Retiring Overseas? Things You Need to Consider

For many people, retirement is an opportunity to fulfil their dreams. These ambitions are different for each person, but a common lifelong dream is to move abroad. The hope is that they can enjoy their later years in a warmer climate, explore a different culture, try out new experiences and enjoy a more leisurely pace of life. If this is a life change you are currently contemplating, then there are several important issues to take into consideration.


One of the most important factors when deciding to move abroad is the location. Many people opt for a destination where they have been on holiday previously and have had a good time. Locations with a warmer climate than the UK are also a popular choice as people dream of spending lazy days relaxing in the sun. Often, people who move abroad take travel time back to the UK into account as it is likely that they will have friends and family in the UK that they will still want to see. For these reasons, countries in the more southerly parts of Europe, such as France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, are a popular choice. They have the warm climate, are popular tourist destinations and are only a short-haul flight away from the UK.


Financial considerations will play a big part in both the move and your life once you are living abroad. When you are planning your move you will need to think about the cost of the property, any taxes or fees you need to pay, the price of a solicitor and the expense of your flights and moving your belongings abroad. However, your future cost of living is also something that needs to be taken into consideration.

It can be helpful to write down you current sources of income, such as any pensions or savings, and then write a list of all your current expenditures. These may include things like a mortgage, council tax, water rates, gas, electricity, insurance policies and your grocery bill. Then, make a separate list of your income and expenditure while you are living abroad. You will have to do a little research about the cost of living in different countries and it can be helpful to talk to an expat who has been living abroad for a while. Don’t forget to include the cost of travelling home to visit friends and family and any healthcare costs that may arise.


The cost of accommodation varies from one country to the next. You will need to think about whether you plan to rent, get a mortgage or buy a property outright. The systems and laws for buying a house abroad also varies in each country and there may be additional taxes and fees to pay along with the cost of the property.

The type of property is also something that should be given a lot of thought. Do you prefer a secluded area or a location with a lot of facilities? Do you want an apartment, a villa a bungalow or a house? Is a property with communal areas, such as gardens and a swimming pool, something you are willing to consider? What you decide will very much be the preference of each individual.

You might already be familiar with the TV programme A Place in the Sun – Home or Away, which is a great show to watch if you’re thinking about moving abroad. The website is also full of useful information.


A very serious factor to take into consideration when you are thinking about moving abroad is healthcare. The healthcare system is different in each country. While living in the UK, you will have come to expect free treatment provided by the NHS. This means that if you fall ill in the UK, your only concern is getting better. It is only if you have opted for private healthcare that you can expect to face a bill at the end of your treatment. When you move abroad, it is possible that you will not be entitled to free treatment. In some countries, you are expected to pay into a healthcare insurance scheme or pay for each treatment you have, whereas other countries do offer free healthcare. However, as a non-national, you may not be entitled to this free care because you have not paid into the system. This is definitely something you need to check out before you decide to move.


Moving all your possessions overseas can be an expensive thing to do and can also cause some logistical problems. If you are only planning to live abroad for some parts of the year and then plan to return to the UK, you might not even want to move all your things. If this is your plan, you could possibly let your home on a short-term lease while you are away. In these situations, it could be worth considering putting some of your belongings into storage. Renting a self storage unit is relatively cheap and can be done both short and long-term. This is an excellent way of keeping your possessions safe and secure for the times when you are out of the country. If you’re thinking about selling your home in the UK, you might find our previous article about how to best prepare your home for sale useful.

Moving overseas is an achievable dream for many people in their retirement. However, it is important to carefully consider each of the aforementioned potential issues to decide if it is a viable option for you. If your research about each of these issues is satisfactory to you, then there is no reason why you should not have a fantastic life in the country of your choice.

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