Considerations for retiring overseas


Many Australians like the idea of living in a foreign country or even retiring abroad. But when planning to move overseas, individuals need to have their superannuation in order before leaving the country.

In Australia, taxpayers are surrounded by news and information about taking their superannuation seriously. As soon as they’re on the plane to fly overseas, that focus on super is reduced to a one page annual or quarterly report which usually gets filed away and forgotten.

So before leaving the country, here are some of the considerations individuals should think about in respect to their super:

Consolidate your super
If you have multiple funds that you’ve wanted to combine but have never got around to doing it, do it before you leave the country. The benefits of putting all your super into the one account include saving costs by paying only one set of fees, reducing paperwork and making it easier to keep track of your super. And while consolidating super fund accounts can take a bit of effort in the short term, it has many rewards in the long term.

Make sure your super is invested appropriately
Super funds are simply vehicles for money that are invested in various ways to try and make an optimal profit on an individual’s money. Super can be invested in high-risk/high-return options, low-risk/low-return options, or a mixture of both. Make sure you’re making appropriate investment decisions for your super and your future before leaving the country.

In regards to self-managed super funds (SMSF), non-residents cannot have an SMSF unless they appoint a power of attorney to manage the fund on their behalf. Therefore, those who have an SMSF and are planning to move overseas can either:

Roll their SMSF into a retail or industry fund
The benefit of rolling an SMSF into a retail or industry fund is that trustees can contribute into super. Those who leave the country and have appointed a power of attorney to control their super cannot contribute into their super while they are overseas.

Roll their SMSF into an APRA fund
Sometimes it isn’t easy rolling an SMSF into a retail or industry fund because the fund might have property or very specific holdings. In that case, another option is to roll the SMSF into a small APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) fund. When an SMSF becomes an APRA fund, a company is appointed to be the trustee of the fund and the previous trustee becomes the beneficiary.


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