HLG Retirement Guide: What to Consider?

Things faced in retirement that people don't talk about

overseas retirement

There are tens of millions of people living their retirements overseas. In just the last 5 years, it is estimated that 9 million retirees from America alone moved abroad.

Moving abroad can be fabulous and exotic, but there are some practical considerations, pros and cons, that are all too often glossed over.

retirements overseas Where to retire Overseas retirements
Overseas retirement
What to consider before retiring overseas

Is it less expensive to live overseas?

Can I make my money go further living overseas?

First is money, or the lack of it. Zippia.com recently showed survey results that 10% to 16% of retirees think they are comfortably off or better. The other 84% to 90 % feel their lifestyle is at least partly constrained by lack of money.

Those retiring to another country, however, can often increase the spending power of their income by two or even three-fold.

Part on is the housing

Be it renting or buying. There are two key aspects. First is rent or the cost to buy housing. Second is the cost of day to day living. (Data below are from numbeo.com and mylifeelsewhere.com). As an example: 

A 1-bedroom apartment

Outside City

Cost of Living (Per Month)


USD 1,350

USD 990

Valetta, Malta:  USD 800

40% less out of downtown

USD 730

Lisbon, Portugal:  USD 650

40% less out of downtown

USD 840

Bangkok, Thailand:  USD 350

40% less out of downtown

USD 475

K.L., Malaysia:  USD 350

40% less out of downtown

USD 425

The cost-of-living information is for one individual in each city, per month, excluding rent, and it is anything from 15% less to nearly 60% lower.     

Cost of living Us vs abroad

The cost-of-living information is for one individual in each city, per month, excluding rent, and it is anything from 15% less to nearly 60% lower.     


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    Are there other financial points?

    There is a downside to this. If you want to work, even part-time, while living abroad, the incomes are often a lot lower. It would be better to make your money at home and then move abroad.

    That raises the issue of capital flow restrictions crucial for most retirees. In the case of each of the destination countries listed above, such restrictions are minimal, but this is not always the case and it’s something that people rarely check out until it is too late. You should also ascertain the banking restrictions in advance, to make sure that opening an account and moving your money from home is not a problem.

    What about tax if I move?

    A last concern in the financial territory is tax. Many of the possible destinations in the Caribbean have extremely friendly tax regimes – no wealth, capital gains, royalties, or inheritance tax. The same is at least partly true for some south-east Asian and Mediterranean countries, and many do not tax income earned offshore.

    What else should I think about before I make a decision to retire to another country? 

    Healthcare services, their cost, and the price tag on health insurance, if you are retired, should be an item to examine. For most southern European jurisdictions, it is high quality and affordable due to government subsidies. For the south-east Asian and Caribbean countries, it is also relatively good and not expensive due to their lower cost structures. 

    Consider also who is eligible to be included on your visa, particularly if there is an age difference. Some countries will include a de facto partner, and some will not. For many older people, personal safety is also an issue. All the countries mentioned here are level one on the US State Department’s classification for traveller safety. A final matter is language. If you speak English, you are fortunate, as even in non-English speaking countries like Portugal and Thailand, thanks to the prevalence of English instruction in schools around the world, there always seems to be someone who can translate. If not, there is still Google! 

    What other things should I investigate if I want to retire abroad? 

    There are a number of emotional and mental health aspects to living abroad which are very subjective but should be included in the calculus. Experiencing different scenery and a change in life’s pace is good for most of us. Though face it, you will have to learn new ways of doing things. As long as you are prepared for certain challenges and a few frustrations.

    Beyond this, some people feel they have never been free to live the life they wish. This is your opportunity – there’s something for most people out there.  

    What about family and friends if I retire overseas?

    Allow for the fact that you will miss your family and friends back home. Make the effort to keep in touch with them using WhatsApp or social media, and plan holidays in both directions. In addition, in most countries, there is a community of expatriates with experiences and problems similar to your own. For the first few months, finding a few of them and relying on their advice on how to manage can be invaluable. 

    Where can I get more information?

    If you are interested in relocating overseas or in some of the Golden Visas (Mediterranean Residency-by-Investment programs, as well as Thailand and Malaysia) or Citizenship-by-Investment (generally speaking the Caribbean nations), for more information visit https://harveylawcorporation.com/citizenship-and-residency-programmes/.

    If you would like to talk to one of our professionals or have further questions, email us at [email protected] 

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