What You Need to Know About Retiring Abroad
Are you thinking about retiring abroad? Here is what you need to consider before you go.
Retiring to sunnier shores has long since been only a dream and is instead a reality for many. It is not only the allure of sunshine that draws retirees abroad and into an exciting new phase of life: The cost of living, property prices, quality of life and health reasons are all factors regularly considered when deciding on retirement locations.
But while a move abroad might sound like a fairy tale, there are lots of practical matters to consider before making the decision. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know before retiring abroad.
It is very important that you have a realistic idea of the country you plan to move to. If you have dreamed of the sun-drenched paths of the French Riviera since you were a kid, the reality of living there may be somewhat different.
If possible, spend at least a few weeks in your desired destination before making a permanent decision. As our tastes change as we get older, you want to be sure that you will enjoy your new home in your retirement as much as you did for brief spells in your childhood.
It is also important to consider factors such as the climate, the availability of favourite activities, the average age group of your neighbours and the area’s walkability. The last thing you need is to move to your dream location and find you must walk up and down a steep hill in the scorching heat every day!
Research the culture and customs of your chosen destination. Do you speak the language? If not, it is highly recommended that you learn the basics before you move. Navigating directions, shops and restaurants when you first move will be much easier if you speak some of the local language. It will also help you to create relationships with those in your area.
Research and experience the customs of the area and think about if you can adapt to them. For example, many expats can be surprised to discover shops close in the afternoon or don’t open at all on a Sunday. Also, ensure that there is accessible transport and that you can tolerate the local cuisine.
3. Renting vs buying
As you may change your mind after a while, it is safer to rent for at least the first year. Consider the rental market of your chosen destination to make sure you fully understand what you are signing up for. It is wise to liaise with a legal professional before signing any rental contracts, especially if they are translated from a foreign language.
The healthcare you are entitled to will vary from country to country. It is important to learn about your health and welfare rights before you move. Depending on any arrangements between your current and future countries of residence, you may receive benefits from your home country, or you may be required to take out health insurance to cover private medical and dental treatment.
We highly recommend that you consult a tax expert before deciding on your country for retirement. A financial adviser will inform you of the different taxes and laws in your chosen country so you can avoid any unwelcome surprises, such as finding out you are legally required to pay tax in both your home country and your new place of residence.
Similarly, seek advice on the status of your pension in your chosen country. Make sure you will be able to access your pension once you live abroad. Depending on where you live, your state pension may freeze at the amount you currently get and will not increase unless you move back. Again, consult a financial adviser to discuss the best options for your pension.
6. Getting ready to go
When you have made your final decision and it is time to go, then you need to think about packing. Whether you are renting a storage unit or taking your belongings with you, you will need plenty of time to organise. Find a helper on Care.com who can help you with your packing and moving arrangements.
Although there are many factors to consider before making a permanent move, retiring abroad can be a wonderful opportunity to embark on an exciting and fulfilling new way of life.
This article provides a general overview of retiring abroad. Individuals planning on retiring abroad should seek expert financial and healthcare advice before making their decision.
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