In today’s global climate, where technology makes living overseas much more straightforward than it once was and country borders are no longer so difficult to cross, more and more people are contemplating packing their bags and retiring overseas. If you’re such an individual, there may be a number of things that you wish to consider before selling your worldly goods and jumping on the next available flight. Here are five questions you should ask when contemplating retiring overseas.
1) Which countries can you realistically retire to?
While it would be fantastic to pick the destination of your dreams and head straight over there to live out your retirement years in blissful happiness, you need to be realistic about the places that you can actually retire to. Even if you have visited somewhere on vacation and had an amazing time, it may not necessarily be a suitable destination for you to reside in on a long-term basis. Make sure you do plenty of homework about each of the countries you are contemplating moving to and ask the following questions:
- Do you actually have a right to retire there? What are the visa requirements and will you be able to meet them?
- What will day-to-day life in the destination actually be like? Are you happy to settle in a perpetual tourist haunt or are you looking for a quieter life?
- Will you need language skills? How realistic is it that you will be capable of learning sufficient items of vocabulary to comfortably live in your target destination?
2) Will the healthcare provisions meet your needs?
Depending on the current state of your health, you will need to carefully consider the healthcare on offer in your chosen destination and evaluate whether it will meet your needs over a long-term basis. Key considerations will be the cost of high-quality health services, how readily accessible they are, whether any medication/care you need on a regular basis will be available in the host country, the cost of appropriate medical insurance, and whether or not suitable insurers will be available to cover someone of your profile in your target destination.
3) How often will you be able to see your family?
One of the hardest elements of moving overseas can be leaving behind your friends and family. While easy, carefree living in the sun may sound like the adventure of your dreams, it may soon lose its appeal when you find yourself missing the people you love. Make sure you seriously consider how you will cope without friends and family close at hand and carefully plan the practicalities associated with being able to see them on a regular basis, e.g. cost of flights home, whether you can afford to rent/buy a property with a spare room to accommodate visitors and the time difference between your host and home countries.
4) Can you actually afford to retire abroad?
Many people choose overseas retirement because they are aware that the cost of living in a given country is often a fraction of that they face at home. The cost of living is undoubtedly very important, especially when you are living on a limited pension. However, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration. These include the following: Cost of healthcare in your host country.
- Can you afford to pay insurance over a long period of time?
- How will living overseas for a period of time affect your entitlement for social services in your home country should you wish to return?
- How stable is the financial landscape in your target host country? Things may be cheap now, how viable is it that they will stay that way?
- Are there any currency risks associated with your host country? If your pension or investments are paid in a different currency to the one in use in the country in which you live, you run the risk that your savings may be devalued over a period of time.
5) How easy will it be to form a social group?
One of the keys to successful retirement overseas is the formation of a strong social group and a sense of belonging. Carefully consider how easy it will be for you to integrate in your host country. You may want to consider:
- How popular is it as a retirement destination? Will there be opportunities to mix with other retirees?
- How will you make friends and meet people? Are there plenty of social opportunities on offer?
- Will you need to learn the local language?
Retiring abroad can truly represent the start of life’s adventure as opposed to its end—just make sure you carefully research all the options before you dive in.