Can I still retire overseas in a post-COVID world?

Published on: June 17th, 2020

Between 2005 and 2018, the number of Australians retiring overseas increased dramatically, and it’s easy to see why. Countries like Thailand have much to offer retirees; not least of all sunshine, a warm climate, and a beach lifestyle at a much lower cost of living than local coastal regions. But for many of us, COVID-19 has drastically changed our views on travel and the expat lifestyle.

The impact has been significant, and planning for a lifestyle overseas may be more challenging for some time to come. It’s not impossible, however, you do need to consider some new angles.

Here are our tips for retiring overseas in a post COVID world.

Make sure retiring abroad aligns with your values

During COVID-19, many people saw their values shift, and what once made them happy no longer does. Aside from potential financial savings, another big reason for retiring overseas was easier and cheaper access to see the world.  With many in the travel industry forecasting that international travel won’t fully recover until 2023, this may not be the drawcard it once was.

It’s also worth thinking about how important it is to spend time with family and friends during retirement. Pre COVID-19, you might have expected many of your loved ones would want to visit you, but some people will be cautious about international travel for some time to come.

Get to know the local health system

We have always encouraged Apt clients who are considering an expat retirement to take a close look at the local health system. In the wake of COVID-19, it’s even more critical to understand its strengths and limitations, and what you can access as an expat. You also need to understand what private health insurance will cost, bearing in mind that these premiums are likely to have increased lately. It’s also important to read the fine print and make sure you are covered in the event of a pandemic.

Look at how authorities in Australia and your adopted country managed the crisis

Each country’s authorities had a different response to the coronavirus, and this has seen a wide variety of impacts on locals and expats alike. What was the experience like for people living in the country? Were expats sent home?

While that country may handle a future crisis differently, we can only use the knowledge we have today, and it bears thinking about what that response could mean for you as an expat retiree. If there is a lock down in the future, you need to know what your options will be and what coming home will look like for you.

Understand location risks

Many cities in Europe and Asia are densely populated, and it’s these cities that can have the most difficulty managing a health crisis. It is also important to remember that we live in a country that doesn’t share land borders, which can be a significant advantage when it comes to reducing the spread of illness. If you are thinking about a retirement in Europe, for example, countries share borders and often there are less travel checks in place, and this can make it harder to contain health risks.

Review your access to food and essentials

Many countries saw disruption to supply chains because of COVID-19, particularly those who rely on significant imports. Understanding whether your adopted country would have ongoing access to food and essentials in a crisis is critical. You really want to be somewhere that has its own resources.

Financial and lifestyle considerations

If you’ve reviewed these areas and decided that an overseas retirement is the right move for you, it’s important to then consider whether it makes sense from both a financial and a lifestyle perspective. Our previous blog on retiring abroad is a great place to start.

If you are ready to start planning for your retirement, in Australia or abroad, Apt can help you live the retirement you have always dreamed of. Contact us to find out more.

General Advice warning

The information provided in this blog does not constitute financial product advice. The information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be used, relied upon, or treated as a substitute for specific professional advice. Apt Wealth Partners (AFSL and ACL 436121 ABN 49 159 583 847) and Apt Wealth Home Loans (powered by Smartline ACL 385325) recommends that you obtain professional advice before making any decision in relation to your particular requirements or circumstances.