For many retirees, Brexit has cast a question mark over their plans to retire outside of the UK. In this article, we address the question of whether you can still retire abroad after Brexit, and how to safeguard your retirement plans against economic and political uncertainty. If you aim to retire outside the EU, very little will change with regards to your retirement plans. If your retirement plans involve moving permanently moving to an EU country, however, you may want to consider applying for residency.
What Is Residency?
Generally speaking, residency determines the country in which you are currently living and where you will pay the majority of your tax. Prior to Brexit, there was a flexible rule that remaining in one EU country for six or more months qualified one as a resident, but freedom of movement meant that it was relatively easy to spend significant periods of time abroad without having to adopt full residency. Post-Brexit, the 90-day visitation rule means that residency is now a requirement rather than an option if UK citizens want to retire abroad. Residency means that you will be formally recognised as a legal resident of your chosen country, and will therefore be able to use its healthcare and public services.
How Do I Become A Resident?
The exact process of becoming a resident varies from country to country, and several EU member states – including France, Italy, and Spain – have yet to fully iron out the creases. However, as a general rule, if you are already living in an EU country or own a property there, a simple residency application made prior to June 30th 2021 should enable you to retire abroad. Some qualification criteria applies, all of which relates to the ability to demonstrate that you can exist financially without asking the State for support. The combination of a healthy bank balance and the support of a reputable wealth management company are therefore an imperative.
What If I Don’t Want Residency?
Whether it’s because you haven’t yet purchased your retirement property or because you have a reason to maintain your ties to the UK (for instance, you may be receiving medical care in the UK that you wish to continue), foreign residency may not be for you. In this case, you will currently only be able to visit for 90 days unless you have a visa. This situation is expected to change; but for now, it means a more mobile, back-and-forth retirement solution. This doesn’t affect your right to buy holiday property in an EU country.
What About My Pension?
Under the current guidelines, neither State nor workplace pensions should be affected by retirement abroad. For your state pension, the ‘triple lock’ system is in place to ensure that your pension grows in line with the higher of UK earnings growth, UK inflation or 2.5%. For private pension arrangements, the rules vary, so it is recommended to work with an international pension specialist who can help you better understand how your pension will work wherever you are in the world. For the majority of EU countries, UK expats now hold third-party status regardless of their wealth, so navigating economic systems angled towards economic migrants takes a practiced hand. The wealth management experts at the Arlo Group will be able to optimise your pension plans so that your retirement dreams can be realised.
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Whether you already own your retirement property or are putting the groundwork of your future in place, our extensive international experience can help. Get in touch today for bespoke retirement planning and investment advice.