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Wheres My Pension ?
*Mark Hollingsworth

Being an expat has many advantages, so many in fact, that it is easy to forget about something very basic and very necessary your pension.

For many, retirement may seem a long way off, but its all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking there is plenty of time to prepare financially. Many people now choose to retire far younger, plus with the advancements in healthcare and social conditions, life expectancy has significantly increased in recent times. All this adds up to the possibility that a far greater proportion of ones life will be spent in retirement.

A recent survey from the UK revealed that the average person needs to contribute an additional $90,000 into their private pension to ensure a comfortable standard of living in retirement. What is more alarming is the even great shortfall in other European countries. The average French worker has a mere E1,000 of pensions saving and the average Italian only E3,000. In the United States, it is estimated that the nations pension funds are underfunded by $450 billion.

There is therefore a global problem of pension deficiencies and responsibility for making up any shortfall is now firmly left in the hands of the individual. But how much pension should one expect to be able to live on comfortably?

Some, not all Moscow employers have very good retirement benefit schemes for their expatriate employees. You will need thirty or more years pensionable service to qualify for the maximum entitlement at normal retirement age. Retiring earlier merely compounds the problem.

Immediate action is therefore required. The first step is to request pension forecasts from past and present retirement schemes you have been a member of. Compare the total pension entitlement with your present income and ask yourself can I live comfortably on this amount when I retire?

The likely outcome of this simple exercise is that you will have identified a shortfall in your pension requirements. This does not mean it is too late to correct it though. It merely reinforces the need to save privately and in addition to any present employer scheme that you may be a member of.

Planning for your retirement does not need to be complex. It is simply about setting aside some of your current income and investing it wisely for your future security. If you have not checked recently how you are positioned financially for that future day, then start planning now to ensure you can enjoy a care-free retirement without compromising the lifestyle to which you and your family have grown accustomed.

*Mark Hollingsworth is Director,
Hollingsworth International Financial Services

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