Retirement for Success 101: Important Steps You Need to Take Before You Retire in Another Country
A lot of people work hard in order to ensure that their future will be secure and stable, and that’s part of the reason why so many successful professionals desire to retire at the soonest possible time. As much as these individuals take great pride in their careers and all the incredible accomplishments they’ve achieved, they’re also thinking about how amazing it would be to finally live the lives they wanted without ever being beholden anymore to the demands and obligations of a nine-to-five job.
And if we really have to be honest with ourselves here: don’t we all want to live in luxurious bliss that only the comfort of retirement can bring? It’s such a great aspirational goal that you certainly want to do well at work so that you’ll be able to reap the rewards of your labors when the time finally comes for you to say goodbye to your professional life and embrace your status as a retiree.
The best part about the prospect of retirement is that you have the freedom and privilege to actually retire away from your home country and live in another nation. This is a fairly common practice that many retirees around the world do once they’ve decided to end their long and prosperous careers on a good note. Of course, this can only be possible if the retiree in question has made all the necessary arrangements prior to his or her imminent migration abroad.
Bear in mind that retiring abroad is a serious matter that must not be taken lightly because there are a lot of factors involved that could potentially affect your life in a holistic manner. Furthermore, retiring elsewhere in your home country is one thing but to retire in a completely different nation is another thing entirely and one that poses so many questions that need to be addressed before you make that life-changing decision. That’s why it’s important for you to take a step back and assess the situation carefully.
For starters, one simply doesn’t just retire abroad without making any serious considerations regarding this matter; you must have the foresight to understand what kinds of things you’ll likely encounter when you’re living in an unfamiliar territory and the fact that you stand out as a foreign stranger amongst a large population of locals. Planning for your retirement in an international setting requires an extensive investigation on what you need to do in order to survive the golden years of your life in a new location.
Much like how you’ve worked hard to achieve all of your career goals, the same rules also apply when you’re trying to map out your retirement and determine what works for you. Once you’ve understood the ramifications of the whole situation, it will be easier for you to make the transition rather than be shocked at the results because you failed to plan your retirement properly. That being said, here are some of the key points you must consider in close detail before you decide to fly off to foreign lands for your well-deserved retirement.
Do plenty of in-depth research
Prior to your retirement—which is to say, should be at least several years from where you currently are right now—you should at least already have an idea as to where you would like to live abroad and begin your research as soon as possible. A large part of your observation should include multiple visits to your intended place of retirement to get an idea of how life is in that specific location. You could go to that country several times for short vacations and use such periods as opportunities to really take detailed notes on various aspects that will affect your expatriate retirement such as cost and quality of living, as well as the vibe and atmosphere of the whole place.
There’s also the matter of figuring out whether your chosen country has a sizable expatriate community because socializing with other foreigners will prove useful since these are the people who know the customs and culture of their adopted homeland very well. Most importantly, your research process must include the preparation of your retirement fund because you can’t retire at all—let alone retire in another country—if you don’t have the finances to make it happen.
Think hard about separations
One of the major upheavals that you’re likely to encounter should you push through with your expatriate retirement plans is the fact that you’ll be leaving behind the life you’ve lived in your home and neighborhood. Being far away from your friends and family can be very tough, and not all people have the strength to maintain a long-distance relationship with their loved ones for a long period of time. Moreover, the very act of migration can be difficult for people who are deeply entrenched with daily routines set in familiar surroundings. That’s why you should think things very carefully because if you truly want to commit to retiring abroad, then you must be emotionally prepared to be separated from everything.
On the bright side of things, it’s now easier for people to stay connected with their loved ones thanks to the internet and social media. If you’re moving to a country that has speedy and reliable internet service providers, then you should have no problems whatsoever establishing contact back home on a regular basis. This way, the feeling of homesickness won’t be too overwhelming for you when you finally move to a new place.
Consider the pros and cons
Life isn’t perfect, and so you shouldn’t expect that your future retirement will be perfect as well. There’s a reason why successful professionals always take precaution before making important decisions, and so you should never make any sudden move unless you’ve completely analyzed all of the pros and cons of a situation. In the case of your retirement, you have to be objective and realistic with this process. As much as you deeply want to live somewhere beautiful and relaxing when you’re a retiree, you cannot let your desires cloud your judgment as it may affect the outcome of your retirement as a whole. If you’re at a loss on how to approach this step, think about answering the following questions below:
- What are the advantages of living in a foreign country as an expatriate retiree?
- What are the disadvantages of living in a foreign country as an expatriate retiree?
- Are there more advantages than disadvantage of living in a foreign country as an expatriate retiree?
- Will I be able to cope with living in a foreign country as an expatriate retiree if there are just slightly more cons than pros to the situation?
- Can I do anything to make the situation work to my advantage and will that take up a considerable amount of my resources to make it happen?
Overcoming the language barrier
One of the common hurdles that most expatriates face when they first move to a new country is getting lost in translation, especially if they decided to live in a country that doesn’t use English as a native language. For most native Engish speakers, living in a nation where English isn’t widely spoken or understood can be incredibly frustrating. So if you’re the type of person who has very little patience with language barriers, then perhaps you should consider moving to a region where majority of the population speaks and understands English well enough that you can comfortably interact with the locals on a daily basis.
Otherwise, the alternative option for you would be to learn the mother tongue of the country you want to move to by taking up intensive language classes. This is strongly encouraged because not only do most expatriates are eager to speak in local vernacular, but it’s also considered as an important life skill to actually learn a new language. When you make the genuine effort to really master a country’s native tongue, then the locals will treat you with utmost courtesy and respect despite your status as a foreign expatriate.
The issue of expatriation
Simply put: an expatriate is an individual who temporarily or permanently resides within a country that is not in correlation with their actual citizenship or nationality. Retireees are only termed as expatriates when they consciously choose to live their retirement outside of their home countries. Bear in mind that various countries have their own rules concerning expatriates, and so you must be prudent enough to look up this information so you won’t buckle under the pressure when you’re applying for an immigrant visa at the embassy of the country you plan on moving to. Additionally, you have to be prepared with the possibility that the locals might not be welcoming with your presence once you’ve settled into your new home, especially when you’re living in a country that is known for not being too friendly with outsiders.
That’s why it’s important for you to make close connections with the expatriate community of your chosen nation so that you won’t feel too ostracized and you’ll receive emotional support from others who’ve gone through that process. Just so that you’ll fit right in when the time comes, always make a genuine effort to be as friendly as possible and respect the culture and society of the country you’ll be staying in so that the local population will gradually warm up to you as an individual.
Prepare to lose familiar comforts
Another key point to consider before deciding to have a serious change of scenery for your retirement is the potential loss of familiar conveniences, which might be detrimental to the kind of lifestyle you’re used to living. Everyone has their own preferences, and those people whose lives are relatively high maintenance in nature might not be too thrilled with the idea of moving to a country without any access to the things they’re often used to like hot water showers in their bathrooms or unlimited high-speed internet access.
Such luxuries can be quickly taken for granted by some—if not most—people and they might find themselves regretting their decision to retire in a place that might be within their budget, but are lacking in the creature comforts they desire. However, if your intention is to live your retirement without relying on your past luxuries, then you’ll definitely be more receptive to those places where the best things they can offer is the sense of culture and adventure rather than the material aspects that in theory most people can live without. It’s always better to embrace life so that you’ll enjoy your retirement minus the superficiality.
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