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I have been living in Australia for 4 years now, and although I don't intend to live here forever, I will be here for the foreseeable future. I have savings in the UK and here in Australia, and am wondering if I would be better consolidating it to one country, and if so which one?

I have been given mixed advice and am fairly confused.

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    1. What's the advice you're being given and why is it confusing? (Bear in mind that a lot of what's claimed to be "independent" financial advice comes from someone who stands to make a fat fee if you take their advice, and earn nothing if you don't). 2. Have you considered what the impact on your future financial security and the options open to you would be of significant changes in the relative value of GBP vs. AUD? – timday Dec 23 '15 at 23:48
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My first advice is don't ever get involved into something you don't understand, it's a rather generic advice but I'm glad you're at least realising you've been given mixed advice and feel confused before acting.

It's very hard to be able to give advice like this without knowing more about your circumstances. If let's say you for sure will be going back to the UK within two years and you have no intention of making big purchases with your savings in Australia... you're going to have to transfer your savings back to the UK anyways it just depends on when and that's when it makes sense financially.

Factors for that will include,

  • The exchange rate you can get and the costs that the bank or service provider will charge. Exchange rate might make you worse off or better off, unfortunately it's not something you can predict except if you have time on your hands and can wait for the fluctuations in currencies to work in your favour. Remember banks might transfer and overcharge you with exchange rate and fees which will erode some of your money so make sure you look carefully at your cheapest options

  • What are the saving rates in an bank in Australia vs a bank in the UK, can you work out the maths? If the best savings account in Australia gets you 4% per year vs 1.1% per year in the UK... it could be a no brainer.

  • What are the costs of sending the money to the UK and then you stay in Australia for many more years and need that money? How likely is this going to happen?

  • Since returns are compounded it sometimes makes sense to put it all in one account but you have to do the maths again

  • How much will tax impact on things? You might be better off making use of each country's tax free saving limits.

  • Additional costs for complicated tax returns. If you earn in both UK and Australia your tax returns becomes more complicated and accountants that do both Australian and UK tax returns do not come cheap.

Unfortunately you'll have to do your own homework.

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