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Retirement overseas and Age Pension

Retirement overseas and Age Pension

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Today we are going back to one of the hottest topics I talked about – retirement overseas.

My original video and the article: “Dream Retirement in Overseas Paradise” was a big hit with so many questions and comments as well as emails sent to me directly.

Toula said: YES YES YES!!!! Thanks Katherine great video! This is exactly the topic we are most interested in!! – thanks Toula

Agnes said: Yes, need more information on this topic, please. Love all your videos. Very informative. – thank you Agnes

Peter said: Yes. This is my plan and I have been planning and investigating now for several years. It is a topic many avoid because there are many grey area’s as with every situation ” It Depends”. – OMG Peter, so very true – it depends

James said it right to the point: Yes! yes!

Christine, who is from NZ said: Hi Katherine, I am excited to find your channel and thank you for all useful information about retirement! YES for retirement oversea topic. – thank you Christine

and many, many ,many more

So, with that many comments, you can see why I just had to make follow up videos. And there is so much to talk about. What’s more distressing is the fact that it is not easy to get the information and it is even more difficult to know how to organise you finance to establish your life again in the overseas country, and still leaving the door open in case you need to return to Australia.

I found this amazing quote written by an American novelist Pierce Brown:

“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.”

I am sure this quote resonates with you, if you are a person searching for a new place you can call home.

Overseas retirement has been a big trend over the last few years in Australia, and this trend is only growing.

People are searching for a new place to live outside of Australia, especially for their retirement years. So in today’s video we will continue taking about retirement overseas, reasons for it, and specifically issues you have to deal with, if you wish to receive or continue receiving your Age Pension payments.

But this is just the beginning. Over time, we will dive deep into this topic and maybe even go country after country to help you make this transition of your life from Australia to another country a bit easier from legal and financial standpoint.

So first review the main reason for such a big decision as leaving the country you spend your lifetime in, and moving to a new, unknown environment:

1. Returning to the place where you were born – you want to reunite with your family, old friends, place from your childhood 

2. Moving to the country where your children reside – the new generation has more chances and abilities to travel for fun, work, study, business that their parents ever had in their lifetime, and often during that travel, they might meet that special someone and not return home to you ever again. So at some point it is quite understandable that you would like to be close to your kids family, therefore you make a decision to move to their country 

3. Move to a warmer country or a different culture – this is very much a lifestyle change, curiosity to experience life outside of your norm, this type of change is often more driven by the need of excitement, fun and adventure then economics.  

4. Everyday living expenses – this is the most common reason for leaving Australia. Australia now is the 12th most expensive country to live in, so it makes sense for many to move to the country that is less expensive, but still satisfactory with the living standards and healthcare.  

5. Cost of home – Australian homes are some of the most expensive in the word and there are many retirees with all their money stuck in the house and no savings to enjoy retirement. So the ideal of selling home, pocketing the money, moving overseas, buying a cheaper home or even renting at low cost, while enjoying your golden years, might be very enticing indeed. 

So now that we know the reason of your move, most likely you have also decided on a country you would like to move to, or at least you have narrowed down your choice to couple of countries only.  

Your next step is to find out if the country of your choice has an International Social Security Agreement with Australia.  

Let’s be honest, it would be so much easier for you, if you were to move to a country that cooperates with Australia and the choice is getting bigger with more and more countries signing such an agreement with Australia now.  

Presently Australia has a Social Security agreement with 31 countries: 

1. ASIA – India, Japan and Korea 

2. EUROPE – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, The Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom 

3. THE AMERICAS – Canada, Chile, United States of America 

4. NEW ZEALAND

Under those social security agreements, you could be able to claim Centrelink payments. But also, if you are eligible, you could claim a payment from an agreement country: 

The agreement also includes provisions which regulate the SG (Superannuation Guarantee) contributions, but this topic is outside of the scope of our today’s discussion.  

So, it is very clear that your choice of a country is crucial and living in any of those listed 31 countries, would be easier from the point of Age Pension or any other social security payments from either country.  

Generally, those agreements allow you as an Australian resident to maximise your income by helping you to claim payments from other countries where you might have spent part of their working life. 

Those agreements are based on the concept of shared responsibility, and are reciprocal, which means that each of those countries with the social security agreement make concessions against their qualifications rules and that can allow you to access social security payments that otherwise you might fail to qualify for.   

Now, going back to our Australian Age Pension, as you know this benefit is subject to many tests and rules you have to comply with. 

Please read my very first article (or watch my video) about applying for the Age Pension benefit: Age Pension Explained – with general rules of residency test and other tests you have to meet, so it is worth understanding them before you rush off to the Centrelink office or the online application on myGov. 

To succeed in your dealings with the Centrelink office, first you should follow those steps:

1. Know precisely the outcome – you should know exactly the level of Age Pension Payable even before you apply to Centrelink – if you don’t know how to do this, educate yourself as much as possible, so watch that video: Age Pension – Are you eligible? or get professional advice by calling me directly.  

2. Improve the outcome – if you are only to get part Age Pension – get advice, speak to financial planner – so feel free to contact me, to see if your benefit can be maximised. If it can, believe me it is so much easier to have all your money, investments, income streams set up and most importantly your Social Security Benefits maximised, before you make your application.  

3. Make your application to Centrelink office 13 weeks before you reach your Age Pension age – Centrelink is an overwhelmed office (with good and bad meaning of the word), so it will give you 13 weeks of peace and quiet, knowing that you have provided all correct data, you have optimised you own money, you have maximised your Age Pension entitlement. Now you can relax, zip some margarita and wait for the money to come to your bank account on time – nicely done! 

If you are planning to move to another country while hoping to be receiving the Age Pension benefit, my recommendations is:

1. Apply for the benefit as described above, before you leave Australia – regardless how much preparation work you do for this application, Centrelink can still surprise you with additional questions, requests for additional forms or explanation of certain financial assets or even your living arrangements. This is why it is important to give it sufficient time before you jump on the plain to your dream destination. 

2. Have a designated person here in Australia to deal with Centrelink on your behalf. You can nominate a member of your family if you trust them, if you don’t have such a person or you just don’t want to push your problems onto another person, then ask for a professional service that can act as a Nominee for you. The easiest way is to use your financial planner who might be looking after your financial interests, your superannuation or pension accounts here in Australia. Having access to the information of all financial assets, makes working on your behalf so much easier and the communication with Centrelink so much more effective and efficient. 

Not all financial planners provide such a service, most certainly my practice does, and today I have clients who have enjoyed their retirement lives overseas for many years, while we look after their financial interest and Age Pension in Australia. Centrelink International Services should be your last point of call, it is almost impossible to get through and to have anything done remotely. MyGov website helps, but often is just not enough. 

Flying back to Australia from whatever country you live in every time when there is an issue with Centrelink, might not be the most cost effective and relaxing solution for your life. 

As I mentioned before, living overseas, especially wanting to have access to Age Pension is a very big topic so slowly, slowly I will be introducing issues that you need to take into consideration when deciding if this is the path you want to follow.

“Retirement is a Journey not a Destination, so be well prepared for the ride” 

By: Katherine Isbrandt CFP®
Money Strategist & Retirement Planner
Principal of About Retirement

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