Retiring abroad

Is it a good idea to retire abroad? What do you need to think about – what could the financial implications be?

How easy is it to retire abroad?

If you’ve spent your life dreaming of a retirement in the sun, we don’t blame you. Property may be less expensive, the cost of living could be lower and the taxes you pay might be less than in the UK. But before you swap Margate for the Mediterranean, it’s worth thinking about all the financial implications of such a big move – most of which will be personal to you.

  • How will you be taxed in your new country?
  • How does the cost of living compare with the UK?
  • How would you manage any potential health care costs?
  • Will you have to invest any additional money in your chosen country?

OK, but will I get my State Pension at least, if I move overseas?

In short, yes. Your State Pension can be paid anywhere in the world. But although State Pensions increase every year, you’ll only get these increases if you retire within the EU or a country the UK has an agreement with. 

And how do I arrange for my private pension to be paid abroad?

Most private and company pensions can be paid into an overseas account on request, but there may be extra charges to pay. It might be worth looking into a Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).

What else should I think about if I retire abroad?

Your friends and family – they may love the idea of visiting you overseas, or be daunted by not only how you’ll cope as you perhaps become frail but also how they’ll manage if you need their extra care from a distance.

And then there are the practicalities of moving house, taking possessions abroad, learning a new language, living in a different climate and culture – things like doctors, healthcare in general for older people; churches, social groups; even commonplace things like shops and means of transport will change from country to country.

Do talk to people who’ve already been through the experience of retiring abroad themselves and, if you can bear it, seek out the not-so-happy stories too – they may offer insights you’d not considered previously… so do consider these issues and others to make the right choice. Moving to another country to start your retired life can be an invigorating and rewarding experience, but it pays to do your homework first.

Where should I look to go?

Where you decide to retire to will entirely depend on what type of climate attracts you, the cost of living, culture, accessibility to friends and family and a whole range of other factors. However, there are some destinations that time and again prove popular with retirees, including*:

1st - Spain

2nd - France

3rd - USA

4th - Australia

5th - Far East

6th - Canada

7th - Italy

8th - South East Europe

9th - India

10th - Portugal

*Report from MGM Advantage

What will it cost to move overseas?

This will entirely depend on where you go, the type of property you want to live in, and what you take with you and how. You will need to factor in:

  • Costs associated with selling or letting any property you have in the UK
  • International removal costs – either shipping or air freight
  • Exchange rates in transaction costs – and any ongoing income and costs that you have to finance your retirement abroad
  • Getting expert advice – both on taxation and legal matters, particularly if you are buying property overseas
  • Any relevant medical costs – some countries for instance only have private healthcare


*According to research carried out by Retirement Advantage