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Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Old Sep 17th 2019, 5:02 am
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Default Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

So, having crossed the horrible 50 threashold recently I finally started thinking about retirement, doing so sooner would've been better but here we are.

The various online calculators tell me my super is on track to provide a reasonable income, surprising as we only arrived 9 years ago, although we're both making max extra contributions.

One thing I did discover is the ability to top-up our UK state pension, I won't qualify for one from Aus, as its means tested but the UK one isn't. I wanted to share this info as it seems an absolute bargain. If you pass the means test I think you can get the Aus stae pension if you've lived here for 10 years, which seems generous (in spirit, not amount).

If my wife and I top up our UK NI to 35 years contributions we'll get a very useful $37k per year from the UK govt, on top of my UK private pension and Aus Super, since I need another 12 years of NI contributions I'll need to pay out $1,300 for each of these 12 years but the increase in UK pension means I'll be in profit after about 3.5 years, just need to live that long!

The above is just my understanding, please do your own due dilligence but sharing it as there is a time limit to do the top up (think you can only go back 6 years).

Last edited by freebo; Sep 17th 2019 at 5:15 am.
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Old Sep 17th 2019, 12:39 pm
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

I did this 15 years ago, when I could then get my UK state pension at 60. My break even point of the amount paid to equal the increase in pension was 2 years, so 13 years later was well worth it. I don’t know if this still applies or is relevant, but I was given 17 years off from paying contributions for child rearing! as we had 3 children and i hadn’t worked, so that was a bonus.
Dont forget the bad news that your UK state pension is frozen from the day you receive it I f you live in Australia, but if you go to UK on holiday you should notify the pensions department of your flight dates and your pension is increased to what it should be had you stayed in UK, the daft thing is, it then reverts back to the original frozen amount on your return to Australia. As we go back to UK for 3 months most years we make sure we get every penny!!
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Old Sep 17th 2019, 1:34 pm
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Not sure how you get $37k. Even two UK pensions don’t add up to that. What figure are you using?
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Old Sep 17th 2019, 2:13 pm
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Originally Posted by tomar View Post
I did this 15 years ago, when I could then get my UK state pension at 60. My break even point of the amount paid to equal the increase in pension was 2 years, so 13 years later was well worth it. I don’t know if this still applies or is relevant, but I was given 17 years off from paying contributions for child rearing! as we had 3 children and i hadn’t worked, so that was a bonus.
Dont forget the bad news that your UK state pension is frozen from the day you receive it I f you live in Australia, but if you go to UK on holiday you should notify the pensions department of your flight dates and your pension is increased to what it should be had you stayed in UK, the daft thing is, it then reverts back to the original frozen amount on your return to Australia. As we go back to UK for 3 months most years we make sure we get every penny!!
Wouldn't that increase just come off of your Aus Government Pension when you came back here though? As though it were increased earnings for that given financial year?

Or if you dont qualify for the Aus Government Pension because of assets and income, how do you get around the no Pension Card, for subsidies on things like Prescriptions, car rego, Utility benefits etc?



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Old Sep 17th 2019, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Originally Posted by rammygirl View Post
Not sure how you get $37k. Even two UK pensions don’t add up to that. What figure are you using?
My question also.

Basic State Pension is £129.20 per week = £6,718.40 pa.
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Old Sep 17th 2019, 4:18 pm
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Originally Posted by ozzieeagle View Post
Wouldn't that increase just come off of your Aus Government Pension when you came back here though? As though it were increased earnings for that given financial year?

Or if you dont qualify for the Aus Government Pension because of assets and income, how do you get around the no Pension Card, for subsidies on things like Prescriptions, car rego, Utility benefits etc?
It would only come off the Aus Government pension if you qualify for said creature. Many of us don't and never will, because of super, and then because of he UK pension - being entitled to a full UK pension virtually wipes out any eligibility for the Aussie one due to the means testing.
And I'm told that without being eligible for a pension, one cannot be eligible for a concession card.
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Old Sep 17th 2019, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

We are self-funded retirees. Get no Australian pension and are not likely to.

There is a (highly-prized) card called the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card designed for people who do not get a pension. Gets you subsidised scripts. Still has an income test but it's more generous than the income test used to qualify for the pension in the first place.
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Old Sep 17th 2019, 11:36 pm
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Originally Posted by ozzieeagle View Post
Wouldn't that increase just come off of your Aus Government Pension when you came back here though? As though it were increased earnings for that given financial year?

Or if you dont qualify for the Aus Government Pension because of assets and income, how do you get around the no Pension Card, for subsidies on things like Prescriptions, car rego, Utility benefits etc?
possibly might come off your Aus gov pension, but not applicable in our case, as we don’t qualify for the pension, therefore don’t have a pension card, and pay our way.

We are self funded retirees
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Old Sep 17th 2019, 11:52 pm
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Originally Posted by NickyC View Post
We are self-funded retirees. Get no Australian pension and are not likely to.

There is a (highly-prized) card called the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card designed for people who do not get a pension. Gets you subsidised scripts. Still has an income test but it's more generous than the income test used to qualify for the pension in the first place.
Yes that Seniors Health Card is apparently the thing to aim for. As for the Assets for pension and Super, A single person would have to have assets (including superannuation) to the tune of 785,000 AUD (excluding ones own home) to negate yourself from an Australian Pension. I'm fairlly sure the Australian government Pension is also higher than the UK government pension, so even if you qualify for a full UK pension you should still receive some Australian pension. Of course it may only be a negligible amount due to the aforementioned assets test.... The thing is people should be aiming for that Seniors card regardless.

The other point is the UK pension is frozen, so eventually most people under the assets test, which is quite generious, would eventually qualify for the Australian Pension.

From what I can gather the UK pension rate for a single is circa 234 AUD per week, Where as the Australian governmention Pension seems to be 450 AUD per week,(It's quoted fornightly at 933 AUD for a single person) so one should be getting topped up to the tune of almost double from the Australian pension?

Actually seems a massive difference to me, with the Australian pension being far more lucrative..... maybe I've got something wrong?

Hhere is the UK state pension....
https://www.gov.uk/state-pension/what-youll-get

Here are the Australian government pension figures. What I take this to mean is, even if you qualify for the full UK pension, you should still get something from the Australian Governement, as long as you have less than 785,000 AUD in Assets. With that seniors card being the golden chalice.

https://www.superguide.com.au/access...-pension-rates













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Old Sep 18th 2019, 12:07 am
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Originally Posted by rammygirl View Post
Not sure how you get $37k. Even two UK pensions don’t add up to that. What figure are you using?
My mistake with the currency conversion, sorry, its AUD$32k.

GBP168.60*52*2 = GBP 17,534.4 at todays exchange rate = $31,932



Last edited by freebo; Sep 18th 2019 at 12:12 am.
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Old Sep 18th 2019, 12:14 am
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Originally Posted by MidAtlantic View Post
My question also.

Basic State Pension is £129.20 per week = £6,718.40 pa.
We were both born after 1953 so get the New (not Basic) state pension, the full amount of which is £168.60 per week, see my other post.
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Old Sep 18th 2019, 3:19 am
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Originally Posted by ozzieeagle View Post

Or if you dont qualify for the Aus Government Pension because of assets and income, how do you get around the no Pension Card, for subsidies on things like Prescriptions, car rego, Utility benefits etc?

apart from prescriptions all the others are subsidised just by having a seniors card,
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Old Sep 18th 2019, 5:41 am
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

My take is that if you get to retire and have enough that you don't need a government provided pension, discount card or some other taxpayer-funded bullshit, you've worked, saved and done well in life

Not requiring any assistance is something to be proud of
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Old Sep 18th 2019, 7:28 am
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Originally Posted by tomar View Post



apart from prescriptions all the others are subsidised just by having a seniors card,

Lots of different types of Seniors cards, I've got the Victorian one, which doesn't give me cheaper car rego. The Commonwealth one does, but I dont get that until I turn 66. The Victorian seniors card does equate to a fishing license though, which is a lesser known benefit that comes with it. Half price public transport, and free weekend travel is the main benefit I get from it.


Meantime I'm about to research the difference in Government Pension payments between the UK and Australia, as It's looking more and more like a lot of UK people dont realise they are entitled to a part Australian Pension to top up the UK pension. From what I can tell, the Aus Government pension is circa 150 AUD more weekly than the UK pension and if you are within the assets test limit one automatically qualifies for the Aus Pension. The Aus Assets test starts at 457,000 AUD. before one gets a reduced Australian pension... then reduces by 3 dollars per fortnight in every 1000 dollars over that amount.

That seems a massive difference, I repeat is it correct. ? 150 bucks per week?

Maybe people should be having a appointment with Centerlink, not that I recommend that organisation.

Last edited by ozzieeagle; Sep 18th 2019 at 7:32 am.
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Old Sep 18th 2019, 7:45 am
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Default Re: Planning for retirement/topping up UK state pension

Originally Posted by ozzieeagle View Post
That seems a massive difference, I repeat is it correct. ? 150 bucks per week?
I haven't really looked at the Aus one as I don't think I'll get it due to the means test, which is absolutely fair enough and if it pans out that way I'm fortunate. It's still a lot of years to go though, in the meantime I'll keep on top of super and other investments.

The UK one may be less but its not means tested so a nice $32k pa top up on the super, hence me saying it seems worth filling in the NI gaps. I think if you get the full amount for both it adds up to about $55k per year as a couple, from age 67, all figures in todays money of course.
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