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Understanding Global Financial Planning

August 31, 2022 | By Brenna McLoughlin, CFP®, GFP (USA)
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Wealthstream Advisors has recently added to our team’s growing list of professional designations, Global Financial Planner (USA), or GFP (USA). We sought out this additional expertise because we know from experience that individuals and families who have lived in more than one nation have unique needs from a financial planning perspective.

Why Is Global Financial Planning Important?

For some of our clients, careers have brought them to the US from a foreign country, and for others, work has given them the opportunity to go abroad, temporarily or even permanently.  

Once they have assets or income in two countries, their finances take on additional complexity. At a minimum, they will likely be subject to taxes in both countries, which will require tax planning strategies to optimize. Their investments will be subject to restrictions from one or both jurisdictions, and they will be subject to asset disclosure requirements. Requirements and restrictions like these may be easy to overlook, and yet the penalties for failing to comply with them can be onerous.  

Considerations for Global Financial Planning

The best way for cross-border families and individuals to safeguard against this, and simplify the complexities they face, is to engage financial experts to address their planning needs. The Global Financial Planner (USA) designation indicates first and foremost the ability to ask good questions to assess what the top planning priorities should be with an inbound or outbound US client, for example:

  • Do you own real estate here or abroad?
  • What types of investment accounts do you have here and elsewhere? 
  • What types of securities do you own?
  • Are your foreign investments considered PFICs by the IRS?  
  • Which foreign assets require disclosure in the US?
  • What income do you have from US sources, and from foreign sources? 
  • What are you currently doing to manage your US taxes? 
  • Who are your spouse, dependents, and other heirs, what is their citizenship, and where are they domiciled? 

The answers to questions like these will then guide the planning process with the goals of building a globally diversified, low-cost, tax-efficient US portfolio; developing tax planning strategies for US income; avoiding costly compliance missteps; optimizing real estate purchase, mortgage, and rental decisions; and assessing insurance needs including life, disability, and long-term care insurance. In working through the steps required, we will coordinate with the client's tax preparers, attorneys, and related professionals, or help to make introductions to experts in our network to confirm and execute plans.  

Final Thoughts

Working with a GFP (USA) at Wealthstream can help you make more of your assets and income, maximize what you are able to save, and know that the complexity of your financial life is well looked after. This allows you to focus on the things that matter most in your lives, whether that’s family, friends, career, travel, or philanthropy. Contact Wealthstream Advisors today to connect with one of our experts in Global Financial Planning.

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