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Planning Retirement Online

Moving Abroad - Making the Decision

The first step to moving abroad is to make the right decision. It's obvious, isn't it, but you really must put the appropriate amount of time and thought into making your decision.

The decision has to be made in two stages:

1. Do I really want to do it?

2. If the answer is 'Yes', where do I want to go to? If it's 'No', do I want to move within the UK?

Do I Really Want to do it?

Firstly, consider your motives for moving abroad. It may be that you feel that you want to move abroad because you're fed up with living in the UK. But that may be because you're unhappy with work, when you really come to analyse it, so you do need to examine why you want to move abroad. The following may be amongst your reasons:

1. You want to raise money from your property so you have more for your retirement. Moving abroad to a cheaper property meets that requirement.

2. You want to live in a warmer climate

3. You want or need a cheaper cost of living in retirement

4. You want to join friends or family

5. You want to 'escape' the hustle and bustle of the UK and move somewhere slower and quieter

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There may be other reasons, too, but whatever they may be examine them closely, talk about them to your partner, if you have one, to friends, family and anyone you know who might have done it or thought about and investigated it.

Let's now look at the other side of the coin, play devil's advocate and consider why some of the reasons for moving abroad may not be as sound as they should be:

1. Remember all the extra costs that moving abroad entails. You will have to pay solicitors' fees, a removals company and any fees to people and organisations in the country to which you are moving. These latter will vary from place to place. You need to find out all the costs, including on-going costs such as the local equivalent of council tax etc before making the decision.

2. A warmer climate is wonderful but remember that the UK seems to be getting warmer year by year, and very often temperatures in parts of the UK are warmer than those in some places much further south. If climate is the only reason for your move, think carefully.

3. We all want cheaper living costs but be careful. Do a budget of how much you believe you will spend per month or year in the UK in your retirement and then one for your expenditure in the location to which you are thinking of moving. Once you have done this and established that you will be spending less if you move abroad, then remember and include things that might be relevant such as medical costs, flights home, the cost of sending presents home for the children and/or grandchildren and so on. Rack your brains to think of any and all extra expenditure.

4. Joining friends or family is excellent. Remember, though, that their circumstances may change, necessitating a future move on their part. Consider if you still want to be abroad if they're not there.

5. There may be hustle and bustle in the UK but where you move to may prove too quiet. You know the saying, 'The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.' Be careful that you are not being overly-enthusiastic about moving abroad to your potential new location.

6. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if you are thinking about moving to Europe, consider the uncertainty and problems that may be caused by Brexit, once we leave the EU in 2019. It could be better to delay a move to Europe until there is certainty about hat will happen to UK citizens living in EU countries post-Brexit.

Buying a Property in Spain: An Insider Guide to Finding a Home in the Sun (How to)A Way of Helping You Make the Decision

Inevitably, moving is a decision based on some emotion - you like the look of somewhere and your heart says that you'll be happy there. There's nothing wrong with this except that some objectivity should be added to the emotion.

One way of doing this is to rank and score the criteria you want from where you live. So, do this 5-step exercise.

1. Write down your top 15, say, criteria for a place to live. e.g. warm climate, cheap cost of living, close to friends etc.

2. Put your criteria in order of importance, with the most important one at 15 and the least at 1.

3. Score where you live now against each of the criteria, giving two points if it matches it very well, one if it matches moderately and none if it matches it poorly or not at all. Then multiply the score by the criterion position. So the most important will score 2 x 15, 1 x 15 or 0 x 15. The least important will score 2 x 1, 1 x 1 or 0 x 1.

4. Add all the scores. For 15 criteria, the maximum will be 240. If your area scores 180 or more think very carefully about moving because your current area obviously suits you very well. On the other hand, if the score is under 60, your thoughts about moving have probably been confirmed!

5. Score all the locations that you look at against your criteria and the one that scores the highest is where you should concentrate your efforts.

Don't forget that once you have decided on a location, you can change your criteria to those you want from a property and then repeat the process for all the properties that you are shown.

Scoring all your potential areas means that you have to research them first, so make sure that your research is thorough. To help you do this, go to our Doing your Research page.


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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