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Personal Finance: Beyond the banking barrier

As an expat living in Phuket, you will more than likely have savings in a bank account back home, in Thailand or both. Saving into a bank account is the simplest and easiest way to accumulate and protect your wealth.

Wiliam Frisby

Sunday 5 November 2017, 10:00AM

Keeping your money in a bank is a prime option for short-term needs, but other investment vehicles are much better suited for gaining long-term yields. Photo: ADwarf
Keeping your money in a bank is a prime option for short-term needs, but other investment vehicles are much better suited for gaining long-term yields. Photo: ADwarf

For short-term needs such as shopping and holidays, banks are the best place to put our money. But what about our longer-term goals like buying a house, retirement or our children’s education? Is the bank the best place for your money?

Bank interest rates are there just to track inflation and protect our spending power over time as goods and services rise in value. It may appear that our money is going up in value, but it isn’t. What $100 can buy today will be roughly equal to what $200 can buy in 10 years’ time.

In fact, if interest rates stay at their current low levels then your bank savings will buy less in 10 years time than they can today.


Is a Fixed Term Deposit a solution?

Expats in Phuket may choose to use Asian banks for savings as they appear to offer better returns than banks back home. Typically, a fixed-term deposit is used to provide a safe return over a short period, such as one year. However, this still has the same problem that your money will likely only track inflation and will not be growing.


Currency Movement

Investing in foreign currencies can be very dangerous; currencies can swing massively overnight, and any growth that has been accumulated can be wiped out in seconds. Only invest in foreign currencies if you intend to spend the money in that currency.



Bonds are an income-producing product; they do not grow in value. If you are employed, then you probably do not need income from your investments.

When chosen well a bond can be a relatively safe asset and produce a higher level of income than a fixed-deposit account. Make sure you seek professional advice from someone who understands the fixed interest market.


Where do we invest for goals over five years long?

Invest in companies, otherwise known as equities, but always take a minimum of a five-year time horizon as markets are unpredictable over the short-term.

Over the long-term equities will always provide you with the best return compared to cash and bonds. The S&P 500, an American index which tracks the growth of the 500 largest companies in the US, has grown by over 90% in the last five years.

Be aware that investing in the index will give you all of the up and all of the down of the markets. Your return will be, by definition, average. Another option is a mutual fund, which also invests in companies but has a single manager, or team, making the investments decisions.

However, not all mutual fund managers are equal; most do not beat the index. There are only a select few who for decades have shown that they can grow their assets by more than the market. Make sure you, or your advisor, has a criteria for choosing the correct investment managers.

If you are not an experienced investor then always speak to a financial professional. A personal advisor can take you through all the steps necessary to find something that suits you and your family. An advisor should try and build a lifelong relationship with you, always doing what is best for your situation.


William Frisby of Hampton Bridge, is a British expat who has been advising clients in the Far East for the past 10 years. To contact him write to and quote The Phuket News.



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Kurt | 07 November 2017 - 15:11:54

Advices are never bizarre.
Advices are to read and consider.
One can never be to much advised before deciding what to do.
Many past time investors who lost a lot of money will agree with me.
The 2008 world financial crises is almost forgotten.
However, the world is approaching the next financial crisis.

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Jor12 | 06 November 2017 - 23:17:39

Gee... with that bizarre advice, it's clear the daily comments are beyond comprehension.  

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Kurt | 05 November 2017 - 17:09:51

Fine article. However.
When you are retired expat with a monthly good incoming pension, divided between home country and Thailand, than you not need all these advices.
For example, when you are 60+, you really need to join 'investment markets', without any guarantee you even get your own money back?

Choosing 'correct investment managers'???
Give me a break.
If these investment managers have really the wisdom to advice, they would advice themselves, and get rich. Not putting 1 second thoughts about you.
'Investment managers' make money, about your profits or you losses.

Retired? Let them talk, avoid them. Be happy with what you monthly receive.
Enjoy your life.
Don't forget,... in you last pyjamas are no pockets.  :-)

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