What’s your purpose in life? There are no right or wrong answers! Many of us seek to find purpose in our jobs and our careers. Yet more of us seek it in the way in which we raise, love and educate our children. But when we reach the age of retirement (or at least an age where we’re considering retirement) we need to take stock and reassess. Purpose in life isn’t just for the young. We all need to seek it out, even if it means we have to relax our criteria a little. Having worked hard to become more financially secure, and armed with a wealth of experience gleaned from decades of life experience, one could argue that retirees are better equipped than just about anyone to find their own sense of purpose.
Upon waving goodbye to their careers and now that their children are able to fend for themselves, many retirees seek to redefine themselves by immersing themselves in new experiences. They travel to new locations, dive deep into different cultures and surround themselves with new and exciting people and things. Many rediscover their thirst for adventure upon retirement and if you’re having an identity crisis in your senior years travelling overseas can prove an enormous step forward in terms of your personal growth. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for seniors to decide to spend their whole retirement abroad. Sound bonkers to you? Well, there are some seriously good reasons why you may want to consider it…
Cheaper cost of living
You don’t even have to be over 50 to have noticed just how expensive the cost of living has gotten in the UK. An under regulated housing market has seen private rents skyrocket while the prospect of property ownership is an increasingly untenable prospect for many young people. Even if you’re lucky enough to own your own home or have paid off the lion’s share of your mortgage, the rising composite living costs can make retirement on home turf untenable and that’s before we consider the impact that Brexit will have on the prices and availability of life’s little essentials.
Many British expats find themselves moving to Asian countries where the standard of living is high, yet you get much more for your money, especially if you’re an early bird checking out the latest BTO launches in countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand or Hong Kong. if you already have significant equity in your UK home you may find that you have some pretty impressive purchasing power in many overseas territories.
Better and / or more affordable healthcare
This is something that most commonly affects Americans who can face serious healthcare costs in their retirement. In fact, a report called The Lifetime Medical Spending of Retirees by a group of US economists that 5% of American retirees will end up paying out-of-pocket medical expenses of over $300,000 and 1% incurring costs of over $600,000. That’s a huge cost to bear that can be levied considerably by moving overseas. While Brits may have the support of the NHS, getting old can still be an expensive prospect in the UK, especially if we wind up needing residential care. Staying in a UK care home can cost us an average of £29,270 a year or over £39,000 a year if nursing is required. Hence, many on both sides of the pond find that moving to another country is more cost advantageous.
More relaxed quality of life
While we may long for new experiences and sensations in our retirement to help us to feel young and full of life, we also want to be able to take it down a gear. Life in the UK is getting more and more fast paced and hectic, especially if you live in or near a major conurbation like London, Birmingham, Manchester and the like. The stress and strain of fast-paced modern living can actually accelerate the aging process, so it’s no surprise that it’s something that most retirees would like to actively avoid.
Many overseas territories offer a more laid back and relaxed quality of life which can provide the perfect backdrop to retirement. Look at our Kiwi cousins. They tend to be much more laid back and enjoy much better work life balance. Even if they must endure baking hot Christmases. Let’s face it, the prospect of retiring somewhere where you can spend your retirement lounging on the beach is infinitely preferable to shivering away in blighty. Speaking of which…
The idea of retiring to somewhere sun drenched and idyllic is not just a lovely way to spend your retirement, it can also be beneficial to our health. Those who suffer from pain and poor joint mobility due to arthritis know how cold and / or damp weather can be a nightmare, exacerbating symptoms and ruining the relaxing experience of retirement. Besides, we’ve all spent far too long watching the rain pour down and waking up to grey and gloomy skies. Why shouldn’t we enjoy some sun baked relaxation when we’ve retired.
While those in advanced years must also take extra care in the sun, since older people are more prone to heat related illnesses, warm weather is generally more conducive to better health long into our dotage.
Keep your brain active and healthy
When we reach our senior years, it’s not uncommon for us to get paranoid about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. We become convinced of it every time we misplace our keys or can’t remember the bloke who played J.R. Ewing (it was Larry Hagman- bonus points if you didn’t have to look it up!). Unfortunately, lapsing into a life comprised of old habits can actually increase our dementia risk. On the other hand, a life of new experiences and new sights, sounds, smells and tastes can help to keep our brains active and healthy, thereby keeping dementia at bay.
Whatever your age or the state of your health, it may be worth at least considering the prospect of relocating overseas for your retirement!