A Brief Look at QROPS and QROPS Transfers

During the last five or so years, QROPS have gained in popularity as expats realise that they can offer much more in the way of benefits, in comparison to a UK based pension. While their relative complexity means that professional advice is paramount, it is also the case that, in general, QROPS schemes demand that those looking to transfer their pensions into a QROPS must be represented by a professional financial advisor. There are more and more professional QROPS advisors springing up all the time, as this alternative investment option becomes more commonly known and sought after. While general financial advisors may be able to give you limited information regarding QROPS and QROPS transfers, an advisor with specific and broad ranging QROPS experience would be much more valuable – and you should always ensure that your advisor and the company that they work with is fully regulated by the necessary authorities. The first thing your advisor will want to know is details regarding the pensions you currently hold and your plans for moving abroad if you haven’t already done so. From this information they will start to put together recommendations for you.

QROPS Considerations

One of the initial things that your advisor will tell you is that any QROPS that you choose must be on the HMRC approved register – otherwise you may be liable for a financial penalty, on top of tax payments. HMRC requires that QROPS are regulated and taxed as pensions in their source country and any QROPS that they believe are not conducted in this way will be struck off the list. Another thing that you will be advised of is that you and your QROPS do not necessarily have to live in the same country – although you will need to consider the tax liability for both locations, as this could affect your choice quite significantly.

If you haven’t yet retired, your advisor may recommend a higher risk QROPS transfer, as this could potentially offer you much better returns. If you’re risk averse or you have already retired and are looking for more stability, then lower risk QROPS transfers will be recommended instead. You should also be asked whether you wish to have direct involvement in the management of your QROPS. For those who have managed their own SIPPS, you may wish to draw on that investment knowledge and opt for a QROPS that allows you more involvement.

Locations and Fees

Finally, because QROPS transfers can take place across so many different jurisdictions, you have the option to choose a country that allows you to take advantage of all different asset classes, or perhaps choose a QROPS that allows tax free lump sum withdrawals. Make sure that your financial advisor gives you a clear breakdown of the costs involved with QROPS transfers, and keeps you updated with any changes. These can vary quite dramatically between different providers, but you may be able to get your financial advisor to negotiate a discount off the fee.

Top Tips for Moving Day: Preparing, Planning, and Organizing

Moving day is not fun. It is tiresome, irksome, filled with anxiety and worry, and generally just not a very good time. But careful planning can make moving easier.

There is little in life that is more vexing and nerve-racking than moving day, unless it is moving in the north, during the salty, icy, and blustery wintertime months. But wherever you live, it is usually the same.

Everything generally gets stuffed into boxes with the sobering knowledge that it will all end up being way too heavy to carry and yet somehow get crammed into the back various vehicles for a bumpy and winding transit across roads that are notoriously hard to negotiate and designed for the sole purpose of tossing around anything not thoroughly secured.

And when that migration winds to an end you realize, no doubt with an elongated sigh, that you must now unload the dented boxes from the backs of the vehicles and carefully remove from them the items that you had just added only a short time before.

Planning and Organizing to Make Moving Easy

Indeed, moving will never be a fun or enjoyable task. But there are a few things one can do to help make moving a little easier. Planning is the single, most important element to making the whole event more palatable. It is so important and essential to personal sanity that many movers suggest a moving checklist like the one that follows:

  • Call the movers and set a date for them to visually survey the home and prepare an estimate.
  • Confirm whether you want to do any of the packing or whether it will be done entirely by the movers.
  • Show the mover everything that is going to be moved.
  • Know your rights and responsibilities upon entering into a moving agreement.
  • Keep all contact information for the mover in an easily accessible place.

Notify the post office of the move – an online change of address form is available on the Royal Mail website.

Prepare a list of friends, relatives, and business firms who should be notified, such as the following: electric, pharmacy, dry cleaner, water/sewer, telephone, bank/credit union, fuel, credit card companies, health care companies, etc.

In addition, consider some planning strategies, like pre-ordering items for the new home from on-line stores like Walmart and Home Depot. Two to three weeks before the move, confirm any extra goods to be moved, and if the family car is being moved prepare to drive it to a suitable loading site. Also, add airline tickets as needed and keep in mind Enterprise and U-Haul as viable transport options.

As far as last-minute home items, prepare major appliances for shipment, consider storage solutions on items you don’t really need to ship at first, and make plans for plants and pets. Giving plants to friends and family is a good option and donating the former to a local hospital or favourite business will ensure that they have a good home.

National Moving Day Statistics and Trends

Though moving day can be an arduous and irksome chore, to be sure, it is a more common national trend than one might think. Analysing data from March 1999 to March 2000, a UK study found that 14 million UK residents (a staggering 16 percent of the population) moved to a new home. Fifty-six percent of these moves were within the same county, while 20 percent were from one county to another.

And as logic would indicate, renters moved 3 times more than the rate at which homeowners moved, and one of the most common reasons for moving had to do with economic status. It seems that households making under £25,000 comprised 21 percent of movers, while households making more than £100,000 comprised only 12 percent of movers.

But what causes movers to move is a complicated and much varied thing, and the research classifies all of this under their elusive and broad-ranging heading, “moving for housing-related reasons.” Included under this heading, were the following categories: the desire for better quarters (18.5 percent), the desire to own rather than rent (11.5 percent), and the desire for cheaper housing (5.5 percent).

Interestingly, though, surprisingly few Brits moved for “work-related reasons” (16.2 percent), including the 9.7 percent who relocated to accept a new job or a job transfer. While the category of economic relocation may bring to mind hard and dusty times, this report shows relocation for economic reasons was more common in households making £75,000-plus than any other income cohort.

Preparing to Move With Research and Planning

So, it seems folks move for all sorts of reasons, none of which, presumably, promote much fun and jubilation on moving day. But by following some of the steps stated above and talking to friends and family who have made the move before, the day can be more bearable for all.

Also, search the internet for tips and services the will make things run smoothly, and keep your final and working plans in a central location where everyone can access them and ask questions. Maybe even in set up something in Google Docs or another on-line collaborative file.

All in all, this is an unsavoury endeavour at best, but it does not have to be an entirely unbearable one. Just take some of the heavy lifting out of moving by planning ahead. Good luck… and, remember, get lots of bungee cords.