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Things to consider when emigrating as a retired expat

Retirement can be a time of uncertainty for many; breaking the habits formed in the working world and adjusting to a new, usually lower, form of income can take some getting used to and often results in the identification of new priorities. However, it can also be a fresh start for many, providing the opportunity to make a home somewhere new, where work no longer has to be the primary concern. Whilst retirement removes the necessity of being within close proximity to the office or place of work, it also introduces a new variety of factors that need to be taken into consideration, especially when moving abroad. We’ve put together a list of some of the things you should be thinking about when moving abroad as a retired expat to help get you started. 

Choose a country based on your pension 

As a retired expat, the likelihood is that you will be depending almost entirely upon your pension for income, making it one of the most important things to consider when moving abroad. Whilst you should still be able to access your pension and receive any built-in annual increases as normal, regardless of where you emigrate to, a move abroad might dictate whether your pension can be paid into an overseas account, or if it will have to paid into a UK bank account instead, possibly incurring extra fees. You can determine whether your provider will be able to pay your pension in an overseas account by contacting them beforehand. Another important factor to consider is currency exchange; if you are transferring money from a UK account to your overseas account you could lose money due to currency conversion rates. You should assess this risk for each destination and be prepared for fluctuations in income because of this. 

An appropriate location and property type 

If you are planning to stay abroad and are looking at purchasing property, you will need to consider whether you intend on that property being your forever home. If so, you should contemplate whether the location and property type would still be suitable for you 10 or 20 years down the road. For example, whilst a second-floor apartment might be easily manageable for a person at 60 years of age, the stairs might become far more problematic when that same person reaches 75. The same goes for location; it is important to choose somewhere which is not hard to get to or might be difficult to negotiate if you require a walking aid later in life. There should be relatively easy access to any shops or required facilities and adequate transport. 


Similarly to the previous point, healthcare is an important factor to consider, especially when looking ahead. It is an undeniable fact that as we get older, we require healthcare assistance more frequently, and often, with more urgency. Consequently, it is imperative to ensure healthcare is affordable and accessible in your chosen destination. If you face a medical emergency, you do not want the cost of medical assistance to be your main concern. 

Proximity to family

With less time spent working and more time to spend with family, it makes sense to have them relatively nearby and accessible if you move abroad. Again, as we get older, we often find ourselves becoming more dependent on others and if faced with health or mobility issues as discussed above, it can be very beneficial to have those you love near enough to help. Whilst it is probable that relatives will stay put in their home country, whether that be because of work or family logistics, this does not necessarily mean visits have to be few and far between. Choosing a location that is close to a sizable airport with affordable flights can make a world of difference when trying to arrange family visits. Again, good transport to and from the airport is important to ensure a stress-free journey. 

The ideal retirement location differs for everyone; whilst some might prefer the bustling, cosmopolitan feel of Europe’s larger cities and towns, others might feel more at home in the more peaceful, rural areas. Weather, cost of living and culture are all additional factors that play into choosing a place that is right for you. After considering the items above, our most important piece of advice for retirees moving abroad is to spend some time in your candidate location at different points in the year. This should reveal any major red flags or issues that might accompany the area and help you feel more confident in your move. Emigrating is not a process that should be rushed or undertaken lightly; if you would like to know more about the financial and logistical side of moving abroad, contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our advisers. 

This communication is based on our understanding of current legislation and practices which is subject to change and is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity.

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