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How to Move Abroad in 3 Easy Steps

As we discussed yesterday, it’s been estimated that 1 in 4 Britons would willingly move abroad specifically for employment related reasons.  Traditional driving factors pushing many of us abroad also include the weather in the UK, the poor work/life balance achievable, and the high taxes and costs of living in Britain.

From the correspondence we receive on a daily basis, it’s evident that there really is an intensification of desire among Britons to escape overseas.  However, many feel limited by money or restricted by fear, (is it better the devil you know?).  We therefore want to enable as many people as possible to realise their dream.

In this article today we’re going to show you how to move abroad in 3 easy steps, and direct you to additional resources where you can find both practical and inspirational assistance to enable you to plan your move overseas, and make the move achievable for you and your family, no matter what your personal circumstances.

1)  Get Your Financial Affairs in Order

The most critical aspect of preparing to move or retire abroad is getting the financial elements right from the outset.

This covers everything from you understanding the basic elements such as whether you can keep your British bank account open when you move abroad, to determining how you’re going to afford to live the life of your dreams overseas.

Firstly you need to think about affording to live abroad…

Will you need to work?  If so, how will you find employment and how much will it pay?  Will this be enough to live on, considering the average cost of living local to the nation you’re moving to?

If you’re planning to retire overseas you need to think about what you will live on, how you will manage your pension income, and whether there are tax advantages open to you as a retiree that could make your pension go far further.

The ‘This is Money’ website has a great article about receiving the state pension for people living abroad.  And if you have a private or company pension you need to think about how you can make the most of it when you’re an expat.

Unfortunately many Britons are unaware that they have potentially advantageous options for the transfer or reinvestment of their pension until they have already moved abroad.  However, as we discussed in our article ‘why offshore financial planning is critical when retiring abroad,’ if you get advice before you go or shortly after relocating, (and before you draw on your pension), you could find ways to make your retirement income go far further.

Additionally important elements to examine beneath the umbrella of ‘sorting your money out before you move,’ is thinking about the tax regime in your new nation, property costs, whether you will need to afford health insurance or even to pay for medical treatment, and perhaps how you can make the move as cheaply as possible.

You can research the cost of living abroad on the Internet; but you can further help yourself in this critical area by travelling to your chosen country, (see below for getting your country choice right), and assessing directly what it may cost you to live on a day-to-day basis.

In terms of affording the move, it may be that you can use the time before you relocate abroad to sell up personal possessions that you don’t need or want to take with you.  This will give you much needed cash to put into the relocation.

You may want to think about renting out your home (if you own it), so that it provides you with an income or at least pays off your mortgage.

You can look abroad and see if there are opportunities open to you for starting your own business, or getting ahead in your career so that you can perhaps earn more.

Look at the financial aspects of the relocation holistically – i.e., as a whole.  From affording to move to affording to live abroad, from cutting costs on relocation to making the very most of the money you have…

We recently wrote a report entitled ‘expat wealth management at every life stage’ and this may be of use to you even during the planning stages of your relocation.

It shows you what’s possible in terms of making the most of your money whether you’re a young professional, a parent or a retiree for example.  It also introduces new or soon-to-be expats to the world of offshore financial opportunities that become available when you relocate overseas.

You may be able to use these opportunities to get better rates of interest on your savings, to legitimately avoid or defer tax, and to get more out of your pension than if you left it in the UK and bought an annuity with it.

2)  Make Your Country Choice Carefully

An awful lot of people talk the talk about wanting to live abroad, but it takes an awful lot of commitment to really make the move.  Most people talk about where they’ve been on holiday and had a great time, and they use this as the basis of any plan (loose or otherwise) for relocation overseas.

However…is it really practical to move abroad and live in a holiday destination and expect to have a good quality of life?

Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t!  For those who can afford to relocate and not have to work within the local economy, living in a tourism hub can be possible and enjoyable.  However, if you need to get a job, tourism facing jobs traditionally pay poorly.

Additionally, a tourism hub can be a great place to live during the season, but it can be an empty, drab and depressing prospect out of season when everyone goes home!

You therefore need to make your country choice carefully.  The good news is that we’ve written a comprehensive and straightforward 10 step guide to finding the best countries to live in abroad.  This will enable your research, and help you make the right choice based on your own personal preferences.

Additionally, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers travel advice by country, and you can use this resource to ensure there are no warnings you need to heed about a given nation.

Once you’re pretty sure you’ve got the right country in mind, travel there and spend an extended period of time visiting the nation.  Taking a short holiday on the beaches of a country is not seeing it for what it can really offer you.  You need to look at its infrastructure, its hospitals and medical centres, its state offices and supermarkets.

Think about how you will really ‘live’ day-to-day in this nation – has it got what it takes for you to call it home?

3)  Plan Strategically and Logically

As stated above, many people can talk your ears off about moving abroad – but only a few make the move happen.  This is because it takes a combination of confidence and good planning to live abroad!

In life, if you don’t have goals, dreams, ambitions or plans you’re less likely to achieve anything greatly significant because you’re not focused on what you want to achieve.  This applies to everything from your financial ambitions to your career goals, from your lifestyle choices to your love life!

Whilst fate can always step in and readjust your path, you need to be on a path in order to have a chance of reaching a chosen destination!

In other words, it’s really important to have a plan in place if you want to move abroad.  And this plan needs to be detailed and comprehensive.

Here’s a great article all about creating a life plan, and how and why it’s a good idea.  You can use it to inspire you to write the plan you need to have in place so that every detail that needs to be covered to enable you to relocate overseas is covered.

Alternatively, you can use our already prepared 10-stage plan for making your dream of a new life abroad a reality.  You can personalise it to suit yourself, but because it touches upon each critical consideration that you need to keep in mind when planning your move, it’s a great basis to start from.


Anyone, yes anyone can move abroad – you just need to have the confidence to make it happen!  What’s more, the better your plan and strategy is for achieving the life you dream of abroad, the more likely you are to succeed.

Use the above three steps, and start walking towards your new life abroad.

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