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Is it cheaper to live abroad? Anyone done it?

(132 Posts)
Rexdog12 Thu 14-Sep-23 19:34:40

I'm 63. Husband 67. He has state pension plus small occpen. I have small occpen and still work part time until i get my state pension, 3 years away. Our total income feels too small to live comfortably into old age. We have friends who live in Spain who say they couldn't afford to live here now. Thinking of moving abroad to either EU or Non EU country for retirement. Has anyone else done this and do you think it possible to have higher standard of living abroad on a modest income than living over here? We have savings so could get health insurance elsewhere etc.

Siope Thu 14-Sep-23 19:41:13

Depends where. Lots cheaper in, say, Panama, not so much in the Netherlands.

You also need to see what income, or income and savings mix different countries require of immigrants. Spain is currently 400% of Spain’s Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator (IPREM). This is about 27,792.96 euros per year. Additionally, if you intend to bring family members, you must add 100% (about 6,948.24 euros) of the IPREM for each family member.

Plus there will be visa fees, potentially translation and notarisation fees, moving costs and so on.

Siope Thu 14-Sep-23 19:44:54

Sorry, should have said: those figures are for a non-linear creative (ie, not earning money in Spain) visa.

Also quality of life is very subjective. Financially, I had a great standard of living in the USA, but it did not translate to a great quality of life for me. For others, it did/does.

Siope Thu 14-Sep-23 19:47:34

Oh, piffle. Replace non-linear creative (which makes no sense, thanks to my damn phone) with non-lucrative, which does.

CountessFosco Thu 14-Sep-23 20:00:59

We have lived all over the world, and in three European countries, Switzerland, Belgium and France. If you do not hold an EU passport, you will have to apply to live in Europe, which, since Brexit, can be a lengthy, expensive and time-consuming operation.
Having said that, would move back to France tomorrow, not so much for the financial aspect but our attempts to resettle here after 44 years absence have been very, very difficult. The cost of living is rising everywhere. Belgium was cheaper than UK, but is now more expensive. Shopping for essentials in Lidl France last week, we found the cost of commodities has risen in leaps and bounds [except wine - hooray]. We long to go back, and now realise it was a mistake to return here, but at our age another major upheaval is sadly out of the question. Don't know whether this helps you - Isle of Man???

MerylStreep Thu 14-Sep-23 20:08:52

We moved to a non eu country in 2004. We are now back in the uk.
If you don’t speak the language you are at the mercy of everyone, that’s unless you want to pay a professional translator for everything.
If you do decide on a particular country join an expat site representing that country, there you will get the truth.

halfpint1 Thu 14-Sep-23 20:18:13

I find the cost of visiting in England to have risen so much even
though prices have risen in France. I don't think my income
would cover the expense of an English household but I live
quite well here. That is a vague statement but generally it
feels cheaper to live here in France , really depends on your
lifestyle. The winters are still cold and heating costs have
risen . However the bigger consideration is the language and
the adapting , its not an easy step. You could try renting out
your own home and renting in another country to see if it

Hithere Thu 14-Sep-23 20:27:50

It is an extremely short sighted idea to move to another country just for financial reasons

Those who emigrated know how long hard is to get used to a new way of life, building a new supporting network, immigration issues, language and nationality barriers

fancythat Thu 14-Sep-23 20:38:44

Read an article recently of a couple, or was it family, who moved to Bulgaria.
Not my cup of tea at all. But was a lot cheaper apparently.

There are any number of countries[know one where everything is 1/4 the price of here], Health care good and you dont pay much for it.[non EU].
Would I want to live there? No.
And crime is bad there.

M0nica Thu 14-Sep-23 20:51:51

Do not forget that you will have to pay for health insurance, that standards of care in hospitals may be different to what you are used to in the UK and that unless you speak fluently the language of the country you are moving to, you are at an immense disadvantage. Other European countries do not povide leaflets in foereign languages and access to interrepretors the way we do in the UK.

When you get to this mythical country, cultural norms will be very different - even in somwhere like France, you will not know anyone and their may be no expat organisations in your area. You will not know how to socialise and getto know your neighbours. You will be a long way from family or friends in an emergency.

Several members of my family had long working careers overseas; in France, Switzerland and the USA, but all of them as they reached their 80s, sold up and moved back to the UK to be closer to family members and if necessary go into English care homes.

Rexdog12 Thu 14-Sep-23 21:16:39

Lol b thanks siope i get the driftsmile

Rexdog12 Thu 14-Sep-23 21:19:57

Thanks Countess. I'm guessing most northern european countries will be the same. I was thinking more of either non eu or southern europe. We have friends who live in spain who say they couldn't afford to live in uk now unless one of them worked at least pt. And they have a reasonable income

Rexdog12 Thu 14-Sep-23 21:20:58

Great idea. I recognize language will be an issue

Rexdog12 Thu 14-Sep-23 21:23:53

Hi there. Completely agree. But the uk feels like a very unwelcoming place to live. The attitude of the police and the nhs and the public institutions all seem to be working against us it seems to me. Like as if they hold us, the public in contempt

Rexdog12 Thu 14-Sep-23 21:25:24

Halfpint, i am already more than half way with this ideasmile

Rexdog12 Thu 14-Sep-23 21:26:41

I feel like crime is bad here also. And our police not policing very much?!

Rexdog12 Thu 14-Sep-23 21:27:58

M0nica, fair point

sodapop Thu 14-Sep-23 21:36:03

We live in France and the cost of living here has been rising for some time. I agree with Hithere it's not a good idea to move to another country just for financial reasons only. We are well settled here but did a lot of research and several trips before making a decision. We love the peaceful rural life but it's not for everyone. There have been post Brexit difficulties as well. Think very carefully before taking irrevocable steps Rexdog12

Nannarose Thu 14-Sep-23 22:00:18

Whatver the cost of living on a day-to-day basis, you do need to look very carefully at health, social care and benefit entitlements, bearing in mind:
terms have different meanings in different countries, so even an accurate translation may not mean exactly what you think
you may lose certain entitlements if you live abroad
what can sound like a huge amount in health insurance can actually disappear very quickly, and is usually time-limited.

MeylStreep & M0nica are right about speaking the language. Even speaking a language well may not enable you to deal with bureacracy. Some countries have an easy use of English among much of the population - but even in these, it can vary from region to region.

You say that you have savings. I personally think that it is not difficult to lead a pleasant, modest life in the UK on a small income. Housing is the biggest factor, but there are places that are pleasant and less expensive.
We live in a relatively cheap area of the country, there are still a lot of inexpensive community activities. Amateur theatre and local music nights provide decent entertainment.
Many of our friends volunteer with the National Trust, at 'good' theatres / concert halls etc. and get discount on tickets.

I don't know if that appeals, or fills you with horror!

Allsorts Fri 15-Sep-23 07:18:32

What happens if one of you dies, UK, not a patch on what it was, it’s been ruined, however there’s no place like home, knowing the language, the system. I love my country and dislike what’s been done to it, but to me it’s home and I am not even bothered about holidays abroad anymore, been where I wanted to and enjoyed them but always glad to get back, there's so much of the UK I haven’t seen, so I’m ticking them off my list as I do them. Think very hard before you decide.

fancythat Fri 15-Sep-23 07:22:01


I feel like crime is bad here also. And our police not policing very much?!

The country I am talking about, could not be compared to the UK I dont think.
People live in family groups if they can.
Windows barricaded.
Outer gate, hurriedly opened and shut to let a car[often more than 1 person in it] go out and back in again.

fancythat Fri 15-Sep-23 07:28:24

A couple of separate points.

When people ask about which country may be better, I see Poland and Portugal mentioned quite frequently.

The other point to maybe consider is disabilities.
Is the country disabled friendly?

About 3 years ago, I looked into some countries myself.
Decided to stay put in the Uk.
Apart from points above, will they let you in? Many countries have many rules about age, wealth transfer etc.
Also consider, what would a new country be like if change of government?

Katie59 Fri 15-Sep-23 07:52:25

You COULD live much more cheaply in India or many other developing countries but if you wanted the same standards and lifestyle, living in a similar neighborhood you would pay more. Many countries I have visited look attractive on the surface, dig a little deeper and the real costs become less appealing, not to mention the local restrictions on expat residents.

avitorl Fri 15-Sep-23 08:01:16

It isn't possible to just decide to live in an EU country post Brexit as there are a lot of new rules about becoming a resident there.

MerylStreep Fri 15-Sep-23 08:18:54

Here’s one for you.
We have spent a little time in Macedonia in our travels through Europe.
You will fall in love with the beautiful view. What you won’t be told is that there are probably plans for development on that land.
If you like your telly, forget that. Be prepared on constant cut off on water, electricity. You will have no warning of this and you’ll never know when it’s coming back on.
I could go on but I don’t want to put you off 😄