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New Zealand - Retirement

There is no official retirement age in New Zealand, but the state pension cannot be claimed before the age of 65. People are able to retire at any age if they have the means to support themselves. Some private pensions can be claimed earlier but these vary widely and will depend upon the arrangements made when the pension was established.

There are now two options for retirees to obtain a visa for New Zealand. The first is the Temporary Retirement Category and the second is the Parent Retirement category, both of which came into effect in 2010. The Temporary Retirement category includes a series of minimum requirements which must be met. The minimum age for an application in this category is 66 and for the duration of your stay in New Zealand you must be in possession of travel or health insurance. As a temporary retirement applicant you will not be able to claim any form of benefit or pension from the New Zealand government so you will need to have independent means. This is a minimum of $750,000 which should be invested in the country for a minimum of 2 years. You should also have $500,000 as funds for living and have proof of an annual income of at least $60,000 per year. You will also need to prove that these funds are yours or owned jointly with a partner.

A retired person with family links already in New Zealand can apply under the Parent Retirement category and the requirements are fairly similar, although the investment amount will need to be $1million and invested for a 4 year period. The parent retirement category has a maximum quota that can be filled each year and this is currently less than 4000. Applying early in the year can maximise chances of visa success.

The New Zealand state pension is known as Superannuation. You cannot clam this until you are aged 65. For some expats the requirement to claim this is permanent residency status and a minimum of 10 years in the country, however there are some reciprocal agreements with other countries which may allow their residents to claim the pension sooner. This does apply to UK expats and to those from several other European countries as well as Australia.

Superannuation is calculated on 66% of the average couple’s wage after tax. Payments can be made to single people or married couples. It is expected that most people will also save into a private pension scheme in order to supplement their retirement income as it is unlikely that the Superannuation will cover anything more than basic living costs. Many workers will have a private scheme operated through their employer although it is possible to set up a private pension scheme independently. Expats moving to the country may also be able to take with them a private pension that they have established in their home country although this depends upon the pension scheme and the facilities for transferring such schemes to New Zealand.

Quality of life for retirees is excellent. New Zealand offers many opportunities for an active lifestyle and the cost of living is reasonable when compared with countries such as the UK and the US. New Zealand has been voted one of the best places in the world for expats to move to due to the quality of life available there. New Zealand is also popular with English-speaking expats as there is no requirement to learn another language. The laid-back lifestyle is perfect for those who want a more relaxed way of life and the climate is another factor. For those who are from the UK the climate is very similar with few extreme temperatures.

The reciprocal agreements in place mean that pensions can be claimed in New Zealand, although if you are entitled to a state pension in your home country there should be no problem in claiming it directly and having it transferred to you in New Zealand. This does depend a great deal on the country that you are from. The pension may need to be paid to a bank account in your home country so that you can then arrange transfer of the funds yourself.

Useful Resources

Immigration New Zealand
PO Box 3705
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 914 4100 (in Auckland)
Tel: 0508 558 855 (other parts of New Zealand)

Work and Income Department
Tel: 0800 552 002

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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