Retiring abroad after the COVID-19 crisis…

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Published 2020-06-15 10:09

Expat.com is launching a special dossier over the coming week. We aim to uncover the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis on global mobility. Indeed, the pandemic has brought very significant changes to our way of life. What will be the consequences for those who want to spend their retirement abroad after the crisis?

Choosing a country...

If you are a citizen of a European country and you want to retire in a European Union (EU) country, there should be no change once the borders are opened. On the other hand, in a country like the USA, this can be more complicated with visas which are likely to evolve in terms of duration and ease of obtaining because of the current situation as well as because of the looming presidential election.

Difficult to anticipate, at this time, the changes in the immigration policies of countries around the world. Conversely, the preferences of retirees are likely to change after this crisis. A French national who is planning to retire abroad explains to Expat.com that his project had evolved due to the COVID-19 crisis. While he was initially thinking of Thailand for his retirement, his interest has now shifted to Portugal because of its proximity to his country of origin. In addition to geographic proximity, this same future retiree explains that population density is now a new criterion that he takes into account.

What about the financial aspect?

Living abroad requires resources. But more than ever, after the COVID-19 crisis, what will be most important is making sure you have enough to survive the uncertain times. It is one thing to have enough money to retire abroad, and it is another to have enough to overcome health and economic hardship. William Jordan, President of the Association of Americans Resident Overseas, himself an expat in Paris, explained to Sindya Bhanoo of the Washington Post, that it will be essential to have substantial savings. “Cash is king, so ideally you will still have a large sum. Having this safety net is key for any expatriate retiree, but even more so in the times we live in,” he said. Moreover, for those who plan to expatriate for retirement soon, it will be necessary to take into account the economic crisis that is looming. Will your savings have the same value? And if you rely on your investments to live, will your income be enough to support you after the crisis? From a post-crisis perspective, diversifying your lifestyle and your investment portfolio becomes more important than ever. Financial diversification will allow for lower dependence on the government or an economy.

And health?

It will now be more important than ever to choose a country with a developed and quality health system and significant medical infrastructure. The concept of cost of medical care according to your financial means is a criterion that will become more important, because at the age of retirement, one is indeed more vulnerable in the event of a new pandemic.

Most importantly, a proper health insurance will become essential to moving abroad, especially for expatriates. Indeed, the current crisis will prompt expats to look for broader plans that will cover them even in the event of a pandemic or other similar events.

Retiring abroad is a great project and a very rewarding experience on many levels. COVID-19 put things into perspective at least temporarily and one's retirement plan abroad must now be more thoughtful than ever in terms of geographic location in order to be able to travel easily in case of need without depending solely on intercontinental air transport. A key factor to retire abroad should be how you manage medical care abroad and the ease of access to care in times of need.

1 Comment
DavidB4
DavidB4
3 weeks ago

All good points and why it's increasingly a smart idea to consider Tbilisi, Georgia for your next place to live. They weathered the corona storm far better than most, without protests, and are opening up now in an orderly manner. Your money goes farther here than most countries in the world while providing you with a European lifestyle.

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