Retiring Abroad from Ireland: How to Make It Happen

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After returning from your spring or summer holidays abroad, have you found yourself dreaming of staying there permanently?

While retiring abroad may seem like an impossible idea at first, it may be more feasible than it initially appears with proper retirement planning. It’s crucial to thoroughly consider all of the factors involved in making such a decision.

What drives Irish people to seek retirement abroad?

A recent survey reveals a significant interest among Irish individuals in spending their retirement years abroad.

This survey, which involved a censuswide poll of 1,000 working adults aged 55 and older in Ireland who are nearing retirement, uncovered compelling motivations behind this trend.

Remarkably, 27% of respondents expressed a strong likelihood of spending their retirement years outside Ireland.

One of the main reasons for this tendency is the need for a better climate, which is something that 31% of the respondents consider appealing.

Additionally, the pursuit of better value for money amidst global concerns over the cost of living motivates another 27% of Irish retirees.

According to another survey, Ireland is the most expensive city in the European Union. Ireland’s cost of living increased to 46% over the EU average in 2022 when compared to the prices of products and services in 36 European countries.

Which locations are Irish people considering for their retirement?

When surveyed about where they intend to spend their retirement, Irish people showcased diverse preferences for their dream destinations. 

With 11% of responses, Portugal was the most popular international destination. The UK came in second with 10%, Spain with 8%, the US with 7%, and Germany with 6%, according to the survey.

Nearly 8% express a wish to retire in a regional area within Ireland.

What factors do you need to consider when planning to retire abroad?

Couple enjoying retirement at a beach abroad from Ireland

Planning for retirement abroad involves a blend of excitement and meticulous planning. Here are the key considerations you should take into account:

Choose the age you want to retire

Depending on the specifics of your pension plan, you may have the option to access your retirement benefits anytime between 60 and 75 years old, with the possibility of retiring as early as 50 years old.

Choosing the appropriate time to retire requires reflecting on the lifestyle you want to have during retirement and evaluating your financial circumstances.

According to a recent survey conducted by Royal London Ireland, approximately 36% of respondents expressed a preference for retiring at the age of 60. 

Meanwhile, 21% of respondents would choose to retire even earlier, at the age of 50, provided they had the financial means to do so. 

Less than one in five are willing to delay retirement until reaching the State Pension age of 66.

Additionally, a noteworthy proportion of the population, around 18%, revealed that they would opt to retire immediately if their financial circumstances permitted. 

This survey underscores the influence of financial security on retirement plans and the desire among many for an earlier retirement.

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Wait longer for retirement

Choosing to delay retirement can significantly bolster your financial security, offering a dual advantage of additional savings and potentially higher retirement income. 

Waiting a few extra years before retiring allows you to not only contribute more to your retirement funds but also benefit from the power of compound interest, thereby increasing the overall size of your nest egg. 

For many, the decision to work a few more years can be the difference between a comfortable retirement and one that is financially constrained. 

Start or reassess your retirement planning

While the State Pension serves as a fundamental safety net for retirees, it may not be enough to cover the lifestyle you dream of in retirement.

State pension

This gap shows the importance of early planning, including pensions, personal savings, investments, and exploring additional revenue streams. 

Retirement planning becomes not just a recommendation but a necessity for those looking to retire comfortably, whether at home or abroad.

This planning involves a careful evaluation of your current expenses, projected needs, and the lifestyle you envision for your retirement years. 

There is no magic formula that universally applies; instead, it’s about creating a personalised plan that considers how much you need to save to retire comfortably at your chosen age. 

If you haven’t started a private pension yet, contacting one of our financial advisors at True Wealth is a wise first step. 

For further insight, consider reading our article on the benefits of having a private pension or delve into our comprehensive Retirement Guide to fully understand how to pave the way for your golden years.

If you already have a pension plan, it’s essential to periodically review it with us to ensure it aligns with your current situation and future goals. 

Additionally, we invite you to delve into our article highlighting the essential need for regular pension plan reviews.

Check your financial readiness

Before embarking on a retirement abroad, assessing your financial readiness is crucial to ensuring a seamless transition and a comfortable lifestyle in your new home. 

This process involves a thorough evaluation of your savings, investments, and any pension funds to confirm they can sustain your desired lifestyle in a foreign country. 

Consider the cost of living in your chosen destination, potential healthcare expenses, housing, and the impact of currency exchange rates on your finances. 

Planning for unforeseen expenses and ensuring you have a financial cushion to cover emergencies is essential. 

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Research the cost of living in the country you want to go

Before setting your heart on retiring in a new country, it’s crucial to research the cost of living there. 

This investigation should encompass everyday expenses such as housing, utilities, groceries, healthcare, and transportation. 

For an in-depth analysis of living costs in your intended retirement destination, leveraging online resources like the Numbeo website can be incredibly beneficial.

Understanding these costs will help you gauge how far your retirement savings and income will stretch in your chosen destination. 

Also, this helps in financial planning to maintain your desired lifestyle. Read our article on the reasons why personal financial planning is essential for you.

Check your pension taxation

If you’re planning to retire abroad, understanding how your pension will be taxed is crucial for financial planning

For those receiving an Irish occupational pension from the private sector, your pension’s tax treatment depends on your residency status and Ireland’s tax agreements. 

If you are not a tax resident of Ireland and reside in a country with a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Ireland, your pension will be taxed only in your country of residence. In this case, you can apply for a PAYE Exclusion Order, which exempts your pension from Irish tax.

However, if you move to a country without a DTA with Ireland, your pension will continue to be taxed in Ireland. 

For Irish public sector pensions, including those from the government or local authorities, taxation typically occurs in Ireland regardless of your residence status. 

For Approved Retirement Funds (ARFs) and vested Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs), which are investment funds for post-retirement, taxes apply at source on withdrawals, irrespective of where you live. You can’t ask for a special tax break (PAYE Exclusion Order) for these funds.

Discover more about how taxes work when you’re retired in Ireland and moving to another country by visiting the Revenue’s website.

How can I plan for retirement if I intend to live abroad? 

retire abroad plan

When planning for retirement, especially with the intent to live abroad, the importance of comprehensive retirement planning cannot be overstated. 

Having one of our financial advisors at True Wealth guide you through the process can be immensely beneficial. We can assist you in setting realistic retirement goals and devising assertive plans to achieve them, ensuring your financial stability and the lifestyle you aspire to in your retirement years. 

Our advisors can provide expert advice on various crucial aspects of retirement planning, including how to start a pension, selecting suitable investments, finding old or forgotten pensions, and conducting regular pension reviews

These reviews are essential to understanding the performance of your pension funds, allowing you to adjust your strategy as needed to effectively meet your retirement objectives. 

With personalised guidance, you can navigate the complexities of preparing for an international retirement with confidence, making informed decisions that align with your retirement goals and financial situation.

Read our retirement guide for more insights.

The ultimate Retirement Planning Guide.​

Planning for retirement is a significant life milestone. Whether you’re just starting to think about retirement or are already well into your retirement journey, this guide aims to empower you to make informed decisions and create a retirement plan that aligns with your unique financial goals and expectations.

After you download your guide, one of our expert mortgage advisors will be in touch shortly to provide you with guidance and further relevant information.


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Besides my private pension, is it possible to receive the state pension while living overseas?

Yes. If you have worked in Ireland but have always wanted to retire somewhere else, you can have your contributing state pension paid directly into your bank account, provided that you have made sufficient PRSI contributions.

You must be a resident of Ireland to receive the non-contributory state pension.

What are the tax implications when renting out my Irish property while I’m abroad?

If you’re considering renting out a property in Ireland while living abroad, it’s important to be aware of the tax implications. 

Regardless of whether you’ve left Ireland or your current residency status, any rental income earned from Irish property is subject to Irish taxation. This means that the rent you collect from your Irish property must be declared, and appropriate taxes need to be paid to the Irish Revenue

Understanding these obligations can help ensure you remain compliant with Irish tax laws, avoiding any potential legal or financial complications.

Get a Pension and Retirement Planning quote with True Wealth

Securing a financially stable and fulfilling retirement abroad starts with the right planning and expert advice. 

True Wealth offers a Retirement Planning service for those dreaming of retiring overseas, tailoring our guidance to meet the unique challenges and opportunities of international retirement. 

Let us be your partner in turning your dream of an international retirement into a reality. Reach out to us today to take the first step towards a secure and exciting future.

We are also experts in personal and business protection, savings and investments, pension tracing, personal and business financial planning, mortgages, and wealth management and extraction.

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All our content has been written or overseen by a qualified financial advisor. However, you should always seek individual financial advice for your unique circumstances.

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