“Fortunate, indeed, is the man who takes exactly the right measure of himself and holds a just balance between what he can acquire and what he can use.” These words, written by The eighteenth century English physician and educator Philip Latham, could just as easily have been written about trying to achieve the balance between spending happily in the present and saving prudently for retirement.
However, the question of how to do this effectively is not one that is easily answered. As it happens, too many retirement savers find that they either spend profligately in the present, thereby jeopardising their retirement lifestyle, or they prepare with too much caution, experiencing years of unnecessary frugality only to reach retirement with more money than they really need.
How much do you need for your retirement?
There is no magic trick to saving for your retirement. Instead, the process should be defined by detailed identification of your goals and careful planning to help you reach them.
The fact that there is no magical route to saving for retirement shouldn’t deceive anyone into thinking that all they need to do is to save, invest and contribute to their pensions. While it’s true that all three of these actions should be considered essential components of your overarching retirement plan, doing them blindly, without either an expertly devised strategy or the discipline of seasoned expat financial device can prove to be an inefficient method.
Nobody ever became rich by first fixating on the details. Before you “go granular” by looking at your mix of assets and investments, you need to work out how long you are likely to live, how much you will need to spend and how much you will need to put aside each month in order to realise your goals.
Once you have done this, you can then consider your breakdown of assets and investments, how these interact and whether, collectively, they serve your interests within the unique context of your cross-border situation – by taking these steps to achieve a balanced and informed approach you are more likely to effectively spread risk and to serve your long-term interests.
If you live outside of the UK, your expat financial adviser is likely to recommend you evaluate your pension pot and whether it might be in your interests to proceed with some form of expat pension transfer, perhaps by converting your existing scheme into a QROPS or SIPP.
Review the current situation
When planning your retirement it’s all too easy to focus on the future, but it pays to think about the here and now. Political, environmental and economical factors are constantly shifting; take the current situation in the UK as a No Deal Brexit looms large in the mind of investors and the markets alike.
Problems may well lie ahead for British expats in the EU as news filters in that even the largest of companies are changing the way they provide services. Pension provider Canada Life has halted the sale of annuities to expats in the EU* and the Moneyfacts’ UK personal pension trends treasury report (published July 24)** shows that income from annuities has fallen significantly.
Income from enhanced annuities fell 4.5% through Q2 of 2019 and since the start of the year by between 4.9% and 6.1% (depending on the initial price)**.
Blacktower Financial Management, helping you find balance
Blacktower Financial Management’s expat financial advisers work to help clients find the right balance between spending, saving and product choices so they can enjoy the fruits of their investments both now and in the future.
Contact us today for more information about how we may can help you make the most of your cross-border financial situation.
* https://www.ftadviser.com/pensions/2019/08/02/canada-life-stops-selling-annuities-to-expats-in-eu Accessed 02-08-19
** https://www.moneyfactsgroup.co.uk/publications/treasury/pensions Accessed 02-08-19
*** https://www.ftadviser.com/pensions/2019/07/24/annuity-rates-on-route-to-lowest-level-in-3-years/ Accessed 02-08-19