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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Expat Life

You’ve retired. The kids have all left home and you’re sitting inside on a cold, wet winter’s day. All of a sudden memories of swaying palm trees, sunny days by the pool with a cocktail in hand spring to mind. Let’s face it, who hasn’t been somewhere on holiday and daydreamed about what it would be like to sell up, pack up and live overseas?

Warmer climates, a relaxed lifestyle, a lower cost of living and more bang for your buck are some of the reason retirees are choosing the expat lifestyle and moving overseas. However, the decision should not be taken lightly and no matter how attractive that luxurious beach side villa looks, financial reasons should not be the only deciding factor. 

If you don’t have a real desire to experience another culture, a good sense of humour, the ability to fit in and learn new ways and a lot of patience, your dream life, no matter how “cheap” that bungalow cost, may turn into a nightmare.

So what are the most popular destinations for Australian’s and how do you choose which country is right for you? There would certainly appear to be a bias towards our nearest neighbors, Asia. Memories of previous overseas trips, the relatively close proximity to family and friends, warm weather and a cheaper cost of living are certainly attractive to many wanting to live the permanent holiday dream.

For others it’s a call to return to the “home country.” This home country may not even be your own, but of your ancestors and the attraction is still there.

So where to start? Below is a list of places that you may have on your bucket list to consider and are a good place to start your considerations.

Indonesia – In particular Bali
With an already strong expat community, its relative proximity to Australia, fabulous food and a warm tropical climate – what’s not to love?

Another expat hotspot, Thailand offers a wide range of exotic options from big bustling cities, to relaxed island life or the cooler mountainous north. Plenty of activities available, warm and friendly locals and cheap to live. 

A destination offering everything from its busy capital Kuala Lumpur, to lush tropical islands and even mist enshrouded rainforests. As a former British colony, English is widely spoken and this is another inexpensive place to live.

Cheap prices on everything, amazing food and culture and a warm tropical climate have made Vietnam a fast rising popular choice for Australians looking to retire on a budget. 

With life in the Philippines all about family values and so many Filipinos living in Australia, it’s no surprise that many choose to return to this country, of beautiful beaches, great water activities and lower cost of living.  

New Zealand
Near and yet far enough. Similar, but different. New Zealand is proving to be a popular and easy choice for Australians. Just try watching Lord of the Rings and not be swept away by the stunning landscapes. And they wear jandals – that’s thongs to you and I.

Spain, France and Italy
The plethora of books available on living la vida loca, la dolce vita and la belle vie have long attracted retirees to small villages throughout these Mediterranean countries. With beautiful beaches, good health care, a temperate climate and glorious food, it is easy to see the appeal. Although not as cheap as many of the other options, there are still housing bargains to be had away from the populated coast and large cities and the rural grow your own lifestyle certainly evokes a romantic image of bliss.

Where would you choose? What criteria would be the most important? And most importantly, how many pairs of bathers will you need?

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