I have a bit of an unusual work lifestyle. I'm constantly moving between countries. I've been living and working so far in Brazil, Germany, Czech Republic, the UK, Canada and now I'm moving to Singapore.

I will most likely not stop there. I'm 37 years old and I'm starting to get worried about what will be with my retirement fund. I paid taxes and national insurances, which would cover for my retirement, in all those countries.

How can I possibly use, retrieve or move those funds around and to where (if I have no clue yet where I will settle down), so I have a guarantee that I'll have some fund when I go into retirement?

I have German and Brazilian citizenship, so I was wondering maybe I could set a retirement plan in one of those countries… Anyone with the same issue?

Could you recommend a specialist?

I don't even know who I could ask.

  • Related: expatriates.stackexchange.com/q/12/6
    – gerrit
    Jul 23, 2014 at 21:15
  • 2
    National insurance in many countries only pays to its residents, regardless of who contributed. In many countries foreigners are required to pay into government programs, but not entitled to benefits. You really need to learn about each and every program you paid into.
    – littleadv
    Jul 24, 2014 at 5:35
  • 4
    In the EU (so that would cover Germany, the Czech Republic and the UK), there are ways to consolidate pension claims once you reach retirement age (it does not always make sense to think of these as a “fund” you could move or retrieve). See also expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/985/…
    – Gala
    Jul 25, 2014 at 7:31
  • For the work done in the EU countries here you can find the basic principles for the pension ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=860&langId=en
    – Matteo
    Aug 20, 2014 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


For public pensions/retirement, this is heavily country dependent. As I understand it, it tends to come down to two concepts:

1 - If you have worked in countries that have Totalization Agreements, they tend to do the following: a) You can count most if not all of your service across all of the countries toward your minimum credits/years of work to get yourself qualified for payments b) pay a pro-rated retirement assuming you meet all requirements (generally in the form of credits and minimum contributions)

2 - If you worked in countries without totalization agreements you have to qualify for the pension based solely on your work in country and following their rules. This generally means you will get nothing unless you worked there for a long time.

If you are really concerned, begin researching the status of totalization agreements between the countries you have worked in.

I am not aware of many countries, though there are some, that will let you transfer the money you paid in, out. Again, it is country-dependent.

For private retirement, you should be free to do anything you want. In your situation, private retirement is something you should probably not consider optional.

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