Checklist for Retirement Destinations

If you’re coming up to retirement age you may be seriously thinking about where you would like to do it: will you stay in your hometown, move closer to family, or would you rather go abroad? If you really have your heart set on retiring somewhere mild and sunny, this article will help you to focus your thoughts on where and how you wish to retire. For those of you who are looking forward to retirement with your partner, you might find that what you want is very different from what they want when it comes to retirement destinations. Therefore, you might want to spend some time together to talk about what you want and need from your Golden Years. At the very least you can figure out if compromise will be needed, and in which areas.

Checklist for Retirement destinations

What kind of climate do you want in your retirement destination?

Do you feel the cold while your spouse cannot stand the heat? If so you need to discuss the kind of climate which will be good for you both. Before you choose your retirement destination we would advise that you visit during all of the seasons; the winters may be fine, but if the summers are way too hot (or vice versa) there’s going to be an issue.

How close to home does your retirement destination need to be?

How far away do you want to be from your family and friends; would you like to see them daily, or will the occasional visit be enough? This will determine what the best destinations will be for you. Places like Mexico will be cheap and easy to visit whereas places in Europe and Asia may be more expensive.

Are you ready to move full time?

Will you be choosing a retirement destination for good or are you going to be a snowbird and migrate in the winters? If you’re going to emigrate fully you will need to find a country which is open to retirees becoming full time residents. Being a part-time snowbird may leave you with more options.

How long term will your move be?

If you intend to move permanently to your retirement destination, you’re going to want to be in a country which has a good healthcare system and you can still receive your pension. You might also want to think about whether or not you can have dual-citizenship in your destination, and just how easy it will be to gain residency.

How expensive is it to live in your chosen retirement destination?

If it you’re hoping to downsize and live less expensively you will need to consider how cheap (or otherwise) it will be to rent accommodation, and just what the cost of living will be when you’re there.

What kind of lifestyle are you used to?

What kind of lifestyle would you like to have? This is the key question when choosing a retirement destination, really… what is it that you love most; the beach, the garden, theater, or good food?

What is the current political climate?

Is there potential for unrest in the near future? Is the economy stable? How are policies geared towards foreigners who live there. What are the immigration laws? Some retirement destinations are more welcoming to foreigners… think about how your nationality will be received in your country of choice?

How will your healthcare needs be met?

Choosing a retirement destination which will help any chronic illness that you might have. For example, if you live near the sea or mountains it may have positive impacts upon your health, but more pragmatically it will also be better for you if private healthcare is cheaper in your new home.

Will learning a foreign language be necessary (or desirable)?

Do you speak the language? If not, can you learn? Alternatively do many people in your new destination speak English? If you are unable to communicate with the locals, your retirement is going to be lonely and possibly difficult! Of course, there are many retirement destinations in non-English speaking countries like Mexico where you will be part of a large English speaking community and will find that many locals can speak at least a little English.

Are you open to a completely different pace?

Some countries are well known for having a much slower pace to their lifestyle than you may be used to. If you think that this will impact your enjoyment of living there you may want to consider a country which has more in common with your home nation.

The key to getting the right retirement destination for you is to make a shortlist of the countries which hit the majority of your criteria and begin visiting them at different times of the year to make sure that you can have an accurate gauge of what life there is like overall. “Try and buy” packages are great ways to get to know a destination before you retire. Fractional ownership, too, is a good way to get a feel for a place.

Recommended article: Checklist for Relocating to Mexico

How to prepare for retirement

At least a year or two before you actually retire, it is a good idea to start practicing and check how to prepare for retirement. Like a dress rehearsal. The gradual transition will help you to adjust to the new lifestyle and help you recognize if you are really ready to retire.

Here are some tips about how to prepare for retirement:


Spend according to your future retirement income:

A great way to prepare for retirement is to start living according to how much money you will have once you retire. You can practice budgeting in line with how much money you are going to have available to spend each month. You should put the additional money into a savings account and live off the amount you are going to have. That way, you start getting used to having a smaller income, while helping you save. It will also help you decide if you are in fact financially ready to retire.

Take more vacations:

You can start practicing what it is like to have more time on your hands by taking more of your vacation time. This might include vacations abroad, but also vacations at home, so you can simulate what it will be like when you are retired and what things you like to do with your spare time. At work, it will help your colleagues get accustomed to not having you around so much.

Start or rekindle hobbies:

One of the great benefits of retirement is being able to do all of those things you never have time to do when you are working, like your hobbies. Start preparing for your hobbies once again and buy any of the expensive tools necessary before you retire while you still have a full income.

Buy a vacation home:

If you are considering that you would like to live abroad or move location after your retirement, start the procedure before you retire. You might decide to purchase a vacation home or rent long-term in the location where you are considering moving. This will help you to start a new life in these places and develop a friend network before you actually retire. Fractional ownership is a great option if you are still some years away from retirement.

Spend quality time with your other half:

If you will be retiring at the same time as your spouse, begin to rekindle the romance before retirement. Start having date nights, weekend getaways and attend more social gatherings together to start building the foundation for spending a lot more time in each other’s company.

Buy expensive items now:

Purchasing expensive items that you will need during retirement is best to do before you retire. Taking out credit to purchase a camper van or vacation home should be done while you still have a full income. You can then see how well you will cope with the repayments on your retirement budget.

Read more information on how to prepare for retirement in the following articles:

World’s Best Places to Retire – Mexico is No. 1

Checklist for Relocating to Mexico

Mexican Benefits for Foreigners Over 60