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Retirement - 6 min read

In which direction is your retirement compass pointing? If you love to explore new places and immerse yourself in borrowed cultures and traditions, holidays may not be enough. The promise of living overseas certainly sounds enchanting: regional foods, new friends, historic buildings and quaint villages. And retirement may be the perfect time to put down roots in an entirely new location.

 

But retiring overseas has its challenges as well. To avoid problems that could interfere with your retirement arrangements, approach your planning thoughtfully, and take the following issues into consideration.

 

Location and Climate

Some people move overseas during retirement to take advantage of climates that suit their preferences and improve their health. As you consider different areas, evaluate the time zone differences for communicating with friends and family, the impact of the climate on your health, and the amount of travel time involved with visiting "home."

 

Travel and Moving Expenses

The logistics of moving abroad can be costly and challenging to organise. Even if you're moving to an area where the cost of living pales in comparison to living costs in Australia, the initial outlay can be significant.

 

For example, you'll have to ship your belongings, purchase a property, and perhaps buy a new car and home furnishings. Additionally, if you intend to travel back and forth for holidays, you'll need to factor regular international travel into your costs.

 

Cost of Living

There are many places in the world where the cost of living is much less than it is here in Australia. If expenses are significantly less in your new home, your retirement savings may stretch further. This can be especially helpful to those who have not saved as much as they need.

 

Health Care and Accessibility

Retirees generally find themselves visiting the doctor more than they used to do. While it's wise to investigate the climate and culture of prospective new homes, it's also essential to examine the state of health care.

 

Health insurance can be challenging to obtain in some foreign countries, but in other countries, it's surprisingly easy. In some places, like France, private insurance is mandatory for non-E.U. citizens who take up residence in the country. In other countries, like Malaysia, foreigners cannot access the public health system. But in Malaysia, the private health care costs are so low that it doesn't matter to most people.

 

Family and Friends

Leaving your network of family and friends can be agonising. For many, finding new networks of associates is key to feeling content in your new home. Many retirees who move abroad will find new friends at community events, churches, and through organisations associated with specific interests like recreation, music, and hobbies.

 

As you make your decision about whether or not to retire abroad, be honest about the extent to which you rely on your current network of family and friends. Are you open to making new friends? Will you miss your family too much?

 

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Your Current Financial Ties and Assets

Are your finances in a state that allows you the freedom to move to another country? If you need to sell your current home to move, is the local real estate market in a depressed or heightened state? Do you own a business that may suffer if you are not nearby to help with it?

 

With advances in technology, it's not always necessary for business owners to be nearby; in fact, many people manage businesses remotely as a matter of course. Weigh the pros and cons of your current financial ties and assets and evaluate the impact of your move on your overall financial picture.

 

Language and Culture Shock

Living abroad is not at all like travelling as a tourist. If you're considering moving to an English-speaking country, you won't have to deal with linguistic difficulties. If you’re considering a non-English-speaking place, are you up for the challenge?

 

Culturally, will you be comfortable living in a place that may have different ideas about clothing choices, cleanliness, social interactions, shopping, food, and gender roles? For many people, this is one of the refreshing and enlightening aspects of retiring abroad. Be honest with yourself about your comfort level.

 

Immigration and Visas

Depending on your destination, immigration and visas can be tricky. If you don't file for residency, you may have to travel back to Australia or to the country's nearest border periodically to renew your visa. This can add significantly to your cost of living. As you complete your analysis, include the cost of immigration and visas into your calculations.

 

If you're still unsure about whether or not to retire overseas, talk with one of our wealth advisers by scheduling a consultation. We’re here to provide a knowledgeable sounding board and to assist you with all of your financial concerns.

 

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