Cutting your expat retirement spend without wrecking your lifestyle

Published:  13 Mar at 6 PM
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If you’re thinking of retiring overseas using your pension as your sole means of support, it’s wise to work out the best way to cut your spending once you’ve arrived.

Understanding exactly where your monthly pension transfer goes is the first step in managing your money as an expat and even being able to save for the occasional treat. According to research in Europe and the USA, some 80 per cent of expat retirees’ monthly income is spent on food, clothing, housing, healthcare and transportation. Exact amounts depend on the location, with variations in healthcare costs often the biggest problem.

Many older expats who’ve chosen a warmer destination for retirement find their health has improved substantially due to the amount of sunshine they’ve absorbed along with healthier food and more exercise. For those already on regular medications, switching from branded meds to easily available generic alternatives can save a good deal of money. The highest monthly cost is likely to be housing, with rental charges dependent on location withing the chosen destination . Buying rather than renting can be the best solution in many expat havens with low-cost properties, with the possibility of resale giving a chance of capital gains.

The cost of food and clothing is up to the individual and his or her preferences, but buying local produce at markets and finding unbranded, inexpensive clothes online can save a considerable amount. Most favourite expat destinations have their own culinary delights, but dining out every night at Western-style eateries can cut into even the most carefully thought out budget. Transport costs are determined by your chosen location, with buying a car possibly the best option for those who’ve chosen a rural retreat. In towns and cities with good transport infrastructure, public transport is perhaps a slightly cheaper way to get around, but it’s nowhere near as convenient as having your own car.
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