Are you planning to move to another country when you retire? A cross-country move is a big life decision that can have tremendous benefits in terms of saving money and living a happier, healthier life. But before you pack your things and get on a plane, take these four practical steps to get ready.
- Learn the Culture
How much do you know about the culture and language where you’ll live? You benefit yourself and boost chances of success by reducing culture shock as much as possible.
Learn the language — even a rudimentary knowledge of the most necessary ideas — before moving. Learn about everything from the food to the transportation systems to basic etiquette. Talk to other expats living in the area, giving real consideration to their advice on everything from how to move there to where to live.
- Move Your Stuff
Many people plan to sell all their belongings and restart in a foreign country. However, this can have drawbacks. For one thing, losing everything that makes your abode feel like home may add to feelings of homesickness or culture shock. Nothing is familiar, and everything will seem foreign, new, or temporary.
In addition, American or Western goods are often more expensive in foreign countries. So while your sofa and dining set didn’t cost that much in the United States, replacing them with something similar may cost double or triple what you’d pay normally. Cars in some countries cost more to replace than it would take to ship them.
Plan to move at least a portion of your belongings, including things with sentimental value and basic items needed to get started in a new place. If you’re hunting for furnished apartments, you’ll have to move less but will still want to keep the more important items.
- Learn About Coverage
Once you leave the American borders, you will need to take new steps to ensure financial and personal stability.
What is the health care system there? Is insurance coverage an option? Is it provided by the state, by private companies, or by a combination of the two? What do other expats use to cover their medical needs? Will you still benefit from U.S. healthcare coverage for big needs? Retirees must factor in health care in their big decisions.
In addition, find out about insurance coverage for your belongings while in transit as well as in your new home. If you will drive, what licensing and insurance is required? This may impact whether you ship valuable goods with you or sell more items before moving.
- Park Your Funds
For most expats, keeping the bulk of their money and investments in the U.S. is a good idea. American banking systems provide good insurance against loss, and you will be dealing with known financial systems. With regular retirement income, you likely won’t have a problem getting residency in many countries even without the bulk of your funds.
Look for a large bank that can provide most of your transactions online or by telephone. Then get a good debit card and credit card with rewards and no international exchange fees. Plan to use money in smaller increments, perhaps by regular ATM or wire transfer.
Also, tell your financial adviser and banker of your plans to travel overseas long term so they can help you design an investment plan that works with your new situation.
These practical tasks will help ensure that your transition to expat life is more successful. At Christofferson Moving & Storage, we specialize in assisting people who want to move to another country no matter what their circumstances. Call today to learn how we can aid your exciting retirement plans.