My Good News Story
Peter Baxter (Maj. Rtd.)
I left the British Army in 1994 with 24 years service behind me and started a new career after emigrating to USA. I'll admit that I didn't give my Armed Forces Pension Scheme much thought until later when I was wondering when my pension would become payable.
A fellow expatriate veteran happened to mention that he had transferred his pension elsewhere and built up a very tidy sum - with a larger pension income in prospect than if he had left it with the army.
So, I had a chat with his people at Kestrel International. They seem to be the largest UK pension advisers in North America. It turned out that I could do the same. You see, personnel whose service ended after 1st January 1986 are allowed to transfer the total value of their pension entitlement but those who left earlier are locked-in to the AFPS. That gave me a good opportunity.
TURNING A PAPER PROMISE INTO HARD CASH
It enabled me to turn the army's paper promise into hard cash. I was able to transfer it to a Self Invested Pension Plan giving me complete control of the assets and a variety of more attractive options as to when and how to take my pension. The death benefits are better too.
TAKE CASH OUT
Here's another thing I discovered. Did you know that you can now export your UK pension - not to USA though - the IRS won't allow that - but to some other country even if you don't live there ? An EU country is better - but it means you can escape from the UK pension rules and taxation completely once you have been an expat for 5 years or more. Then you can get your hands on more of the money as early as age 50 if you really need it badly - up to 30% of it.