UK Expat Pension Members In Retirement

Posted by Simon Harvey on 04/02/10 14:17

There are many UK expats that are currently working overseas for foreign companies or for the overseas arm of a UK company. For the majority of these people the original intention would be to earn a living abroad but return to the UK to retire, however, recent surveys have shown that this is no longer necessarily the case.

Due to the increasing cost of retirement in the UK and the taxable nature of UK expat pension member’s retirement income in the UK, an increasing number of expats that are working abroad are choosing to remain abroad in retirement. For UK expat pension members (ie members of UK pension schemes that are living abroad), overseas pension transfer advice is required to assess whether their funds should remain in the UK or transfer to a QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme).

The surveys have shown that 60% of expats abroad retire in Europe (with France and Spain being the most popular destinations), with the purpose of being close to their family. For other expats, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are the popular destinations – largely because they are English speaking countries. Wherever an individual retires overseas, though, they have to weigh up the better climate and quality of living against issues such as the standard of health care, emergency services and the tax system of their new country.

When funding for retirement, recent statistics have shown that expats look at their savings as the highest source of retirement funding with 27% coming from this source. The other major sources of retirement funding include the UK State Pension (23%), private pensions (20%) and rental income from property (6%).

What is surprising is that private expat pension funds makes up only 20% of retirement benefits. There may be QROPS options available that could increase pension provision for a UK expat pension member.