Preparing your financial future in Belgium

Richard Corliss (high res)Banner1This week, our guest blogger is Richard Corliss who is currently working in European Government Relations and Public Policy at Shire Belgium. Richard is a member of the Council of the British Chamber, former head of the Brussels New Generation Network and an EFA veteran! He’s written to tell you exactly why you should head down to Vlerick Business School on October 3rd for Expat Financial Affairs 2015 and how it has benefited him during his time in Brussels.

“Why prepare at all?” you say. You’re only in Belgium for six months, after all. Or maybe a year. Two at the most… Like many young professionals, I came to Brussels for a six-month internship, and more than ten years later I am still living, working and enjoying life in Belgium.

Having attended and having benefited from the first two editions of Expat Financial Affairs, I’m glad to share why I think you should attend the third edition on Saturday 3 October 2015. While the event will benefit expats of all ages, I think it’s particularly important for younger professionals to participate.

Firstly, you’re probably going to stay in Belgium longer than you expect and it’s tempting to tell yourself that you’ll sort out your financial affairs when you move back home; a potential risk for your financial health. Secondly, when you do need financial advice and services, for many of us there are language and cultural barriers, and trusted advisors such as family and friends upon whom we’ve relied upon in the past can be far away and may not understand the system in Belgium.

I’ve learned that to prepare your financial future, you have to make a little effort. It sounds obvious doesn’t it? But it’s easy to postpone important decisions around your pension, house buying and your mortgage, investing and saving. And you don’t know what you don’t know. As an employee, you’re likely to be taxed heavily in Belgium (unless you’re an EU official of course), so it’s especially important that you look after your hard-earned once the state has taken its considerable bite. There are advantages, benefits and incentives in Belgium, but only if you know how they work.

Getting in touch with, and building relationships with trusted advisors can alleviate these barriers to financial health and the stress that surrounds important decisions around your finances. Networking with fellow expats who have similar or related financial questions can be both reassuring and informative. This is why the British Chamber set up Expat Financial Affairs.

It’s an informal, relaxed forum in which to meet leading Belgium providers who are willing to share their time and expertise with you. You can also choose from a number of simultaneous sessions to learn about the issues that matter to you.

I hear you. Terms like ‘financial preparedness’ would have struggled to get me to invest a Saturday afternoon in my 20s. But invest you should. And to help you make the right decision, Expat Financial Affairs welcomes registrants to a fun networking drink after the sessions.

Come and take a mindful moment with us to think about your future and your finances and get up to speed with the latest developments in the company of like-minded expats. You owe it to your future self. I look forward to seeing you there.

If you would like to receive personalised expert advice on a variety of areas relevant to your big life decisions as an expat in Belgium, please visit our Expat Financial Affairs website and register to join us on the 3rd of October at Vlerick Business School, Brussels. Sign up now, and we will keep you updated on the event programme as it gets published and help you prepare for your visit in the best way possible.

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