It can be a wonderful dream to retire abroad and escape the misery of UK winters. With time on your hands the thought of a new life in the sun enjoying a relaxed life style can have great appeal, and each year thousands of people make the transition. Selling up in the UK and buying or building a dream house abroad, sounds like a wonderful idea. The proceeds from the house sale can buy a property abroad, and investments and pension will fund the new life.
When choosing your favourite destination to settle in it would be wise to actually rent for a year first, to see that the area you have chosen is really for you, and to live through a foreign winter. Living in the area first gives you the opportunity to find the perfect home, or builder to work with, rather than buying in haste and repenting at leisure.
Property markets abroad can differ hugely to the UK and many can wait a long time to actually sell their new home abroad if they wish to make a move. If you live in an area it gives you the opportunity to make the most handy contacts and find the best deals, as often foreigners can end up paying over the odds for their property investments, whereas if you are perceived as being local you may well find a better price.
You should consider if you are prepared to make the effort to learn the language of your host country. Not only will it help you greatly to be able to communicate over simple things such as paying your bills and buying goods, it will help you to be accepted by the local community. Many prefer to simply live in an ex pat community and don’t attempt to learn the language; others just simply give up saying it is more difficult to learn as they get older.
The whole experience of living abroad will be greatly enhanced if you can communicate in the host country’s language, and it will be invaluable if you need to deal with medical emergencies. No one will expect you to be fluent but making the effort makes all the difference. Some ex pats who consider returning to the UK cite language difficulties as a problem.
You should consider how you envisage spending your time. If you aren’t used to spending all your time with your partner it may come as a bit of a shock, especially as you won’t have your family on hand. Consider how you would be able to follow different interests in your new country to avoid being stuck together endlessly like glue.
Think about the kind of activities the area will offer to fill some of the new leisure hours. Without suitable activities to engage the interest a fair number of ex-pats turn to drinking their days away in the sun on cheap booze. Whether it is gardening or golf, sailing or cooking classes, it is a good idea to have something you can enjoy.
These are just some of the many considerations to mull over when thinking about retiring abroad. Life won’t be a permanent vacation, but it can be a wonderful transition to make.