New retirees increasingly consider emigrating, relocating abroad, and settling overseas for various reasons. Recent years have seen a slew of research exploring this trend, with the most recent coming out of the United Kingdom and showing that 67% of retirees there had firm plans to do so.
This ’10 top tip’ guide on ‘How to Retire Abroad’ should make your planning and decision-making that much simpler if you, too, are examining your alternatives and wondering whether you could have a better, more inexpensive cost of living in a lower cost country with a more pleasant climate when you retire.
1) Know how much money you will have to spend in retirement and if that is enough to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in your home country. If you answered no, you might consider delaying retirement or retiring to a nation with reduced living expenses.
2) If you know that you want to leave the country, consider which countries would make you the happiest. Recent research from the United Kingdom found that 24% of respondents who planned to retire abroad had their sights set on a country they had never visited. It would be best if you didn’t begin preparing for your new life abroad without familiarity with the country you’ll be going to.
Three) Make as many trips as possible to your dream country in the years running up to retirement. Visit several periods of the year to understand summer temperatures and winter precipitation. This will be useful while looking for lodging, as even in Mediterranean countries with sweltering summers, winters can be cool enough for retirees to require pad with central heating.
Your health now and in the future should be a significant concern. Even though you’re probably relieved to be out of the country with the debilitating healthcare prices, you may be concerned about whether or not you’ll be able to afford medical treatment in your new home. Is access to appropriate specialty care guaranteed in your nation of choice? Investigate your options for expatriate health insurance and accompanying costs, and factor them into your overall budget and your regular living expenses.
Five) Consider those closest to you. If you up and leave the country, how will they manage? When grandparents relocate far away from their grandkids, it can be challenging for everyone involved. So, if you know for a fact that you won’t miss them too much if you only see them a handful of times a year, you should at least plan for two things: 1) the cost of flying back occasionally and 2) enough room in your new house for a guest or two.
Six) Set up a safety net as quickly as possible. You’ll have to try to network once you’ve settled in your new country. You should discover who is a dependable tradesperson and who you should avoid so that you have someone to call for advice if anything goes wrong. Making friends early on in your new location will make adjusting much simpler and more pleasurable.
7) Don’t be swept away by the allure of ex-pat life without first considering the wisdom of uprooting your life at an age when most people are expecting you to settle down and doing so without a solid plan in place. Moving overseas is exciting, but it’s not a walk in the park, and those who assume otherwise are in for a rude awakening.
8) Before you leave, check online to see if there are any communities or forums where expatriates congregate, and you may talk to people who have made the same move. If you can, speaking to current or former expats is a good idea to get a feel for the experience. You need to hear it from others, and you need to hear about how they fight through bad sentiments and learn to accept their new status as ex-pat. Reading in an article that there will be days when you wonder, “Oh goodness, what have I done” is all very well.
Keep in mind that no matter where you go, you will still be dealing with your issues. Remember that just because you retire abroad doesn’t mean you’ll feel better emotionally if you’re considering doing so because you’re bored with your current life, unhappy, or just generally unsatisfied with things. If you plan on moving abroad because of practical considerations, that’s great; if you need to get away from something, maybe you should consider working through those feelings first.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that cutting ties with people is never a good idea. It’s easy to let off steam in the wrong direction when you’re stressed and excited about moving abroad, but remember that you might want to return home someday. When you finally come home, telling everyone in your hometown what you’ve been thinking about them for years might make things awkward and embarrassing for you. You only have one family, and no matter how unpleasant or demanding they can be, you may need their help or support one day, so don’t cut connections with them just because you’re starting a new chapter in your life.
Visit Rhiannon Williamson’s site to learn more about ex-pat life and how to make a new life for yourself overseas.