Need pension advice

hello everybody
I need some advice from someone who understands the french pension system as I think I made a mistake… aged 63, I want to take my french pension at 66 (been here for 30 years) and will wait till that time until I start my UK state pension. However I decided to take my UK teacher’s pension a few weeks ago, involving a lumpsum payment due to me as back-pension from the age of 60. As I now understand it, taking any of your pensions means (in France) that you have to take the whole lot… this would be bad news financially for me. Is there anyway I could change my mind on my teacher’s pension and pay it back (i.e. un-retire). I am worried since I made a decision based on ignorance which could have permanent consequences. Anyone know who I could ask for advice?

Ouch, best to always take advice before making financial decisions, not after!

You can take your individual pensions at different times, no issue there at all when within the French taxation system. You will simply pay the French tax due on each pension when you start getting an income stream from it, and the age at which you take some of your pension income may have an impact on what percentage of that pension is taxed in France. (Under the current rules of course - and Macron is currently looking to revise this…)

I cannot imaging how you can persuade the TP folks to ‘un-retire’ you. You have applies for the pension, signed to say you wish to start claiming it, so you will be stuck with that decision now.

Don’t forget that your TP is a government pension in the UK, and as such is treated differently to a private UK pension. It will be taxed by the UK tax authorities, and you need to declare your pension receipts AND any UK tax paid on your French tax return. On the other hand, your UK state pension is never taxed - but do be aware that when you start to receive that, you are most likely to then pay UK tax on your TP as you will be using some of your UK tax-free allowance for your state pension, so more of your TP will be taxable.

So, the only advice you need now is to make sure you are making the correct decisions as to when you take your UK state pension and your French pension!

France considers workplace pensions to be different to Old Age Pensions. There are a lot of early retired British people in France who are less than the state retirement age but living on Teachers’ Pensions and the like. The French system does not label them as being en retraite but as inactiff. They, like you will receive their OAP when they reach the state retirement age. Your big difference to many others is that your state pension will be organised through France not the U.K. as you have worked in both countries and will retire while working in France.

thanks for your replies. My question was prompted by a remark by the pensions adviser here in France that a decision to take any pension means that you have to take all pensions from that date on. I wonder if the distinction between “workplace” and “old age” pensions means that I’m ok to not take my French pension until I am 66, in 3 years time. It will be financially advantageous for me to do that. I have worked for 30 years in France so it is the French pension which will be the largest. I’m tempted to lie low for the present and not declare my TP on my French tax form, so as not to draw attention to it. I hope I’m being clear in these explanations!

You are a grown up so can make your own decisions and face the consequences but I think that not declaring your Teachers’ Pension would be a bad move. It is income and all your worldwide income has to be declared. Was any of your lump sum tax free as that does not only need to be declared in France but will be liable for tax as well. Playing games with the tax office is not t9 be recommended.

1 Like

Thanks for your reply David. My intention is not to play games with the tax people - far from it. Going back to my original post, I really want to know if I have made a major mistake in taking my TP before my French retraite and if so, if there is anything I can do about it. Seems to me that if I take all my pensions now, I will be about 300€ a month worse off for the rest of my life, while my initial “mistake” was completely inadvertent. I really need advice on this, and it seems the best thing I can do is go to an independent tax advisor/lawyer. Does anybody here I wonder have an idea as to who I could approach.

I’m new on this forum and have a question on, yes I’m sorry, pensions. Clearly a complicated subject with a mass of sometimes confusing info and views and I am having difficulty sorting out the best way forward, despite having spoken to some professional advisors. I am 64, married, lived, worked and fully declared in France since 2004. I have a private UK pension scheme that I could take in february but will probably delay for 2 years and am happy managing that. But when it comes to the state pensions - I am really struggling to work out what best to do, am going perblind and would appreciate some clarity of vision if anyone would be so kind!
I have 29 years of full UK state pension contributions so am entitled to £154 pw from 2022 or, if I pay around £8200 of NI contributions this rises to around £164 pw.
In France I have 42 trimestres of contributions, and in complimentaire : ARRCO points 316, 68, regime des independants points 134,62. I notice there is also, as in the UK, an option to buy ‘lost’ cotisations but haven’t dared try to calculate the costs yet!
So, my questions essentially are:

  1. It has to be a ‘no brainer’ that the UK back contributions need to be made up as I should get at least £26000 more over 20 years for a payment of ~8k, with no pitfalls, agreed?
  2. But with only 42 trimestres in France giving me a tiny 142e a month is it even worth looking into making up back cotisations to increase my french retraite amount?
  3. I have read on SF and other sites/blogs a lot said about amalgamating or ‘swapping’ uk and french pension entitlements and am very confused (admittedly I haven’t looked into a rdv with officialdom yet). The impossible calculation for me seems to be … do I bump up one or both the uk and fr pensions by buying back cotisations, or do I look at adding one into the other ( I presume as I am Fr res this would have to be adding ukp to frp), or do I do something in between? Even with differing circumstances there must surely be a fairly standard answer here, no? Hopefully one of you kind folks has been in a similar situation and has found the answer…I will need to go boil my head if not I think. LOL

The additional UK NI contributions don’t seem right to me, Class 3 works out at £780 per year so around £4800 for six years, a full pension is currently £175.20 per week.

26,000 more over 20 years? Surely ten pounds a week over 20 years is 10,400 so not really a no brainer. If it were me I would keep the 8,200 in the bank.
However, it does not have to be that expensive as you may be able to qualify for Class 2 NI payments as you have lived and worked abroad. Look at the website. If you do qualify it’s only about 150 a year to make up credits.
I am sort of in the same boat as you having just recently taken my UK state pension but yet to claim my very modest French one of about 250 a month. I am considering going back to salaried work for a couple of years or so to boost it but not yet decided.

I’m still havering about voluntary NI contributions (not actually sure why!), but your calculations seem a bit off to me.

No idea about class 2 contributions, but class 3 for this year are now just over £15/week I think. However when I asked for a quote for completing my NI record it did seem to be much more - so have you actually got a quote yet to be sure.

But say it is £5,000 and gets you up to max new state pension of £175. So you would only have to live for 4 years past your pension age to get it back. So yes, it’s a no brainer.

As for the french side of it, I am no help. But there is someone on here who does advise on pensions Brian Furzer I think he’s called. Hopefully someone else will pop in with details.

Whose calculations are off Jane?
Class 2 eligibility is explained on the UK gov website under the pensions section and it’s worth a look.

I was querying the rise in pension if he tops up his contribution record, and the new state pension max is now £175, not £164.

If you are paying voluntarily then isn’t it class 3? So class2not relevant…

Point taken Jane but my calculation was based on Jonathan’s statement that his pension would rise from 154 to 164.
As to voluntary contributions you may qualify for Class 2 which is considerably cheaper. Worth looking into.

An advisor from Spectrum did mention being able to pay Class 2 contributions to top-up.
Much cheaper as Damian has mentioned.

It’s on my new year resolutions list…!