Making the choice to retire in a country abroad is a significant life decision filled with a large number of details before leaving the home country. Many would-be expats find that once they start researching an international retirement that the sheer number of details and logistics planning involved make the effort not worthwhile. A common thread amongst those who have succeeded is making a practical plan in advance of both retiring and moving overseas.
Choosing the Retirement Destination
The first task to complete is picking the country of residence for retirement. Most expats will advise that the individual(s) should live in the targeted country beyond a weekend’s worth of time before making the move to retire there. Factors to include when choosing a country include the relative cost of living, distance from your home country (if you intend on traveling there during your stay), existing expat communities, and your personal enjoyment of the area. You will also want to take into account other factors for the cities and neighborhoods under consideration such as the crime rate, local economy, availability of heath care, and the quality of the available real estate.
Determining Your Financial Requirements
You will need to make sure that your planned retirement income is sufficient to cover both the expected and unexpected bills that will arise. Housing costs, groceries, phone bills, insurance, and paying required taxes for the new country need to be taken into account. Many times, expats will be of the mistaken belief that a previous trip abroad to a country is truly indicative of the daily cost of living while living permanently in the country. A final factor to weigh heavily when looking at a potential retirement destination overseas is the proximity to and cost of quality medical care. The best retirement community in the world can quickly become too expensive if you have to expend a significant amount of money traveling to receive high quality medical care.
Find Existing Expat Communities
Relocating to an existing community of expats will help both individuals and families make the transition to international retirement. Many retirees make the mistake of not taking into account that they will initially make friends with in their new country in retirement. When this occurs, a feeling of homesickness can result in retirees deciding to move back home. An existing expat community can also help make the transition to living abroad easier by explaining the small details required to arrange home services and how to find things to do in the new home.
Plan How to Keep in Touch
Keeping in touch with friends and family that remain home while the retiree moves abroad is another key to a happy and successful retirement. In past years, the primary tool retirees had for communication was long distance phone calls. Although efficient, the cost for calling long distance can be high depending on the service used and country being called. More recently, expats have begun to rely on the use of voice over IP technology to make free or low cost calls. Not only is the cost much less than using the standard telephone, but many Internet-based communication services also include video chat capability such as Skype or Google chat. Ensuring family members that you want to communicate with while overseas have the required technology is a must as well. Creating a routine to always talk or chat at the same time of the week or month will also help the recently retired feel more in touch with loved ones while away.