You would be mistaken in thinking that the older you get, the harder it is to move abroad. The recent HSBC Expat explorer showed that 49% of overseas retirees quickly felt at home in their new country, settling down within 6 months and 52% report that it took them less than a year. This is quite amazing when you compare that only 33% of the younger generation (aged 18 to 34) felt ‘at home’ as quickly. So what is about retirees that ensure they settle down so quickly and how can the younger generation take a leaf out of their book?
Integrating with local community
The reason retirees appear to make great expats is that they have a passion for integrating with their local community. Instead of just focusing on expat groups, they embrace local clubs and activities. Here are some examples of what you can do to help your social integration abroad:
- Follow your faith
If you belong to a particular religious group, you are bound to find an affiliated religious establishment in your new home city. Here you will find like-minded people and as many churches and religious groups have active clubs, you can quickly become part of the community.
- Get healthy
Join a local sports group or gym. Whether your passion is running or yoga, you will meet people who share your enthusiasm for staying healthy.
- Take a stroll
Local walking or hiking groups are a great way to meet a group of people and enjoy an extended period of time with them. Not only will you be giving your health and social life a boost, you’ll also be getting to know your local countryside.
- Actively network
There are many global networking organisations, so make a point of looking for a chapter in your new country. This is a very quick way to find your feet both professionally and socially.
- Learn the lingo
If your new home country has a foreign language as a first language, sign up for local language classes. Here you will meet other people who are in a similar position to you, who can often become great friends or sources of advice.
- Get crafty
Another great way to meet people is to find a local hobby class or workshop. Check noticeboards in shopping centres or shops to find out what is going on in your area. The Internet is another great resource. Sharing a passion for a particular craft can be a great bonding experience.
Find your feet financially
If you retired and have relocated abroad or are thinking about doing so in the future, it’s important to know that 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.