If you're going to relocate to anywhere and especially if you are moving overseas, the first thing you're going to need, is a plan!
I've been thinking about my retirement for about the last 6 years now. During that time I've pondered many places and the many things I want to do after I retire. Now that I am within the 3 year range, it's time to really get serious. I began to finalize my plan by researching what the experts have said about what you should do before retiring and relocating. I then looked at my particular situation and tailored the steps to meet my own needs.
Here's what I came up with for myself
1- Set realistic goals and manage your expectations
Decide what your priorities are and what is important to you. Everyone is different so be honest about what you want. For me it is important that I be near a city or town that has some of the comforts I am used to, like shopping, restaurants and cultural venues. I also want modern amenities in the house. I'm not really interested in living in a remote area away from people and I have no interest in giving up all of the comforts of modern living, however I know there will be trade offs. I'm probably not going to find all the conveniences of home. No place is a perfect paradise!
2 - Put together a list of possible locations
Once you have chosen your locations, go to the internet and do extensive research. Look at youtubes and other videos to get an idea of what the area looks like and what it has to offer. Use search terms such as "expat" and "relocation" to help you hone in on the videos that will pertain to your location.
3 - Sign up on one or more online forums (or at least check them out)
Look for the forums geared to relocation to the country you are interested in moving to. There are plenty of them out there. Forums can be very helpful and you can gather a lot of information from people that have lived in the area for quite some time as well as people who are new or are just moving into the area. If you want to post questions you usually have to sign up on the forum, although many forums will allow you to look through previously posted questions. You just might get lucky and find your answers there.
4 - Read travel blogs and websites, especially those written by expats
This is another excellent resource for collecting information. Following these sites will help give you a daily view of life in your prospective country.
5 - Try to connect with people who live in the country where you plan to move
To me this is very important for several reasons. First, it's another way to get first hand information about the places you want to go. Second, there is nothing better than already knowing someone in the country in which you plan to move, even if you only know them through email.
Be sure to share your plans with your friends and family. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that they can connect you with someone living in the country you are researching. This personal referral will go a long way.
6 - Last but not least
There's a lot of appeal to the idea of leaving the culture you grew up in and starting a brand-new life but retiring abroad adds a layer of complexity to virtually every aspect of retirement planning. Come back for Part 2