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As an expat living in the Netherlands, I'm worried about having no pension

15 July 2021

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Question by Lucinda

I am a 30 year old British expat living and working in the Netherlands. I worked in the UK for 5 years (2010-2015), but it was at the start of my career and to my knowledge I did not have a work pension of any sort. I've been working in the Netherlands for the last 4 years, and again have no pension (my company does not provide anything). I'm getting increasingly worried about my future retirement and my lack of any kind of pension. Firstly, I am not sure what - if any - state pension I could receive (either from UK or Netherlands) but I assume not much. Secondly, I'm ready to start investing on a monthly basis into a private pension fund, but I have no idea what the best option for me would be. I'm definitely turned on by the likes of Nutmeg and Wealthify, but given these are all UK based, I am not sure tying my assets into GBP is the best decision given Brexit. Furthermore I wouldn't benefit from UK government contributions anyway so maybe it's not the best idea. The only silver lining to my situation is that I bought a flat this year, and I have some stock options in my company which is a very large and fast growth tech company. Really lost and confused, and would really appreciate any advice you might have.

Answered by David Stone

Hi Lucinda,

Good to see that you’re focusing on your retirement planning - your thirties are a great time to get on top of this, as it can be a bit late to catch up if left to one’s forties!

I can’t advise as to the Dutch state pension, but you will have earned some National Insurance “credits” towards the UK state pension from your 5 years of employed work. However you do need a minimum of 10 years to qualify for the minimum pension, so they’ll be wasted if you don’t work in the UK again.

Paying into a UK pension is almost certainly not advisable, as you wouldn’t qualify for tax-relief which is the main benefit.

Equally you cannot contribute to a UK ISA unless you are tax-resident, so that option is out also.

I think your two options are either to;

Look at a regular premium offshore investment to create a “pseudo-pension”.
Although the offshore market is not as highly regulated as the UK so I would suggest you take advice as to which provider to go with.

The other option is to seek out advice in the Netherlands.
They may well have the local equivalent to a UK pension, that could prove suitable for your needs if you plan to remain resident there for some time to come - but to be honest, its all Dutch to me! 😉

Great news on the flat and stock options though. Best of luck with your future!

Answered by

David Stone

Managing Director

David started Mansion House Capital with his (now) wife back in 2000, they advise across all areas and mainly look after London-based professionals who are too busy and/or too bored to prioritise planning their own finances. David is a Chartered Financial Planner and Fellow of the Personal Finance Society.