Moving abroad in 2020?

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If moving to pastures new forms part of your New Year’s resolutions, there are some important steps to take when it comes to your pension.

Be organised, plan ahead and take the stress out of having to sort out your finances at a later stage. Make life easier for yourself with our five-step guide for a less stressful move abroad.

Do your homework

Make sure you do your research and understand your circumstances before you head off to your new adventure. Possibly, the most important thing you’d be interested in is whether or not you can still be part of a UK workplace pension scheme when you move abroad and the answer is – yes! UK pension savers are allowed to remain members of the pension schemes they are paying into, regardless of where they live or where their employer is based.

Know your options

There are several options to consider for your workplace pension. You can either:

  • Leave your pension savings in your chosen pension plan – that way your pension will continue to be held by your pension provider until you claim it
  • Transfer your funds to an alternative scheme in your new country of residence – the scheme you are transferring to needs to be Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), and you will be required to meet certain criteria, or
  • Continue to pay into your chosen pension plan from abroad – there’s no limitation when it comes to the amount you can pay, but tax relief may be limited, or not available at all, so check first!

And how about your State Pension?

If you are planning to retire abroad, you can still claim your State Pension from the UK. That’s not to say, though that you will be able to benefit from the increase in State Pension that occurs to keep up with the cost of living each year. You will only get an increase if you live in:

  • the European Economic Area (EEA), Gibraltar or Switzerland
  • a country that has a social security agreement with the UK that allows for cost of living increases to the State Pension

Head to the government’s State Pension checker to find out how much you could get and when, and find out where an annual increase is paid.

Ouch, tax!

There is no escape from the taxman. No matter where you go, you will be required to pay a certain amount from your retirement income in tax. Therefore, it’s important you do your homework and research the position for the country you’re planning to move to. Find out more about tax on your income if you live abroad on the government’s website.

Need help?

Knowledge is power, and knowing where to look for guidance and advice could save you a lot of time and hassle.

It’s important you know your options and make the best decisions for your circumstances.

An adviser could help you understand your options and the impact of them but they will usually charge. You can find independent financial advisers at www.unbiased.co.uk.  

There is also information online to help you sort out your retirement income before you move abroad:

https://www.pensionwise.gov.uk/en/living-abroad

https://www.nutmeg.com/pensions/my-pension-if-i-move-abroad

https://www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/about-pensions/when-things-change/moving-abroad

Watch and learn

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