When coming up to retirement many people consider moving to another country to live out their “golden years” with their partner. What will you do: stay at home, move to somewhere else permanently, or become a snowbird?
If you’re set on retiring abroad you need to talk to your partner and think about what is going to suit you both best; if you have totally different ideas about what your retirement should entail then tensions are sure to arise. The first thing you should do is sit down and make a list of your key priorities… what you need, want, and what you want to avoid when it comes down to your retirement.
Being on the same page and at least knowing where you may need to make concessions can really help smooth the process in the long run.
Retirement destination checklist
Consider these factors before running off to a far-flung destination when you retire.
Do you get homesick
Are you very close to your family and friends? Are you likely to want then to visit regularly, or will longer stays less often be enough for you? If you’re in the USA and Canada countries like Mexico are close enough for weekend visits, whereas European and Asian destinations may be less practical for such trips.
If extremes of heat and cold are going to be a real issue for one (or both) of you it may be better to think about a country with a more temperate climate. Before you make a final decision we would recommend that you visit your chosen destination at least once during each season to ensure that you know what you’re getting into.
Do you want to live retire to the place full time?
If you’re moving full-time you may find that you have less choice than if you were becoming a part-time “snow bird”. Consider which countries allow for retirees moving in fulltime, and ask yourself if these are compatible with your needs.
Temporary or permanent move
Are you moving for good, or do you want to keep your options open? Depending on your intentions you may wish to look for a country which will allow you to have dual-citizenship (rather giving up your current citizenship status).
Many choose to move to a country where the cost of living is cheaper than in their home country; by doing so they make their pensions go farther, and enjoy a lifestyle they might otherwise have been unable to afford.
Consider what kind of lifestyle you might want to enjoy? Are you a hiking history buff, a lady (or gentleman) of leisure, or someone who wants to enjoy a bit of both?
Are foreigners welcome?
Some destinations are more friendly and accepting of foreign nationals and immigrants than others, think about how you will fit into your new community before making a move.
Healthcare and wellbeing
Many people choose their retirement destinations for health reasons; negative ions in the air in coastal locations, in particular, may improve the quality of life for some people with certain chronic conditions. Furthermore, if private healthcare is more affordable in your new destination this can only be a good thing.
Do you speak the language, and if not are you willing to learn? If the majority of the locals do not speak English communication could be a real problem.
The key to choosing a retirement destination which will please you both is to shortlist the countries which meet most of your needs and wants, and visit them in as many seasons as you can to get a real idea of what you’ll be getting into before you make the move officially. Certain “try and buy” options and fractional ownership programs will aid you in making informed decisions about how and where you spend your retirement.