best places to retire with a UN pension

UN Pension: The best places to retire with tax-exemption [2024]

Navigating your UN pension in Switzerland is like finding the best trails for an enriching retirement. We’ll explore where to retire for the most out of your pension. If you still have many years before retirement, then check out my other posts on saving more money before retirement and whether is it possible to be a millionaire on a UN salary.

What to consider for retirement

When planning for retirement, especially with a UN pension in hand, envisioning a place that ticks all the boxes for a fulfilling and worry-free life is key. As we venture into this exploration, let’s consider the essential criteria that make a destination not just liveable but lovable for retirees.

  • Tax-Free for UN Pension: Maximizing your pension is crucial. Countries that offer favorable tax conditions for UN pensions can significantly impact your financial freedom. This means more of your pension goes towards enjoying life and less towards taxes.
  • Healthcare: Your well-being comes first. Look for places with excellent healthcare—affordable, comprehensive services, ensuring you’re always in top shape.
  • English Usage: Ease into daily life where English is common. It simplifies everything from shopping to healthcare, making you feel at home.
  • Safety: Choose a safe, welcoming community. It’s about living carefree, with neighbors who look out for each other.
  • Public Transport: Good transport means freedom. It lets you explore and stay connected without driving.
  • Affordability: Make your pension count in a place where living costs are low, enhancing your lifestyle and leisure.
  • Expat Friendly: Embrace a community that welcomes expats, where you can easily make friends and start anew.
  • Tax Benefits for UN Pension: Opt for a locale offering tax advantages on UN pensions, ensuring more of your funds go towards enjoying your retirement.

Checklist of questions for retirement planning

When planning your retirement with a UN pension, start with a simple checklist. Think about living costs, healthcare, the weather, safety, if you’ll understand the language, what the food is like, if people are happy, how locals feel about foreigners, your living standards, and taxes on your pension. This list helps you make smart choices for a happy retirement.

  • Cost of Living: How far can my UN pension stretch, and what quality of life will it afford me in my retirement?
  • Healthcare: Is the healthcare system in the country of high quality, offering reliable and affordable medical services?
  • Climate: Considering my personal comfort with temperature and humidity, will the climate in this country suit me throughout the year?
  • Security: Can I expect to feel secure and safe while exploring neighborhoods and the local surroundings, even after dark?
  • Language: How widely is English understood here? Will I be able to communicate effectively with the locals in everyday situations?
  • Food: Does the local cuisine align with my dietary preferences and tastes? Will I have access to a variety of foods that I enjoy?
  • Happiness Index: What is the general mood of the population? Do people tend to lead happy, content lives, or is there a noticeable level of stress?
  • Friendliness: How welcoming are the locals towards expatriates and foreigners? Is there a strong sense of community and openness?
  • Standard of Living: Considering the cost of necessities and luxuries, will the standard of living here be comfortably within my financial means?
  • Tax on UN Pension: Is my UN pension subject to local taxes, or will I benefit from tax exemptions that increase my disposable income?

Tax on UN pension

While working in the United Nations and its affiliated organisations, your salary is not taxed but there is “staff assessment”. However, it is completely different after we leave or retire from the UN. Your UN pension can be taxed depending on where you live!

taxes on UN pension

It is an amount deducted from all UN staff members’ gross pay according to the UN Staff Regulations and Rules, regardless of their nationality. As staff assessment is not a withholding tax, it cannot be reimbursed to staff members under any circumstances and it cannot be claimed as a deduction on United States income tax returns.
Staff assessment deductions are credited to the Tax Equalization Fund. Those Member States that do not impose income tax on the UN earnings receive a portion of the Tax Equalization Fund as an offset against their assessments for the UN regular budget, peacekeeping and tribunal budgets. When staff members have to pay national income taxes on their UN earnings, they are reimbursed from the Tax Equalization Fund irrespective of the total amount of staff assessment deducted from their salaries.

According to UNJSPF (United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund), each country determines, based on its own relevant national tax legislation and policies to what UNJSPF pensions are subject to national taxation.

In short, your UN pension would be subject to tax depending on your country of residence.

But there are countries which grant tax exemption for UN pensions paid as a lump sum or as a monthly income.

Best places to retire for a tax free UN pension

Unfortunately, there is no official list of countries that gives tax relief to UN pension. Also, you should do your own research before moving half way across the world.

Based on Wikipedia, here are the list of countries with tax exemption for UN pensions:

UN pension tax free from wikipedia

Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, Dom. Republic, Fiji, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Kuwait, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Oman, Panama, Philippines, Peru, Qatar, Samoa, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE, Uruguay, Venezuela

Based on a Q&A page, we have the following list of countries that were mentioned with tax exemption for UN pensions:

UN pension tax free from justanswer

Austria, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Thailand

If you just want to retire in a safe and affordable country, then according to SmartAssets, these are your best bets:

Portugal, Malaysia, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, Czech Republic, Peru, Slovenia, Austria, Australia

Tool to find the perfect haven for retirement

Earth Awaits is an incredible, user-friendly tool designed to simplify the journey of finding your dream retirement destination. It’s completely free to use and offers a straightforward way to explore options based on your unique preferences. Whether you’re considering monthly budget, family size, preferred continents, crime rate, pollution levels, or the primary language spoken, The Earth Awaits makes narrowing down your choices a breeze. Perfect for anyone looking to make informed decisions about their retirement living arrangements, this tool turns the daunting task of selecting a retirement spot into an exciting adventure. Numbeo is another website that compares cost of living, property prices etc among different countries.

But let’s dive into The Earth Awaits to contrast Austria, Spain, and Malaysia—three countries that stand out in our list as well as Geneva, Switzerland. This comparison will illuminate their unique offerings for retirees, helping us pinpoint the perfect place to spend your UN pension.

Final thoughts

As we look ahead, dreaming of retirement is exciting, especially with your UN pension to support you. Whether retirement is years away or just around the corner, thinking about it now is a smart move. Austria, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, UAE could be great choices, each offering something special for a joyful retirement. So, let’s start planning for a future filled with happiness, exploration, and peace. It’s the perfect time to think about where you’ll enjoy the rewards of your hard work.

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