Four Reasons Not to Live Overseas (Supposedly)

Retiring overseas lends itself to endless possibilities but people often let misconceptions about the realities of an overseas retirement stand in their way. In a new report, the editors at detail four common reasons people cite for staying put at home—and why you shouldn’t let them stand in the way of a richer, better life overseas.


Moving overseas is essentially a way to upgrade your retirement. Why suffer on a budget that would require skimping and sacrifice at home, when you could—in the best-value locales overseas—take those funds and live quite comfortably.

In fact, there’s a whole world of likeminded souls out there, looking for—and finding—ways to live overseas and save money while doing it. In addition, retirees overseas gain the benefit of an adventure in retirement, the prospect of exploring new places, meeting new people and enjoying a lifestyle free from financial worry.

But here are some reasons that might be standing in your way…

“I’m just not the type…”

What? Me? Yes, you. You might imagine the sort of people that choose to move overseas are bold adventurous types who wouldn’t think twice about having boiled scorpion for breakfast.

And of course, they exist, but there are many expats who’d rather relax on the beach with a good book than bungy-jump off a bridge.

Many have worked hard all their lives but at some point, have come to the bleak realisation that even all that hasn’t been enough to provide them with a comfortable retirement in their home country.

So, they’ve acted—they’ve researched, planned and taken action. Now, the income that would barely sustain them back home is providing them with a life of enjoyment and ease, even luxury—doing the sorts of things they dreamed about doing, the sort of things they thought they’d never be able to afford.

They’re enjoying their day in the sun—literally.

“I couldn’t possibly afford it!”

“Prepare for a pleasant shock,” says expat, Dave Cole of he and his wife Christie’s roving retirement lifestyle. “When I first thought about living overseas I almost immediately discounted it as being too expensive. I’d seen the figures claiming how cheap it was and had imagined that must have meant a ‘bones of yer bum’ existence. But that’s because I was thinking about it in terms of holidaying. Living overseas (and by that I mean staying in one place for weeks or months, rather than days) is a whole different game.”

Renting an apartment longer-term is a lot cheaper than a hotel and once you pause for more than a few days, you start to work out where the cheap and tasty dining options are.

Many expats living overseas are very comfortable on their retirement income or savings, but others supplement this with some sort of work.

“We’ve met digital nomads who design games, foreign exchange traders, writers, photographers and teachers,” says Dave. “Almost all of them have had very little trouble finding work and none of them have to work full-time.”

“I’d never find enough to do all day…”

“Friends back home often ask us, “What do you do all day?” says Dave. “And you know what? I don’t need to do anything—and I’ve now developed the skill to do that all day if I want!

“We’ve met people writing books, running bars or accommodation, working on their health and fitness, learning an instrument and indulging hobbies and interests they never had enough time for back home.”

Many enjoy challenges in starting a business or through charity work. But living overseas with an affordable price tag provides retirees with the chance to do…nothing. And isn’t that why you’ve worked so hard?

“I’d have to give up pork sausages…Vegemite and wine!”

You will almost certainly be living a simpler life overseas where your home favourites like Vegemite, may not be as readily available in your new home. But it’s not a one-sided trade. After a time, many of those things you thought you simply couldn’t do without cease to matter.

As that happens, you realise that you’re losing other things as well—like stress and the little things that used to wind you up. Technology means that you don’t have to be without your favourite music, TV shows or publications or lose touch with people.

“The hardest part of living overseas is the decision to do it,” says Dave. “So if you’re realising that retirement nest-egg just isn’t going to cut it or that dream job has become a parched landscape of pointless meetings, research your options. There are scores of countries to choose from, hundreds of great towns and cities, thousands of choices.”

Photo credit: International Living