In my opinion at least 50% of the people I speak to about life after work, have considered the idea of live abroad in retirement

Let’s face it, we have all been away on holiday, usually in an idyllic spot and thought, I could live here in retirement. And probably spent quite a bit of time working out if we could do it and how it would work out. So from a beautiful Greek island, to a farm house in the Dordogne to Florida, many people have not only dream’t about doing, they have actually done it.

Some people sell their homes and move abroad, others keep a base here in the UK and have two homes from homes.

However, for many the dream does not turn into reality and many end up coming back home. Even though the practicality of moving to another country is now a great deal easier than it was just a few years ago, with broadband internet and your favourite UK TV channels easy to set up, it’s quite as easy as some may think. Doing your homework on this is really important.

So before you decide on such a big move, what should you be considering?

Money and day to day living – the sad fact is that a foreigner abroad even if you live in country can often encounter money problems. The perception in many countries is this. If you can afford to move to another country, you can afford to pay more for virtually anything. Ex-pats can often find themselves inadvertently paying more than they should be for every day goods and services.

Furthermore, currency conversion can become a problem if you are transferring money from the UK to your new home. The currency can move both in your favour and against you, so doing your homework on how much it will cost you to live month by month is really important.

Medical & hospital care – Living in the UK in many ways spoils us. For all the problems that face the NHS, we are privileged to have a health service that is free at the point of entry. Sadly not all countries have a national health service and even if they do, it may not be to the same level that we have in the UK.

Either way, you may need to consider having health insurance cover that will at least go some way to ensuring that if you need medical treatment, you will get the best care.

Tax issues – Most countries have a double taxation agreement with the UK, but not all. So for most people that is not a problem. However if you are a frequent visitor back to the UK, you may encounter residency problems and as such tax may be payable to HMRC for your income.

Specialist advice should be sort from an accountant, to ensure that you avoid and unforeseen tax problems.

Where to buy a property – What may be an idyllic setting for a summer holiday, may prove to be a living nightmare if you are living through the winter in the same place. Cyprus for example has very hot summers, but winters can also be extremely cold and not quite to appealing.

Local amenities are also really important, so living half way up a mountain may be great looking over the bay in summer, but getting to local shops and restaurants can drain your enthusiasm rapidly.

It’s a new life – Moving to another country, will mean that just about everything in your life will change. A new language possibly, a different pace of life and certainly a change in culture. Be sure you are ready for a complete change, so studying how everyday life works where you plan to live is really important.

Family – The lure of the sun and the sand is tempting, especially after a cold wet winter. However spending time with your family especially grandchildren is important to many of us, so living in another country or continent may mean we do not see as much of our families as we would like. Be sure that a move away is right for you and your family.

So remember when you next find yourself in an idyllic setting and are contemplating living there, be sure to do your homework first. You may wish to rent for a full year before you decide. There’s a massive difference between enjoying a couple of weeks in the sun and actually moving your entire life to another country.

This article does not provide specific advice and you should always seek professional advice from a qualified adviser before making any decisions.

Contact Martin Dodd on 01902 742221 or email him at if you would like talk about money issues.

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