Understanding your UK Pension as a Spanish Resident

This blog will explore options for expatriates in Spain with UK pensions.

  • Locating lost pensions 
  • Requesting a UK pension valuation 
  • Understanding the difference between a defined contribution & a defined benefit pension 
  • Working out how much tax you need to pay & how to minimise that bill 
  • Understanding how converting from Sterling in Euro’s impacts your income 

A large number of people living in Spain have at some point lived and worked in the United Kingdom. As a result, many Spanish residents have UK pension schemes. Since leaving the UK, it’s not uncommon for people to lose track of these accrued assets. This can lead to questions on drawdown/income, lump-sum entitlement, taxes, death benefits, currency risk among other things.

This blog stands to cover the main questions Spanish residents have on the topic of UK pensions. However, due to the breadth of the topic, you may still have questions after reading this blog, if that is the case, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help where possible.

Locating lost pensions

It is common for people to have worked for several employers during their career, which results in the accumulation of several pension pots. Ensuring you keep your pension schemes up to date with your current address, is a task undertaken by few.

Don’t despair! Tracking down your pensions is usually fairly straightforward. deVere Spain can help you request a full statement from various jobs, using a UK pension tracing form.

For this, you will require a few pieces of information including your National Insurance number.

The difference between defined benefit (final salary) & defined contribution (money purchase) pensions.

Defined Contribution (money purchase)

Defined Contribution (DC) pensions have simple frameworks. The value is dependent on how much you and your employer have paid in, alongside tax rebates and investment growth.

Defined Benefit (final salary) pensions

Defined Benefit pensions are somewhat more complicated than DC, but the basic premise works by paying members a lifetime income based on years of service & their final or average salary.

Understanding your options

In order to maximise your pension entitlement, you need to understand how your pension works. UK pensions are designed to provide retirement provisions for retirees in the UK.

However, they are often less suitable for people living outside of the UK. One of the main issues stems from currency risk. UK pensions are held in Sterling, this may create high foreign exchange fees and income fluctuation.

Certain pension structures may create unforeseen tax complications for those living outside the UK. Finally, many final salary pension schemes will not pass any wealth to your beneficiaries.

By reviewing your UK pension with a UK pension specialist from deVere Spain, you can gain clarity on the following:

  • Your UK pension entitlement
  • The age of access for your pension schemes
  • Your death benefits   
  • How to claim your tax-free lump-sum
  • How to convert your pension into Euro from GBP
  • What taxes you need to pay and when

About us

deVere Insights is a proud component of the deVere Group. Our company has always prided itself on leading the way in the sphere of wealth management. This website is in place to share information and expertise.