Are you starting to think seriously about your retirement options and wonder how it would feel to be sunning it up in Australia or perhaps looking out your window onto crisp white slopes? You’re not alone – moving abroad is a decision being made by an increasing number of individuals worldwide.
With the promise of an improved lifestyle, better weather, safer environment and lower cost of living in many places, it’s no surprise that retirees are packing up their bags and setting sail.
Thanks to the evolving internet, planning your move has never been so easy! No matter where the destination, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to advice guides, top tips and expat resources.
But how do we arrive at the decision of where to move to?
Unfortunately the decision process isn’t as simple as closing your eyes and placing a finger on the map. It’s important to think logically about the location and avoid being persuaded by the temperature and cuisine alone – though these of course will always be contributing factors!
Below are some things that might be useful to consider when deciding on a new country to call home:
Distance – whilst jetting off to the opposite ends of the earth might seem appealing in the initial stages, it can be a different story once you arrive. Whilst we can never predict the future and foresee how well we will settle in to a new place, it’s always worth thinking about the move abroad with a clear and sensible head. If you have grandchildren for example then an increased distance might enhance the likeliness of homesickness – a very real thing (read this helpful article to learn some tips on reducing homesickness).
Time difference – this may or may not be of importance to you depending on your commitments back home. But if you dabble in property for example (i.e. you have one or several properties on the rental market back home) then you will need to be available at the other end of the phone in case of emergencies. And whilst three hours difference may not be an issue, a time difference that starts to creep into the double digits might be!
Cost of living – you might think that heading for the Swiss Alps for example would be a dream come true – and I’m not denying it wouldn’t be! But with Switzerland being rated as the most expensive place to live in 2015, would a pension-funded life out there be sustainable in the long-term? Cost of living is always worth considering – to find out more, check out this cost of living index which demonstrates how countries compare on a global scale.
Local customs/laws – it’s crucial to be aware of the local laws, traditions, customs and religion of a country – and to respect these at all times. For example, alcohol consumption may be a normal part of life for you but in some countries, being drunk in public is a punishable (and prisonable) offence. Know the rules and if you don’t think you’ll be able to stick to them then perhaps said country isn’t the one for you.
Healthcare – there are countries whereby uninsured expats are routinely turned away at the airport. It’s perhaps surprising then to know that nearly two-thirds of expats are risking life overseas without being sufficiently insured. Don’t let yourself get caught out – research the standard of healthcare in the country, get yourself adequately covered and let all your worries melt away!
Once you’ve exhausted the research and comfortably decided on your home for the next few years, then it’s time to start planning the move! This means thinking about things like shipping and setting up a bank account. For more information on what to consider before your big move, check out this infographic.