It is likely that most would-be emigrants will have various assets that they will want to transfer to their new country of origin. Many will want to transfer their cash holdings but, depending on the exchange rate at the time, may choose to leave a portion back in your home country, pending an improved rate. Arguably, one of the biggest considerations will be what to do with your pension (if you have one, of course).
Transferring your assets
Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States all have different rules and regulations for transferring pensions and as everyone’s individual circumstances are different there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what action you should take.
However, the important thing to note regarding pensions is that it should be possible to transfer them to your new homeland if you wish to do so – although you may find that in some instances the available transfer value of your pension will be less than the actual fund.
With this in mind, before making a decision about what to do with your pension, or indeed any other assets you are thinking about transferring, you should talk to a financial advisor who is fully regulated in both the UK and the country you are intending to emigrate to.
It’s also worth noting that should you be looking to transfer a state pension to either Australia, New Zealand or Canada, your pension will be frozen either at the value you first draw it or, if you are already drawing it, at the value you are receiving at your date of emigration. Those looking to move to America won’t be subjected to frozen pensions.
In addition to transferring your UK pension to your new country of residence, there may be a possibility that you will also be eligible to qualify for a federal or state pension in your new home country as well – especially if you plan to be spending a majority of your adult life in that particular country.
Each of the ‘big four’ long-haul emigration destinations, along with all EU countries, operate pension schemes of one sort or another, with the qualifying criteria for these schemes being slightly different for each country.
Obviously the information provided here should be used a guide only, and it is essential to seek independent financial advice from an expert before deciding on any course of action.
Australia offers two chief sources of retirement income – Superannuation and the Age Pension.
Superannuation is funded by Australian employers, who must pay 9.5 percent of an employee’s ordinary time earnings into a ‘retirement fund’. The type of fund differs for each employer, but must be registered and approved by the Australian government. It is important to note that Superannuation funds are not final-salary schemes, so your income when you retire is dependent on the performance of your funds. It is possible for you to add your money to the fund, in addition to the 9 percent from your employer. The Age Pension is funded by taxpayers and paid to you by the government.