I am a 50 something year old expat, how much should I be saving for retirement?

Retirement might seem like a distant dream or it may seem like an oncoming freight train.

Whichever the case, it is never too early or too late to start planning for it. 

If you are age 50 or older, it is time to buckle up and get serious about saving for the future. 

But don’t worry, I’m here to guide you through this journey with a sprinkle of good humour and a dollop of practical advice. 

So grab yourself a cuppa and let’s dive into the exciting world of retirement savings!

Assess your current financial situation

Start by taking a good look at your current income, expenses, assets and debts. 

It is essential to have a clear picture of your financial health before diving into retirement planning. 

Don’t be afraid to unleash your inner detective and track down those sneaky hidden expenses.

Determine your retirement goals

Retirement means different things to different people. 

Some envision a life of travel, while others prefer a peaceful countryside retreat. 

Identify your retirement dreams and estimate the associated costs. 

Do you see yourself jet-setting around the world or hosting garden parties with friends? 

Having a clear vision will help you set realistic savings targets.

It is also super important that you and your spouse have some honest discussions to make sure that you are both on the same page when it comes to your retirement vision. 

If one of you envisages a lot of golf and the other beaches and pina coladas, some compromise is going to be needed.

Use the “50/30/20” rule:

Consider following the “50/30/20” rule when allocating your income. 

Allocate 50% for essential expenses (mortgage, bills, groceries), 30% for discretionary spending (dinners out, entertainment), and a healthy 20% for retirement savings. 

Remember, these numbers are flexible and can be adjusted based on your unique circumstances.

Leverage tax-efficient retirement accounts

In the UK, we have a range of tax-efficient retirement accounts, such as ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts), workplace pensions, and personal pensions. 

As expats, our options are often far more limited.

However, there are still some things that we can do to mitigate taxes. 

Also, don’t forget to check if your employer matches your savings or pension contributions. This is free money —grab it!

Set a savings target

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how much you should save for retirement, experts often recommend aiming for a retirement income that’s 70-80% of your pre-retirement salary. 

Crunch the numbers and estimate your target savings based on your desired retirement lifestyle and the age at which you plan to retire.

Embrace the power of compound interest:

Compound interest is your secret weapon! 

The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. 

So, whether retirement seems far away or incredibly close, make the most of it. 


Saving for retirement as an expat may seem daunting, it is certainly more complex than if you were still living in the UK.

However with a bit of determination and some sound financial advice, you can secure a comfortable future. 

Take a proactive approach, assess your current financial situation, set realistic goals, and make smart investment choices. 

Remember, retirement planning is a journey, and it’s never too early or too late to start. 

Every week, I send out a short email to British expats who are approaching or considering retirement.

I use it to answer common (and not-so-common) questions that they have about pensions and investments.

To receive it in your inbox, just enter your name and email address below.

*I promise that I won’t send you spam (I hate it too) and you can unsubscribe at any time.

About Ross

▪️Ross has been a financial adviser for the past 26 years.

▪️He specialises in working with British expats over age 50 who are looking to optimise their finances for retirement.

▪️He is qualified as a financial adviser both in the UK, as a Chartered Financial Planner®, and in the EU, as a European Financial Planner®.

▪️Ross has been an expat himself for 22 years and is married with 2 children.