Crystal Ball

Expats Retirement Planning - No-one can See into the Future

What should you do if you are an expat and are considering a retirement transfer? Mindful of Brexit's impending reality, do you make an expat retirement transfer as soon as possible or, fearful of restricting yourself and missing out on any possible opportunity, do you hang on to see what the future holds and wait until after March 31 2019.

There could be risk in waiting, of course, and it is considerable risk. By hesitating now you risk losing the opportunity to take advantage of all the EU expat retirement transfer benefits currently offered to those who choose Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) or Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pensions (QROPS) right now.

This is not to say that these advantages will instantly disappear come spring 2019, but the reality is that Brexit is turning out to be drawn-out process with little current certainty and that it will take some time for any agreed changes to take effect.

Yes, in all probability the pension pot billions that have already been transferred into various pension schemes by more than 120,000 expats since 2006 will probably be safe, but for those who have not yet made a decision regarding expat retirement transfers, there will almost certainly be another period of limbo.

The reality is that there is so much to be covered in the Brexit agreement that it will be no surprise if pension transfers are not resolved until some time after the March deadline, most likely in one of the budgets following the UK's official departure from the EU.

And it is difficult to predict just what the government might decide is the best way to manage expat-retirement transfers post-Brexit. Some experts believe that they will remain in place but with additional charges, others believe that new schemes will arise to meet the altered landscape. Whatever the case, it seems that taking advice and planning now is the only way current expats can ensure they do not become stuck in limbo.

Of course, financial advisers cannot see into the future and anyone who tells you they know what will happen is really just speculating. So what we suggest is that you discuss your wealth management with a financial adviser as soon as possible, so that you have a clearer picture of where you stand right now.

Blacktower financial advisers work across Europe and beyond and have been helping expats manage their retirement planning and investment portfolios for more than 30 years. While none of us has experienced Brexit before, we understand our respective jurisdictions thoroughly and comprehensively, so you can be assured that whether you are an expat planning your retirement in France, Spain, Portugal or in any one of our serviced countries or regions, we will be happy to discuss your plans and support you as you negotiate the next few years.

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