Moving abroad is a big endeavour. You may have dreamed of making the transition all your life, but there will still be plenty to think about before you go. Now that you’re preparing to make the dream a reality, it’s time to thoroughly plan. By getting organised you can ensure your experience isn’t clouded by complications and setbacks.
We’re joined by Rewan Tremethick of TorFX to run through six key things to think about if you are planning on relocating abroad.
The approaching EU referendum will undoubtedly have a large effect on your plans to expatriate. If the UK does vote in favour of a ‘Brexit’, Brits living in Europe could find themselves without some of the rights and perks they have taken for granted up until now. It’s not yet clear whether an ‘out’ vote would affect your need for a visa, your pension payments, or your access to healthcare, but it’s worth factoring changes to those things – and the weaker Sterling exchange rate which may follow a UK exit from the EU – into your plans.
Two key questions to answer before making the move abroad: how will you receive your pension when living overseas and how much will you get? State pension can be received abroad, but the amount could vary depending upon where you choose to live. UK residents who have retired to a country that has a special relationship with the UK, such as the US, the EU and Jamaica, will be eligible to receive any increases in their state pension. Those living elsewhere will continue to receive the same rate as when they first retired, as over half of UK retirees living abroad currently do.
Meanwhile, private pensions will often only pay into a UK bank account, meaning you will need to consider the most cost-effective means of getting the funds exchanged into the local currency.
3. Property at Home
If you own your current property, you have three main options to consider when leaving it behind to live abroad. Which you chose will depend largely on your financial situation. You may want to keep hold of your property and use it as a holiday home if you intend to return home often to visit friends and family. The drawback here is that it won’t be a source of income or equity, so you will need to be in a strong financial position to do this.
You might prefer to generate a regular income from your home and therefore rent it out, perhaps using an estate agent to manage the process on your behalf. Or, you may need to use it to finance your move and sell it in order to make a purchase abroad. Spend some time looking into all your options before making a decision. Something you may want to bear in mind is that some expats decide to hang on to their property at home and rent abroad initially to give themselves time to assess whether they are going to be happy in their new country. If they decide the move isn’t for them, they still have a foothold at home to return to.
4. Property Abroad
If you plan to invest in overseas real estate, finding your dream property is only the beginning of the process. You’ll need to decide how you are intending to raise the funds you need to pay for it, through means such as using a domestic mortgage or attempting to secure a loan in your new country of residence. Once you have the money, you’ll need to find a local solicitor who is familiar with the property laws of their country and can help you to navigate the language barrier. Locating a good estate agent, one who understands your requirements and is ready to act in your best interests, is another important step.
5. Health Care
Whether you currently have a long term health problem, or are simply worried about looking after yourself as you age, healthcare should be a top priority when moving abroad. What kind of facilities and treatments will you be able to access abroad? Not all medications are available in all countries, so you may need to plan to collect a bulk supply from your GP that lasts you several months.
Paying for healthcare is a process that varies hugely between countries. Some provide basic state healthcare to expats; in others you will need to take out private health insurance. It may be worth doing so even in countries with good basic healthcare, especially for lifelong or chronic illnesses which require specialist treatment.
6. Currency Exchange
You’re going to need to conduct an international money transfer at least once during the expatriation process, if not on a regular basis. Using high street banks can quickly become expensive, as they often charge transfer fees. A reputable currency broker can be a much better option, as they work on different margins and can provide highly competitive exchange rates. Some brokers also work on a fee-free basis and supply regular market updates to keep you informed of the latest currency movements. You get more foreign currency for your money, while benefiting from their market knowledge.
They also offer other services, such as regular transfers and the ability to ‘fix’ an exchange rate for up to two years, which can help with property purchases.
So there you have it, six areas you might want to research when planning a move overseas. Good luck to anyone intending to start a new life abroad in the near future! Moving abroad is a big endeavour. You may have dreamed of making the transition all your life, but there will still be plenty to think about before you go. Now that you’re preparing to make the dream a reality, it’s time to thoroughly plan. By getting organised you can ensure your experience isn’t clouded by complications and setbacks.