Knowing where to stash your hard-earned cash in a foreign country can be difficult
Knowing where to stash your hard-earned cash in a foreign country can be difficult. TOB speaks to an expert about what to do if you’re an expat looking to open a new bank account.
David Hackett, a senior consultant at GCC-based financial advisors, Acuma, gives us some tips about money management for expatriates.
What are your general recommendations for those looking to change currency? We always recommend to our clients to get some quotes from their banks and currency exchanger when sending money home to ensure they are getting the best available overall exchange. It can be confusing as some institutions don’t charge fees but have very bad exchange rates (up to four percent difference) while others have good exchange rates but high fees.
The most important question is how much is going to end up in the account that you are sending funds to in your home currency in relation to the amount of the currency you are exchanging.
I personally use a currency broker to exchange and transfer funds home as I have found them to consistently have the best rates.
Would you say it is better to send money home and forfeit a percentage to conversion to be able to accrue interest? What do you advise clients? That really depends on your goals and your financial commitments in your home country. One of the strategies we recommend to our clients is to save surplus income in dinars which is pegged to the US Dollar (it will always buy BD0.377) and in the future, when the exchange rate of your home currency is more favourable, exchange and transfer the funds. It can make a big difference in the amount that ends up in your account at home.
Can you offer some tips for saving, spending and budgeting? Firstly, if you are having trouble saving or want to look to increase your savings, establish a budget by keeping records of all your expenditure for a 30-day period, then work out a monthly figure for other annual costs such as holidays, car registration, insurances, school fees and so on.
Next, take the monthly expenses away from your income which will ascertain your monthly surplus.
This is an awareness exercise as you will see where the money is going and this will make you think next time you go to brunch, a weekend away or buy that pair of shoes.
Quite often you can increase your savings by simply having a local holiday instead of going home or having takeaway once less a week... it all adds up.
The most important thing is to make the most of the opportunity while we are expats living in a tax-free environment. At Acuma we work closely with our clients based on their goals to put plans and strategies in place to help them achieve their goals and objectives, both short- and long-term. www.acuma.ae
Some popular banks in Bahrain
Ahli United Bank 21 branches in Bahrain. Open Sat-Thu 7.30am-1.30pm. Government Avenue, Manama (1722 1700).
Bahrain Islamic Bank (BIsB) 12 branches in Bahrain. Open Sun-Thu 8.30am-1.30pm. Building 722, Diplomatic Area (1751 5151).
Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK) 16 branches in Bahrain. Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-2.30pm. Government Road, Manama (1720 7400).
BMI Bank Nine branches in Bahrain. Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-1.30pm; Sun, Tue and Thu 4.30pm-6.30pm. Al Furdah Avenue, Manama (1750 8080).
Credit Libanais One branch in Bahrain. Open Sun-Thu 8am-3pm. Doha Tower, Seef Area (1756 0570).
Future Bank Three branches in Bahrain. Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-1.30pm; Sat 8am-11am. Government Avenue, Manama (1750 5000).
HSBC Five branches across Bahrain. Open Sat-Thu 7.30am-7.30pm. Delmon Avenue, Adliya (1774 9777). Other locations: Seef, Sanad, Manama and Bahrain City Centre. Hotline: 8000 1900.
Ithmaar Bank 17 branches in Bahrain. Open Sun-Thu 8am-3pm. Ground floor, Seef Tower (1758 5000).
Kuwait Finance House 12 branches in Bahrain. Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-1.30pm. Ground floor, World Trade Centre (7777 7777).
National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) 25 branches in Bahrain. Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-2pm. Opposite Bab al Bahrain, Manama (1722 8800).
Standard Chartered Six branches in Bahrain. Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-3pm. Government Road, Manama (1722 3636).