Tips for people retiring abroad

It might seem like the dream lifestyle to retire to a paradise abroad. But this week the Foreign Office voiced its concern that thousands of British citizens retiring abroad end up living alone in poverty and poor health due to inadequate preparation for their new life in another country.

It might seem like the dream lifestyle to retire to a paradise abroad. But this week the Foreign Office voiced its concern that thousands of British citizens retiring abroad end up living alone in poverty and poor health due to inadequate preparation for their new life in another country.

Bruce McIntyre, British Consul in Malaga, said: “Sadly now, in Malaga, we spend much of our time dealing with elderly British nationals who moved out here 10 or 15 years ago and now cannot manage alone.

“Sometimes a partner has died and the other is too old or infirm to go out and buy food; sometimes people have made bad property investments or have not budgeted their pensions sufficiently and are living in extreme poverty.

“British retirees need to realise that not many European countries have welfare provisions like the UK - there are often no old people's homes, no district nursing, community care or meals on wheels.”


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Steve Jewitt-Fleet of the Foreign Office, said: “It is astonishing how many fit and healthy retirees make no plans or provisions of any kind for their future health and well being when they retire abroad. The majority of British nationals do not register with local authorities when they move and often the Foreign Office often only hears about these people when they get into serious difficulties.”

As part of its Know Before You Go campaign the Foreign Office has produced a guide called Going To Live Abroad available at www.fco.gov.uk/travel or for further information and help on planning your move, check out the government's one-stop shop website: www.direct.gov.uk

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The Foreign Office's top tips for moving abroad:

BEFORE YOU GO

t Properly research your destination. Find out about the local laws and customs.

t Learn some of the local language.

t Work out your retirement income. You must be clear of your financial situation, allow for inflation and exchange rate fluctuations.

t Find out about your tax liability abroad from Customs and Revenue

WHEN YOU ARRIVE

t Register with the local authorities; this will ensure you have access to local welfare and health services.

t If it is an EU member state or a member of the EEA you must apply for a residence permit within three months of arrival.

t Register with the British Consulate if appropriate.

t Open a non-resident foreign bank account.

t Find out about your welfare rights abroad.

t Find out about health costs abroad - If you go to a country in the EEA and you are entitled to UK state pension, incapacity benefit at the long term rate, widows' benefits or bereavement benefit, you may need form E121 to claim free or reduced cost medical care as a local.

t Make a will. If you die abroad without a will this can lead to all kinds of legal difficulties.

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