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How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

Financial discussion for any financial queries for Expats
dingdong
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How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#639958

Postby dingdong » January 12th, 2024, 3:55 pm

Hi... my partner is Australian so one of the options under consideration is to eventually move over there / retire there.

Are there any sensible things to be doing in advance of such a move?

Does it make sense to start investing in AUS index funds within your ISA/SIPP on a regular basis to help smooth out currency fluctuations over time and to build up a pot of funds in local currency?

I'm aware that transferring pensions is now tricky with only one QROPS scheme still running but assume it still makes sense to contribute to SIPPs here prior to a move to get the tax benefit in terms of contributions regardless of future taxation. I'm aware some Australian pensions are tax free but not sure if that would apply to one transferred from the UK.

Is there anything else that you should start thinking about well in advance of any such move?

Thanks

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#639961

Postby Dod101 » January 12th, 2024, 4:03 pm

If your partner is Australian you will need to worry about the geography. I was visiting my stepson in Perth WA one January day. Hot, cloudless sky and altogether very attractive. I set out on foot from my hotel intending to go to the city centre and went off in entirely the wrong direction because I had forgotten that the sun is predominantly in the north in that part of the world. Found myself in a very nice suburb and the locals directed me to a bus which took me to the city centre. All very confusing.

Dod

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#639969

Postby Newroad » January 12th, 2024, 4:31 pm

Hi Dod.

Completely agree on the aspect of the sun in the sky - it's an intuitive issue both directions.

[Dingdong] My opinion (only, not advice) is as follows

    Equity Investment: Keep in the UK as tax sheltered as possible (ISA's and SIPP's). Australia doesn't have any real equivalent to an ISA, and Superannuation ("Super") is for income earned there. You may be able to migrate a SIPP to an Australian Super scheme, but I'm not sure I'd bother unless I had to. Keep your equity exposure global - that way, it doesn't matter where you nominally own it (and it has other benefits ...).

    Bonds and Cash: Move to reflect the probability of where you'll be, 50-50 if you genuinely don't know. Whatever balance you arrive at, keep in local currency.

    Medicare: See what it takes to become eligible for this in Australia, given your likely circumstances at putative date of emigration.

    Inheritance/Death Tax: Australia doesn't have one - this could be useful in certain circumstances and may influence the other decisions above.

Regards, Newroad

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#639970

Postby BullDog » January 12th, 2024, 4:37 pm

If eligible, take 25% tax free cash from pensions before leaving the UK. As far as I'm aware it would be taxed in Australia if you moved there before taking the tax free cash. UK ISAs provide no tax advantages in Australia. Best to read and understand the UK/Australia dual tax treaty, it's fairly easy to understand and will explain who gets first dibs on what money.

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#639987

Postby Tedx » January 12th, 2024, 5:16 pm

Shake out your boots before you put them on in the morning.

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640008

Postby GrahamPlatt » January 12th, 2024, 6:29 pm

Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the
bottom half of the planet. It is recognisable from orbit because of
many unusual features, including what at first looks like an enormous
bite taken out of its southern edge; a wall of sheer cliffs which
plunge deep into the girting sea. Geologists assure us that this is
simply an accident of geomorphology and plate tectonics, but they
still call it the "Great Australian Bight" proving that not only are
they covering up a more frightening theory, but they can't spell either.

The first of the confusing things about Australia is the status of the
place. Where other land masses and sovereign lands are classified as
either continent, island or country, Australia is considered all three.
Typically, it is unique in this.

The second confusing thing about Australia are the animals. They can
be divided into three categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep. It is true
that of the 10 most poisonous arachnids on the planet, Australia has 9
of them. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that of the 9 most
poisonous arachnids, Australia has all of them. However, there are
curiously few snakes, possibly because the spiders have killed them
all.

But even the spiders won't go near the sea. Any visitors should be
careful to check inside boots (before putting them on) under toilet
seats (before sitting down) and generally everywhere else. A stick is
very useful for this task.

Strangely, it tends to be the second class of animals (the Odd) that
are more dangerous. The creature that kills the most people each year
is the common Wombat. It is nearly as ridiculous as its name, and
spends its life digging holes in the ground, in which it hides.
During the night it comes out to eat worms and grubs.

The wombat kills people in two ways: First, the animal is
indestructible. Digging holes in the hard Australian clay builds
muscles that outclass Olympic weightlifters. At night, they often
wander the roads. Semi-trailers (Road Trains) have hit them at high
speed, with all 9 wheels on one side, and this merely makes them very annoyed.
They express this by snorting, glaring, and walking away. Alas, to smaller
cars, the wombat becomes an asymmetrical high-speed launching pad, with
results that can be imagined, but not adequately described.

The second way the wombat kills people relates to its burrowing behaviour.
If a person happens to put their hand down a Wombat hole, the Wombat will
feel the disturbance and think "Ho! My hole is collapsing!" at which it
will brace its muscled legs and push up against the roof of its burrow
with incredible force, to prevent its collapse. Any unfortunate hand
will be crushed, and attempts to withdraw will cause the Wombat to simply
bear down harder. The unfortunate will then bleed to death through their
crushed hand as the wombat prevents him from seeking assistance. This
is considered the third most embarrassing known way to die, and Australians
don't talk about it much.

At this point, we would like to mention the Platypus, estranged relative
of the mammal, which has a duck-bill, otter's tail, webbed feet, lays
eggs, detects its aquatic prey in the same way as the electric eel, and
has venomous barbs attached to its hind legs, thus combining all
'typical' Australian attributes into a single improbable creature.

The last confusing thing about Australia is the inhabitants. First, a
short history: Some time around 40,000 years ago, some people arrived
in boats from the north. They ate all the available food, and lot of them
died. The ones that survived learned respect for the balance of nature,>
man's proper place in the scheme of things, and spiders. They settled
in,and spent a lot of the intervening time making up strange stories.

Then, around 200 years ago, Europeans arrived in boats from the north.
More accurately, European convicts were sent, with a few deranged and
stupid people in charge. They tried to plant their crops in Autumn
(failing to take account of the reversal of the seasons when moving
from the top half of the planet to the bottom), ate all their food, and a
lot of them died. About then the sheep arrived, and have been treasured
ever since.

It is interesting to note here that the Europeans always consider
themselves vastly superior to any other race they encounter, since they
can lie, cheat, steal, and litigate (marks of a civilised culture, they
say) - whereas all the Aboriginals can do is happily survive being left
in the middle of a vast red-hot desert, equipped with a stick.

Eventually, the new lot of people stopped being Europeans on Extended
Holiday and became Australians. The changes are subtle, but deep,
caused by the mind-stretching expanses of nothingness and eerie quiet,
where a person can sit perfectly still and look deep inside themselves
to the core of their essence, their reasons for being, and the necessity
of checking inside your boots every morning for fatal surprises. They
also picked up the most finely tuned sense of irony in the world, and
the Aboriginal gift for making up stories. Be warned.

There is also the matter of the beaches. Australian beaches are simply
the nicest and best in the entire world. Although anyone actually
venturing into the sea will have to contend with sharks, stinging
jellyfish, stonefish (a fish which sits on the bottom of the sea,
pretends to be a rock, and has venomous barbs sticking out of its back
that will kill just from the pain) and surfboarders. However, watching
a beach sunset is worth the risk.

As a result of all this hardship, dirt, thirst, and wombats, you would
expect Australians to be a dour lot. Instead, they are genial, jolly,
cheerful, and always willing to share a kind word with a stranger,
unless they are an American. Faced with insurmountable odds and
impossible problems, they smile disarmingly and look for a stick. Major
engineering feats have been performed with sheets of corrugated iron,
string, and mud.

Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass
is Greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and roundly
proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence.
They call the land "Oz", "Godzone" (a verbal contraction of "God's
Own Country") and "Best bloody place on earth, bar none, strewth." The
irritating thing about this is they may be right.

There are some traps for the unsuspecting traveller, though. Do not
under any circumstances suggest that the beer is imperfect, unless you
are comparing it to another kind of Australian beer. Do not wear a
Hawaiian shirt. Religion and Politics are safe topics of conversation
(Australians don't care too much about either) but Sport is a minefield.
The only correct answer to "So, how d'ya like our country, eh?"
is "Best {insert your own regional swear word here} country in the
world!".

It is very likely that, on arriving, some cheerful Australians will
'adopt' you, and on your first night, and take you to a pub where
Australian Beer is served. Despite the obvious danger, do not refuse.
It is a form of initiation rite. You will wake up late the next day
with an astonishing hangover, a foul-taste in your mouth, and wearing
strange clothes. Your hosts will usually make sure you get home, and
waive off any legal difficulties with "It's his first time in
Australia, so we took him to the pub.", to which the policeman will>
sagely nod and close his notebook. Be sure to tell the story of these
events to every other Australian you encounter, adding new
embellishments at every stage, and noting how strong the beer was.
Thus you will be accepted into this unique culture.

Most Australians are now urban dwellers, having discovered the primary
use of electricity, which is air-conditioning and refrigerators.

Typical Australian sayings

"G'Day!"

"It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick."

"She'll be right."

"And down from Kosioskco, where the pine clad ridges raise their torn
and rugged battlements on high, where the air is clear is crystal,
and the white stars fairly blaze at midnight in the cold and frosty
sky. And where, around the overflow, the reed beds sweep and sway to
the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide. The Man from Snowy River
is a household word today, and the stockmen tell the story of his
ride."

Tips to Surviving Australia

Don't ever put your hand down a hole for any reason whatsoever. We mean
it.

The beer is stronger than you think, regardless of how strong you think
it is.

Always carry a stick.

Air-conditioning.

Do not attempt to use Australian slang, unless you are a trained
linguist and good in a fistfight.

Thick socks.

Take good maps. Stopping to ask directions only works when there are
people nearby.

If you leave the urban areas, carry several litres of water with you
at all times, or you will die.

Even in the most embellished stories told by Australians, there is
always a core of truth that it is unwise to ignore.


See Also: "Deserts: How to die in them", "The Stick: Second most
useful thing ever" and "Poisonous and Venomous arachnids, insects,
animals, trees, shrubs, fish and sheep of Australia, volumes 1-42

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640015

Postby scrumpyjack » January 12th, 2024, 6:42 pm

Also worth noting that it is no longer necessary to have a criminal conviction to go and live there :D

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640102

Postby dingdong » January 13th, 2024, 11:55 am

Loving these responses - thanks all! :lol:

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640104

Postby richfool » January 13th, 2024, 12:05 pm

dingdong wrote:Hi... my partner is Australian so one of the options under consideration is to eventually move over there / retire there.

Are there any sensible things to be doing in advance of such a move?

Does it make sense to start investing in AUS index funds within your ISA/SIPP on a regular basis to help smooth out currency fluctuations over time and to build up a pot of funds in local currency?

I'm aware that transferring pensions is now tricky with only one QROPS scheme still running but assume it still makes sense to contribute to SIPPs here prior to a move to get the tax benefit in terms of contributions regardless of future taxation. I'm aware some Australian pensions are tax free but not sure if that would apply to one transferred from the UK.

Is there anything else that you should start thinking about well in advance of any such move?

Thanks


I understand that medical insurance can become an issue as one progresses into old age. I have heard of elderly Brits having to return to the UK in their advanced old age, as they can no longer afford the medical insurance premiums.

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640146

Postby Newroad » January 13th, 2024, 5:04 pm

Hi Richfool.

That is what my comment re Medicare refers to above


There is optional medical insurance from multiple providers above and beyond that possible (and there may be some tax incentivisation for higher earners to partake in that - I haven't looked closely at it lately).

Regards, Newroad

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640173

Postby Crazbe7 » January 13th, 2024, 9:52 pm

My wife is an Australian citizen.

Check that they'll let you in and stay!

Crazbe7

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640217

Postby servodude » January 14th, 2024, 11:05 am

richfool wrote:
dingdong wrote:Hi... my partner is Australian so one of the options under consideration is to eventually move over there / retire there.

Are there any sensible things to be doing in advance of such a move?

Does it make sense to start investing in AUS index funds within your ISA/SIPP on a regular basis to help smooth out currency fluctuations over time and to build up a pot of funds in local currency?

I'm aware that transferring pensions is now tricky with only one QROPS scheme still running but assume it still makes sense to contribute to SIPPs here prior to a move to get the tax benefit in terms of contributions regardless of future taxation. I'm aware some Australian pensions are tax free but not sure if that would apply to one transferred from the UK.

Is there anything else that you should start thinking about well in advance of any such move?

Thanks


I understand that medical insurance can become an issue as one progresses into old age. I have heard of elderly Brits having to return to the UK in their advanced old age, as they can no longer afford the medical insurance premiums.


At present once you have applied for PR (permanent residency) you are eligible for Medicare. There might be a couple of restrictions there, but with a spousal visa you should be a permanent resident from the off. The next step after there would be citizenship - which is worth it to avoid having to keep up a "Residents Right of Return" visa for getting back in should you leave for a trip.
Having medical insurance that includes "hospital cover" means you do not need to pay the "Medicare Levy Surcharge' if your income is above a certain level - the application of this is based on your age when you take out the cover; whether you choose to take private insurance might well be down to where you choose to live (and the availability of options... )
Medicare cover is generally very good if you (like 96% of Australia) are in a city.
Make sure if/when you decide to move you are aware of the obligations on activation of your Visa; they do change from time to time. Even with a spousal visa there are medical requirements - it might be worth checking out what these are before you consider it.
That said your age can make a difference to the path you take so it would be worth finding tailored up to date advice from a dedicated forum - I wouldn't engage the services of an agent unless you were a particularly unusual case

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640258

Postby Adamski » January 14th, 2024, 4:16 pm

I've got relatives in Canada.

I'd check your current account and if you're able to operate when living overseas. If can't then open one now with Lloyds, id open two current accounts. A number like Barclays are closing to expats. Then keep some transactions going to keep it open.

Important to do this, so can access UK savings, pensions and UK state pension. Otherwise difficult take money out.

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640327

Postby stevensfo » January 14th, 2024, 9:31 pm

Adamski wrote:I've got relatives in Canada.

I'd check your current account and if you're able to operate when living overseas. If can't then open one now with Lloyds, id open two current accounts. A number like Barclays are closing to expats. Then keep some transactions going to keep it open.

Important to do this, so can access UK savings, pensions and UK state pension. Otherwise difficult take money out.


Or keep an address, any UK address going, either via siblings, relatives etc. Not so difficult, especially if you offer to contribute towards the council tax!

Maybe investigate some of the new online banks and EMIs? Revolut, Wise, N26, Bunq, Tomorrow, Sogexia, Blackcat etc.


Steve

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640366

Postby richfool » January 15th, 2024, 8:57 am

servodude wrote:
richfool wrote:
I understand that medical insurance can become an issue as one progresses into old age. I have heard of elderly Brits having to return to the UK in their advanced old age, as they can no longer afford the medical insurance premiums.


At present once you have applied for PR (permanent residency) you are eligible for Medicare. There might be a couple of restrictions there, but with a spousal visa you should be a permanent resident from the off. The next step after there would be citizenship - which is worth it to avoid having to keep up a "Residents Right of Return" visa for getting back in should you leave for a trip.
Having medical insurance that includes "hospital cover" means you do not need to pay the "Medicare Levy Surcharge' if your income is above a certain level - the application of this is based on your age when you take out the cover; whether you choose to take private insurance might well be down to where you choose to live (and the availability of options... )
Medicare cover is generally very good if you (like 96% of Australia) are in a city.
Make sure if/when you decide to move you are aware of the obligations on activation of your Visa; they do change from time to time. Even with a spousal visa there are medical requirements - it might be worth checking out what these are before you consider it.
That said your age can make a difference to the path you take so it would be worth finding tailored up to date advice from a dedicated forum - I wouldn't engage the services of an agent unless you were a particularly unusual case


I can't remember the exact context/circumstances of those I read about. It could be that they were UK expats or pensioners who had moved to Australia on longer term visas, but whom hadn't acquired full Australian citizenship (and a condition of their stay was that they had to maintain medical insurance).

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640397

Postby Steveam » January 15th, 2024, 11:23 am

stevensfo wrote:
Adamski wrote:I've got relatives in Canada.

I'd check your current account and if you're able to operate when living overseas. If can't then open one now with Lloyds, id open two current accounts. A number like Barclays are closing to expats. Then keep some transactions going to keep it open.

Important to do this, so can access UK savings, pensions and UK state pension. Otherwise difficult take money out.


Or keep an address, any UK address going, either via siblings, relatives etc. Not so difficult, especially if you offer to contribute towards the council tax!

Maybe investigate some of the new online banks and EMIs? Revolut, Wise, N26, Bunq, Tomorrow, Sogexia, Blackcat etc.


Steve


This would also have been my view but an acquaintance who does tend to play fast and loose has recently had his U.K. bank account closed and an enquiry started by DWP as he’d not told relevant people/organisations/bodies that despite owning a property in the U.K. (which he lets out) he was now living abroad. He was using his sisters address in the U.K. I don’t know the details but he liked keeping a U.K. doctor and dentist and whenever he visited he seemed to angle to get medical stuff done. (I wonder whether he was getting the U.K. state pension uprated improperly).

Best wishes,

Steve

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640402

Postby servodude » January 15th, 2024, 11:57 am

Steveam wrote:
stevensfo wrote:
Or keep an address, any UK address going, either via siblings, relatives etc. Not so difficult, especially if you offer to contribute towards the council tax!

Maybe investigate some of the new online banks and EMIs? Revolut, Wise, N26, Bunq, Tomorrow, Sogexia, Blackcat etc.


Steve


This would also have been my view but an acquaintance who does tend to play fast and loose has recently had his U.K. bank account closed and an enquiry started by DWP as he’d not told relevant people/organisations/bodies that despite owning a property in the U.K. (which he lets out) he was now living abroad. He was using his sisters address in the U.K. I don’t know the details but he liked keeping a U.K. doctor and dentist and whenever he visited he seemed to angle to get medical stuff done. (I wonder whether he was getting the U.K. state pension uprated improperly).

Best wishes,

Steve


I believe that if you're not being honest about things that this is more likely to happen; it's the suspicion that triggers them.
On both sides... it used to be quite common to maintain a UK property and claim LAFHA (living away from home allowance) in Australia even if it seemed to run counter to your Visa regs.
The systems have got smarter at picking up stuff, and I've known folk who've had interesting surprises (despite what their tax guy told them they could "get away with")

We've maintained bank accounts with BoS and Nationwide without any issues for 16 yrs; they were informed when we emigrated and we keep them up to date with our addresses as normal. They're handy to have because the rules around accounts in the UK are ridiculous (or more correctly they seem to be interpreted by folk at one extreme of the spectrum) but we don't use them much other than transferring stuff between family and holidays.

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640408

Postby stevensfo » January 15th, 2024, 12:19 pm

Steveam wrote:
stevensfo wrote:
Or keep an address, any UK address going, either via siblings, relatives etc. Not so difficult, especially if you offer to contribute towards the council tax!

Maybe investigate some of the new online banks and EMIs? Revolut, Wise, N26, Bunq, Tomorrow, Sogexia, Blackcat etc.


Steve


This would also have been my view but an acquaintance who does tend to play fast and loose has recently had his U.K. bank account closed and an enquiry started by DWP as he’d not told relevant people/organisations/bodies that despite owning a property in the U.K. (which he lets out) he was now living abroad. He was using his sisters address in the U.K. I don’t know the details but he liked keeping a U.K. doctor and dentist and whenever he visited he seemed to angle to get medical stuff done. (I wonder whether he was getting the U.K. state pension uprated improperly).

Best wishes,

Steve


Hmm, it sounds like he's been doing something rather dodgy. In my experience, local authorities in the UK are only interested in the council tax and all the others are interested in tax evasion, so maybe he wasn't declaring his UK pension to his foreign tax authority and they applied to the CRS database for information about him. If he hasn't declared his property in the UK to them as well, the fines are going to be humungous!! :o

I take the view that you can have as many addresses as you damn well want, but you have to stay squeaky clean wrt taxes! There's a big difference between a flexible approach to a bank's T&Cs and actually breaking the law.

Steve

PS The only time I've used our village surgery while working in Italy was to get a cream that I needed, and got a prescription without seeing a doctor. The prescription charge was approx 50% more than the price I'd pay in Italy. So the NHS owes me a fiver! 8-)

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640446

Postby Dod101 » January 15th, 2024, 3:46 pm

Adamski wrote:I've got relatives in Canada.

I'd check your current account and if you're able to operate when living overseas. If can't then open one now with Lloyds, id open two current accounts. A number like Barclays are closing to expats. Then keep some transactions going to keep it open.

Important to do this, so can access UK savings, pensions and UK state pension. Otherwise difficult take money out.


I too have relatives in Canada but what has that got to do with the price of milk?

Dod

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Re: How to prepare for a move/retirement to Australia

#640468

Postby servodude » January 15th, 2024, 7:48 pm

Dod101 wrote:
Adamski wrote:I've got relatives in Canada.

I'd check your current account and if you're able to operate when living overseas. If can't then open one now with Lloyds, id open two current accounts. A number like Barclays are closing to expats. Then keep some transactions going to keep it open.

Important to do this, so can access UK savings, pensions and UK state pension. Otherwise difficult take money out.


I too have relatives in Canada but what has that got to do with the price of milk?

Dod


Let's be fair here... that did sound like Adamski offering a bit of context regards their understanding of systems outside the UK and how to negotiate them?

Whereas I've got relatives in Paisley; they look about thirty years older than I think they should... and that doesn't really add anything to this conversation ;)


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