So your retiring and considering a move?
Please see our update at the bottom of the page:
I thought I would give people a few tips and where we have got to in our process.
First, forget about all those programs on TV that give you the BEST side of things.
Write a list of ideal requirements and start to consider the what if's
Visit the places you are considering at the worst time of year, as a prospective resident and try and meet people who have moved there.
Join as many Facebook and forums as you can for the country you are going to.
What have we done and what have we learned?
Places we are considering are:
The Canary islands - mainly Lanzarote or Fuerteventura.
We have lived on a Hebridean island for 13 years prior to moving back to England although both myself and my wife are from England.
We loved the island life BUT the winters were not that good for anyone who likes the heat.
We would have moved back there in a heartbeat had the winters been good.
So to consider where and this was our check list.
- The weather should be warm/hot in summer and not too cold in winter.
- The Heath care should be accessible and reasonable
- The cost of living should be as good or better than the UK
- The pensions should be transferable and should continue to rise by the RPI (important)
- Ideally either English speaking or a good expat poplulation.
- As my wife is wanting to continue part time work then there should be a possibility of that.
- Rent and Fuel prices were to be a consideration.
- In all we could live comfortably on our pensions and income without going into our savings.
- What happens when you die, how easy would it be to get cremated (sorry morbid subject)
By pensions being transferable i mean that it does not devalue - this is a UK government thing only, not sure how it works for other nationals. As an example pensions are paid to expats and depending where you live depends if it ever go up.
EU expats (plus a few others) get their pensions paid at the rate they leave the UK and they go up every year with the RPI as if the pensioner had stayed in the UK.
Other expats get paid a retirement pension set at the date of leaving the UK and it never goes up, so in effect it gets devalued every year.
Where we have so far considered, why and what issues.
Been many times as a tourist to Malta and Gozo it looks ideal as it has a good English speaking population,
Weather is hot in summer and not too cold in Winter.
They drive on the left (although to us thats not important).
Rents are much better than the UK.
Cost of living is cheaper for most things and a welcoming feeling when your there.
Public transport is very cheap compared to the UK.
I use the term we in retiring but as my wife is 10 years younger then me, she would like to work part time.
We had done the sum's if we were to move in 2016 - providing we have sold our house, then we could live on my NHS pension plus dipping into our savings and then when i get my UK retirement pension in May 2017 we should not need to touch our savings.
Issues that have arisen
There is a company that controls utilities called ARM's which bill customers at different level (this is peculiar to Malta) they have domestic and residential tariffs which can be 60% different. The way that landlords operated in Malta is not ideal and without going into too many political issues, its better for the landlord to have you paying the wrong tariff (a tax issue in favour of the landlord) This is a BIG issue and has not been resolved by the Maltese government yet. BE CAREFUL - however if the landlord is ok and doesn't use the "ohh i didn't know about that" you can ask to go on to the lower tariff by using whats called a H form. There is a group on Facebook called "up in ARM's) its worth joining them.
Sorry have to bring this up but its relevant to the retiree, Funerals - well on Malta there is NO cremations and burial is VERY expensive as the cost of a plot on Malta is enormous. We wanted cremation and the cost is about 5000 Euro at the moment and that includes flying you back to the UK or to Sicily to get cremated and then an extra cost if the URN has to come back. If you die on Gozo then it cost another 500 Euro to get the body over to Malta - ridiculous as its a very short carry journey.
Pensions are transferable and as its in the EU there is no problems with a rise every year with the RPI.
There are many gatherings and social activities for the expat to enjoy. However its a personal thing, some want to join in some don't its your choice and whatever you look for you will probably find, I have an interest in Hamradio and am a shore fisherman, i can do both here.
I am told that the weather does occasionally go below Zero but its not the norm, its an extreme, summers I'm told can be very hot and some people have problems with the humidity.
When we visited last (Feb 2015) we did notice a strange situation, we were extremely cold, enough to buy a small electric heater, the apartment, common with others had no heating at all. We actually opened the windows to let the heat in, this is now our main drawback so would need to talk to other people about this.
Whats making me nervous?
The rental market is for all intense and purposes unregulated, even though there are EU laws to protect the tenants the landlords seem to do what they wish, I'm sure its a minority but I'm seeing people asked to leave on a weekly basis for the smallest of reasons, its well worth joining several Facebook groups and i list them below.
The majority of people seem to be happy as they go along but maybe i have done a little too much research and am only being the negative side, as they say forewarned is forearmed........ Watch this space!
Malta Tenants Support - read the problems here from tenants.
UP in Arms Malta group - a group set up to talk about and get action on the utilities situation (a whole other story)
Gozone - a general group about Gozo who arrange meetings etc etc.
- Rents slightly higher than mainland Spain
- Cost of living better than the UK but slightly higher than mainland spain
- All year round excellent weather.
- Would my wife get part time work, am not sure?
- Pensions transferable and goes up with RPI
- There is a large expat community where get togethers happen on a regular basis or you can live with a spanish community, the choice is yours.
- Would like to live in a mixed, expat and Spanish community but where?
Our eldest son is living in Sydney so that is a positive.
- Too expensive to live on a normal UK pensions although our eldest son is there, the pension is FIXED when moving so does NOT go up on a yearly basis, a major problem!
- Lovely weather
- Good English speaking country
- Nice people
- Rents really expensive
- Cost of living higher than the UK.
- Home from home but too expensive for us.
- If money was no object then Queensland would be our first choice - need a premium bond win boys!!
Been a few times, fits the bill apart from English speaking natives
Would need to go a few times more in Winter to consider it but it is on our list
- Rents are cheaper than Malta and not the issue with the ARM's problems
- Cost of living low.
- Excellent weather in summer and winter.
- Would my wife be able to work part time or not, not sure!
- Pension is transferable and rate continues to rise as its in the EU system for pensions
- Yet to do more homework, there are bound to be downsides.
- Again Cultural activities and social activities are there.
We looked at the North and South (Turkish & Greek) areas - my wife really felt uncomfortable in the North so that was ruled out straight away, although property and rental are VERY cheap.
The South is lovely but we didn't feel at home, not like on Gozo. We would need more visits
All to be continued as I get nearer retirement in 2017.
After a recent back injury and long recovery plus Brexit we have now decided to buy a house near my father in law in the NE of England, he is not too well and getting on a bit so time to put family first.
Our plans are to spend part of the winter abroad as i find the winter quite bad for my back, the rest of the time spend in the UK.
NOW RETIRED HOW HAVE THINGS PANNED OUT?
We sold up in Anthorn and bought a house in Lynemouth Northumberland, not in a semi with open views at the back anymore but in a square of houses with a 70ft long garden, nice neighbours and near the sea. Mortgage free now and my wife has a nursing bank job with the NHS, this is our first year so lots to do but long term plans are to stay put in the UK and spend extended time when we want abroad, in my wifes job she can pick up shifts as and when she likes so that works for us.
Brexit made us think twice as we just do not know what will happen in the next few years in Europe and how expats will be treated abroad with pension rights and health rights etc.
My advice to anyone thinking seriously - stay in different places at the worst time of year, live like a local NOT like a tourist, take off those rose tinted glasses, mix with the locals and talk to the expats and write things down or make a blog so you can look back. TAKE TIME dont rush it, your making a decision that will affect the rest of your life.
Feel free to contact me via the contact page, we have lots of experience throughout the years of looking where to live.