Planning for a successful expat retirement overseas

Planning for a successful expat retirement overseas

Planning for a successful expat retirement overseas

Retiring overseas can be challenging, scary, invigorating, fascinating and fun – often all at once until you’ve got used to your new environment.

Whether you’re opting for the day-long sunshine and perfect beaches in your much-loved European holiday destination or the challenge of a totally new Asian experience, retiring abroad as an expat is a fresh start in so many ways. Whatever your dream, making sure it comes true involves making the right decisions, especially about financial, property and healthcare issues. Retirement presents the chance of a change in lifestyle, one in which your priorities and needs are completely different.

Housing is, perhaps, the first consideration, in that, as a couple, your property needs have changed from the necessities of family life to your own personal preference. Even if you’re single, you may find you don’t want to spend your time tidying and cleaning a larger property than you actually need. Selling up and purchasing overseas can make a deal of sense, as you’ll get a lot more for your money in most popular retirement destinations.

Running costs will almost invariably be cheaper than in your home country, leaving more cash for a comfortable, stress free life. Bargain basement destinations include Portugal, Greece, France, Spain and even Bulgaria, with Southeast Asia perhaps the cheapest of all. You’ll need to keep an eye on the sterling exchange rate, especially with Brexit looming, but selling your £250,000 UK property could get you a smaller home and a large amount of change!

If you’re transferring a pension overseas, forward contracts can lock in exchange rates for a maximum period of two years, useful in this time of geopolitical uncertainty. If you’re deserting the USA, a careful look at the IRS website will give you an idea of your ongoing tax liabilities, and UK retirees should check tax matters such as non-domiciled and non-resident status against keeping a foot in the UK door. Planning ahead for your best options is essential.

Heading for an overseas retirement means heading for a completely new quality of life with less pressure and more enjoyment, especially if you’ve chosen a sunny location. Forget Seasonal Affective Disorder and grey skies – exercise in a warm, natural environment can do wonders for your health as well as helping you settle into your new environment.

Checking out your preferred destination’s healthcare options as regards quality, efficiency and charges before you leave will allow you decide whether you need expensive private health insurance. For example, Southeast Asian countries advertising themselves as medical tourism hubs are often very expensive, have far fewer English-speaking staff and provide fewer facilities than in other nearby countries.

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