Retirement in Ireland

Ireland is simply too good to resist for many retirees; the country can offer a more relaxing and safer way of life, coupled with low-cost, high quality property. Ireland provides retirees with a high standard of living that includes delicious cuisine, stunning beaches, picturesque towns and villages and a number of bustling cities.

Financing your retirement

There are a number of key areas relating to retirement finances that you should consider when you’re moving to Ireland. You’ll want to check what impact a move will have on the benefits and pensions you’re entitled to receive in the UK. The best course of action is to seek independent advice when it comes to your private pension and UK state pension; ideally before you relocate to Ireland.

When you do go, don’t forget to inform the Department for Work and Pensions that you’re moving overseas and provide them with your new contact details.

Currency exchange

Because Ireland’s currency is the euro, it’s important to take the pound-euro exchange rate into consideration and understand what impact any major fluctuations between the two currencies may have on your ability to live in Ireland. Does your monthly budget stretch far enough to account for times when you may get fewer euros for your pounds because the currency market has moved?

You can find more information on currency exchange here

State pension

In addition to a private pension, you could potentially claim a UK state pension while in Ireland, but you should check with the International Pension Centre (IPC) to ensure you’re eligible. You can contact the IPC by email or phone, or fill in their international claims form.

If you haven’t yet reached state pension age, you should be sent a claim form four months before you hit the milestone. Contact the IPC if you have not received a letter three months before you reach state pension age.

Life certificate

A ‘life certificate’ is a form the Department for Work and Pensions might send you to check that you’re still eligible for the state pension. If you get sent a life certificate, you’ll need to get it signed by a witness – the list of people who can do this is the same list of people who can countersign a passport photo – and send it back, as instructed on the form. Your payments may be suspended if you don’t comply.

Rates of state pension

As Ireland is within the European Economic Area (EEA), your state pension will rise annually. This could, of course, change in a couple of years, depending on what kind of deal the UK government secures during the Brexit negotiations.

Payment of your pension

Your state pension can be paid into a bank in Ireland or a bank or building society in the UK – but you can’t choose to have it paid into one country for part of the year, and a different country for the rest of the year.

You can use an account in your name, a joint account, or someone else’s account (providing you have their permission and keep to the terms and conditions of the account). You’ll need the IBAN and BIC numbers (both of these are international bank codes) for payments for some countries outside the UK, including Ireland.

You can choose to be paid every four or 13 weeks, and will be paid in the local currency – so the amount of money you get may change slightly due to exchange rates.

Some private pensions will only pay out in Sterling, which means you may need to have the money go into a bank account back home and transfer into a euro account yourself. There are currency transfer options that make this simple and effortless – we’ll cover these in detail later.

Tax on your state pension

You may have to pay UK tax on your state pension over a certain amount. This will depend on your taxable income and whether you’re classed as a UK resident or non-UK resident for tax purposes.

Non-UK residents

Non-UK residents don’t pay UK tax on their state pension, but may pay tax in Ireland. You don’t have to pay tax in both countries because there is a double taxation agreement in place.

Healthcare

Ireland has a well-developed national healthcare system that’s available to all (even those from abroad) although there are some limitations. However, the healthcare service in Ireland is in high demand and there are often long waiting lists for treatment and operations.

Many people opt for private healthcare in order to avoid this, and those seriously considering retiring in Ireland may want to research health insurance options as well as the cost and availability of such care.

You also need to be aware of emergency procedure in Ireland – who to call in an emergency and which hospitals will be the most suitable for your needs. Ireland’s emergency numbers are 112 or 999.

A very good website providing in-depth information on health insurance in Ireland is www.hia.ie.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) information

A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles the bearer to access stateprovided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country.

The EHIC covers treatment that’s medically necessary until your planned return home. Treatment should be provided on the same basis as it would be for a resident of that country, either at a reduced cost or (in many cases) for free.

If you don’t have an EHIC, the UK and Irish authorities have an agreement where UK residents don’t need their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access healthcare services if they’re on a temporary stay in Ireland. It’s enough to show proof that you’re ordinarily resident in the UK, like a driving licence, passport or similar documentation that shows your NHS number or equivalent.

More information on Irish health services

For information about health services in Ireland, your entitlements and how to access health or social services, contact the Health Service Executive (HSE) information line on 1850 24 1850 in Ireland or +353 41 685 0300 from the UK, visit www.hse.ie, or email infoline1@hse.ie.

Continue to section 6: Banking in Ireland

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