Thursday, October 27th, 2011
Buying a villa in the South of Spain and moving there to retire is a dream for many. And while moving abroad for retirement is not as easy as many of the TV shows and magazines make it out to be, if you stay realistic and make the right preparations, you can make your dream a reality. Living abroad gives you the opportunity to enjoy a different lifestyle from the one in Britain, whether it’s enjoying the beach all day in a Spanish village, or running a small farm in Greece.
More and more Britons are saying goodbye to Britain’s grey climate and rising living costs to settle down abroad. Some of the main reasons so many people are retiring abroad include lower living costs, cheaper property prices, a sunnier climate and a more relaxed lifestyle. UK citizens can move freely between European countries, and budget airlines have made travelling across the continent affordable for most.
Experts predict that one in five pensioners will decide to spend their retirement years abroad by 2050. Planning your move and staying realistic is crucial for a successful relocation, so we’ve put together this list of the most important points you should consider.
Although living costs
are lower in many other countries than in the UK, your retirement income might also be lower than the wage you earned while you were still working. Making detailed financial plans is thus essential.
You should make sure that you know more or less how much money to expect as regular income. You will most probably be eligible for the UK state pension, and will be able to claim this money if you are living in an EU country or in one with which the UK has a reciprocal agreement. You should get a forecast of your state pension while you’re still in the planning stage. If you have a private or occupational pension fund, this will also form part of your retirement income. You will be able to receive this money wherever you are in the world, but make sure to check with your pension provider and to make the necessary arrangement before you leave.
Keeping in good health will allow you to enjoy your retirement years to their fullest, it is thus essential to make sure that you’ll be able to access good quality health care in your destination country.
Many countries have a national health service, which might be available to foreign residents. If you are not sure about the quality of the public health care service, it is also advisable to look at private insurance. The cost of this will vary from country to country and should be on your mind when choosing the perfect retirement destination. Health care costs on the whole are relatively low in Europe, while paying for private health insurance in the USA will be prohibitively expensive for many.
Buying a Property Abroad
Most expats retiring abroad plan to buy a property to live in. This is often the cheaper option, especially with relatively low property prices in many countries.
Before buying a property you should first visit the area and speak to other expats to get a better understanding of what it’s like. Easy access to transportation, shopping and medical facilities, and opportunities to socialise with the local community are also important factors. Make sure that you are aware of the local regulations and property taxes.
Where to Move?
Research shows that more than half of Britons have plans to move somewhere where they’ve never even been. Base your decision on your personal experience, visit your preferred country or countries repeatedly, find out as much about their culture, language and the way of life as you possibly can. Settling down abroad and getting used to an altogether different culture in your late 50s or early 60s might not be as easy as it could have been when you were younger, but you’ll find it much easier if you move to a country you can genuinely enjoy.
If you’ve done your research, remain realistic, have an open mind, and the initiative to become part of your new community, you will certainly enjoy your retirement abroad, no matter where you eventually end up.