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Client Story: A French Professional and his Family Transition to Living in the United States

Theo, a French professional, and his wife, Vivienne, a dual citizen of South Africa and Britain, had been living in London. After 10 years of employment at a large American multinational in the technology sector, Theo’s company offered him the opportunity to move to the firm’s U.S. headquarters for a 3-year work assignment. With this came an agreement that he would be a candidate for a promotion to Vice President if things went well. Under Theo’s initial expatriate assignment he worked on a temporary visa and was tax-equalized back to the UK. This employment package also included numerous special allowances, including money for moving expenses, housing and children’s private school expenses.

Theo did in fact receive the promotion to VP, however, this promotion required him to transition to a local employment contract in the U.S., and to accept his company’s help in securing permanent U.S. residency (his green card). While excited about the career advancement, Theo was concerned because these changes meant that the family would need to make serious changes that would likely permanently affect their situation – he just didn’t know exactly how.

Theo was referred to Worldview by a colleague who thought our skill set would be a good fit for his intricate cross-border financial needs. In the time we have worked with Theo and his family, we’ve successfully guided them through many unique planning decisions, including the following:

 

  • Deciding to move foreign investment accounts to the U.S. to improve returns and benefit from more favorable tax treatment.
  • Reviewing foreign retirement accounts, which could not be moved to the U.S. and had been performing poorly due to the insurance structure of the plan, which is very common in Europe. Worldview helped to reallocate the holdings into a more aggressive and lower cost program.
  • Reviewing foreign real estate holdings, which included a family vacation home and a former residence that had been converted to a rental. We explained the unique tax shelter properties of income property in the U.S. due to depreciation, which Theo and Vivienne had not seen before. We helped them make the decision between keeping their former home as a rental, or selling that property in order to buy a residence in the U.S.
  • Examining new employer benefits available upon localizing in the U.S., including options, deferred compensation, 401(k), ESPP, disability and life insurance.
  • Navigating the death of a parent and the subsequent inheritance of foreign assets.
  • Reviewing the decision to seek U.S. citizenship after being in the country for more than five years.
  • Planning for a retirement future likely to include partial residency in multiple countries.

 

Worldview helped Theo and Vivienne assess and address compensation, investments, career and life events comprehensively, to help them make strategic and informed decisions and to ultimately feel like they have more control over their financial situation.