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Pension planning time bomb

Investing Offshore for Retirement

By Rhiannon Williamson

As an expatriate you are in a privileged savings and investing position. Make the most of the options available to you while you can, consider investing offshore for your retirement pension.

While you reside overseas you are legally entitled to make use of any tax savings in the country in which you reside, furthermore you are most likely in a position to save and invest offshore to fund and fuel your retirement.

Not enough expatriates make use of their offshore advantage when living and working abroad. Don’t make the same mistake!

Do you already have a domestic pension plan in place from your home country that you established prior to working abroad? Have you found that this policy is not as mobile as you are? Does it make sense to continue with the savings policy?

Have you been considering switching from retirement savings plan to savings plan as you change from country to country? Did you know that by doing this the income you end up with in later life will be fragmented and may be whittled away by foreign exchange costs, charges or even a cash-strapped government?

Or are you one of the lucky few who need read no further – one of the lucky few working for an international company who offer a pension plan to expatriate employees as part of their benefits package?

If you are not one of the lucky few and you understand that the onus is on you to provide for your own retirement this article may be able to help you.

If you are looking for the most sensible offshore investment solution for your retirement savings planning you need to consider finding a safe harbour where you can anchor your retirement investments so that you can move from country to country as necessary without this having any negative impact on your assets.

If you decide to do this, you need to find out exactly which safe harbour or tax haven is the best for you.

Offshore financial centres present a viable solution - especially if you are undecided as to your eventual retirement destination. Basing your pension investment offshore should mean that future movements of capital or income are not impeded.

However you should remember that any retirement income you take could be liable for taxation depending on where you are living at that time.

When it comes to offshore retirement planning what do you need to be aware of?: -

Your own personal circumstances are unique.

Be realistic about how much you should be contributing.

Consider the charges the bonuses and the flexibility of any investment plan - generally the more flexible the plan the more charges will be.

Know that a good offshore retirement plan should allow you to do the following without penalty:-

1 Reduce contributions without penalty (normally after an initial period of one to two years).

2 Switch investments between different funds to respond to changes in the market. Preferably including funds managed by other people outside of the institution zone.

3 Have the option of retiring when you want to without penalty.

4 Allow certain access to monies invested (again, after an initial period).

How to Find the RIGHT Offshore Savings Solution

Finding out what each provider's best products are currently, and then hand picking the best to suit your own personal needs and current circumstances is the best idea!

But how impractical!

Do you have the time to do this?

Would you consider yourself an expert in offshore investments and pension planning?

Where would you start?

Obviously professional advice will get you the right solution and save you time and money and reduce your cost of delay significantly!

Pension Surrender

Cashing in an onshore pension is rarely the best option available to you.

If you have taken out an offshore pension policy and you are unhappy with it or want to take a break from paying into it, consider all the options that are available to you before you decide on your path of action.

Generally with an offshore pension up to the first 2 years of contributions are committed to being invested until maturity – meaning that if you cash in your policy early you will potentially be wiping hundreds or thousands off your potential returns.

This is money you would be literally THROWING away!

Instead of encashment could you take a payment holiday or change your investment focus?

Instead of encashment you HAVE to speak to a brokerage to find out what options are available to you and which options are BEST for you.

You do not have to speak to the adviser or brokerage who set up the initial policy for advice - a good independent financial adviser will be happy to assist you with any previous policies. Get Informed!

Simply put, if you haven't started your retirement planning or you want to check whether you need to do more or you want to find out what you can do with policies already in existence – from company pensions, personal pensions and offshore pensions - you need to act now!

Find the right person to advise you about exactly what is available in the market place today.

Find the right person to get the best solution in place for you sooner rather than later!

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