It’s never too late to start over, isn’t it? With that mantra in mind, more and more Brits are considering the option of living abroad. And with the Brexit process well underway, it’s likely that we’ll see a “Golden Rush” over the next two years, with thousands more of us seeking out a place in the sun before the UK officially leaves the EU.
Whether motivated by business opportunities, holiday home investments or relocation after retirement, the expat life has become an increasingly attractive option for Britons of all ages, but especially for those who no longer work full time.
There are now an estimated 5 million adults in the UK over the age of 75, with that number projected to rise to 7 million by 2027. Moving abroad is by no means an easy decision, however, and a whole host of factors must be taken into account before upping sticks. Here are just some of the most important ones…
Independent or Assisted Living?
For those looking at retirement communities, there are two main options. Independent living facilities provide housekeeping and meal services, but aren’t licensed to provide medical assistance. Assisted living facilities, on the other hand, usually regulated by the Department of Health or Social Services, are authorised to provide medical care too.
Visa Requirements and Restrictions
Relocating to continental Europe and settling on the other side of the Channel doesn’t currently require a visa and countries like Spain, France and Portugal remain as popular as ever with British retirees. But once UK independence becomes a reality, the situation could change dramatically.
Financial and Political Environment
The more prepared you are, the better. That’s why it’s always worth investigating the cost of living in the country you’ve set your sights on and compare it directly to your current expenses.
You should also consider the political situation and crime rate. Social stability is the key to better quality of life – so do your homework and choose wisely.
If you won’t be working overseas, you’ll have to rely on an income from your home country to be able to pay in the local currency, so organise all your assets and any liabilities first. If you’re planning on doing part-time work, whether in your new home or remotely, you’ll need to investigate the most economic way to pay tax on the income, especially if you’ll be dealing with international funds transfers. Make sure you check how exchange rates have evolved over time first, so that you know exactly how much money you’re likely to have at your disposal.
Buying Foreign Property
As the experts say: ‘visit before moving, rent before buying’. Renting can be a smart idea, allowing you to experience a location before committing. Each housing market has its own (un)written rules – as well as legal specifics – and using the services of a real estate agent is the name of the game. Savvy agents could help you avoid all kinds of bureaucratic pitfalls involving rules of ownership, and enable you to strike the most advantageous deal.
Transferring Money Abroad
No matter whether you’re preparing to make a major one-off investment or are looking to make smaller, regular payments, bank transfers can cause a real headache, due to sky-high fees and slow-motion transactions. That’s why cross-currency platforms such as Covercy are becoming increasingly popular, providing customers with user-friendly payment solutions that are far cheaper, safer and quicker than traditional methods.
Above all, make sure you explore your ‘new world’ first to make that big step as effortless as possible. Good luck!