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'Working abroad could affect your pension'

4 Feb 2013, 17:05

Published: 04 Feb 2013 17:05 GMT+01:00

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On February 11th, the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten) will send out the "Orange Envelope" to about 5.5 million Swedes. It contains a prognosis of how much the person will receive from the national public pension scheme (allmänna pensionen) after retirement.

If a person who has worked internationally plans to retire in Sweden, there are ways to make sure payouts from pension schemes abroad are sent here.

"If you apply for your pension in Sweden, make a note in the paperwork that you’ve worked abroad and we’ll make inquiries for you," Pensions Agency spokesman Olle Sylvén told The Local.

"If you’ve worked in other EU countries it is likely you’ve made contributions to a national pension scheme, although how much it amounts to is difficult to know."

“However, you must personally make enquiries about any service pension (tjänstepensionen) you signed up with through your employer abroad,” he added.

Sylvén strongly urged anyone working outside Sweden to make sure such pension benefits were part of their contract, as it could impact significantly on the size of the payments later in life.

In Sweden, about nine out of ten employees have access not only to the public pension scheme, but to a service or occupational pension, he noted.

"You will definitely be better off if you negotiate with your employer abroad to include access to a pension scheme through your work," Sylvén said.

Personal finance expert Ylva Yngveson at the Swedbank band said it can be difficult to predict how working abroad affects a person's final pension.

"How much you’ll end up getting is a very individual question, but the question of multiple pension schemes is relevant to a lot of people," Yngvesson told The Local.

"Every year that you are not earning in Sweden will create a loss both in the public pension and any service pension.

She urged residents of Sweden nearing retirement to study the rules and to make sure the pension authorities are aware of the time spent working abroad, which allows them to request the money.

“The request can take a bit of time to process, up to six months,” she noted.

”And you cannot merge two pension schemes into one, you’ll have two payments, but many people who’ve worked their entire lives in Sweden will also have multiple payments from different schemes.”

In December 2012, Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån) warned that immigrants to Sweden who moved here later in life risked low pensions in their old age.

"Income levels differ sharply, depending on when in life one immigrated to Sweden," the report into the wellbeing of pension-age immigrants noted.

Immigrants account for 12 percent of the over 65s living in Sweden.

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"Those who immigrated at older ages have considerably lower pensions than other groups," the summary stated.

Pensions Agency spokesman Olle Sylvén urged people to enter all the details of their service and private pension schemes on minpension.se to get an overview of how much money they can expect per month once they retire.

"In some cases you might decided you have to work for a bit longer," Sylvén said.

Ann Törnkvist

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Your comments about this article

18:45 February 4, 2013 by Pat88
Anyone knows what happens with one's contributions to pension if he/she works in Sweden for a number of years, but then returns to his/her home country to live the rest his/her working life?

Is there a penalty? Can the money be transferred to the home country government?


18:54 February 4, 2013 by micvau
Sweden's public pension payout after a 40 year working life is crap. You can earn more pension point's working 10 years in Norway than your whole working life in Sweden.
19:33 February 4, 2013 by icedearth
What is the alternative for people who settle in Sweden after 30s or 40s?
20:54 February 4, 2013 by cogito
@#2. Swedish pensioners are the poorest in Europe. Some who have worked 40 years get 10K a month, on which they are taxed at 30%.
10:40 February 5, 2013 by John.Smith

They are not among the poorest in Europe. That is pretty much standard State pension levels in the EU. Most retirees also get an income from their private pension fund on top of this. The amount depends on how much they have saved into the scheme.
16:15 February 5, 2013 by The Swedish Pensions Agency

Nice to see questions here about the Swedish pension!

I'll try to answer your questions; however I'm also posting contact information to us if you want more information.

If you have worked and lived in Sweden, you will get a national retirement pension based on the income you paid tax on. If you live within EU/EES when it's time to retire contact the Pensions Agency in your country who will help you apply.

You can't transfer your Swedish pension to another country.

People who settle in Sweden and who doesn't have an income might get Guaranteed pension instead, which is based on the amount of years one has lived in Sweden, between 16-64 years of age.

For those who settle later than 64 years of age might get income support.

You can read more about the Swedish national retirement pension here: https://secure.pensionsmyndigheten.se/AboutYourPensions_en.html

You can ask more questions on Facebook: www.facebook.com/fragaompension, or contact us by phone: +46 498-200 700

Yours sincerely,

Arvid, Customer Service

The Swedish Pensions Agency
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