top of page

Want to Retire Early Abroad? Do These 10 Things First

Have you been thinking about retiring abroad? We don’t blame you - we loved the idea so much . . . we did just that! We retired in Portugal!

But, we didn’t make the decision to retire in Portugal without first doing a lot of research. So, if you’re looking to retire abroad, I’ve got some tips for you. In fact, I have ten things for you to do: Ten of the most important things to do before you relocate to a foreign country.

Scope Out the Healthcare System

The lower cost of living, particularly the low cost of healthcare, are two major reasons so many people choose to retire abroad. But in my opinion, using the medical and dental system in your chosen country is an absolute must before moving! It’s all well and good to do your research, but you don’t know what it’s like until you have first-hand experience.

It’s vital that you get familiar with the medical facilities in this new country, particularly if you have special medical needs. Getting to know the public healthcare system is especially important if you are moving to a non-English speaking country. You want to be sure you understand all of the cultural differences in medicine that may get lost in translation before you move.

Try To Interact with the Local Government

Amon once got a parking ticket in Spain and came away from the experience understanding that even something as simple as paying a parking ticket in Spain isn’t nearly as straightforward as it is in the U.S.

Obviously, I’m not telling you to get a parking ticket just so that you can interact with law enforcement! But there are other ways you can find a similar experience, like visiting the local city offices. Dealing with local government is a true test of what it will be like to live in a new country, so I recommend you get some first-hand experience to understand how things work.

Get To Know Some Local Expats

This tip is so useful, and one that many other ex-pats will recommend too. Meeting with other ex-pats in the country of your choice will teach you something immensely valuable - not necessarily how much they love the country, but more so the struggles that they’ve faced while living there.

When moving to a foreign country, it’s important to be realistic and acknowledge the potential drawbacks of wherever you’re moving to. I’d also recommend meeting up with an ex-pat from your own country, as they’ve probably faced the same challenges you might face while relocating.

Visit Your Country’s Embassy

That is to say, your native embassy in the country you’re planning to move to. While most embassies essentially operate the same way, there can be different work cultures within embassies. You want to know what the work culture at your particular embassy is like before you move.

Say a natural disaster occurs in the country you’ve chosen to retire in, and you need to potentially relocate or leave the country as quickly as possible. You want to know that your embassy is going to be as responsive, helpful, and proactive as possible in a difficult situation.