3 Things to Consider Before Retiring Abroad

1.         Legal Matters and Finances

There are many reasons to retire abroad – experiencing a new country, culture, and way of life being the best of them. However, before you hop onto your plane, you need to be sure that it is what you want and that you can afford it. There are many financial aspects to settle before moving abroad, including:

– Travel and/or Residency Visas

– Inheritance laws both in the foreign country and in the States

– Bank accounts

– Taxes and reporting finances

– Investments

– Real estate

Meet with your Attorney and Financial Advisor to discuss all of these things before buying your tickets. Many legal and financial matters can be managed from overseas, but others (notably taxes and Visa renewals) change significantly once you start living in a foreign country.

Another important thing to remember about finances is that foreign countries may impose a special tax on foreigners. If you hoped to move to a place that has a lower cost of living, you should be sure to take that into consideration before making the move.

 2.         Healthcare

The American healthcare system is not perfect by any means, but as an American citizen it’s what you’ve got. Retiring outside of the country may render you ineligible for standard healthcare in the States, and whatever foreign country you move to will may have starkly different healthcare laws. Before moving, you should find out:

– Inoculations required to protect you from diseases not found in the USA

– If your current health insurance will cover you overseas

– How the health system in your target destination functions

– If foreigners have to pay a healthcare premium at your target destination

The older we get the more susceptible we are to illnesses.  The Inoculations may conflict with medications you are already taking.  Check with your Doctor and Pharmacist before getting them.  Some of your medications may be unavailable in another country, find out what substitutes will meet your healthcare needs.  Some countries may not offer medical service to people who are not a part of their healthcare system. If you do not have a fundamental understanding of your healthcare options, both in the States after moving out and in your target destination, you can end up in some very dangerous medical situations.

3.         Culture and Adjustment

Many elderly folk who seek to retire abroad have never actually lived abroad. They may have visited foreign countries or seen it on tour, but rarely have they spent more than a month actually living in a foreign country. The difference between visiting and residing in a country is as different as the night is from the day. You will experience vast differences in:

– culture

– language

– day to day life

– common beliefs and values

Moving overseas also puts you at a great physical distance from your family and friends. If you may not be able to speak the local language and there may only be a small English-speaking population.  You may end up feeling extremely isolated.  Put some money aside so you can travel back to the States to visit.

 Spend some time in advance of your move (a couple months would do) to and in the place you want to retire to before making a final decision. Living overseas can be one of the best things you do in your life, so long as the choice is made with a well-informed and clear mind.