Monday 4th June 2012

choosing where in the world to retire

Many people are quick to recognize that retiring overseas can offer a great opportunity to get more out of life and achieving a standard of living that is not readily on offer in their home country. However, choosing where in the world to retire to can be an extremely challenging decision and is by no means an easy task. Those who are fortunate to choose a retirement destination that is right for them will spend their later lives living a life of contentment; those who do not choose wisely may find that the retirement they dreamed of rapidly becomes a living nightmare. There are several things that you should consider when selecting a retirement destination. Here is our lowdown on some of the factors that you should carefully scrutinize.



1) Taxes

The famous saying tells us that the only thing that is certain in life is death and taxes and unfortunately taxes do not simply stop just because you have retired. When selecting a retirement destination you should examine all the taxes associated with living in that area and how they will impact you financially.


2) Climate

One of the top reasons why many people choose to retire overseas is due to the fact that they are seeking a climate that is more favorable than that of their home country. However, before taking the plunge and relocating, you should always ensure that you truly understand what the climate in your target country is really like. Make sure you aren't caught unawares by a country that turns out to be unbearably hot or cold at times, or which frequently suffers from natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes or hurricanes.


3) Work and recreation opportunities

Just because you are retiring does not necessarily mean that you want to spend the rest of your life sitting around doing absolutely nothing. Before moving abroad make sure that you understand what rights you will have for working in your target destination. If you are planning on spending your retirement years helping others then you may want to find out whether your retirement visa will permit you to participate in volunteer work and what the limitations of your stay are.


4) Cost of living

It may seem obvious, but so many people still continue to fail to adequately assess the cost of living in their host country. While a given location may seem incredibly cheap on paper, what will the true cost of living for the lifestyle that you want really look like. Local foods, for example, may be low cost, but if you are expecting to eat the type of foods that you have become accustomed to in your home country, what costs can you expect to face? Can you afford the lifestyle you want in the country in which you want to live?


5) Healthcare

The cost and quality of healthcare on offer in your target destination should be one of your biggest considerations. It is a sad fact of life that the older the get the more likely we will need medical intervention on a regular basis. Make sure that you fully research and understand the quality and price of the care that will be available to you and don’t just assume that because a country offers free healthcare that this will cover all of your medical needs. In many nations emergency care may be free, but a consultation with a consultant may need to be funded. In such situations you may need private health insurance and should check in advance that you will have access to it and will be able to afford it.


6) Ease of traveling home

While you may be dreaming of escape there will be times when you will wish to return home and this will be especially true if you have family in your home country. When selecting a retirement destination make sure you factor travel expenses and time into your plans.


7) Security and safety

Just because a given location has a wonderful climate, beautiful scenery and a low cost of living does not mean that it is the perfect place to retire. Make sure you carefully consider how safe it will be for you to actually live there. Check out factors such as the crime rate and political situation and ensure that you rule out any locations that could pose a threat to your personal security and safety.


8) Currency

Currency fluctuations are most certainly beyond your control. However, if you are planning on retiring overseas you need to consider the impact that such fluctuations may have on your ability to survive financially. While you may not know how the relative value of your wealth may change over the forthcoming years, some currencies are more risky than others and you should look into what risks you may face and how you can manage them.


9) Standard of living

It isn’t just the cost of living that you need to research in advance of choosing a retirement destination. You should also look into what day to day life in the host country would actually be like. Factors such as transport links, infrastructure, access to healthcare, shopping facilities and reliability of electric and gas services should all be assessed. Most crucial of all will be your ability to survive in a country that is very different to your own. If you are not the type of person who would cope well with regular power cuts, for example, you may wish to narrow your search to the more developed countries in the world or you may just find yourself getting frustrated and annoyed.


10) Ease of integration

Some countries are more welcoming to foreigners and retirees than others. Many have very established expat retiree communities that will be happy to meet you and welcome you into their fold. Many other countries may not be as popular with expat retirees and/or may present major language difficulties that impede your ability to integrate.

As with all major life-changing decisions, choosing where in the world to retire is not something that you should do on a whim. Many retirees make disastrous decisions when choosing where to live because they don't do sufficient research or carefully consider their options, make sure you are not one of them.

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