Things to Ask When Preparing for Retirement, A Guide for Expats

No matter where you’ve lived or how old you are, retirement can be your chance to create a new life, maybe even the one you’ve always dreamed of. More than 5.5 million Britons live abroad, and while 2 in 3 leave the country for work, the rest are looking for more attractive places when they retire.

But whether you choose to retire abroad or in the UK, this next phase of your life should be rewarding – that’s why you need to make careful decisions. So if you’ve been living as an expat, here are some things you should ask yourself when preparing for retirement.

When are you going to retire?

In addition to retiring at the legal retirement age, you can choose between taking early retirement or working beyond retirement age. LHH says retirement is a unique experience for everyone.

According to them, retirement is a deeply personal experience that will be different for everyone. So when it comes to living the retirement that expats want, you need to plan your finances to meet your goals and expectations based on when you actually choose to retire.

The UK allows you to take your state pension at 66, whether you live in the country or abroad. However, if you choose to live in the UK or other more expensive countries, that might not be enough to sustain you.

If you have a private or professional pension, you should assess whether the amount can support your plans – taking currency fluctuations into account – or whether you should consider relying on your savings. If you have to rely on savings, it’s best to start early.

In which country will you retire?

Considering your financial resources, you should assess whether you can afford the cost of living in your country of choice, whether in the UK or elsewhere. If you’ve been living in a foreign country for a while, you probably already have some semblance of stability if you choose to stay there.

You can also choose to continue traveling or to settle in another country, taking due account of the financial means at your disposal. For instance, retired expats can afford to stay in countries like Cuba and Turkey which have a lower cost of living. More expensive countries might require you to be more critical about how you allocate your finances.

Of course, for British citizens, there is always the possibility of returning home. Age UK indicates return home may take a few months to restore your rights to services such as benefits and housing (if you need them).

You may need to prepare to support yourself. However, depending on what you are entitled to, returning to the UK may make it easier to get benefits such as pension credit, housing benefit or reduced council tax.

Will you have health care and social security?

Health and social security benefits are necessary to reduce some of the expenses you may incur. This is especially true for people about to retire who are more likely to develop illnesses or who already have pre-existing conditions. Getting the necessary support is much more convenient, cost-effective and accessible if you choose to retire in the UK.

You might also be lucky if you choose to retire abroad.

The UK has reciprocal health and social security agreements with some countries. Healthcare agreements mean you only have to pay the same costs as the locals. Social security agreements, on the other hand, reduce gaps in benefits, such as old-age or retirement pensions.

Moving to countries with these benefits can help make your finances more manageable and provide you with greater security, especially when considering other expenses.

Retirement is a reward for the hard work you’ve put into it over the years, making it an exciting project. Whether you choose to continue travelling, settle down at home, or move abroad, knowing the options and factors to consider can help you enter a fulfilling new phase in your life.

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