At some point in time we have imagined ourselves retiring to a peaceful island. Looking to see out our days on a sun lounger with a cocktail in hand.
With the constantly fluctuating British weather and the expected downturn in the housing market, many people nearing pensionaleble age may be thinking about retiring abroad.
There are several factors to take into consideration before you take the plunge and move abroad. These include house prices, healthcare costs, taxation and access to your pension pot.
Personal preferences will also play a large part. Factors such as average daily temperatures and opportunities to visit family and friends.
With that in mind we’ve put together a list of the nine best places to retire to in 2019:
Malta may be one of the smallest countries in the world, but it has long been a haven for British expats.
Expats treasure its slower pace of life, Mediterranean culture and average of 265 days of sun each year.
The country’s past links to Britain provide for smoother acclimatisation. The prevalence of spoken English as a second official language makes conversing easy.
Pros: A yearly average temperature of 19C, English is widely spoken and good healthcare.
Cons: Small in size and stature with infrequent and sporadic transport facilities.
How to retire in Malta
Malta is a member of the EU and so British citizens do not require a visa to retire in Malta and access their pension.
If you are planning on staying longer than 90 days, you will have provide proof of a fixed address or a rental contract and register with the Department of Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs who will issue you with a residency card.
Find out more on moving to Malta here.
Portugal has the third largest expat community after Spain and France and with good reason.
With a low cost of living, cheap coastal properties and year-round good weather that sees soaring temperatures in the summer and temperate levels in the autumn, Portugal is fast becoming the go to retirement destination.
Pros: Cheaper cost of living than Britain and Spain with excellent English-speaking healthcare facilities.
Cons: Portuguese is a difficult language both to learn and understand.
How to retire in Portugal
If you are planning to retiree to Portugal a you will need to provide proof of residence and funds that show you can support yourself.
You can live comfortably in Portugal for about €35,000 (£30,500) a year. You will need to obtain a registration certificate from your local Câmara Municipal (Town Hall) after 3 months.
Find out more on moving to Portugal here.
Spain has long been the destination of choice for British expats. Especially those looking to ditch the unpredictable weather of Britain in favour of a more laidback lifestyle under the Mediterranean sun.
The coastal developments of the Costa Del Sol are home to thriving expat populations who have tapped into the cheap villa complexes and lower cost of living.
Pros: Cheaper landscaped properties and beachside apartments with thriving expat communities.
Cons: Very anglicised areas and half-empty coastal developments in the down season.
How to retire in Spain
To settle in Spain (over 3 months), register at a local Oficina de Extranjeros for a residence certificate.
Contact the UK Government’s international pension centre to see if you are eligible to draw your state pension while living in Spain.
Find out more on moving to Spain here.
When people think of living in the USA New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are often what spring to mind.
However many retirees are heading to the more rural destinations in America like Ohio where they can purchase larger plots of land and enjoy a comfortable standard of living.
Pros: A diverse culture and climate with larger homes that offers more bang for your buck than in the UK.
Cons: Expensive healthcare and areas with high crime rates.
How to retire in the USA
It isn’t easy to retire to the US unless a family member has nationality or residency status.
That doesn’t mean your dreams of retiring to the USA are dashed.
America offers a limited number of visas to substantial ‘investors’. There are also some ancestral visas leading to citizenship to those of European descent.
Find out more on moving to the USA here.
Australia remains the most favoured British expat destination. Each year thousands of Brits head ‘Down Under’ to sample a taste of Aussie life.
Those who retire to Australia reap the benefits of the laidback lifestyle, warmer climate and a favourable commodities boost to the Australian dollar to Sterling exchange rate.
Pros: An outdoors lifestyle enjoyed by a sizeable expat community with low tax rates and excellent healthcare facilities.
Cons: Expensive property centred around the east coast communities which is remote and far away from the rest of the world.
How to retire in Australia
Gaining permanent access to Australia is no easy feat. Most visas are reserved for those sponsored by employers or where there is a skills shortage which needs filling.
If you’re looking to retire to Australia the easiest way to achieve this would be to obtain an Investor Retirement visa.
This entitles the holder to reside in Australia provided they have sufficient funds and plan to settle in a rural area. Additional funds are needed to settle elsewhere and the visa must be renewed.
Read this blog by Bob, a British expat living in Oz after taking his family on holiday there in 2011.
Find out more on moving to Australia here.
Famed for its scorching summer temperatures, Cyprus is known as the ‘Jewel of the Mediterranean’ . The former British military base has long held a reputation as being an accessible island retirement destination for Brits.
The country has a unique Mediterranean feel with many cultural influences, although English is understood and widely spoken.
Pros: Cheap property with little purchasing restrictions and a low cost of living.
Cons: Slow approach to services can be frustrating. It’s also far away from the UK if wanting to visit friends and family regularly.
How to retire in Cyprus
Cyprus is an EU member state which makes moving to the island to retire as a Brit as relatively straightforward process.
As mentioned above there are little restrictions on foreigners purchasing property and it is only required that those looking to stay longer than 3 months register with the local authorities.
Find out more on moving to Cyprus here.
Located just the other side of the Channel, France is the second most popular retirement destination for Brits after Spain.
The French Riviera has traditionally been the favoured destination for Brits with deep lined pockets. Particularly those seeking a sophisticated spot of luxury overlooking the Mediterranean coast.
But other affordable areas in the north such as Brittany are becoming more popular. Many downsize from their home in the UK and live on the difference of their house sale.
Pros: UK state pension can be paid into either a UK or French bank account to be paid out.
Cons: Harder to settle than the Spain due to less prevalence of English speaking communities.
How to retire in France
If you’re looking to retire early remember both taxes and healthcare costs are calculated as if you were working and so it is advisable to do some tax planning beforehand.
There are also some issues embroiled in the Brexit discussions such as access to healthcare benefits and other social charges which are yet to be resolved.
Nevertheless, while the UK is still a member of the EU Brits are entitle to retire to France provided they can show a sizeable enough fund to support themselves and apply for local residency after three months.
Find out more on moving to France here.
Canada consistently ranks among the top nations in the world for standard of living with political and social stability complemented by stunning natural scenery.
The country has one of the easiest immigration policies in the world making it a favourable relocation destination for retirees looking for a better standard of living and good healthcare.
Pros: Outdoors lifestyle centred around winter sports and time spent with family.
Cons: Unpredictable weather conditions with extreme summers and winters.
How to retire in Canada
At present there is no formalised retirement visa schemes for expats wishing to gain entry to the country for retirement.
Retirees can however apply for residency via the sponsorship programme, provided they have an eligible friend or relative to sponsor them. Failing that it is also possible to apply for an investment visa with suitable funds.
This blog on moving to Canada set up by Irishman Ruairi Spillan is a must read for selecting where to live and obtaining visas.
Find out more on moving to Canada here.
Last but certainly not least on our list is New Zealand. Retirees can look forward to beautiful green rolling landscapes of mountains and a more relaxed approach to life centred around family.
Expats speak in high regard about the lower cost of living, excellent healthcare facilities and the friendly and approachable local people.
Pros: Affordable homes set amongst luscious green open spaces ripe for outdoors lifestyles.
Cons: Like Australia, is very far away from the rest of the world and can feel isolated.
How to retire in New Zealand
Retiring to New Zealand is a popular choice and there are several different visa options to choose from.
he most popular are the Parent Retirement Resident visa which allows you to live in New Zealand permanently providing a New Zealand citizen or resident adult and child is willing to sponsor you.
Alternatively, the temporary retirement visitor visa allows you to stay in New Zealand on a visitor visa for up to two years. You must be 66 or above and have NZ $750,000 to invest in New Zealand for 2 years.
Find out more on moving to New Zealand here.
Max is a seasoned writer and blogger in the real estate and home moving sectors, as well as a knowledgeable source of information for expatriates living and working abroad. His detailed insights have helped thousands of people move and live abroad with greater simplicity and ease.