When To Start Planning Your Retirement Abroad

Planning Your Retirement Abroad

Written by Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
15th September 2017 (Last updated on Thursday 11th April 2019)

Here at Compare My Move, we've put together this article about planning your retirement abroad to help make your international move go as smoothly as possible. Read on below to find out about important details about retiring abroad, and when you need to start planning.

When should you start planning your retirement abroad?

You should start planning your retirement abroad at least 2 years before you plan to finish work. It is best to start considering your retirement options with a couple years to spare no matter what you have in mind, but an overseas move takes very careful planning so it is vital that you are thinking about when you will retire, what income you will have after you retire, where you will be moving and what will be involved in the process of packing up your troubles and moving to another country.

Pensions and Finances

You are going to want to get some professional financial advice in plenty of time so you can make your new life in a new country the focus of your last few years at work. It will be in your best interest to get a clear idea of what your monthly income will be once you retire, do this around 2 or 3 years before you are hoping to retire so that you can make appropriate plans or start saving accordingly.

You are going to want to be completely free of debt (if possible) by the time you retire. This is again why planning in plenty of time is a good idea so you can avoid taking on long term debts or anything that you will not be able to easily clear by your retirement date.

Get a state pension statement for a clear idea on how much state pension you can expect. This will be worked out based on your National Insurance contributions to date. You should also ask for an up to date statement from any other pensions so that you can work out how much you can expect to draw at the time you are planning and hoping to retire. Also, be sure to chase up any lost or forgotten pensions, you’d be surprised how often people have started paying into a scheme and then forgotten about it. Think hard, dig deep and be sure to gather everything up.

Once you have nailed down all your pensions and you are starting to get a nice clear idea of how much money you are going to have in these golden years, you should also consider adding up any savings you have now or that you expect to have by then. Think about any investments that could be put towards your retirement and anything that could be used to boost your income after you retire.

From all of this, you should be able to figure out when you can afford to retire. Set a target date for your retirement and start working towards it.

Where are you going to live?

It is massively advisable that you choose your new place to call home as soon as you can because depending on where you are going, there will be regulations, requirements and lots of hoops to jump through.

Some the best places to retire include Spain, Malta and Portugal, or further afield, Ecuador, Panama and Mexico but, the World is your Oyster. Dream big and go for it!

You may already know exactly where you want to live after you have retired. The odds are that you’ve had it in mind for many years and you have done your research but if all you know is that you want to move abroad but you don’t know where then what you need to do is figure out exactly what you want out of your retirement. Are you going for sun, culture, a low cost of living, a better quality of life, luxury or adventure?

Expat forums will be a huge help to you. Talking to people that have already done it or others in the same position as you and working towards their move will put you at ease and you’ll find invaluable advice on where to move and everything else you’ll need assistance with.

You should be doing this at least 2 years before you plan to fly away. It is a lot easier to prepare to move somewhere when you know where you want to move to.


The visa application process varies from country to country. A smart first step would be to visit the website of the nation’s embassy. There you should find all the advice and guidance you should need to apply for a visa. You can even apply online. Either way, it will be a good starting point as here you will learn what the requirements are to live in the country you have chosen. It is worth noting that it isn’t always possible to move to the country you choose. For some countries, you will need to prove your wealth and show that you can afford to support yourself without support from that country’s government.

When difficulties and obstacles occur during this process, it can set serious delays into motion. It has been known for visa applications for the USA, for example, to take up to 2 years, it can be quite the palaver.

Buying a Property Abroad

Buying a house is rarely a straightforward process. It can be an extra fuss buying a house abroad but, when has buying a house ever been easy? It is important that you visit any home that you are considering buying abroad as you shouldn’t simply rely on pictures because estate agents know what they are doing when they take these pictures. They are designed to make places look bigger and more luxurious than they are. You will also want to visit the area and the house to be certain that the place does what you need it to do and that you will be happy there.

Another important tip is to use an English Speaking lawyer and estate agent as you don’t want anything to get lost in translation.

When you consider how long it can take to buy a house and then throw in the added obstacle of needing to travel abroad to look at properties, it really is best to give yourself at least 18 months to do this.

When to plan the International Removal?

When it comes to finding an international removal company, shopping around is very necessary. This would usually take an awful lot of time because not only would you be looking for a company that can meet your needs but you would also want to find one that is reputable and trustworthy.

Compare My Move will save you a considerable amount of time here. It is still good to compare the costs nice and early. Aim for a good 6 months prior to the move as there is a lot of planning to be done and a professional international removal service will need plenty of time to organise the move. Not only that, but you will want time to get home survey visits from a few of the companies on your Compare My Move shortlist.

So that’s that. The short answer to the question ‘when to start planning your retirement abroad?’ Is at least two years before you are due to retire. 

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