Maybe the end?
A long time ago I started looking at the UK state pension. I then had a series of frustrating exchanges with the pension office in the UK. The UK civil service really makes you appreciate the Japanese one ;)
Finally I received a letter yesterday. Almost a year after starting the process, it seems like they will start taking money from my account (Direct Debit) for voluntary class three contributions.
It was a terrible letter, by the way. They managed to tell me when the Direct Debit would start (November 17th), and how much they would take out (441.74 pounds for April to November) but otherwise it's a standard form letter that talks about class two and class three contributions. It's quite confusing.
So maybe I can put this one to bed. I'll need to confirm that they are taking the money out of my account regularly, and that the contributions are showing up in my online pension record, but otherwise that should be the end of it.
And the reason I ended up jumping through hoops for a year? The UK pension voluntary contributions are relatively low (just under 60 pounds a month for class 3, or around 12 pounds a month for the amazing deal that is class 2), the pension is currently more generous than kokumin nenkin, you can claim it anywhere in the world, and it's basically a cheap annuity that diversifies my future income.
It's also not going to be tracked and taxed as an investment, something that might become more valuable in the future.
How about you? Any luck with the UK state pension? Are there any other countries that offer voluntary pension contributions for non-residents?