Ben Shearon on RetireJapan, helping people living in Japan learn more about personal finance, investing, readying for retirement


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Hi Blog.  Introducing a valuable project by a friend up in Sendai.  I’ve known him for well over a decade and he is on the level, one of the most trustworthy people I’ve met in Japan.  I am pleased to give you more information here on one of his projects.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito


Greetings Readers! I’d like to thank our host for being kind enough to agree to let me introduce my website and community here.

Ben Shearon

My name is Ben Shearon, and I’ve been living in Japan for fifteen and a half years working as an English teacher. A few years ago I became interested in personal finance, and in December 2013 I started a website called RetireJapan.

RetireJapan logo

RetireJapan exists in order to help people living in Japan learn more about personal finance, investing, and getting ready for retirement in English.

Personal finance can seem complex and intimidating, and there are a lot of companies that would love to take your money. The only way to make good choices is to learn as much as you can.

RetireJapan includes information about Japan-specific resources, including NISA tax-sheltered investing accounts, kyoshutsu nenkin ‘J401k’ accounts, and the national pension scheme, as well as more general personal finance topics such as how to find money to save and what to do with it once you have some.

As well as the website and blog I also conduct seminars and workshops around Japan. Check out the site and get in touch if you would like me to speak to your group. You can also send me questions via the site.

Sincerely yours, Ben Shearon


RetireJapan link to:

5 comments on “Ben Shearon on RetireJapan, helping people living in Japan learn more about personal finance, investing, readying for retirement

  • What is interesting is, normally pension investing pitched to foreigners in Japan is offered as:


    national pension (or employer pension if you have an honest Japanese employer)


    some private scheme.

    The website above provides information about both, but still presents the topic somewhat as a choice.

  • Hi Hoofin (long time!)

    I miss your writings on the pension system here. I would like to clarify, though, that I don’t view this as a choice between state pension vs. private pension. My default is that individuals are going to have to take responsibility for themselves. They may have a small state pension, but it is unlikely to meet their needs (particularly if they have not optimized their spending). I believe that everyone should be paying into the state pension and should take additional steps to prepare for a comfortable future.

    I haven’t found a private scheme I would recommend other than general investing in the stock market/a business/property, etc (still looking though).

    So the focus is on personal finance first (a la Your Money or Your Life), then investing, then living well. It took me a long time to realize I had the option of saving and becoming financially independent, and I think the mental breakthrough is the most important (and most difficult) step.

    I hope you will come and hang out on RetireJapan. People need a break from my amateur ramblings!

  • Ben Shearon,

    Unfortunately the info on inheritance is no longer correct. Foreigners and their heirs have to pay inheritance tax just like a Japanese citizen. This is applied on domestic as well as global assets.

  • Ben, you’re right, the mental breakthrough to realize one can become financially independent is probably the most difficult step. But I think we’ll all agree that Japan adds additional bumps in the road, in particular for foreigners. The local stock market hasn’t been doing good for decades, which trumps a lot of the “default” recommendations from books such as your money or your life. Someone investing heavily in the JP stock market is probably not on a right track to financial independence. Yet many books recommend to have a huge share of stock in the “local” stock…


  • Hi Blimp

    Don’t believe I have covered inheritance tax yet (don’t know much about it). I did write about wills though, and as far as I know foreign nationals are not dealt with according to Japanese law, but rather the law in their ‘home country’. This is to determine the distribution of assets.

    I assume tax owed on those assets would be determined by the tax authorities in the appropriate jurisdiction.

    But this means it is extremely important to have a valid will to minimize bureaucratic headaches for your heirs.


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