Retiring Abroad: A Bad Idea?


Retiring Abroad: A Bad Idea?

I’m starting to wonder whether we Brits have got this retiring abroad lark wrong.

It seems to me that we are one of the few nations that go and live abroad full time when we retire. Sure, a lot of other nations include living abroad as part of their retirement plans, but they are often more likely to be splitting their time between two countries, spending months in a long established holiday home, with set routines, favourite bars and restaurants, amongst locals and fellow expats that they have known for years.

Of course other nationalities also happily go and live abroad full time, but it seems to me that they are more likely to do this when they are younger, moving overseas to earn money, further a career, develop their language skills etc

In Spain roughly 87% of the population say they plan to retire in Spain, whereas around 55% of Brits claim they would retire abroad if they got the opportunity.

Now, I have yet to retire (full time) but I’m pretty sure that retirement has the potential to be a stressful and difficult period of your life. Gone are the crutches of work which keep you occupied literally, intellectually and socially. There are no more pay rises to look forward to (especially if your pension is fixed at the rate at which you left the UK), no more expenses to claim or bonuses to perk up your year.

Furthermore, being thrown together with your nearest and dearest day in and day out for the first time ever (except for family holidays) is no doubt a shock to many. Tasks and hobbies that were hard to cram into a busy weekend just don’t require a whole week, and be honest: how many shelves do you really need to put up?

Personally I can’t see the sense in moving lock stock and barrel to another country when you retire. Let’s face it, chances are that you are going to have to learn or adapt to a new language, a new culture, new food, new friends, and find something to do with all the extra time on your hands. Surely adapting to being retired is hard enough without throwing in all these other challenges?

While retiring abroad works out for a great many people it isn’t a decision which should be taken lightly. Make sure you do your research, think things through and have a contingency plan in place just in case the worst should happen.

Chris Marshall
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Chris has lived and worked in the UK, USA and Spain before settling down in Almerimar, Spain in 2003, where he spends his time time running Almerimar Life, writing on a freelance basis for a number of papers and clients blogs, broadcasting regularly on a number of radio stations and along Sands running ALStrays - a cat re-homing and transport project he set up with his wife, which also transports dogs to the UK and throughout Europe