There are many wonderful benefits to retiring abroad. Most expat retirees say the 3 greatest benefits are a lower cost of living, less stressful lifestyle and better weather.
There are also a number of commonly held myths about retiring abroad. Here I debunk a few of them and shed some light on the reality.
Myth #1: My life will be better after retiring abroad. I’ll be happier and less stressed.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re a person that tends to stress easily, no amount of financial freedom or sun and surf will change that, I promise.
To avoid this pitfall, try lowering your expectations. Realize that who you are is unlikely to change, even though your surroundings may be more pleasant.
In fact, if you’re in a developing nation, or a Latin one, your stress levels may rise when nothing gets done on time, or people fail to show up when they say they will.
Myth #2: I’ll meet fascinating international people and will have a great social life.
While this may indeed happen, going through a transition is not always easy, particularly if you’re tackling 2 transitions at once, like retiring and moving abroad.
It can be difficult at first to find “your tribe” and it may take some time before you settle in.
To avoid this pitfall, give yourself a year in your new country to feel at home and meet people you connect with.
Find something you either love to do or have never done before and would like to try. Then find a class or group of people doing this. It’s great to bond over a shared interest and a wonderful to way to make lasting friendships.
Myth #3: I’m shy and tend to isolate but in my new country it will be different.
If you tend to isolate at home, you will tend to isolate abroad. In fact at first, you may find yourself feeling more isolated without your usual support system of family and old friends.
You may have to give yourself a friendly push to put yourself out there. In most communities where expats tend to retire there are different interest groups, expat meet ups, coffee mornings, etc.
Facing your fears about meeting new people may be more important now than it has been in the past. You don’t have to be led by your fears, but it will require conscious effort on your part. You are never too old to change and retirement may be the best time to start!