Retiring Overseas

Published:  29 Oct at 7 PM
Well over five million british residents have decided to move abroad during the past 10 years and unfortunately, recent problems in the strength of the GBP has affected those who rely on their UK pension. Despite this though, many UK residents continue to move abroad in search of a better life with the likes of Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands leading the list of destinations. Unfortunately these are not considered to be tax havens however the likes of France, Spain, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus do still have their own tax advantages for people looking to move money over there.

There are so many things to consider when moving abroad that many people just don’t feel like they are able to do it when they start to get older but the truth is that there’s no better time. If you are even contemplating it, make a pros and cons list and see which one wins and by how much (I know, very cliche but it’s cliche for a reason - it works!). Talk to your friends and family and see what they say about the possibility of you moving abroad, you may find that many of them are excited for you (and for themselves if they get to come and stay!).

Once you have decided to go, make a list of the steps. Firstly you’ll need to choose a destination. Then think about the requirements to move to that destination, for example Australia allows only qualifying individuals to emigrate. Keep that checklist going until you reach the actual moving stage. Then when you finish the list, start ticking things off!

One of the advantages to living abroad is that unlike in the UK where by the time a pensioner reaches 75 they are forced to buy an annuity or to go into a restrictive alternative secured pension regime, this is not compulsory if you are living abroad. For this very reason, many organisations and experts are claiming that offshore pensions will be a big part of the future. These pensions dont have any enforced annuity purchasing and allow users much more flexibility to invest their money into residential property and withdraw as much or as little as they require. The tax benefit comes in that they are not required to pay UK Taxes after they die.

To move your pension abroad to benefit from these various advantages, the first thing you need to do is transfer the amount to a qualifying and recognised foreign overseas pension plan. These were created two years ago and once the money is in the scheme, it is outside Revenue and Customs jurisdiction so the rules no longer apply. However, the provider of the pension will continue to report details of the pension to the HMRC but will only do so until you have been a resident outside of the UK for five years.