Can you speak and read the language?

  • It may not matter while you are on holiday but when it comes to mundane issues (like sorting out your gas bill) you will find it hard to deal with officials and financial paperwork in a foreign language. You may need to rely on advisors who speak English and should budget for this cost.
  • On a personal level, not speaking the language can be very isolating unless there is a thriving community of UK expats.

What are the local healthcare arrangements?

  • In retirement you are likely to need medical care so check out the local facilities. Within the EU there are arrangements to ensure that your UK National Insurance Contributions will entitle you to use the public health services. However, these may not be up to the standards you are used to. If private health care is the only option, investigate the insurance costs.

How far away will you be from family?

  • While it is easy to keep in touch electronically, there is no substitute for a visit to see the grandchildren. You should estimate the likely cost of a visit.
  • Alternatively, if you are in a holiday location, your family may regard your new home as a hotel!

What about local travel?

  • Check if you need to take a local driving test and whether there are restrictions on older drivers. We become attached to our cars, but it may be better to sell your right hand drive car before you go and buy another one locally.
  • If there is a bus service, will you be able to claim a free bus pass?

How safe will it be?

  • It is quite easy to feel safe and secure in the relaxed atmosphere of a holiday but crime may be more of an issue once you have moved to your retirement home.
  • Some advance research (reading the local press, talking to residents and even insurance brokers) is always sensible and will highlight any precautions you may need to take.