Adjusting as a retiree to the new expat demographic

 Adjusting as a retiree to the new expat demographic

Adjusting as a retiree to the new expat demographic

Of all the expat sectors whose members are roaming the world nowadays, perhaps the most devoted to expat communities are the retirees.

One thing’s for certain, for those looking to retire overseas the local expat community is an essential rather than an option. In the majority of popular retirement destinations, the groups are more likely to be multinational than not and also more likely to be composed of older expatriate couples or single men whose main emigration requirement was the affordability of the chosen location. Also, there’s been a a sea change as regards the average age of expats in specific regions, as the majority of those moving from country to country are far younger than in past times.

The average expat community contains four separate elements – the long-stayers, the newbies, the leavers and those who stay but spend their time complaining about almost every aspect of expat life. One of the most vociferous complaints seems to centre around transitory young expats working as English teachers in just about every world country with a relatively convenient visa programme, as well as schools happy to issue annual contracts.

What elderly expats don’t seem to realise is that both retirees and working expats are facing identical challenges in adjusting to new cultures, learning an unfamiliar, often tricky language and meeting like-minded individuals who might just become friends if they don’t leave first. As a result, relationships between the four types of expat are eventually problematic and often don’t evolve into serious friendships.

On the positive side, older expats in mostly retirement-based communities can give valuable help to new arrivals as regards learning the ropes of their new location. In return, newly arrived, younger expats can share their wonder at their new home base, perhaps resulting in a re-evaluation by retirees who’ve simply been in one place too long to be able to rationalise their dissatisfaction about changes in comparison with their home countries.

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