Pros and Cons of Retiring Abroad (Part One)
As part of our retirement series we decided to go back to basics and find out what expats consider to be the highlights and lowlights of retiring abroad.
Some of the points might seem obvious, but others could surprise you!
In Part One we’ll be focusing on the pros, before tackling the cons in Part Two.
Change of Climate
One of the big draws for expats retiring overseas is the prospect of enjoying better weather then they were used to back home. For those who have spent their youth under the constant threat of rain, year round sunshine can be very appealing. Conversely, those who have never experienced snow may want to retire to a winter wonderland. Studies have shown that different climates affect our moods and our health, so moving somewhere with weather to suit your temperament can make retirement far pleasanter.
Lower cost of living
In years gone by people retired overseas in order to enjoy a more luxurious lifestyle for less, benefiting from a lower cost of living in their adopted nation. However, exchange rate movements and global economic developments have resulted in the cost of living climbing in popular expat destinations like France, Australia and Spain. That being said, in nations like Brazil, Morocco and Egypt the cost of living remains lower than in the UK, US and Europe. It’s also possible to take advantage of the different tax laws adopted in certain nations (e.g. Cyprus, Belize and Malaysia) and see significant savings.
This scheme, backed by the British government, allows expatriate retirees to move their pensions and so avoid having to buy an annuity with them. Under this initiative any residual pension value can be bequeathed in your will and you will be granted a greater degree of control over how you receive and spend your pension.
While the healthcare provided in your home nation might be free and of a reasonable standard, there are nations which are renowned for the quality of their medical facilities and treatments. If you suffer from illness or would like the security of knowing you will be well looked after during the aches and pains of old age, you may want to consider living abroad. Of course, if you plan to live overseas you will need to take out comprehensive medical insurance.
For many people, being able to spend more time with family and friends is one of the big pro-points of retirement, but in some cases the newfound freedom you worked so hard for can be swallowed up in caring for grandchildren, running errands for family members or trying to keep up with the social demands of friends. By moving overseas and having friends and family members stay with you on your terms you’ll be able to truly enjoy their company without hassle or resentment creeping in.
Learning new tricks
They say that nothing broadens the mind like travel, and in retirement you finally have the time to learn new skills and really enjoy all the cultural differences foreign nations have to offer. When you live abroad you have more incentive to use your golden years to learn a new language, practise cooking a new cuisine or enjoy a regional pursuit.