Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas

This is the second edition of my book, The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing (Wiley 2015).  Princeton’s legendary economics professor (Burton Malkiel) says this second edition is, “Wise investment advice delivered with clarity and humor.”

When a publisher asks for a second edition, they usually want a 15 percent content addition or upgrade. 

Like you, I’ve bought revised and second editions before. Some have an additional chapter.  But second editions usually let me down.  Typically, very little gets updated.

That’s why I didn’t want to disappoint anyone with this book’s edition. It represents a 40 percent upgrade.  It isn’t just longer and cheaper (I love paperbacks!) it’s also updated, clearer and stuffed with new data, new stories and new academic support.

The portfolio models are clearer and it has a title that my publisher hopes is easier to remember… one that should make its way into many international airport bookstores.

Millionaire Expat will be available in paperback and Kindle versions.

It’s about 360 pages, describing the smartest investment strategies for expatriate investors.  Just as important, it shows what kinds of investments to avoid.

It provides clear guidance for investors from many different regions:  Europe (including Ireland), Great Britain, Canada, South Africa, South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. 

It also answers the questions, “What if you don’t know where you want to retire?” and “Where could you retire if you don’t have a lot of money?”



Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School and Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas. My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions.

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39 Responses

  1. BlackPinoy says:

    There’s no pricing yet for the Kindle format 🙁

  2. Fraussie says:

    Bugger! I bought your 1st edition last week! Bloody good read though 🙂

    Do you know when it will be released in Kindle?

  3. Jen says:

    No kindle version available

  4. Jose says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I bought your first book after another teacher recommended it to me. Living overseas being and International school teacher I have always worried about not contributing to my countries social pension. I was immediately interested in your book.

    I have now bought and read your second book and I am sure I will buy the revised edition when it comes out for the kindle.

    I do however have more questions after this second book. You mention 3 different investing methods and I am now, not sure which one is best for me.

    My wife and I have been working overseas for 5 years and we have recently bought a house in Spain, where we plan to retire. Our efforts are now in paying the house.

    Should we wait to pay the house or should we make an effort to save for the house and also invest?
    From the options you mentioned in the book, I understand that the only option of a brokerage that allows you to do everything online in Saxo…..DBS Vickers requires you to go in person?

    Thanks for all the help and your books!

  5. Jim says:

    Hi Andrew! Glad you published a second edition. Overall how different from the first (awesome) edition is it? Are you still referring the now phased out TD or have you updated that too?

  6. Jen says:

    Hi Andrew
    Loved the second edition..bought the kindle edition and devoured in one sitting.
    I have a question re the draw down in retirement:
    Table20.5—the example of Susan’s portfolio (the one where the stock market drops just as she retires). Her initial portfolio was $500,000 ..she drew 4% and also the stock market dropped…so in 2009( the next year) her portfolio was $428,893—and she draws 4% $20,563! But how is $20,563 4% of $428,893? How is it even 4% of $500,00?
    I,m so sorry I always sound so dense about the draw down….but this really confuses me.

    • Hi Jen,

      I’m glad you like the second edition. Thank you! As you can probably imagine, it involved a crazy amount of work! 🙂
      As for the drawdown, check out table 20.1 for a simple explanation (showing inflation at a constant rate). The 4% is always set based on the initial sum at the beginning of retirement. It isn’t based on the portfolio’s value each year. As such, you would set a base of 4% in year 1. Assume, as in the case in table 20.1, that were $40,000. In year 2, you would withdraw no less than $40,000. If inflation were 3.5% that year, then in year 2 (no matter what the stock market does to your portfolio) you would withdraw 3.5% more than $40,000. In this case, that would be $41,400. Sometimes, depending on the value of your portfolio, you would be withdrawing a lot more than 4% of the portfolio’s total value in a given year. Other times, you would withdraw a lot less. But remember, the 4% withdrawal rate isn’t based on 4% of the portfolio’s value each year. It’s based on 4% of the portfolio’s value in the first year of retirement, and no matter what happens to the portfolio’s value, the dollar amount that you withdraw each year increases with inflation. Table 20.5 shows a realistic example, using actual inflation rates for each specific year, and it actually assumes inflation during the first year’s withdrawal as well.

      I hope this explanation makes things a bit clearer.

      If you have a moment, would you mind offering a quick review of my book on Amazon? I’m expecting some of those offshore pension guys to start jumping on it soon, so it would be nice to get some friendly ratings first. Here’s the link:

      Thanks Jen!

  7. Jen says: is a lot clearer…that 4% is always based on the value when one starts…and then inflation is just on that first amount. I,m going to take screen shot of this reply so I can always refer to it when my confusion starts!!

    Yes I,ll do the review now. The review will show on the U.K. Site though.

    • That’s right Jen! It’s probably easier to show in person than explained through the book. Thanks for the review! That’s probably where the offshore pension sharks will go to post my “review” anyway (Amazon UK).

      So thank you!

  8. Victor says:

    Hi Andrew, great book. Downloaded the book the other day and read in one sitting, it consolidated a lot of information I was aware of, and wrapped it up succinctly. Just for some further benefit and clarification regarding Swissquote (unfortunately their website is not the easiest to navigate but they do have some other worthwhile features to note). Firstly, they offer flat fee trades of 9 CHF/USD/EUR, for a selected range of ETFs listed on the Swiss (Six) stock exchange including products from Vanguard and iShares. The SIX exchange lists many ETFs in a number of currencies (USD, EUR, CHF being the most common). This allows buying popular / recommended ETFs but not having to do it on USA / UK / CAN / AUS etc exchanges. Worth checking out. Secondly, whilst no account maintenance fees, they have a safe custody fee (min CHF15 to maximum capped CHF50 per quarter depending on portfolio size). Thirdly, they leave you alone and you are not bombarded with trading incentives. Using Swissquote to buy on other exchanges appears to be more expensive than other brokerages but their flat rate of 9 for ETFs listed on SIX is a bargain.

    • Victor,

      Thank you for this information. Greatly appreciated! I imagine they will move their fees up and down, then up and down, over the next few years. That’s what international brokerages love to do.

      If you have ten seconds, would you mind reviewing my book on Amazon? Even if you can just write a single line, I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much! Here’s the link:

      • Victor says:

        Hi Andrew, I have written my review on Amazon now. I was at a party tonight (in KL) and was with a bunch of young school teachers and to let you know, hopefully I had saved some of them. I asked them if they knew about Andrew Hallam, showed them the website and the book. One of them, came up to me and said he was about to sign off on a 30 year plan with a big international financial planner whose name is reminiscent of a James Bond film but after discussion, will check out this website and your book, and committed not to sign the paper work. Hopefully another one saved. I said to him “in 30 yrs time when you are retired relaxed on the beach, think of this night, think of Andrew’s words”.

  9. Peony28 says:

    I have bought the book and totally enjoyed it ! you mentioned in the book on potential of Reits may help in enhancing returns while decreasing volatility. I am a Singaporean, could you advise if investing in indiv S- reits is a good idea, or should I purchase a global reit etf instead (any suggestions of which reit etf to purchase)?

    I have been staying sidelines for too long , and now in the midst of executing stock/bond etf . I have a fully paid property too. wondering if it would be a good idea to mortgage it (take up a 3 year fixed rate 1.75% ), and with the extra cash to invest in a 50/50 stock bond alloc , to work the compounding magic . is this too risky / or not a sound idea ?

  10. Cody says:

    Hello Andrew,

    My name is Cody. I just found out about Your blog and I love it.

    I’ve already read milionaire teacher and I’m currently reading the milionaire expat.

    I just had one question,

    I am Canadian. I will be moving to Australia for a job opportunity. I will live there for maybe 10-15 years. I am looking to start investing. I am not sure how to do so. Will I be opening a brokerage account in Australia or Canada? How will the taxes work once I invest and once I retire?

    I am not sure where I will retire. I am hesitating between Canada or Spain.

    I hope you can reply, I am such a huge fan of your work. I am trying to get my girlfriend to read your books!


    • Victor says:

      Dear Cody, if you will be living in Australia for a long time, it is likely that you will have access to Australia’s self funded pension system known as Superannuation (“Super”). Employers must make a defined contribution to the Super of your choice, you can also salary sacrifice as well up to a certain limit. Contributions into Super are taxed at a very low rate, and when in the pension phase the income is tax free. There are a lot of Super platforms out there, some allow access to the ASX where you can buy ETFs both Australian and International in a low cost manner (e.g. AustralianSuper). If you leave Australia there is the potential to roll your money out. So having Super in Australia would be a good start (it is actually compulsory if you are employed), this can be supplemented by additional investments outside of Super.

  11. Charles says:

    Hi Andrew, I’ve just finished reading your book and have left a glowing review on I also went to listen to you speak when you were in Oman.

    I have two quick questions.

    1. I am 18 months into following the British couch potato model. I don’t have VMID yet. Is it worth getting it along side my VUKE units?

    2. In chapter 20 you discuss the 4% principle. Is this based on a 25 year retirement period?

    I can report some success in my own school. We had a visit from some silvery tongued investment “gurus”. I managed to talk out a number of my colleagues from committing to them.



    • Hi Charles,

      Thanks for the review. And thanks for educating your colleagues.

      1. VMID would add some smaller and mid cap exposure to your UK exposure. If you would like to add that, go ahead. It would increase your UK stock diversification.
      2. The 4% rule is based on AT LEAST a 30 year retirement duration. The bigger “risk” is dying with more money than you started with. (See pages 360-361). But..if we get another 1929, you should be fine with the 4% rule. The 5%+ withdrawal rate (with some tweaks) is based on a 40 year+ retirement duration (see pgs. 361-363).


  12. Charles says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    I have a question relating to the proportion of stocks vs bonds. I have a 70/30 split with about 12 years to go to retirement. The 30% bonds seems quite low, but I do have substantial real estate holdings. I figured that they work in the same way as bonds. Does that seem right with you, or should I look towards increasing my bond allocation.



    • Hi Charles,

      Real estate and bonds are different asset classes. But if you want to take higher risks (for greater volatility and higher long-term rewards) you could allocate less than 30% of your portfolio to bonds if that fits your risk tolerance.


  13. Jane Doe says:

    Hi Andrew,

    A friend loaned me the first edition of your book, and after I read it I bought three copies of your new book, shipped them to the UK so a friend could transport them to me out here in Cambodia. I’ll be reading one and giving the others away as gifts. Terrific work!

    I do have a pressing question, though. I’m in a unique situation. I’m a Canadian citizen working overseas and have been saving aggressively since I graduated from school. I’ve paid off all my school debts, and just before my 33rd birthday, passed the 1M mark (in CAD). Rather shamefully, all of my funds are sitting at CIBC in some lousy GICs. Enter your book.

    I will start putting funds into a diversified ETF portfolio, most likely using the Couch Potato model. However, most of the examples in your book are based on regular investment. I doubt I’ll have this level of income beyond the next 12 months or so, and I’m wondering what to do with my money right now (~860k USD). Do I just bite the bullet and buy in all at once? I was looking at table 1.1 and 1.2 of Millionaire Expat and if one had invested in a lump sum in 1999, it would have taken until 2005 just to recover from the subsequent losses.

    Andrew, help, please!

    • Jane,

      Table 1.1 didn’t represent a complete portfolio. If I recall (I don’t have the book with me, as I write) it just represented a global stock market index, with no allocation to bonds. If you keep reading, you will see a study on lump sum investing (if you have the money) versus dollar cost averaging that money over time. In most cases, back-tests show it’s better to invest as soon as you have the money. That goes for lump sums too. You cannot control the market. Nor should you even be concerned if it took you a year (or even five) for your money to eclipse a break-even point after a crash. After all, you will only ever be withdrawing 4% of your portfolio in any given year, upon retirement (see my last two chapters) and you are many, many years away from even requiring that 4%.


  14. noelia says:

    Hi Andrew,

    sorry I am a bit confused about what book I should buy next. I have both books, bought a few years ago, so wondering which one is the latest now with new updates. Hope all is well with you guys!

  15. Katie says:

    Dear Andrew,

    I’ve read both editions of your excellent book on expat investing, thank you- extremely helpful for the unitiated! I am a 40 year old British national based in Hong Kong and am wanting to begin investing for the first time, I would like to use the SRI global nomad couch potato model you suggested. However I also came across the iShares MSCI global Impact ETF (MPCT) expense ratio 0.49, holdings 101. I like the idea of investing in companies which make a positive contribution but am unsure whether this ETF would be too small/narrow and so significantly increase risk compared with the ones you suggested. Thanks in advance for your advice.

  16. Mary Noble says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Love your books! Posted a review on Amazon today.

    My question is about cars in the summer in the US. I sold my car last year before moving overseas again, to Dubai. I still own my home in Oregon and am renting it out for 10 months…moving back in in summer, and then leaving again. I need a car for 2 months, then possibly again in summer. What to do? Buy used and store it? Buy used and sell again at end of summer? Rental/lease deals?

    • Hi Mary,

      Thanks for the review!

      As for the car questions, that’s up to you. I bought a used car with low mileage and I store it for my summer use. I pay about $20 a month to store it in a barn. For me, this works out to be cheaper.


  17. Jim says:

    Hi Andrew, I have read the first edition a while back and bought your second edition too! Great book. Question: what strategy would you suggest for expat in EU country which taxes the value of the investment but not the capital tax gains? The tax which is 30% is applied on a fictitious profit regardless of the actual situation i.e stock market went up or down. The fictitious profit is defined as 5.39% for 975K and up, 1.63% for 21% and 5.39% for 79% for 75K-975K and 1.63% for 67% and 5.39 for 33% for up to 75K. The first 30K is tax free. This means that someone that has an account with funds based on your approaches with value 95K for example has to pay (0.3*0.0163*0.21*65000) + (0.3*0.0539*0.79*65000)=66.7485+830.3295=897.078E. Does this approach basically means that the couch potato portfolio etc can’t be as effective as described inthe book?

  18. Jim says:

    Hi Andrew, how would one find a good accountant as an expat? From my experience most are not that good unless for very trivial questions. Do you have some strategy to recommend on this?

  19. Vijay says:

    Hi Andrew – I will order and read your book for sure. Do you have any insight on how the passive indexing investment will work for US Citizens going to reside or retire in India. Any adviser who can help especially with respect to expats in India would be of great healp.

  20. Jennifer says:

    Hi Andrew

    I have recently read both of your books (Millionaire teacher and Millionaire Expat) and feel ready to start investing in ETFs. I’m a little nervous about ‘going it alone’ but hopefully I’ll work things out! I just have one question – I’m thinking of using Saxo as a broker. I’m currently based in Hong Kong and I know they have offices out here. Does it matter where my account is opened? I.e my initial deposit will come from the UK, but then top ups are likely to be made in HKD. What happens when I stop earning HKD and say want to keep things going but in a different currency…or does it not matter? I have also looked at Swissquote and Internaxx – they all seem fairly comparable for the size of my investment but Saxo has a slight advantage given it is in HK.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer! Jennifer

  21. Sean says:

    Hi Andrew, I’ve found your articles and comments fascinating reading regarding passive investing and I plan to buy your book this weekend. I am British, based in Singapore since earlier this year, and plan to return to the UK in 2020. Can I please ask:

    What indexes are your preference today?

    And importantly, should I invest through DBS Vickers here – knowing I’m leaving in two years – or through a platform in another country (Luxembourg etc)?

    Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Sean

  22. Leonard says:

    Dear Andrew – I am a Canadian expat living in Austria and read both of your excellent books. I was a long time couch potato investor back in Canada. Here, I took your advice and set up an Internaxx account to get back into the game. However, to my surprise I ran into 2 roadblocks. First, ETFs are considered “complex” products and are not available without further negotiation and an phone based Appropriateness Test. Second – worse – when I went to purchase ETFs I discovered Canadian and USA ETFs are not available for purchase through Internaxx, apparently by law. I had wanted something simple for CP investing like VBAL or VGRO on the CAD market, but its not allowed. Now I have to find some EU based equivalent ETF. Disappointing, and so back to the drawing board. I do not know if having an EU-based ETF will cause problems with Revenue Canada. I did not recall seeing these issues identified in the books, possibly consider it for next version. Len

  23. Cam says:

    Hi Andrew

    My wife and I have both read your books several times and they now guide our approach to investing completely. I am waiting (not very) patiently for the updated Millionaire Expat to come out on Kindle – I keep checking Amazon, pls tell them to get a move on :).

    I wonder if I can ask for your thoughts on Australian robo advisors?

    We are Aussies living in HK and I’m also a Canadian citizen. We’re pretty sure we’ll retire back to Oz and have just sold our house in Toronto. We were going to leave the proceeds in Canada and invest via Wealth Bar with an Aussie couch potato portfolio, as we’ve struggled to find a Wealth Bar equivalent in Australia.

    I actually spoke with a really helpful Wealth Bar advisor last week who mentioned he thought I might even be able to buy Vanguard funds straight from Vanguard Australia (I checked you can’t yet).

    I wondered if you knew of any good Australian ‘Wealth Bars”? I found a firm called Six Park which seems ok. But I’d really love to hear if there are any that you’ve come across that you think are good.


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