Two of the most common investment mistakes made by Aus-Expats

Two of the most common investment mistakes made by Aus-Expats

31 March, 2021

I have been providing Financial Advice to Australian expats for over 12 years and during this time I have seen many investment mistakes made by individuals. Below I have listed 2 of the most costly mistakes that I see on a regular basis.   

1. Currency Risk

Currency risk is the potential risk of loss from fluctuating foreign exchange rates when an investor has exposure to foreign currency or foreign currency-traded investments.

If you lived in Singapore between September 2009 and April 2013, you would know that currency fluctuation is one of the most drastic financial risks taken on by Australian Expatriates when we move offshore. An income of 100,000 SGD at this time according to would have only been worth approximately $78,000 AUD.  If this kind of currency fluctuation can drastically affect an Aus-Expats income then imagine what it can do to their savings and investments?

What can Australian Expatriates do to minimize currency risk?

The first question Australian Expatriates should ask is: Where will I eventually be spending this wealth? Will I eventually be spending the value of my savings and investments back in Australia? If the answer is yes, it’s quite simple, if you want to reduce currency risk, you should not be investing or saving in any currency other than Australian Dollars.

If you choose to hold your savings and investments in SGD, USD or
other alternative currencies, you are only increasing the risks and volatility associated with that asset.

The USD has depreciated against USD by 19% in the last year. 

There is no point owning Apple Inc shares (Valued in USD) or property in Malaysia (Valued in Ringgit) and receiving an amazing growth rate of 20% p.a. when the currency of that investment depreciates against the Australian dollar by 20% at the same time. Such an investment strategy would only increase your volatility and can possibly result in a great loss. The only time you should be holding assets whether cash, managed funds or shares in a currency different to the country in which you plan to spend that wealth is when you want to take on additional risk to achieve a higher return on investment.

2. Buying Aus-Property without understanding the tax implications 

Being an Australian Expatriate has its pros and cons when it comes to taxation. We benefit from Singapore’s incredibly low-Income Tax rates, however, we suffer from heavy foreign tax treatment on our Australian Properties. The Australian Government has made it perfectly clear that they do not want us foreign investors buying property in Australia and have introduced the damaging taxes to prove it. Tax planning is an incredibly important component when it comes to living offshore and it is crucial that we make an informed decision before buying Aus-property whilst residing offshore

Questions Australian Expatriates should ask in order to minimize tax:

  1. What is the reason behind my purchase? Is it Capital Growth, Income or Lifestyle?
  2. What are the implications of owning or buying property in Australia whilst living offshore? Is it worth it?
  3. Why can paying off my Aus-mortgage work against me?
  4. How do I reduce the Capital Gains Tax payable on my Australian Investment
  5. Are there other ways of owning property in Australia without facing heavy taxes?

Fill in the form below to book a complimentary financial review with a Leading Australian Specialist. 

Disclaimer – Sean Abreu is a Financial Adviser Representative at IPP Financial Advisers Pte Ltd. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity. This article has been prepared for
informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax advice and readers should consult their tax advisors concerning the application of tax laws to their particular situations.
The author assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect information contained herein. All forms of investments carry risk, including risk of losing all the
invested amount. Such activities may not be suitable for everyone.


By providing the personal information, I give consent to contact me via the email/contact number I have provided for the purpose of conducting financial planning. I am aware that I may withdraw my consent provided by me anytime by submitting the IPPFA PDPA Withdrawal Consent Form to IPPFA by mail or email at

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