Is there a catch to the expat retirement dream

Is there a catch to the expat retirement dream

Is there a catch to the expat retirement dream

The world is full of places just waiting for expats to arrive and change their lives for the better.

Dreams of living in a land where the sun shines every day draw literally millions of would-be expats to create new lives, but it seems that taking the plunge simply to save money on essentials might be the cause of the dream turning to a nightmare. The reason is the huge gap between life in the home country and life in a totally different and often scarily unfamiliar culture. Everyday life in first world states such as the USA, the UK and most EU member states is, above all, predictable, and life in most of the rest of the world quite simply isn’t.

Leaving your expectations at the border and learning how the new culture will affect your new life is the first rule of becoming a successful expat, whether you’re moving overseas for retirement or because you’re simply dissatisfied with your home country. Control freaks are the first at risk of becoming failed expats as they can’t accept that time has a different meaning in most overseas expat hubs. Those who thrive once they’ve emigrated usually have certain things in common, with those who resist change unlikely to be happy.

Two senses help new arrivals through the early days of total unfamiliarity – a sense of humour and a sense of adventure, both of which need an open mind to thrive. Laughter is the best medicine for dealing with the new and unexpected, and those afraid of change would be better staying in their home country. Taking the family with you can lead to massive problems unless spouses and children are at least willing to judge the experience fairly, with a family holiday in your preferred expat hub a good way to smooth the emigration path itself.

Having a re-entry plan sitting on your back burner just in case things truly don’t work out is a sensible idea, even if relocation back home doesn’t take place for a number of years. Many expat retirees accept they’ll have to go back much later in their lives in order to reconnect with family and friends as well as to get much-needed care. Renting out rather than selling your home or even putting aside an amount of cash to fund your eventual return are two ways of dealing with the uncertainty of growing old.

Successful expats always have a purpose in life, even if it’s just learning a new language and fitting in with the locals. Complaining expats are found all over expatriate forums, with their bar-stool messages displaying their lack of adaptation and integration. The expats who’ve embraced their new communities by volunteering, teaching and befriending the local community are the ones who’ve become successful by being motivated to make the transition work.

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