Why To Move Overseas When You Retire
After working hard in one country for most (if not all) of their lives, it’s hardly surprising that many Australian seniors look to a move overseas to enjoy their retirement. Perhaps they had a particularly memorable holiday somewhere and want to enjoy that for the rest of their lives. Perhaps there’s been a particular location they have always wanted to live. Perhaps a move overseas will bring them closer to family and friends.
Research shows that over a quarter of senior Australian citizens are either considering a move or are already in the process of it. Not all (or even most!) of those will be looking to move overseas, but it is still a sizable number and there are some important things to consider before doing so.
The first thing to think about when considering a move overseas is the practical issues; how are you going to be able to do it? There is actually a lot to work through here, including (but not limited to):
Depending on where you’re looking to move abroad, a visa might be challenging, if not outright impossible. Some nations, for example, have strict limits on the number of immigrants they accept each year, and strongly prefer people of working age that will bring new skills into the nation. For senior citizens – even those that are still working – this might not be an option. Family-based Visa waiting lists can be lengthy, too. Not every nation is this strict on immigration, but it’s important to research first to be sure.
2) Where will you live?
In many nations, the rules about property ownership are different for foreigners, and it might be harder to buy a property as a result. If you’re planning on renting, meanwhile, you might find rentals harder to come by because landlords will generally preference locals over those that don’t have a renter’s history in their location.
3) Work and languages
If you’re not quite ready to retire yet, the question then becomes how will you work? Will there be jobs in your field in your new country, and is there going to be language differences that you need to be aware of. Just remember that even in places where you assume English is the native language you may well need a second language to do your job. In America, for example, Spanish is increasingly necessary in a wide range of jobs, while Canadians need French, with it being the official language of one of their states.
None of this is meant to put you off moving overseas, but being able to answer these questions is essential in making the move painless.
The cost of living… and the lifestyle
The other big thing to keep in mind for a move overseas is the cost of living. In many (most) cases a move overseas doesn’t come with citizenship or even permanent residence for a lengthy period of time, and that might mean that services are not available to you, as you might have been used to from your country of origin.
For senior citizens, this is the big one. If you’ve come from a nation with universal health care for citizens, it can be quite the shock to suddenly need insurance, and then with some policies, there is a period of time before you can start making claims, particularly for pre-existing conditions. Healthcare can be monumentally expensive without insurance, so being able to cover yourself in the event of medical need is essential.
2) Exchange rates
Most of your money will be tied up in your local currency, so the question then becomes, what does that wealth look like in another nation? And, given the exchange rate, cost of essentials, and living expenses, do you have enough for your new home? Particularly for people looking to move to a nation with an unfavorable exchange rate, they may find that their money is suddenly spread a lot thinner and they may not be able to immediately access a government pension.
Finally, while you might be looking to move overseas for the sea-change, many expats do face a period where they feel isolated and alone in their new homes (particularly if they’re not confident with their language skills), and so the question about how you’ll be social is an important one to answer. For many expats, finding groups of other expats is a good first step as they start to integrate themselves and their interests with their broader community.
Moving overseas to enjoy retirement somewhere else can be a great joy, filled with new experiences and opportunities in life. It needs to be carefully planned, however, because there is a lot of money, government regulation and logistics involved, and the last thing you want to be doing is struggling to settle in.
With some good planning and understanding of the migration laws of your new nation, however, there’s no reason to think you won’t be able to enjoy retirement wherever you like in the world.
We hope you found this blog post Why Moving Overseas in Retirement Can Be Easier Than You Think useful. Be sure to check out our post 8 Dos and Don’ts When Packing for an International Move for more great tips!