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Health and Financial Bonuses from Retiring Abroad

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 9 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
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Sunshine, a healthier lifestyle and a low cost of living are drawing more and more retirees abroad every year. With over one million Britons enjoying their retirement abroad it seems life really does begin at 60.

Why Brits Are Retiring Abroad

Britain’s less than sunny climate is one of the major reasons why retired people decided to move abroad. But the temptation of sunny climates isn’t the only reason. The low cost of living in countries abroad can see a state pension last longer, especially when it comes to food and accommodation. The UK state pension is easily transferable to bank accounts abroad, as well as many other government benefits. For many people, retirement is the chance to live out a life long dream of living abroad.

Pensions Last Longer Abroad

It is true that money does stretch further abroad. Many popular retirement countries such as Spain and Malta have a much lower cost of living than the UK. Many countries in the European Union, especially in Eastern Europe show a dramatic reduction in cost of living, as much as 50% less. State and occupational pensions will stretch a lot further abroad when it comes to purchases such as food and property. Retired Brits have 25 European Union destinations to choose from where they are legally entitled to live and work.

Health Benefits from Retiring Abroad

Mediterranean countries are among the most popular for retirees living abroad. Not only are these countries blessed with a fantastic climate but they have long been known to have healthier diets. Countries such as Italy and Spain are known to have lower rates of heart disease than in Britain. The healthy diet, laid back lifestyle and long hours of sunshine are definite bonuses to a healthier life.

Easy Access to Sports Activities Abroad

Swimming and diving in warm sea waters, golf at any of time year, cycling and walking in the sunshine; just a few of the popular sports abroad. Many countries abroad are blessed with six long hot summer months. Winters abroad are usually short and mild and a far cry from the dark and damp UK winters. The number of sports activities available abroad and the sunny weather is conducive to a healthier lifestyle. These are definite bonuses for retirees looking to stay fit and healthy.

Retirees Working Abroad

Brits who decide to retire abroad in European Union Countries are legally entitled to work in that country. This can top up any pension income, and working hours in Mediterranean countries are usually more flexible than Britain’s 9 to 5 culture. There is a huge British ex pat community abroad so it should be easy to make contacts and obtain employment advice. It is of course possible to work online for a few hours each day and top up an income.

Better Medical Facilities Abroad

Hospital facilities in countries abroad are usually of a better standard than found in the UK. Occurrences of infections such as MRSA in hospitals in countries such as France, Spain, Norway and Hungary are zero. As hospitals abroad are usually partly state funded and partly private the facilities are up to date. This is the reason many Britons go abroad for surgery rather than risk infection, or the long waiting lists in the UK.

Points to Consider Before Retiring Abroad

It might not all be plain sailing when retiring abroad. Points to consider before retiring abroad should include:

  • Are UK pensions and benefits easily transferable?
  • Is there a mutual healthcare agreement with the UK?
  • Will there be any language or cultural difficulties?
  • Is the pound strong in the country abroad?
  • Are there dual tax implications in the intended retirement country?
  • Will there be free emergency care in the intended retirement country?
  • Will there be a lot of legal red tape when buying properties abroad?
  • Is the UK easily accessible for return trips and visits from friends and family?
It is always advisable to fully research the country that is being considered as a retirement option. The wise move would be to take an extended holiday in the country prior to retirement during both summer and winter seasons. Researching ex pat websites will also bring up a great deal of information and advice on the chosen retirement country.

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