Retiring Abroad: Pros and Cons

The idea of retiring abroad can seem very alluring. Sitting on the balcony with a cocktail, basking in the sunshine all year round, free of work pressures and responsibilities…

What’s not to like?

Well, as lovely as that all sounds, that’s not the complete reality of living overseas, so it’s really important not to let the dream distract you and influence your decisions too much.

So let’s look at both sides of the coin and focus on what you need to think about before taking this momentous step.

The Pros of Retiring Abroad

A better lifestyle

Moving to a sunnier location can lift your spirits and encourage you to live a more active and healthier lifestyle.

Lower living costs

If you move to a country where the cost of living is lower than in the UK, you can make your hard-earned retirement savings go much further.

Experience a new culture

Living overseas gives you a chance to immerse yourself in a different culture, meet people from diverse backgrounds and perhaps learn a new language.

Lower taxes

At a time when the tax burden in the UK is at a 70-year high, you might want to keep more of your money in your pocket by moving somewhere that allows you to pay the state far less.

The Cons of Retiring Abroad

Missing family and friends

Relocating to another country can mean losing those precious connections with friends and relatives. While technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with loved ones at home, it’s certainly not the same as being able to see them every day, and you can end up feeling isolated from those you care about.

Not speaking the language

Many British expats fail to consider the fact that they’ll be living each day in a country where most people will be interacting in a different language. Again, this can be extremely isolating and can make everyday tasks frustrating and difficult.

Adjusting to a new culture

Even if you relish the idea of immersing yourself in a new culture, the reality of it can still be overwhelming. You’ve got to get used to different ways of doing things and familiarising yourself with often strange traditions and customs – and this can take time.

Navigating legal and financial issues

Moving to a new country can involve jumping through many different bureaucratic hoops, as you need to comply with countless rules and regulations. From making sure your tax affairs are in order to sorting your residency status, retiring abroad involves much more than simply pitching up by the pool and pulling up a deckchair.

Do your research

Ultimately, research is vital if you’re to enjoy a happy and fulfilling retirement overseas.

Consider crucial factors that will affect your day-to-day life, such as:

  • Is the cost of living affordable?

  • What is the standard of healthcare available?

  • Are there plenty of amenities in your chosen destination?

  • Are there good transport links?

  • Can you easily fly back to the UK if there’s an emergency or occasion at home?

Also, find out what people who have previously relocated to your ideal location have had to say about their moves. You can do this by reading and joining internet forums for expats.

What advice can other expats offer that can help you, and what insights do they have on issues that you might have overlooked?

And finally, think about whether you can afford a move overseas. Are your retirement savings enough to sustain your desired lifestyle? Does your chosen destination offer a favourable exchange rate? How much will you have to pay in tax?

If retiring abroad is a burning desire, it could well be worth speaking with a professional financial adviser, as they’ll be able to help you work towards this goal.

Please get in touch if you have any questions about planning for later life and we’ll be happy to speak with you.

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The guidance and/or advice contained within this website is subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore primarily targeted at consumers based in the UK. Welby is a trading name of Welby Associates Wealth Management Ltd Company Registered Number NI630504 who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FCA register number 697372. The Financial Ombudsman Service is available to sort out individual complaints that clients and financial services businesses aren't able to resolve themselves. To contact the Financial Ombudsman Service please visit

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