UK state pension amount wins no prizes in survey

Published:  26 Oct at 6 PM
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If you’ve ever wondered whether the UK’s state pension is more or less than in other world countries, here’s the answer.

Whether you’re drawing your UK state pension as an expat retiree living overseas or are considering emigrating in a bid to make ends meet in a cheaper country, the results of a recent pensions survey won’t exactly come as a surprise. The UK’s benefits system is reckoned to be one of the world’s best, but the UK state pension lets the side down hugely. Mercers’ 2018 global pension index states unequivocally that the UK’s less-than generous payment is no better than its equivalent in Peru and Columbia.

The Mercers’ index covers 34 world countries, rating pensions as A, B, C+, C and D. Britain falls into the C+ range, along with the USA, France, Saudi Arabia and the two mentioned above. The inclusion of the USA pension is somewhat of a surprise as, whilst the UK weekly payment now totals £164.35, the USA Social Security Benefit weekly amount can be around the same but can be increased via application for other means-tested top-ups and is based on lifetime earnings, time served and other related upgrades.

Retirees in the Netherlands and Denmark are the luckiest, receiving gold-plated, first class pension benefits ranked in the survey’s ‘A’ category. According to the Mercer report, the UK’s system is well-regulated and governed, but needs to provide better options for the self-employed and low earners. Measures being discussed at the present time, it continues, will not be sufficient to improve its low rating.

Retirement pensions provided by overseas governments as well as by the home country are especially tricky for expats who spend a good deal of their working lives abroad. Many overseas companies operate pension schemes, but for those who change employers several times during their expatriate careers, it’s a complicated process often needing professional advice, and companies may also insist expats pay into the local government scheme.
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