“I hope it’ll just go away.” “I am afraid to know.” “I don’t have time.” Sound familiar? Whether it’s regarding your health or your money, the reactions all sound the same.
And just like the doctor will tell you about the importance of treating that stubborn cough, putting off dealing with your financial health will surely result in more problems, paperwork, and costs down the line.
Whether you are new to the yachting industry with a season or two under your belt or are a seasoned veteran starting to plan what may come next, you’ll sleep better and have more money if you make a little effort to get your ducks in order finance wise.
Stressed already? Don’t be. Here are a few tips to bring your financial situation in order regardless where you are in your career.
Relatively new crew members are often diagnosed with malaise. The treatment is simple: a three-prong approach that gets your banking, savings, and taxes in tiptop shape.
If you are being paid in one currency and your bank account is in a different currency (or you have a bank account offshore which someone told you to set up but you aren’t sure why), you are losing money on the exchange. In the case of offshore banking you may also be paying high fees without gaining any interest.
Your friends shore side are doing it, so why aren’t you? Put aside 100 or 200 quid each month in a dedicated savings account. This will allow you to save (and earn interest) and start a nice nest egg for that car, down payment, or a spectacular trip you are planning to take when you step off the yacht. (And notice we aren’t even mentioning ISAs, stocks, or shares…)
It usually takes a couple of years to either pay attention or realise you need to do something about your taxes. Think your salary is tax-free? Think again. Just because it isn’t being deducted from your salary doesn’t mean you are exempt.
For those of you who have been in the industry for 4-5 years, you are by now earning a decent salary and have some ideas of how you want to use it in the future. You may or may not be doing your taxes, or you may have an investment property generating a little rental income. Here’s what you need to do to maximize your investment potential.
GET A CHECK UP
A full physical of your investments will ensure your banking and finances are working as efficiently as they should, and this will help fine tune what options/potential you have for the future. Make sure your tax situation is in order to avoid any unwanted surprises down the line.
MAKE THE RIGHT PROPERTY INVESTMENT
Many crew purchase property in the area they grew up/live in. While it seems logical, it may not always the best idea. You need to consider property costs, the rental market, and the management of that rental to make it worth your while financially. Get some professional property & mortgage advice.
Have you come up with a few really interesting investment ideas but aren’t sure you have the resources to get them going? The meds here are simple. Get experts to help you understand and evaluate the market and help you get the best return you can for your great business idea.
You’ve been in the industry over 10 years and congrats… you are now considered an industry veteran. You have plenty of money saved, several properties, and a few investments generating a good return. Think you are all set? Think again…
Many of you have spent your entire career banking offshore and/or investing offshore for that matter. You may have in the back of your mind your post-yachting career but aren’t 100% sure you have enough to realise your plans. Long-term professional wellness planning is needed here to bring your banking and investments onshore with an eye on any potential tax liability.
Understanding your saving potential and/or how to leverage your pension so that your money works better for you in the future is fundamental to understanding how much you have to invest and play with for the future. Don’t just peruse your quarterly statements and throw them in the drawer. Get some professional advice to make sure your money is working for you now and not the other way around.
A big thanks to CrewFO who provided us with a lot of this great financial advice for crew and who are helping to diagnose and cure yacht crew of their financial aches and pains, one crew member at a time. You can take a look at their site and services here but regardless of whoever you reach out to… here are the last few pieces of advice for you.
1. The yachting industry is a unique sector, as we all know. Make sure the professionals you speak to have experience working with yacht crew and know the particularities of how crew contracts and banking are done.
2. Choose a qualified professional who is trained in the specific service you need them for. (IE: Have your taxes done by a chartered accountant rather than your buddy at home. Not only will you sleep better, but you’ll also be sure that you are covered by a local institutional body in the case of an audit.)
3. Make sure whoever is advising you is governed by the regulatory body that governs the profession. (For example, for financial advice your advisor needs to be regulated by the FCA in the UK. This offers a that extra piece of mind that you are checked out by the experts!)