thanks to 300 days of sunshine a year, proximity to family, an excellent health system, economic and social political stability, total security, low cost of living, high quality of life and personal relationships, low taxation, large international community, reliable banking system, investment programmes, ease of residence permits …. Malta is the new Switzerland and the best Northern Europe at the centre of the Mediterranean…..what else?
We’ve already listed for you the 25 best places to retire, and we know you’re all dying to move to Ecuador when your careers in tax and law come to an end.
However, before selling your home, keeping your family heirlooms in an acclimatized storage facility and packing your bags, you need to carry out in-depth research to make sure Ecuador (or any other country, for that matter) is the right one for you. Retirement planning is essential to having a happy, relaxing and easy life in your handpicked home away from home.
In order to help you with your future retirement plans, we’ve come up with 16 things to consider when retiring abroad.
1. Don’t Flush Money Down The Toilet: The cost of living in the country you’ve chosen might be one of the most important factors when retirement planning. You want your pension, savings or supplemental income to go a long way and allow you to live a comfortable life abroad. Make sure to do your due diligence in terms of the pricing of housing, transportation, healthcare services, food and utilities, among countless others, prior to boarding that plane.
2. Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Mobility is crucial to your wellbeing when retiring abroad. A solid system of highways matched with extensive and safe public transportation, as well as an international airport with a good domestic and international flight schedule, will grant you greater flexibility when it comes to discovering your new country and heading back to your old one to visit friends and family.
3. An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: At the latter stages of life, staying healthy is primordial to one’s happiness. A modern and highly professional healthcare system should be at the top of your list of things to consider when retiring abroad. Pay close attention to the quality of hospitals, the experience and levels of training of physicians and other medical doctors, and the availability and cost of medicine and medical supplies, among others. Also, make sure there are healthcare facilities nearby, say, at most 25 to 30 minutes away from where you live.
4. Put That Gun Away: Safety and personal security is of utmost importance when planning for retirement. You want to avoid at all costs dangerous, violent, and socially unstable regions of the world where your life will be in peril on a near daily basis. Pick cities (or at least neighborhoods) with low crime rates and an established expatriate community that is willing to show you the ropes.
5. Rain or Shine: Would you like to wake up to rain 75% of the year? Or scorching heat hovering near 50 °C? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Weather.com is your friend, so make sure to study your country of choice’s weather patterns. Personally speaking, it’s hard to beat the climate in San Diego, California: year-round sun and temperatures ranging from 9°C to 25°C. Paradise.
6. Je No Parle Español: Not everyone in the world speaks English and not all of us are polyglots. Language spoken should come under consideration when retirement planning. Pick a country where you’ll feel comfortable enough communicating with the locals, be that in English or a second language. In any case, chances are you will quickly become proficient—either by choice or because you have to—in that second language.
7. Don’t Bank on It: Finding a place with a solid banking system is fundamental to retirement planning. You need to locate a reliable, professional and stable bank in which to stash away your money while living abroad. Often, branches of major European and American banks are your safest bet to protect your savings and remain at ease in cases of economic volatility.
8. Expats in the House: Living abroad, it’s always nice to find kindred souls that are experiencing what you are. Look for expatriate communities in the city of your choice and reach out to them prior to making your move. They’ll be able to answer your questions, provide you with recommendations, and make you feel more at home once you make your big move.
9. Big Macs on the House: Don’t laugh but every so often we crave what’s familiar. Living abroad among all the new smells, sounds and flavors can be overwhelming. So it’s always good to know that some of those comforts readily available back home—be it junk food or specific ingredients like, say, maple syrup or chipotle chilies—can be tracked down in your new country.
10. Home Sweet Home: Real estate—its costs, availability, location and quality—might be one of the most crucial factors to consider when planning for retirement. Whether you are renting or buying, you want a comfortable, ample, well-located and affordable place to live. We suggest carefully studying the real estate markets in your shortlist of countries to retire.
11. If You Build It, They Will Come: Access to sturdy, safe and modern infrastructure can enhance one’s life abroad. The availability of good roadways, hospitals, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, transportation hubs, theatres and museums, efficient utility services, etc., raises standards of living and makes retiring somewhere far away from home a more attractive option.
12. Inflation! Devaluation! Crisis!: Economic volatility is another factor to consider when retirement planning. Inflation, currency devaluations, tax hikes and other types of negative economic fluctuations can make life difficult for you and your bank account. Have a basic understanding of the economic history and performance of the countries on your shortlist and put together a contingency plan so that you’re not caught by surprise when things do go wrong.
13. Residency Requirements: If it’s a hassle to acquire residency to the country of your choice, then it might be better to move somewhere else. Look into residency requirements for your top choices and make sure these are not too burdensome. Many countries—for instance, Panama—offer special visas for retirees that allow them to make use of a wide range of discounts on utility bills, transportation, entertainment and more. These types of residency are highly advantageous and should be explored.
14. Can You Hear Me Now?: No one these days can live without access to the Internet or a smart phone. A reliable and efficient communications system to keep in touch with friends and family via Skype and log onto your Facebook, Twitter and Taxlinked accounts is a must. Unless what you want is to disconnect from the world and become a hermit up on a hill.
15. Take a Hike: Now that you have plenty of time on your hands, you might want to pursue all those recreational activities you weren’t free for as a working professional. Be it playing tennis, hiking, painting or dabbling in handcrafts, make sure there are facilities nearby for you to practice your favorite hobbies.
16. Don’t Make It Taxing: You cannot run. You cannot hide. Taxes will always be there, waiting for you. Even if you’re living abroad, you might still have to pay taxes back in your home country, so speak to a financial advisor to help you figure out who you owe, how much and when. You wouldn’t want to skip a payment and be penalized for moving to lovely Ecuador.
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