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Pensions - What did you do to secure your retirement?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Darthteacher, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. Darthteacher

    Darthteacher New commenter

    I am sure everyone teaching overseas has thought about what happens when they retire. I'm teaching abroad and have been spinning the idea about what to do for retirement. I'm sure that eventually I will retire back in the the UK, but how can I secure a pension or savings scheme as a lead up to my retirement.

    My question is: What have you done to secure a wealthy retirement.......also what pitfalls have you come across.

    Thank you for any help/advice received.
  2. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Saved a bucket load of money, and invested in property.

    Also have a private pension, but its nothing amazing.
    Darthteacher likes this.
  3. fsmc

    fsmc Occasional commenter

    Keep contributing UK NICs seems a good start.

    Anything beyond that is going to be a combination of earning a lot and spending a low amount.
    Darthteacher and Helen-Back like this.
  4. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Some good advice has already been given by dumbbells66 (not so dumb) and fsmc. If you have a property in the UK, then that might be a good source of income in your retirement. Just don't do anything silly like living in it yourself.

    The OP seems to have the strange idea that the UK is a wonderful place if you are retired or an OAP or both. Perhaps I am mistaken, as it is now a few years since I was last in the UK, but don't you have to pay Council Tax, even if you are retired? Do OAPs have to pay VAT? Is petrol free in the UK if you are retired?
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    If you save up a lot of money while teaching overseas, then maybe in your retirement you might perhaps be able to buy a small, leasehold flat in the UK. On the other hand, you could buy a four-bedroomed house in Bulgaria, with a big garden and lots of nice views, for twenty thousand pounds or less. In Bulgaria, the equivalent of Council Tax is about fifteen pounds a year. When the weather gets cold, I will cut up some more wood for the boiler (it gives us lots of hot water, as well as heating the whole house).
    Alldone, T0nyGT and vikkigibson like this.
  6. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Different people have different perspectives. for me it is down to saving as much as you can whilst still enjoying the benefits of living/working overseas.

    I have paid in 30 years to NI and continue to pay in case they insist I need to have 35 years.

    I have 21 years of Teachers pension up to when I left UK in 2001. This will give me a bit to live on (about £900 a month). I have paid off my mortgage and plan to use savings from the next 2 years to buy a relatively cheap property (ie between £80,000 - £120,000) which I will rent out to supplement my teachers pension. I am hoping to clear at least £400 pcm from the rental.

    I know there may be various savings plans I could buy into instead, but bricks and mortar are the only way to go for me.

    When I get my state pension in 6 years, (assuming they haven't changed the rules to make it means tested by then), I will hopefully have around £16,000 per year total. I may then sell the property to use the capital to live a little and treat my family.

    I completely see the Hippo's argument if you don't mind living away from UK - it's a bit of a no brainer. Personally I wouldn't live anywhere other than UK - despite the many criticisms people may have for it.
    Darthteacher likes this.
  7. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    I think the main thing is to make sure you have no rent to pay when you stop working. Buy property somewhere that you can either live in yourself or rent out to pay for your rent when you do retire. I would definitely invest in property over putting in to a private pension fund (if you had to choose one)> Property is pretty secure, and although it can be devalued, it will always be at least usable and worth something. Anything can happen with a pension pot. Plenty of people in the relatively regulated UK paid in to private pensions for years only to receive nothing at the end because the company gambled it all away.
  8. 576

    576 Established commenter

    I'm not sure that where you retire is a 'no-brainer'. Some of us don't have multiple options but even if we did the UK could be the best choice. I was talking to some colleagues (natives of my host country) who were talking about retirement and the fact that their medical insurance comes from work right now and there is no free healthcare, so when they retire and that medical insurance provision ends they will need alternative plans.
    Although i'll have no automatic right to live anywhere else when I retire I'd also like to know that the NHS is there should I need it.
  9. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    Health provision is, indeed, a factor to be taken into consideration for retirees. The national health service here in Spain is excellent, but it is, understandably enough, delivered in Spanish! I have had to go along to the doctor's office with elderly Brits to help translate their symptoms to Spanish doctors...

    As far as the pension is concerned, I'm fortunate in that I have lived here for 35 years and I'm entitled to the maximum Spanish pension which is a bit more than the figure Stopwatch mentioned as his total income. I also have two private pensions but would have to pay quite a bit of tax if I used them (since I got full tax relief on the premiums when I was paying in) so I've decided to just leave them untouched. If I ever need them, they're there and if not, then my daughter can inherit them tax free...

    I also agree about bricks and mortar. We have two homes here in Spain and another in Lancashire and, after I finally get around to retiring, we'll divide our time between the three.

    I really wouldn't want to go back to England "full-time", especially after Brexit, but it's still a nice place to visit for a month or so a year...
    Darthteacher likes this.
  10. MEC2013

    MEC2013 New commenter

    Pension plan? Work 'til I drop. With my general health I'll make it to around 65 I'm lucky.
  11. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    On the issues of NI, you do need 35 years now.
  12. willow78

    willow78 Occasional commenter

    I'd advise more sex and alcohol
    fsmc likes this.
  13. MEC2013

    MEC2013 New commenter

    One of those will be easier to get than the other when I fly to my next post shortly...
  14. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    I wasn't particularly saying that where you retire is a no brainer, more that, in Hippo's case wanting a cheap option with low outgoings and not particularly interested about being in UK, Bulgaria would be one of a number of cheap no brainers.
    On an individual basis things to consider are; level and amout of pension (if any), other potential incomes, property/properties you have - along with accompanying mortgage debt, health service requirements - both now and in the future and, of course the wishes of any accompanying spouse and/or family
    For me, living in UK is a 'no brainer' regardless of my circumstances. I wouldn't consider living anywhere else permanently.
    Darthteacher likes this.
  15. Darthteacher

    Darthteacher New commenter

    So looking through the replies, it looks like I should be making contributions still to NI, I also need to be looking at property and maybe invest in some of that.
    Did any of you buy into private pensions? Was it worth it or did it not pan out for you?
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, I did unwisely put a big pile of cash into an investment. It went pear-shaped and it looked at one point as though I had lost nearly half of the money. Gradually it is recovering in value.
  17. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    NI is worth doing- it is a small investment in your future. It may be withdrawn, means tested, whatever in the future but it is a fall back if all else goes wrong.

    Read around before going private with pensions, especially overseas. Take a look on here as a start: https://andrewhallam.com/category/expat-investing/zurich-international-friends-provident/

    Andrew Hallam's books are well worth reading as an introduction to looking after yourself. Property, financial investing and any other method you can find to provide a future income are necessary to secure a retirement income.
    Darthteacher and Helen-Back like this.
  18. Darthteacher

    Darthteacher New commenter

    Thank you for the advice.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  19. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Two very important investments for me will be a wheelbarrow and a chainsaw. The chainsaw will be for cutting up all of the free firewood that Mrs Hippo and I will need to heat our house. No, I will not be taking out any healthy trees, but in the pinewoods there are plenty of dead and fallen trees. The wheelbarrow will be for taking it all home.

    Here is a picture of Mrs. Hippopotamus, sitting by the woodburner in our living room.


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