So you're thinking of retiring overseas...

There is a growing trend in Australia where retirees are heading off shore to make the most of cheaper living and more adventurous lifestyles. So have you considered it? It is a thought that is appealing to some and incredibly scary to others, but when you consider it all, it actually looks like a pretty good idea!

There has been a boom in expat retirement village construction in places like Bali, the Philippines and European countries. As the cost of living continues to rise and we have more and more restrictions on our capacity to enjoy life, these become great options for anyone who is willing to take that risk.

If you haven’t considered it or if you are, here is some extra information on some of the risk factors when heading overseas for retirement and how things work for Australian expats.

 

Residency

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Whether you would like permanent residency or you are looking to timeshare between Australia and another country, there are plenty of options available. For example, Bali, a popular retirement destination you can live there as a resident or you can consider yourself on an “extended holiday” for six months of the year every year. For tax purposes, if you are a resident you are subject to Balinese tax laws however if you remain an Australian resident you are only subject to Australian tax laws.

In Australia, you can legally rent out your home for up to six years and you are generally able to consider it your principal place of residence. However, this is not the case for age pension eligibility.

 

Money

The Australian age pension can be paid overseas for any amount of time. It is estimated that more than 70,000 Australian pensioners are living permanently overseas and receive their fortnightly payments. You must be an Australian resident when you apply for the pension however your seniors health card is cancelled once you have spent more than six weeks outside of Australia.

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If you still own your family home, are renting it out and are living abroad, it is considered an asset for the pension eligibility test meaning you may only be able to receive a smaller amount. Generally, superannuation can be used as a pension regardless of where you are. However you need to be honest with your fund about your plans so they can help you to best manage your income.

 

Health

Having full international health cover will always be a worthwhile investment. You never know what kind of emergency could occur and it is always best to be prepared for what may happen. If you are choosing to take out health insurance locally, then make sure you do your research and find an insurer with a strong reputation and a valuable suite of provisions.

 

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Connection

It is scary, the idea of packing up your life and saying goodbye to your friends and family for a live overseas. But it is also a time for new beginnings. Some people fear that by retiring overseas they will feel incredible isolation, but the way communities are structured and retirement villages are available, you have so many opportunities to meet new people and make new friends. You just have to be open to the experience. Time sharing between your “home” and another country also means that you can still stay connected to the lives of family and friends – especially grandkids.

It is a daunting idea, but when you weigh up the costs of moving compared to the costs of living here in Australia, it becomes a very attractive offer. I think my ideal life would be time sharing between my home in Brisbane and a life overseas. That way I could still keep in touch with the Grandkids and see my beautiful family and friends.

 

Would you consider retiring overseas? Or perhaps have you already done it? Tell us about it in the comments below…