History is littered with stories of the rise and fall of civilisations but we do not expect to apply these lessons to our own lives.
As proud empires return to dust, we should expect the same from our biggest businesses.
The brands that dominated their markets a century ago are no longer remembered and those on everyone’s lips today will surely be gone in a few decades as well.
The only constant in your life is you.
That’s why signing over your retirement finances to a company that may well have disappeared by the time you give up working is becoming a nonsense.
Big brands disappear
Big brands such as British Home Stores, Woolworth and MFI have been and gone but their workers are still here. In many cases their pension promises have proved false.
More and more, the sensible financial approach to retirement saving is taking control of your own money with a SIPP or Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).
Both do more or less the same, but SIPPs are for savers living in the UK who benefit from pension tax relief, while QROPS are supercharged pensions for expats.
The guaranteed retirement incomes and other benefits offered by final salary workplace pensions are only worthwhile if the scheme actually provides them.
While a SIPP or QROPS pays out depending on investment performance, a QROPS also comes with financial opportunities.
QROPS boost for expat retirement
An enhanced tax-free lump sum of up to 30% is a big attraction for expats – giving them extra cash in the bank and slashing their tax bills at the same time.
Another bugbear for expats is managing exchange rates. QROPS aid this by paying out in several major currencies, doing away with the need to juggle transfers to find the best rates and again cutting costs.
QROPS offer inheritance tax benefits – unspent funds can be left to loved ones who pay no tax if they are expats as well.
Along with a wider range of investments, freedom from lifetime allowance caps payments taxed in the country where an expat lives, if there is any, QROPS offer a solid alternative to the sometimes vain hope that a workplace pension will pay as promised.