Golden piggy bank

As state pension systems slip, investment advice becomes paramount

When an expat is faced with the question of what to do with their pension, there are several options available to them. And it's important to understand everything that could be beneficial for your pension pot because very few countries offer their citizens high standard pension systems, as shown by the latest Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, which ranks the pensions provided by the governments of 30 countries.

The good news is that the Index's ranking had a few standouts. Near the top of the table, coming in at number two (beaten only by Denmark), was the Dutch system, which is great for any expats in the Netherlands who are eligible to receive the country's state pension. If you've lived or worked in Netherlands, then you would have built up a Dutch state pension. The longer you have lived in the country, the larger your Dutch pension will be (you can combine it with a state pension accumulated in another EU and EEA member country).

In the study, pensions were marked on their sustainability, adequacy, and integrity. The Dutch system scored well in all categories, but the report suggested that the Netherlands could improve its system by raising the level of household savings, increasing labour force participation at older ages as life expectancy rises, and strengthening the protection of pensions against fraud and mismanagement.

However, while the pension system in the Netherlands was of a relatively high standard, the overall outlook was not so positive. The main concern drawn from the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index is that no country had a pension system that was worthy of an "A" grade. Despite coming at the top of the table, Netherlands (as well as Denmark) was downgraded from the A- grade it received in 2016 to a B+.

Senior partner at Mercer, David Know believed that increasing life expectancies as well as low investment returns mean that pension systems are no longer able to provide an adequate amount of income for retirees. However, those with UK pensions have had a small piece of good news as 2017 saw the UK improve on its previous score, rising from a C to C+ (but thanks to new entrants, it dropped three places in the overall table).

And further studies have given yet more reasons to be worried over pensions. We reportedlast week that research from Swiss Bank UBS highlighted how many countries' state pensions do not match even the basic cost of living.

So, it is evident that to be secure in your retirement planning you need to take control of your money at the earliest opportunity and with the right professional guidance.

For instance, one solution is moving your pension pot into a self-invested personal pension (SIPP), which will give you a variety of investment opportunities and increased control over your money. Alternatively, a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) and a Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme (QNUPS) are other effective ways of achieving greater flexibility over your retirement savings, which can be very advantageous. But whether you choose to move money into a QNUPS, QROPS, or SIPPs, pension advice from a professional is an essential part of the process.

Recent studies have shown that many savers have a poor understanding of their type of pension. That's why receiving QROPS, QNUPS, or SIPPs pension advice is a must. A financial adviser can ensure you're getting the most out of your pot and that you're investments will serve your personal goals adequately.

Get in touch with Blacktower today. We can take you through all your options and, if you wish, talk you through the process of transferring your money to an international pension scheme. Our advisers are experts in providing customers with pension advice on SIPPs, QROPS and QNUPS, so you can rest assured your retirement investing will be in safe hands.

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