For more and more people the dream of retiring abroad is becoming a reality. Retiring to a place in the sun is now affordable for many people with Spain, France and Cyprus among the most popular destinations.
If you are deciding to retire abroad, whether it’s to be near family, for health or financial reasons, there are many important factors you should take into consideration. It’s not only about being able to find an area or villa you like, but what about local planning permission, local laws, and importantly are your finances in order before you leave so you are able to enjoy your retirement without having to worry about money problems?
- Why do you want to move abroad?
- Will you live abroad permanently, or just for part of the year?Will you rent a property abroad or buy?
- Can you afford to live abroad?
- How would it affect you being so far away from friends and family?
- What will the cost of living be like?
- Will you have any future income-pensions etc?
- Will you still be entitled to benefits that you receive in the UK?
- What is the cost of property, and the cost of its maintenance and upkeep?
- Would the exchange rate mean you have considerably less money than you thought you had?
- Will you be able to cope with cultural differences, like language?
- If you are going with a partner, are you both committed to making the move?
- How would you cope if you or your partner became ill?
You should make a will before you go to live abroad, as different countries have different laws regarding dying without leaving a will, and it could mean your heirs having trouble claiming what is theirs. It may be worthwhile seeking legal advice on this point before making your decision.
If you receive benefits here, they may not all be available to you when you move. Your State pension should remain unaffected, but other benefits like war pensions, carer allowance, housing benefits, incapacity benefit may not be available, or may be taxed at a higher rate. It’s important you know just what you are going to be entitled to, as this could seriously affect your current and future income. You can find out just what you are entitled to by contacting your local Inland Revenue office or a group like Age Concern who will give you leaflets and advice on your entitlements.
These are all questions you should ask yourself before making a decision on moving permanently. There are a lot of things to take into consideration and it’s a good idea to go for an extended period of maybe 6 months or so, to see how you cope with living abroad, before making a permanent move.
Do Your Research
Once you have made a decision on which country you are going to retire to, you should try and find out as much about it as possible and what day to day life there is like. As a resident you will have different needs than those of a holiday maker.
- If you know someone who has decided to live there contact them and ask them what it’s like.
- Visit the country of your choice at different times of the year and see what the weather is like. Is it going to be permanently hot-will this be unacceptable for you and your needs? Will there be heavy snowfall in winter which may cut off your home for days, or weeks at a time?
- Will you be able to communicate well enough to get by on a day-to-day basis. Buying food, talking to local workmen, so they are aware of your requirements?
- Are there good public transport links in the area you are going to move to -if not, how will you get around?
Learn the Language
Learning the language is a great help to settling in. You will feel less isolated or lonely, if you can communicate with the local community. It can make daily tasks like visiting the doctor, taking public transport and shopping a lot easier.