Step 1: Figure out your financesMoving across the world will always come with a price tag. Whether looking to rent or purchase a new property, make sure you have enough money saved to make the switch comfortably.
You'll also want to make sure that you receive a proper Australian pension, despite living abroad. Expatriates can be eligible for an "Outside Australia" rate on their Age Pension, according to QSuper Queensland. The payment amount may be impacted by factors like the duration of your time abroad, changes to your income or, if your pension is coming from a social security agreement with another country.
While pension may be subject to change, your super fund should remain under the same rules while living abroad, assuming you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
Retiring abroad may also impact the amount of tax you pay as different countries have different laws on taxation of non-citizen expatriates. In addition, you will probably still owe taxes to Australia, depending in part on whether you are classified as an Australian or foreign resident. While many countries have a double tax treaty with Australia, which means that only one of the two countries can levy taxes, this is not always the case.
Your health care costs will also be impacted by a move abroad. For example, if you are a citizen who lives abroad for more than five years, or a permanent resident who has been gone for just 12 months, you'll lose out on your Medicare benefits. This means you'll have to adjust to the health insurance system of your new home, possibly paying for treatment out of pocket.
Step 2: Pick a destinationOnce you're confident that your finances are in order, it's time for the fun part - figuring out where in the world to move? One of the most popular overseas destinations for retiring Aussies is closer than you'd think, which can be found over at our neighbour New Zealand. Renowned for its natural beauty, New Zealand is an easy choice as it shares a common language, involves lower levels of culture shock, and already has a significant expatriate community.
The countries of Southeast Asia are also popular locales for retirement, in part due to their lower cost of living. In fact, in a ranking of countries to retire in by International Living Australia, based on important retirement factors like visas, cost, health care and climate, Southeast Asian nations took the top five spots. These destinations include Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bali and Cambodia. The next four spots were then followed by European countries, with Panama being the lone representation of the Americas in the top 10.
Step 3: ImmigrationBefore you start dreaming of your new life abroad, it is important that you thoroughly research local immigration laws to make sure you're able to live there. Each country has its own set of rules about visas and immigration. If you're planning on living in your new home permanently, rather than only seasonally, you may have your work cut out for you.
Proper immigration may also be easier if you already have family living in your new country. New Zealand for example, has different visa options for retirees depending on whether or not they have children living in the country already, according to the immigration advisory company New Zealand Shores. Those with children in the country may be able to find themselves on a quicker track to residency through the Parent Resident Visa. This program was reinstated in February 2020 after being on pause for a few years. In addition to this, a temporary Parent and Grandparent Visitor Visa is also available.
As with many parts of life, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is currently complicating much of the visa process. As of November 2020, the Australian border is still closed to international travel going both ways. However, exemptions are available as each country has its own set of rules about foreign travellers and quarantine. Therefore, you'll want to do your research and be sure that you are following all local ordinances.
Step 4: Move your belongingsAt last, now that you've found your new home and established that you can get a visa to retire there, it's time to begin working on the logistics of actually making the move. Unless you're planning on keeping or renting out your current Australian residence, that will probably mean selling your home. You'll also need to find a property in your new country with all of the amenities necessary to thrive into your sunset years.
Think ahead to what you'll need as you continue to age, as it may include services that aren't necessary currently, such as live-in care and nearby access to medical specialists. Each of these steps is an intense process in and of itself, but with the confidence of knowing that your finances, location and immigration status are all set, you'll be sure to thrive.
Then finally, when you're ready to move, make sure you partner with a trusted international moving specialist. Allied for example have been helping retries across Australia make the transition to their new overseas home, with over 400 locations worldwide that we ship too. Choosing the right moving partner can not only save you stress but money in the long run, making sure you hit the ground running on your new adventure sooner.
Moving to a new country can be challenging, but also rewarding. And with the help from professional services, including removalists and visa and immigration counsellors, you can make your dream retirement easier than you'd ever expect. A professional moving company like Allied, with its dedicated global relocation services, may be a part of the solution. Get started today with a free quote or contact our experienced team on 13 25 45.