For many people who have worked hard throughout their life, the prospect of retiring abroad is extremely exhilarating. Moving abroad in your later years can be a relaxing, enjoyable way of spending your retirement, as it can provide you with new experiences and allow you to pursue previously unachievable goals.
What Countries Can You Move To?
As a resident of the UK, you have numerous choices as to where to move when you retire. If you wish to remain fairly close to family and friends in the UK, there’s the obvious choice of moving to any other EEA (European Economic Area). These countries include favourites such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and many more. If you’re looking for more sunshine and a different culture, many of these can offer you that dream. If you’re more adventurous and have longed to travel further, you may want to consider retiring somewhere like Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the USA. For these countries there are increased difficulties with obtaining permanent residency, but it can be done. Often for these other countries, you’re required to prove that you have enough income to sustain your new life there and won’t need to claim benefits. Also, you may need to make a substantial financial investment as a guarantee that you can afford to retire abroad. If you’re considering this move, it is best to obtain independent legal advice from a good migration agent or lawyer.
Pensions When Retiring Abroad
If you are retiring abroad you can continue to receive any pensions you already hold in the UK. If you’re choosing to retire to a country that is part of the EEA, then you will also continue to receive yearly increases in your UK pension. The most important thing you must do is let the UK Pensions Service know that you’re moving abroad and provide them with your new address. You must remember that pension ages vary dependent on country and therefore you should find out whether the country you’re going to will recognise you as a pensioner. Normally, you will be sent a claims form around 4 months before you become eligible for a pension. This will ask for details of where you’re living and whether you have or intend to live in another country.
Tax and Benefits When Retiring Abroad
When you leave the UK to retire abroad, you must fill out a P85 form so that the tax office knows you’re no longer a UK resident. If you’re retiring then it is likely you’ll no longer have an income, so ending your tax payment requirements in the UK is very straight forward. If you claim benefits in the UK, you’ll normally be entitled to maintain these whilst in your new country, if it is part of the EEA. If not, then you may need to contact the official agency in your new home to ask what benefits you’re entitled to. For some countries, you will lose your rights to benefits when you move there as they will expect you to be financially solvent as a retired individual.
Organising Your Home in the UK before Retiring Abroad
If you’re retiring abroad, you may choose to sell your UK property before moving to give you some capital to buy abroad. If you choose to do so, ensure that you’ve cancelled all utility bills and let all official agencies know that the home is no longer in your name. If you decide to keep your home in the UK and rent it out then you will be classed as having an income. You will then need to pay tax on this income in the UK.
Looking Forward to Retirement Abroad
Deciding to spend your retirement years abroad can be very fulfilling. You will be able to provide year round holiday accommodation for family and friends who will want to visit you often. You can also pursue some of the dreams you may not have had the time for in the UK. Always remember that there will be a period of unsettlement, where you may feel out of place. Try to gain as many friends in your new area as possible and attend clubs and organisations specifically targeted for retirees. If you do this, your new move should be filled with excitement and wonderful experiences.