Key Lessons in Cross Border Wealth Management – Multi-national Citizen

As part of our article series on issues in Cross Border Wealth Management, the following is an illustration of some of the key implementation strategies we come across in helping cross border professionals manage their complex financial affairs.


An interesting case study that can help advisors become more familiar with these issues is one we faced earlier this year.  “Upon first arriving in the U.S., we had no idea how different personal finances would be here,” said the client when we first sat down with them.


The client is a French national, with a wife who is dual South African and British citizen. The husband worked for 10 years in London for a large American multinational in the technology sector, before he was offered an opportunity to move his family to the U.S. headquarters of the firm for a 3-year work assignment, with an agreement that he would have an opportunity for promotion to VP at the end of this time.


His initial assignment was tax-equalized, which included special allowances for housing and children’s private school expenses, and he would be working on a temporary visa. He did eventually receive the promotion to VP, which required that he transition to a local hire in the U.S., and accept his company’s help in securing permanent U.S. residency (green card).


“We needed help with everything related to personal finance when we arrived – taking full advantage of my company’s benefits and the 401k were the first order of business,” the client said.


Since that time, the clients have thrived. The husband has flourished in the new VP position at his employer. Also, the entire family has thrived here in the U.S. They’ve grown to love life in the U.S., and their kids, having arrived just before the start of high school, are at this point very much regular American teenagers (except that they’ve traveled extensively and speak multiple foreign languages).


At this point, after living in the U.S. for approximately 6 years, the couple are actively pursuing U.S. citizenship for themselves and their children. The kids are planning for college here in the U.S., and the family expects to be U.S.-based for the rest of their lives, albeit with a vacation home in perhaps London or Paris – or both?


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