Bringing Your Money to Turkey

When you move to Turkey you will have a major decision to make about what to do with your money.

Taking your time

One problem that arises regularly (and which makes your planning more difficult) is that a percentage of people come to Turkey – either to retire or to work – thinking that it is going to be a permanent move, but then find that they want to, or have to, move ‘back home’ after all. If they have moved their investments into Turkish lira and then leave, they face the same problem in reverse – and so it’s probably a good idea to let your plan develop over time and not to immediately jump into the process of reorganising your entire financial life.

What do I mean by “over time”? Typically, I would suggest that you might want to leave things for a year or two before making any major decisions as to your future investment plans. You will probably want to move some funds to Turkey during this period, but you should not leap into moving all of your money.

It can also be a good idea, if you know you’re going to be moving to Turkey and that you will be dependent upon income paid in another currency, to look at fixing an exchange rate for a year or two. Of course, by fixing the rate, you may win, or you may lose, depending on what happens to the value of your currency against the Turkish lira – but you will at least have the certainty of knowing your financial position for the fixed period. A good foreign exchange (FX) dealer should be able to help you to do this and also arrange for the funds to be transferred to your Turkish bank account, monthly or quarterly, in the most cost-effective way possible.

Of course, if you believe that your home currency is going to crash in value against the Turkish lira during the forthcoming year,

you might be tempted to jump ship now rather than to suffer significant loss later. Whether to do this is a decision that only you can make, and you will probably find that you can get little guidance from your financial adviser; they tend not to be in the business of forecasting the movements of exchange rates.

Probably the most important thing is that, if you do decide to allow a bit of time to go past before finalising your plan, you should make a diary note and act when that period has expired.

Making your choices

So much for the theory. However, when it comes to deciding whether to move your money, there may be a couple of very practical points that will have a big impact on your decision.

It is likely that you will have chosen many of your investments because they are tax-efficient in your own country. If you’re no longer tax resident in that country, then those investments will probably lose all their tax benefits. Stripped bare, they could look like very poor investments indeed. In these cases, it is probably prudent to think about reinvesting as soon as possible – and the funds from these investments are probably the prime candidates for the money that you will immediately bring with you to Turkey.

You should also not forget that some of your present investments back home may simply not be permitted to people who are no longer resident in your old country. It may be illegal for somebody living in Turkey, even if they still hold their original passport, to hold those investments. These, too, will therefore need your urgent attention. This will involve discussions with your financial advisers back home. In fact, the best course of action is usually either to have your financial adviser in Turkey coordinate the whole exercise and contact your financial adviser back home on your behalf, or to have your financial adviser back home coordinate the whole exercise and contact your adviser in Turkey. Which works best will depend upon your person circumstances: usually upon where you have or will have most of your investments.

One final point when it comes to thinking about your investment plans is that you should not be worried about relocating your investments. There are many excellent investment opportunities in Turkey and, of course, whilst you are living in Turkey you are at liberty to invest anywhere in the world that takes your fancy.

The trouble is that, however canny you are as an investor and however well you understand your investment portfolio back home, you’re unlikely to know very much about the options available to you in Turkey and elsewhere, and so you will need good financial advice when it comes to making these decisions.

Where do you get that advice? The most important thing is to make sure that you are dealing with a bona fide qualified and registered financial adviser. Better still, it should ideally be somebody who has already given satisfactory service to people you know. It should also be somebody with whom you feel comfortable.

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