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The UK Expat’s European Retirement Guide

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With around half a million UK nationals retiring in the EU in the post-Brexit world, understanding the security of future pension income, taxation rates, and possibilities for cross border transfers is a crucial requirement.

Pension income is an essential part of planning for retirement, wherever you plan to relocate in Europe and whether you anticipate retiring in a few years or exploring your relocation opportunities now.

Chase Buchanan has created our FREE Guide to Retiring in the EU for British Expats to explore a wide range of factors to help you make confident, informed decisions about your retirement plans.

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Download your free copy of our Guide today to understand:
  • Access to UK State Pensions for expats in Europe.
  • How different pension scheme types impact your decisions.
  • Advantages to consolidating multiple pensions.
  • The pros and cons of lump-sum pension withdrawals.
  • How pension earnings tax varies across EU countries.
  • Why currency fluctuations are a significant consideration.
  • The Overseas Transfer Charge – and where it applies.
  • How pension wealth is treated for succession planning.
The Chase Buchanan FREE Guide to Retiring in the EU for British Expats has been created by our expert consultants to ensure you have all the vital information required to evaluate your range of retirement planning choices.
Guide to retiring in the eu for british expats 2023

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UK Pension Schemes in Europe Explained

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Every EU country has its own rules about pension transfers, taxes charged, and what sorts of revenue are considered taxable as income.
Therefore, it is impossible to decide the most beneficial route to European retirement without evaluating the regulations in your specific destination.
Many expats are keen to enjoy the climate and lifestyle in popular destinations such as Spain, Portugal or Cyprus. Still, they remain concerned about how Brexit may have changed their rights, future income, and, therefore, retirement aspirations.
The good news is that there are multiple opportunities available, from blended strategies to international transfers, lump sum drawdowns through to consolidation – all of which we explore in our Guide.
Our series of complimentary downloadable resources aims to shed light on the intricacies of sound retirement planning and ensure each client has the necessary knowledge about the various influential factors to understand each option’s advantages and potential pitfalls.

About Chase Buchanan

Chase Buchanan is a market-leading wealth management expert, supporting clients from our offices in Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Belgium, the USA, the Isle of Man and our Administration Centre in the UK.

We have years of experience working with expats throughout Europe and our international offices position us ideally to offer current, accurate and reliable financial recommendations.

From investment strategies to retirement plans, and pension transfers to budgeting, Chase Buchanan consultants are on hand to ensure your lifestyle offers everything you hope for.

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Factors to Consider When Comparing Retirement Destinations in Europe

Thousands aspire to retire in Europe, looking for countries with a rich history and culture, fantastic golf courses, beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine and a relaxed lifestyle.

Alongside selecting locations with ideal year-round weather, it is important to define your priorities and expectations to ensure you have full oversight of what to expect and how aspects such as your tax exposure or ability to purchase a home will affect your financial planning.

Many professionals may have already lived in some of the best European countries for retirees and have been planning their retirement for several years – whereas others are unsure of the countries within the European Union that offer a ‘golden visa’ or retirement visa that will allow them to relocate.

Southern European countries are undoubtedly considered among the best places to retire globally, with family-friendly communities, breathtaking scenery and some of the highest life expectancy rates globally.

However, wherever you choose to make your home country, we recommend conducting thorough research around the practicalities, from the cost of private health insurance and housing to taking advantage of tax benefits to preserve and protect your retirement wealth.

Eligibility for European Retirement Visas and Golden Visas

Verifying the eligibility criteria for a retirement visa or establishing whether you have the financial means to apply for a golden visa, offering expats the ability to invest overseas in a property and secure permanent residence status, will avoid disappointment.

While many European countries have accessible visa rules and provide foreign nationals with beneficial tax treatments to attract affluent retirees, the terms and criteria will naturally vary. You may also wish to compare the timescales for visa processing, where some of the best places to retire take several months to issue new visas due to demand.

If your ideal retirement destination offers expedited visa processing or a lucrative residency by investment solution, we’d also advise an analysis of your expected tax residency position. Tax residency is a different prospect from permanent residency, whereby you will normally be considered a tax resident based on the proportion of the year you spend in your new place of residence.

Non-tax residents may simultaneously hold a valid visa, but this can affect your exposure to taxation in the UK, as well as the tax rates imposed on your pension and other income overseas, so is a matter best discussed with your wealth manager or financial manager to provide clarity.

More information about the differences between tax residency and permanent residency is detailed within our comprehensive guide.

Applying for Visas, Residence Permits or Permanent Residency Ahead of a Peaceful European Retirement

Before you evaluate your finances, pension products, savings and investments, you may need to decide which European countries are most suitable for your planned retirement based on the availability of visas.

Finding a wonderful home nestled next to the Mediterranean Sea and with an array of outdoor activities may be the ultimate goal. Still, you may also require an affordable retirement option.

Chase Buchanan has developed a series of country residency guides which are free to download which will give more information on residency.

The Importance of Robust Healthcare and Insurance Coverage When Retiring Abroad

Most European destinations offering retirement visas will require any expat to provide evidence of private healthcare insurance. Public healthcare may be available to permanent residents, but the waiting times and standards of care in public hospitals can vary.

English is widely spoken across much of Europe, meaning retirees can register with a local physician and transfer their health care records when they move – but holding reliable insurance coverage is an invaluable safeguard. Should you become unwell, you can rely on your insurance to provide excellent care solutions via the best private clinics at a low cost.

Structuring Your Assets, Investment Portfolio and Income Before Retiring in Europe

Living costs within the European Union can differ significantly, from affordable housing in beautiful village settings to purchasing a luxury apartment or townhouse in one of the big cities, from the bright lights of the fashion world in Madrid or Paris to a stunning coastal villa in Cyprus.

Whether your idea of the best country for your retirement is a capital city, rustic rural region or adjacent to a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, you should ensure you know how your finances, assets and investments will fund your retirement and provide a stable, sustained income to cover your planned expenditures, including a property purchase.

Financial requirements are unique to every retiree; some countries have property markets with affordable prices and a relatively low cost of living, and other European destinations command a considerably higher budget to provide a comfortable lifestyle.

Before you decide where to retire in Europe, it is essential you identify whether the best course of action is to reinvest or restructure pensions, savings and investments, how those assets will be subject to taxation in your new retirement home, and how that will impact your overall wealth.

Tax and finances are just as important as picking a retirement destination with gorgeous scenery, affordable cost of living and great food – ensuring retirees choose a long-term home that is within their financial means and will remain their place of residence for the duration of their retirement.

Getting Started With Your Plans for Retirement in Your Chosen European Country

Retiring abroad can offer lifestyle and social benefits, with many retirees warmly welcomed within expat communities, making friends with other foreign nationals within a similar age range, and finding that the pace of life against a backdrop of relaxing mountain landscapes is everything they had hoped for.

Investing the time in thorough planning and assessing your pension structure, finances, income sources, and tax status is the best way to ensure you achieve a healthy, happy retirement with the confidence that your wealth and financial affairs are well managed.

The Chase Buchanan Guide to Retiring in the EU for British Expats is a great place to begin, sharing insights and tips from our expert pension advisers, global financial consultants and in-house teams located across Europe.

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