Pitfalls to avoid when moving abroad
Reasons for emigrating are many and varied.
For example, at the moment, few would blame Brits for looking for an escape from the madness which is Brexit.
However, more traditional reasons include a yearning for a fresh start or retirement somewhere in the sun, a quest for a better quality of life or even just an irrepressible sense of adventure.
But, equally, there are also quite a few reasons for some expats going “home” after a year or two or even a few months – and sometimes out-of-pocket and with serious regrets.
So what are the most common causes of overseas adventures going sour or coming to a premature end?
Although it can be mitigated by frequent travel “home”, leaving family behind is always a wrench and perhaps the most common reason for calling a life overseas to an early end.
Relatives of more advanced years struggling with illnesses or off-spring facing life challenges alone can be enough to bring a stay abroad to a conclusion – although, sometimes, it’s simply that they’re missed too much and life without them feels so empty all the sun and scenery in the world doesn’t make up for them not being there.
Both Turkey and Spain are examples of countries where interest paid on investments have plummeted within the last ten to 15 years.
The Euro zone has seen some significant recoveries since 2010 of course but it’s been too late for some who saw their spending power being whittled away to such an extent that a bit of belt-tightening wasn’t going to be enough to cover their loses.
International money markets are notoriously volatile and the value of property can go down as well as up but both are easier to survive if a move abroad is planned with plenty of wriggle room.
Anyone who works out a new life overseas could be lived on a financial knife-edge may be better reconsidering or postponing until their options seem more secure.
Holidays vs Real Life
A holiday or two isn’t really the best basis for a decision on where you plan to spend your new life.
Unless you’re a seasoned traveller, you’ll often be insulated from the realities of living overseas. You’ll be less aware of the issues caused by the language barrier for a start and unlikely to have a proper grasp of the true cost of living.
As a tourist you’re not paying utility bills, running a car, paying rent or a mortgage or dealing with officialdom. All of the above can come as a significant culture shock for anyone still wearing their rose-tinted holiday specs – and sometimes it’s enough to prompt an early end to an expat adventure.
Lack of Research
Let’s say you buy an apartment on a complex somewhere sunny. If you arrive early in the year, you’ll probably enjoy having the pool pretty much to yourself and peaceful evenings on your balcony.
However, it may well be a completely different place in high summer. If other apartments are rented out for example, then there’s going to be a constant influx of new people coming and going, all bent on enjoying their holiday to the max.
Equally, winter weather can present some serious challenges. Even countries renowned for their summer sunshine can witness severe winter storms, sometimes lasting several days. If you’re buying a home overseas, you need to be sure it’s resilient enough to cope.
Wading through flood water to get to the shops on a regular basis can dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for a home overseas.
Lack of Control
Life can become very difficult if you find it hard to roll with the punches. Living abroad can throw some curved balls at you from time to time so it’s important to be flexible.
You may find punctuality isn’t always a pre-requisite in business or social situations; regulations and legislation can seem different on a daily basis or open to individual interpretation and, for some, the inability to influence change for the better can be the source of significant frustration.
But the solution isn’t always a shrug of the shoulders and an ability to move on. There are times when you’ll need to stand your ground or fight your corner – but knowing when comes with experience and not everyone has the patience to take enough knocks to know when.
Advice is part of the package with Keyholders and we’ll do everything we can to ensure your move overseas is both smooth and sustainable.
However, we would always urge our clients to do their own homework as thoroughly as they can.
A few months in rented accommodation out of season in their chosen location can be hugely valuable, offering insights into everything from the weather to bureaucracy, from neighbours to the local amenities – all the things we take for granted until they vanish or cause a problem.
As ever, though, we’re here if you need us. If there’s anything else you think we might be able to help with, why not have a browse through earlier blog posts or feel free to get in touch.
In the meantime, you may be able to find what you’re looking for on other pages of our website where you can read advice on how to obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal, a Golden Visa in Spain, how to qualify for citizenship in Turkey or to obtain a Golden Visa in Greece. Also, if you enjoyed this post and think others might find it useful, please feel free to pass it on.