is your right to do so, about people stealing jobs from the people that lived there all their lives.

Maybe I can open a soup stall??

It is not impossible to land a well-paid skilled job, but the laws are still pretty much unchanged over the last 20 years. Okay, one foreigner in a company, but you must employ 3 other Thai people to offset your work permit or look into a BOI company, whoops their goes all your night out money!

Then you have to try get your visa to coincide with your work permit or you will find yourself every month or so cramped up on a visa minibus all night with some 20 year old Philippine English teachers going to do regular border runs to stamp your visa out and back in again a good waste of 2-3 days of your life!

The people you do meet with good jobs here are the ones who have worked really hard at one company for many years and have been offered a position from their own home country. These are what I have always determined as ‘real expats’ who think nothing of spending an English teachers monthly salary on a couple of dinners in the top restaurants. The others will be mainly Hotel Managers who get moved along to new spots every few years.

Lesson one; don’t think you can get a job in Thailand easily, unless you want to be an English teacher earning around 35,000 THB a month.

Falling in Love

Tricky one this; who is to say what is right when it comes to affairs of the heart, one man’s misery is another man’s comfort right? Easy to judge and assume that the twenty something girl on the 70 something man’s arm is reprehensible. However maybe she comes from a world where young woman are beaten by young men, and found herself with no friends, a child or two and no support and within the arms of this older man she found safety, peace and support.

The only advice I would give is; to try your very best to immerse yourself in the culture, understanding is a two way street. Yes your Thai partner needs you to take care of the people back in their village which means regular payments back home, which is alien to the way most Westerners live. On the other hand the care homes we send our old folks to in the West, are just horrible to Asian ways, and their elderly live with them till the end of days. If you ask older people from all ends of the Earth and I would think that will be what the vast majority want which is to die with all your children and grandchildren near them. In Southeast Asia that is the norm.

So when it feels like you are a never ending ATM try to envisage how they will feed you are care for you till the end of your days the very best they can.

Many things are a culture shock and it’s your ‘love’ that will get you over these hurdles,

Love as they say is just 2 imperfect people trying to be the best they can for one another.

Of Course I miss you evelee day handsome sucker!

Your average expat has heard all the stories about how some Thai woman has stolen a newish expat’s house, car and dog, (Yes Siree, like a good Country and Western song!) but in my experience these types of men had similar problems with partners in the West, not to say there isn’t mercenary people anywhere. Try to remember the least experience you have of the culture the more vulnerable you will be to being scammed.

Chief takeaway is make  some Thai friends, listen, more, learn and try above all to remember different cultures mean different values , some good , some not so good.

Just because some young slim and very attractive much younger lady has told you she loves you and that you are in fact handsome, should be taken with a pinch of salt and some humility

Small fortune

There is a saying amongst experience expats that says:

“How do you make a small fortune in Thailand? Answer: Come with a big one!

Moving to the other side of the world is always going to be costly, even if you feel your money goes a lot further here. It all depends on what you consider is a comfortable standard of living.

I have a wealthy friend for UK who could easily afford business class flights and the top Hotels, however he always flies economy and always stays in a rundown Khao San Road Hotel for less than $10 a night. He believes this is how he stays wealthy and not waste his money. I however think that one day he will die wondering what it might have been like to splash out once in a while and have the memory forever.

As George Best the first Millionaire footballer who once replied to being asked what he spent his money on:

“I blew it on beer and woman, the rest I wasted!”

All too many new expats rush into buying this condo or house and opening a business, or worst still opening a bar! The smarter people I met who opened a bar explained to me that they never expected to make any money on it, the ‘bar life’ was just a way to get a visa to stay, and they knew it would either be sold in a year or two down the line so they can move on, or it will just have enough life for a couple of years before it sold for buttons to make a coffee shop..

The new expats dream of franchising their brand around the world, much to the fun of the experienced folk and the local copper who sits everyday listens to their ambitions just for his regular tea money!

I can include myself in this equation I had 2 houses in UK in 2005 I sold them both , at the peak of the house prices in my area I may add to soften the blow for my misadventure. I bought a condo in Hua Hin and sat idly for 2 years wondering what to do, I did ever so enjoy myself. However if I knew what I know now. I would have invested some time in myself to learn some online skills and get a website up or do some ecommerce or learn about investing and life would have been a lot easier for me but I took the road called ‘learn the hard way sucker!’

I had to sell my beach condo 2 years later, I made a bit on it but that cash lasted me another year and a half and I was then broke, unable to work in the country unless I wanted to teach English as a foreign language. Over the next 15 years went back home to work a few times, now I have a good online  startup and good clients  am still here and okay now, but as my older brother once said;

“You have got to have big balls to live like how you did bro!”

rather be broke on the beach than broke at home

 My Brother had one job all his life and never ever late to pay anyone or anything. The true opposite to me. He sadly died in UK 53 years old hardly travelling anywhere!

Getting good financial advice would be the main takeaway here, and recently I did, all it cost me was a coffee and I have now found ways to get my own investment for my startup through old pensions I forgot I had, this and moving some money to better jurisdictions for better returns and that I could cash some or all of the pensions.

You could be in for a big cash surprise if you just sit and chat with people in the know. 

Ready for a coffee? Contact us here

Remember 2 ears one mouth, makes sure your wealth does not go south!

enjoy life save 10% 20 Sep

Do you work for cash or does cash work for you?

“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” Robert Kiyosaki Author of Rich Dad Poor Dad

Ever hear of a poor banker? No nor have we!

Bankers use cash and make it work for themselves. Their bricks and mortar banks offering accounts, loans and small interest are what savvy business describe as a ‘loss leader,’ it is true the banks themselves do not make much money. It is what happens each evening when the doors close and then the real action starts.

Your cash is being put to work in massive arbitrage deals and forex investments earning the banks Billions each month, this is why it takes a week to cash a check, that £10 check or bank transaction you sent to your nephew in another country, that we all  know it can be done instantly it is merely pressing a button on a computer and its done, but the banks need your cash to stay where it is for as long as it can, because your £10 can turn into £5-10,000 for them in a matter of days!

Because Bankers understand liquidity

Liquidity is a term used in finance to explain the availability of cash.

Liquidity might be your emergency savings account or the cash lying with you that you can access in case of any unforeseen happening or any financial setback. Liquidity also plays an important role as it allows you to seize opportunities.

If you have cash and easy access to fund and a great deal comes along, then it’s easier for you to cease that opportunity. Cash, savings account, current accounts are liquid assets because they can be easily converted into cash as and when required.

cash fundamentals
Cash fundamentals

Sometimes magazines refer to the Queen as being super rich but most of her cash is tied up in land and property. I remember reading a news report about how a poor chap won an expensive sports car in a raffle, and he had to borrow some cash to put petrol in it to get it home. It took him over a year to sell it and the report had a picture of him walking past his car every day on the way to work as a hod carrier on construction sites.

Liquid cash is a vital component of anyone’s portfolio. I remember learning about how much liquid cash you should have in your financial strategy.

A common-sense strategy may be to allocate no less than 5% of your portfolio to cash, and many prudent professionals may prefer to keep between 10% and 20% on hand at a minimum. It really depends on your individual circumstances. Evidence indicates that the maximum risk/return trade-off occurs somewhere around this level of cash allocation. If you combine cash with fixed income securities, the maximum risk/reward level is slightly higher, somewhere along the lines of 30%.

You should always try to keep at least 3-6 month’s living expenses in cash to avoid running out of money if something happens. Easier said than done for all too many Brits.

A third (33%) of Brits say they do not regularly save any money, according to new research by Lloyds Bank. Part of Lloyds Bank’s ‘How Britain Lives’ study, the UK-wide analysis conducted in partnership with YouGov, also found that 7% of UK adults have no savings whatsoever to fall back on if they lost their job. A further one in five (18%) wouldn’t survive more than a month if they were to suddenly lose their job, and 30% would only be able to live off their current savings for up to six months. Yet, despite knowing they could be caught short on cash, almost one in five (17%) admit to not planning their personal finances at all.

If you are like me who laments that it took so long to educate myself about money and how money is the most ardent worker for itself, and is still stunned every day to learn how some investment vehicles are making massive returns each day and how money grows and grows without having to carry bricks up and down buildings all day or win a car in a raffle.

We all want to have a good time when we are young and we leave education and can’t wait to get a job to become independent, but very few if any young people are educated in how money works and we are all somewhat guilty of living for today.


Monthly contributions really begin to make sense when you understand the concept of compounding. Compound returns act like a snowball rolling downhill; it begins small and slowly at first, but picks up size and momentum as time moves on.

The two key elements of compound returns are reinvestment of earnings and time. Stocks generate dividends that can be reinvested, and over time this acts as a self-feeding source of financial growth. At its core, compound investing is all about letting your interest generate more interest, which ends up generating even more interest down the road.

Suppose, for example, that a 20-year-old individual has £5,000 invested in equities earning 8% a year, which is a little below the historical average of 10%, as of January 2020. At the end of the first year, the investor’s portfolio earned £400 in interest (£5,000 x 1.08). If the investor re-invests the interest, the same 8% growth will yield £432 in year two (£5,400 x 1.08). Year three will generate £466.56, year four generates £503.88 and so on. At age 25, the re-invested portfolio is worth £7,346.64, all without any additional non-interest contributions by the investor.

Follow this pattern for another 25 years, and the investment reaches £50,313.28. This represents more than a 10-fold increase, despite a lack of additional contributions. Adding just 100 pounds a month is a stunning return and one for a later post.

Money growth

Where is your Pension?

Only 1 in 25 people consider telling their pension provider when they move home. Notifying your bank is viewed as essential but pension providers are often forgotten about.

Research commissioned by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has found people rarely contact their pension provider when they move house. It has been estimated that there are around 1.6 million pension pots worth £19.4 billion unclaimed – the equivalent of nearly £13,000 per pension pot which if they are 55 years older can access as cash TODAY!!

Insurers are trying to reunite people with their lost pensions, life insurance and investments. This is usually done by sending a letter to their new address.

The research was used to produce guidance for insurance and pension providers that aims to help identify, track down, verify and reconnect people with lost savings through improving reconnection communications.

Typically, people move house 8 times in their life. As part of the study, people were asked about their ‘to-do’ lists when they move – things they would do automatically and things they would do when prompted.

Up to you!

Each person is responsible for themselves and getting financial advice. You do not have to go out and get a PhD in finance to be able to make cash work for you instead of you working for cash. Reading a few articles online and speaking to some really good advisors can reap massive rewards for you.

We go to a Doctors for a regular health checks but rarely do we think to have a financial checkup, and ask yourself how much would your health improve if your finances improved?

kiyosaki on qROPS FOR LIFE

Right now if you have a QROPS or a SIPP and would like to get a much better return for your pension pot speak to us, we can help and we can help you manage your pot more effectively and also get your hands on some of your pot as cash if you are 55 years old or more and if the banks can make thousands of a few pounds liquidity then maybe you can learn to as well. It just takes 1 minute to get free advice:

55 the new retirement age 15 Sep

55: The new 65 and spending your pension!

Since the government in UK introduced Pension freedoms in 2015 over 90% of UK people have taken most of not all of their private pension pots, but what do they spend their money on?

Don’t wait to Travel the world

According to one national newspaper many 55 years olds believe as much in today than they do in the future realising that they are not getting any younger.  

is 55 the new 65?

One former 56 year old engineer from Essex told them:

“You see all these pensioners in the holiday resorts asleep all day, I mean some of them fall asleep during the best parts of their holiday, proving that you can wait too long to enjoy yourself. So for me I wanted to enjoy myself whilst I can,  I would kick myself if I had loads of money when I am 70 but can’t even get up the stairs to the wonders of the world.

One of my bucket list things to do is I want to see the Great Barrier reef and SCUBA  dive the corals, but I am  concerned that they won’t let me go if I am too old. So it is a balance between being young enough to enjoy life and not too old to remember it, so for these reasons I took my pension pot at 55 last year and been on a couple of life changing holidays since!”

Another somber reason people took their pension pots was they have become increasing concerned about mortality having seen many young virile friends die to  many causes.

 Road traffic accidents was one. We asked a group of Students at Liverpool University campus in 2018 (about 20 rather inebriated 20 somethings I might add, nice to see your grant money put to good use) who had had friends die from car or motorcycle accidents, and around 6 had lost friends, then we asked about suicide and 4 had their hands up, drug induced deaths 7 told us they lost friends to drug abuse, but the one telling factor was cancer it was astonishing to see only 4 people had their hands down and had lost young friends and family to this devastating disease.

At the end of the day 55 year olds will have seen many family members die over their lifetimes, (sorry students if you think University was hard, strap in sweeties because the ride is just going to get a lot  rougher for you)  Our middle aged people would be lucky to still have at least one parent still about. Also at 55 they will have lost friends and colleagues to all the above causes.

So to this end 55 years old feel as mortal as anyone, but still would probably have a lot of wherewithal to continue through life with some degree of health and vitality, so is now the time to enjoy life before the grey hair and bones start to ache too much? Only you can decide this.

Point of our little students union excursion was a few beers and the realization that even young people look both ways when they cross the road, and just to make it to state pension age is not a given. The UK Office of National statistics tells us that around 13% of all people do not make it to 65 years old in all race creed and religions.

When the UK government introduced the state pension just after World War 2 for men turning  65 years old, they knew that few people actually made it to 65, so they were always going to be ‘quids in’ on the deal to take cash of you monthly to save for your state pension, and  if you die well before your 65th Birthday like the majority did back then, you never not get it back of the government, unlike you can with a private pension ( as in  your family could claim it after you die).

Invest in thy self

Due to the advent of the internet and freedom of knowledge more people are learning about investing and compound interest, good financial advisors are educating the world about the basics of how money can make money and although most trust others to manage their pension pots, some are learning the basics of wealth and cashing in their private pensions and learning to invest.

The key tenets are always that savvy investors think long term and never invest more than can afford to cry over and lastly to diversify, in high middle and low risk investments accept that you will lose some and win some and it’s the middle ground where the income comes from.

1 dollar goes where?

We spoke to an Australian man who has been day trading on etorro, an online investment application where he takes consul from top investors and mirrors their day investments for many years, and it has afforded his travel around the world for the last ten years he told us

“It’ all about composure, setting in stops so I don’t lose more than I can afford, and taking small to very good returns each day, some days I make a dollar some days I make 100 I never get too excited and just see it as work. I put the hours in read the news, watch Bloomberg and never let emotion get involved, It is not a casino, sure when you make a lot you smile, but be ready because there is a loss somewhere that usually corrects it, most of all it is fun for me.

 I recently cashed in a pension pot last year but I have not put all my cash in day trading, I bought some Government bonds, Invested some in Gold, I do some forex as well as some riskier investments. If you are not really interested in world affairs or have some leaning towards finance yourself, then give your cash to a trusted advisor who has been recommended to you, and let them manage your cash, just don’t blow it in the casino or you will be a sorry mess”

If you use some of your pension pot to educate yourself to make more cash, then the world can become your oyster!


Most 55 year olds will have a career or two under their belt and would be considered experts in one or two fields, and will by now lamenting why they know about so much stuff now, when life is 60% over. We always ask ourselves; if you could be twenty again and now what you know now, what would you do different?  Why don’t 20 years olds listen to us? And why we moan so much?

In recent research 18 % of all 55 year olds have invested the pension pots in their own start businesses, again the internet is making it possible for almost every industry to sell products and services online. However many pre 55 year olds want to start but need some startup cash and have to look around for an Investor.

Finding an investor seems so easy if you believe what the internet tells you, just join a crowd funding site and soon cash will come pouring in, the sad fact is you have to find investors who have more than a slight interest in your business model, investing is like dating, you have to find the right fit and your investor is probably wealthy and wants to help you so they are looking for businesses that they know and if your business model is new and dynamic it will take a lot longer to get bites.

Further to this you are giving away equity, sounds fine now as you are a startup but what if your model really takes off and you find yourself sat across the table from a really big consortium who is talking 8 figures in USD and you have given away 48% already.

Releasing a pension pot and putting some towards your own capital you need to get going may be an avenue that is right for you, if you are convinced you have a world beating idea then what is to stop you using your own cash for yourself?

Learning about investors and Venture capitalists is another career in itself, plus your new start up career and the two previous ones you did to get to where you are now, there is business plans, meetings, pitches and then marketing yourself, you have to learn to be an all-rounder to be successful whilst not getting a salary for many years if you are bootstrapping, and then after all this you meet a Venture Capitalist at a boozy networking event and the first word out of their mouths is:

 “What’s your profit right now?” and you have to resist throwing your cucumber sandwich in their face!

Cashing in a pension and using some of the cash can save you a lot of heartache giving away equity, surviving on breadcrumbs, and conversing with people who care little about how you want to change the world.

The boring stuff

Other notable but mundane things people spend their pension pots on at 55 were weddings, home improvements and a new family car, 2% actually admitted they will spend it in the casino, so perhaps opening a casino would be actually quite a good  startup idea,  we have already done the research, you are welcome!

For help cashing in some or all your pension pot especially if you have a QROPS that will allow FULL access and encashment from age 55 tax free by moving  to our new jurisdiction of Jersey in the Channel Islands and other free impartial financial advice

contact us here.


QROPS For Life

Thousands of expatriates took out QROPS (Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes) and moved their UK long term pension pots to more cash yielding jurisdiction. However many now find their advisors have left or are not in touch as much as they promised. This has affected many expats in Southeast Asia especially those who have QROPS Thailand, and we are there to help you fill that gap with knowledge, so you can make the best decision for you.

We can help you see how to get more from your QROPS pension by understanding new jurisdictions and management fees.

If you are 55 or older you can now get access top some or all of your pot through a QROPS cash in, of course you need good advice before you make any decisions, so we try to help you here. Get in touch for free impartial advice today