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Retiring abroad is the start of a whole new adventure in life. You’ve worked hard, you’ve accumulated savings and now it’s your time to relax and enjoy it. To make your retirement dream a reality it’s important to put some time, effort and research into your move to ensure the transition is as stress-free as possible. Here are 7 steps to ensuring your retirement abroad is everything you imagined.

Step 1: Check out your Visas

The first thing to consider is whether you are permitted to retire in your country of choice. Some countries are very happy to attract affluent retirees, others don’t encourage the settlement of people over a certain age. Before you set your heart on a destination, ensure that retiring there is a possibility.

Step 2: Turn the dream into reality

Holidaying in a country is very different to living there. So if you have earmarked a country you’d like to retire in, try to take a six-month stay in your destination prior to moving there in order to get to know it properly. Your visit should include looking at the financial aspect of living in the country. Consider the cost of property, transport, food and utilities. Look at the rates and local taxes and if possible speak to other retirees living in the country. Speak to other expats to make sure you are making the right choice before you make your move.

Step 3: Prioritise healthcare

As a retiree, it’s important to assess the healthcare system in your country of choice. Can you access healthcare? Consider the standard of the healthcare facilities and offerings. Will you be able to access long-term care or home help if you need it later in life?

Step 4: Remain secure

Safety is an important issue to consider when you are moving to any country. Consider all aspects of safety from sanitation to weather to crime. Is the infrastructure safe and reliable? A country may have a low crime rate, but an unstable government, so it’s important to consider what your long-term security will be living in the country.

Step 5: Investigate integration

Investigate how easy it is to settle in your new country and make friends. Happiness depends on having a supportive network of like-minded people around you. If possible speak to other expats and see how they made the transition. Consider how you will cope if the country doesn’t embrace foreigners with open arms.

Step 6: Learn the language

If you are moving to a country with a foreign first language, consider whether the language is a barrier to integration and whether you have the desire to learn a new language at this stage in life.

Step 7: Focus on your finance

Your retirement success depends on affordability. Affordability relates to the entire cost of relocation – from packing up your goods to affording transport, groceries and healthcare. Is the cost of living in your desired country high or low? If you have any income in your retirement, will it be inflation-proof in your country of choice?

If you’re a South African living overseas, you can turn your retirement annuity and various other South African-based savings and investments into cash, even before you turn 55 – and these funds can be used for any purpose. This opportunity exists because of a change to South African tax legislation in 2008. However, getting your money out of South Africa involves navigating a series of administrative and regulatory hurdles.

At FinGlobal, we simplify this complex process, and have helped free thousands of South Africans from the red tape and time-consuming obstacles. For more information about cashing in your retirement annuities, contact us today.