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Retiring abroad is a dream for many people. Perhaps you want to explore new places now that you are not working so hard or maybe you want to slow down and enjoy some time in a sunnier climate. Whatever your reasons there are some important things to consider if you want to turn your dream into reality.

1. Retirement visas

The good news for retirees is that many countries are prepared to welcome you with open arms – provided you are able to prove you have enough money to support yourself and cover your medical needs. Countries like Australia and Ireland look at many factors including your health, your language ability and your finances. So before you pack up, do your research carefully. Other countries that offer special retirement visas include Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica and Ecuador.

2. Healthcare

Healthcare is an extremely important factor to consider when you retire abroad and it’s essential that you have comprehensive health insurance that covers you for any eventuality. Some countries allow expats to buy into their national health plans if you are on your retirement visa – so it’s important to find out if their standards of healthcare match what you are used to.

3. Renting versus buying

The house prices in the country you are moving to may be very different to what you are used to back home and you might find you get more or less for your money. Whatever the situation, it’s worth checking out renting versus home ownership to see what option best suits your retirement plans and your budget.

4. Crossing the culture divide

Before you retire in a country it’s essential you have a good idea of the culture you are moving to. Can you get by with your home language? Are you familiar with the local laws and customs? Are there any restrictions on your personal freedoms? If you need to be familiar with the local language, is it easy to learn? As a foreigner can you purchase property? These are all questions you need to consider before moving abroad. Many expats get by without learning the local language – especially if they are moving to a country like Portugal or Spain where there are large expat communities.

5. Your daily routine

It’s important to consider what you will be doing on a day-to-day basis and the general liveability of the city you are moving to. Look at your interests and passions and consider if your new destination will cater to them. For example, there is no point in moving somewhere remote if you like having high-speed Internet. Consider the local transport system. Will you be able to get around easily? What is the local cuisine like? Are you happy to embrace an entirely new menu – or can you get some of the food you’re used to?

6. The climate

This may be an obvious one but strangely it’s one that many people overlook. You may love the warmth, but a humid tropical climate all year round may prove to be exhausting if you are not familiar with it. Try and visit your ideal retirement destination in both the summer and the winter to get a good idea of the local weather before you move there.

7. Your finances

It’s important to work out how far your finances will go in your new country. If the exchange rate is in your favour and the cost of living lower than your home country, then you are in an ideal retirement position.

For South African expats retiring abroad, you are able to access your South African retirement annuity abroad – even before you turn the age of 55 – due to a change to tax legislation that came into effect in 2008. The only requirement is that you have financially emigrated from South Africa. Financial emigration does not change your status as a South African. You and your partner will still have South African citizenship and your South African passports. What’s more, financial emigration can take place at any time – on your exit from South Africa or many years after you have chosen to live abroad.

At FinGlobal we have simplified the financial emigration process for thousands of South Africans living abroad and have helped them cash in their South African retirement annuities so they can make the most of their retirement abroad. To find out more about how we can assist you with this process, contact us today.