When you start off your expat journey, retiring might be the furthest thing from your mind. But if you spend a lot of your life working in a foreign country, it’s important to know if you are eligible for a state pension. More and more expats are actually middle aged when they head off to their new country, and for them, the reality of what happens to their pensions and retirement annuities when they move abroad is an important issue – particularly if they want to enjoy their new expat lifestyle. In this blog post, we will give you a quick overview of what you can expect.

What happens to your state pension and private retirement annuities when you become an expat?

The reality of state pensions

If you have worked in your home country, you should be entitled to some form of state pension – but what happens to it when you move abroad? For most countries, the rule is that you are unable to claim this money until you reach the retirement age of the country where the contributions were paid.  This amount will depend on your personal levels of wealth and the contributions you have made over the years.  Some countries allow you to make contributions to your state pension even when you are working abroad – but the amount you can contribute and your window of opportunity may be limited, so make sure you know all the ins and outs by speaking to your local pension office.

The next question people want to know is whether they can claim a state pension in their new country. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely you’ll be entitled to a state pension, even if you spend many years working in your new country, unless you have permanent residency status and have made the necessary contributions.

If you are still living abroad when your home country’s state pension is due to be paid you, you might be able to have your pension paid directly to you if there is an agreement between your home country and your new country.  Alternatively have it paid into a bank account in your home country and then get it transferred to your new country when the exchange rate is in your favour.

The reality of retirement annuities

The good news is that when you become an expat, you don’t necessarily have to wait until you are 55 to get your hands on your retirement annuity!

One of finglobal.com’s top services is retirement annuity transfers. With this service, we assist South Africans living overseas turn their South African retirement annuity policies into cash and we then transfer the funds to their new home. The best part of this process is that it can happen even before you turn 55, and the funds can be used for any purpose!

With more than 60 000 clients in 105 countries, we’re widely recognised as South Africa’s leading financial migration brand and have assisted expats with retirement annuity transfers and many other migration services. In everything we do, we are proud to have a 100% success rate.

If you’re planning on immigrating and need financial advice, contact us today and we’ll help you maximise your finances in your new home.
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