The Flowchart

This flowchart is a very high level look at the options for US citizens who live in the UK and want to invest for the future (FIRE, but also normal retirement planning, etc.). For more information on each option, see the relevant entry from the Account Options page.

The flowchart assumes you’re ready for long-term investing, and your basic personal finances are already under control:

  • You spend less than you earn and want to save/invest some of what is left over
  • You have a sufficient emergency fund in some kind of safe place (probably a bank account, Premium Bonds, maybe some cash, etc.)
  • Your debt is under control: credit cards are paid off every month, maybe a mortgage and/or low-rate car loan outstanding, no high-rate debt (payday loans, Klarna, etc.)
  • You’re eligible for the NHS, so health insurance isn’t a concern. You might be paying for private insurance if you want, too.
  • You’re paying UK taxes and filing US taxes, although likely not owing much if anything due to Foreign Tax Credits (from your higher UK taxes). The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion also works, but limits some of the options below and is likely to be a suboptimal result for US citizens in the UK (can’t invest in an IRA, can’t get the refundable child tax credit in the US, etc.).
  • Essentially, you’re already at the “Do you have long term goals?” diamond of the UK Personal Finance Flowchart.

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