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It seems that increasing numbers of us are taking the decision to retire abroad. There are myriad reasons to take this big step at a time of life when many people are winding down and opting for the quiet life. Some retirees are driven by a desire for adventure and/or a thirst to experience a new culture or learn a new language. Others travel abroad in search of a milder climate or a lower cost of living. Whatever your reasons for wanting to move abroad, deciding where to emigrate to is not a decision to take lightly and you should consider it very carefully before taking the plunge.
Here are just some of the factors to take into account when deciding where you will spend your golden years:
You may desire a change of climate for health reasons or simply because you are a sun-bunny and want to live somewhere hot. Make sure you are well informed on climate as weather charts can be misleading. Temperatures alone may not show you how humid a country is for example.
Many retirees go for the easy option and retire to a country where English is widely spoken. If you are opting for a place where many of the natives don’t speak English, be prepared to put in some seriously hard work to be able to effectively communicate. It can be very isolating to live in a country where few speak your native tongue and don’t forget that as you get older, your brain does sadly slow down and it becomes harder to absorb new information. If you have the right attitude you will get there but be prepared to put in the hours and be patient as fluency won’t happen overnight.
Many countries can be inexpensive to live in but research is absolutely key here. When deciding where to go you need to thoroughly research the cost of housing, food, utilities and transport to ensure that you really will be able to afford the lifestyle you are after. There are few things more miserable than struggling financially in a foreign country with your nearest and dearest miles away. Websites like Numbeo can help you get to grips with figures, although nothing beats actually visiting your country of choice and seeing for yourself how far your money will go.
Unfortunately, as your body ages it will inevitably need more medical attention so reasearching healthcare is crucial. You need to ensure that wherever you are going, you have access to modern medical treatments and at a price you can afford. This will probably entail taking out a comprehensive private healthcare policy to ensure you are not vulnerable to unforeseen medical costs and don’t have to forego important treatment because you cannot afford it.
Wherever you decide to go, you will of course be leaving behind friends and family. Being able to get back to visit them, or them being able to visit you without breaking the bank can be an important deciding factor for many on where to relocate. Asia is great and easily accessible for Australian expats but less so for Americans.
For many emigrees it can be comforting to know that a thriving expat community exists wherever you are going. However adventurous you are, sometimes it is nice to socialise with those who have the same cultural references as you in your own language. Other expats will have been through the same experiences as you and will be able to advise on simple matters such as the best doctors, where to get hold of those home comforts and the best place to go to buy anything from a washing machine to bed linen.
Retiring abroad can be an extremely rewarding experience and open up exciting new doors at a time when you are free from the responsibility of work and children. Thorough research will avoid you making a decision that you will regret.
If you are considering a move to Asia and would like some financial guidance, do get in touch with one of our professional advisors who would be happy to help make your move abroad as financially smooth as possible.