The prospect of BBQs on the beach, hours spent surfing and the generally more laid-back lifestyle may have prompted your decision to move to Australia.
You will undoubtedly have researched the main topics such as immigration, visas, employment, property, opening a bank account and healthcare.
There are, however, some more unusual but equally as important things you should consider before finally deciding to make the move.
1. Moving your pension
Ever since the UK pension regulations changed in 2015, transfers from UK pension funds to Australian pension funds (or ‘superannuation funds’ as they are known) have become much more restricted.
In practical terms, this means the option of transferring from a UK pension fund now only applies to people over 55 who have a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) or who become a member of a special public offer super fund.
It is also important to remember that when looking to transfer your UK pension fund, there are limits on the Australian side as to how much you can transfer at one time – under age 65 you can transfer a maximum of $300,000 every 3 years, but over 65 you’re limited to $100,000 pa. A lifetime contribution limit of $1.6 million also applies.
You should also bear in mind that you will not receive any annual state pension increases, which means that its real value will decline over time. For example, if you retired to Australia in 1980 you would still be receiving a full basic pension of £27.15, but if you had remained in the UK, you would be receiving £122.30 today, more than four times as much.
2. Property considerations
You may well start off in rental accommodation to get a feel for an area, but if you do decide at some point that you want to buy a house, you’ll need approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). This approval, however, no longer becomes applicable for any Brits who get Australian citizenship.
3. The tax rates are different
Income tax in Australia is imposed on the taxable income of individuals and businesses by the Federal Government, rather than via individual State Governments. Individuals have their assessable income, that is their personal earnings such as salary and wages, and any investment income, taxed at progressive rates, from 0- 45% plus a Medicare levy of 2%. Have you planned for this in your calculations?
4. Planning on becoming a citizen?
If you fall in love with the country so much that you decide to make your stay long-term and become a citizen, one thing you do need to remember is that it is compulsory to vote. Failure to turn up on election day will result in a fine, which has contributed to the healthy state of affairs of the Australian Electoral Commission’s coffers.
At Cross Border Financial Planning, we are appropriately qualified and experienced in providing advice on moving to Australia so if you would like any assistance, do get in touch.