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Planning Retirement Online

Doing your Research

Research is something that you can never do too much of, especially when moving abroad. However, we all have our limits and can only do so much. We focus here, therefore, on the key principles involved and the areas you should concentrate on.

When planning to live abroad, one key component is that you should always try to research in person the area(s) you are considering moving to . If you do our Criteria exercise on the Making the Decision page, you should go to see how well your potential locations match them. It's all very well looking on the internet but there is nothing as effective as going in person to see what places are like.

Moving abroad links

Whilst you are there, talk to other people who may have moved from other countries, friendly locals and your local estate agent, if you have one. If you want to get in touch with a reputable local agent to help you with your research when moving abroad, go to the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) where you will find a lot of helpful information about moving abroad.

Some of the things that you should research whilst you're there, depending on your criteria, are as follows:

  • Are there any local taxes that you need to take into account in your budget?
  • What are the transport links like? (Remember that you might need local transport if the car goes wrong.)
  • How good are the local shops and services, such as garages etc?
  • If you don't speak the language, do the locals speak English?
  • Are there any facilities for learning the language?
  • Are there any new building projects, such as new housing developments or roads planned? if so. will they encroach on you in any negative or positive way?
  • What are the local medical arrangements?
  • Will there be plenty of the things that you like doing available to do?

There are also things to research back in the UK:

  • The French Property Buyer's Handbook: Everything you need to know about buying a house and moving to FranceWill your state pension be payable in the country to which you are moving and, if so, will it increase each year in line with inflation? Go to the DWP website to see how you can get more information on this.
  • Are there any taxes that you need to find out about? It may be that the country will have agreements with the UK that might even work in your favour. For example, in France there is the UK/France Double Tax Treaty that might help you. Have a look at the Institute of Chartered Accountants to start your research.
  • What are the succession laws in the country to which you are moving? You need to know so that you can decide what to do about your will.
  • How does Inheritance Tax work in the country of your choice? Again, you might need to change your will to make the most of the local regulations. Your overseas property will be subject to the IT regulations of that country.
  • Keep abreast of all the recent news about conditions in the country to which you are thinking of moving. For example, in April 2007 there was alarming news about a suspected house-price crash in Spain. In Germany, on the other hand, at that time, it was very much a buyers' market.

There are also several things to do before you take the final plunge:

  • Get a good lawyer. You need one who is fluent in both languages and who has no ties to the vendor.
  • Do Your Checks. Prior to opting for a property ensure that it is legal and that you can build on the land if you want to.
  • Open a Local Bank Account. You need to have easy access to your money in the local area.
  • Find a Currency Broker. A good currency broker can save you a lot of money. Also, think about fixing the excha\nge rate to protect yourself against exchange rate fluctuations.

This Guide is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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