Overseas Countries To Spend Your Retirement & Golden Years
Being able to enjoy life without having to work is definitely goals for many Singaporeans. But if we want to do that, we’ll need planning to ensure we can achieve a worry-free retirement.
Whether you’re looking towards a slower pace of life away from constant chiong-ing, or a climate that doesn’t entail sweating 365 days a year, there’s definitely a place for everyone.
Here are some choices that you can consider for a forever home away from home.
JB has always been a popular destination for Singaporeans, be it for leisure or other reasons.
Not only is housing affordable, but so are daily expenses — which explains why Singaporeans flocked to Malaysia for weekend grocery runs before Covid-19.
Culturally, food is also similar to what we have here, meaning your palette won’t have to suddenly change to breadsticks and lattes. Your trusty kopi-o and kaya toast will still be in abundance at rustic kopitiams which will transport you back to the 1960s.
If you’d like a slightly more bougie experience, malls are in abundance and you can feel like you’re back home at malls like Paradigm Mall, which also house large supermarkets for your kitchen.
With many similarities to Singapore albeit in a more laid back lifestyle and cheaper currency, living in JB or any city in Malaysia is an enticing prospect.
Now it’s just a matter of picking which fancy landed property you’d like to spend your retirement years in.
If whiling your days away basking in the sun with a mojito and book in hand is your retirement dream, you’ll be glad to know that Southeast Asia is home to all manner of beach cities and towns.
Thailand, just a few hours’ flight away from Singapore, is particularly popular and is seen to be a melting pot of Asian culture and an expat retirement haven.
Singaporeans will feel at home with the weather as it’s consistently sunny and rainy, just like home.
Unlike the tired faces you’d often see on your daily MRT rides here, people are definitely friendlier in the Land of Smiles.
Whether you enjoy the outdoors or just want to have an idyllic abode to call home, places like Phuket, Chiang Mai, or even the outskirts of Bangkok, which are far quieter than the city centre offer great escapes.
With a fairly substantial Muslim population, halal food is quite easily available.
Relocating also won’t be an issue as Thailand issues ‘retirement’ visas, as long as you meet the requirements.
A little further out of our region lies the Land of the Rising Sun or Japan, which has a significantly different climate and culture.
While some of us may find comfort in the familiar, others may be in pursuit of change — Japan’s much cooler weather for one can certainly offer that.
Osaka’s short summers and very cold winters will be a welcome change from Singapore’s humidity as you enjoy aircon weather most of the year.
Vibrant Osaka’s traditional aesthetic and lower cost of living as compared to Tokyo will also nudge it further up your retirement destinations list.
Forget about driving through stressful traffic jams too, as Japan’s public transport system is highly developed, allowing you to travel anywhere – including cities like Tokyo – in mere hours.
As far as the developed Western world goes, there’s no closer destination than The Land Down Under, which explains its popularity with Singaporeans looking to resettle.
With a high quality of life guaranteed, as well as less stress overall, you and your family can get plenty of breathing room as you wind down your golden years.
Like Osaka, Adelaide provides a nice middle ground between places like Melbourne and Perth, while also having a lower cost of living.
However, it’s likely that you’ll have to apply for a retirement visa once you’re already in Australia, and not before, due to recent changes in the system.
The popular saying goes that “the grass is greener on the other side” and to some, that could literally mean the other side of the world.
If actual greener pastures are what you seek, Canada’s vast swathes of nature and numerous lakes should be a more than sufficient change of scenery.
While you might miss your chicken rice in a country like Canada, there are decent Asian populations in cities like Toronto and Vancouver to satisfy your random cravings.
If you fancy setting down your roots in Canada, perhaps Belleville in Ontario is worth considering.
Although rural, it’s a mere hour away from large cities like Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, and taking a trip down to see places like Times Square in New York is also possible given how close you’ll be to the border.
With a population of about 50,000, Belleville is considerably less packed than Singapore is as well.
6. New Zealand
Throwing a ring into a volcano may or may not be your thing, but many Lord of the Rings fans would have dreamed of visiting the iconic settings of the fantastical Mordor.
The weather, usually a bugbear in Singapore, is far more pleasant there, allowing you to go about your hikes and nature adventures in perfect conditions.
Plus, few places can be more picturesque. Imagine waking up to this scenery for the rest of your life.
Daily necessities will certainly not be as cheap. However, there’s ample land for you to explore a multitude of activities which can even include various forms of agriculture.
Not forgetting that English is the native language, making communication simpler than in non-Anglosphere countries.
Despite Finland’s reputation for being ice cold most of the year and being the land of Santa Claus, it does get warmer in the summer.
There’s at least one thing we share in common — a whole lot of trees. The stark difference lies in the population density, which Singapore, at over 8,000 people per km2, far exceeds Finland (over 18 people/km2) by.
With much fewer people around, you can almost guarantee that you won’t bump into someone you’ve had an unforgettably awkward interaction with.
While eating out is probably not a regular option – you have to pay for water in most restaurants in Europe – you can get a more quiet lifestyle in return, with friendly neighbours, many of whom can converse in English.
That said, if you’re looking to make a retirement home in Finland, learning Finnish is definitely an investment that’ll pay off.
Reach your retirement goals with MoneyOwl
Even if you’ve accumulated a significant amount of savings and CPF now, it would still be prudent to err on the side of caution – the more you accumulate, the better.
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Their schemes don’t require a huge amount – you can start from just $10. But you may be wondering if there’s enough for your nest egg when it’s time to withdraw it.
Through the Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) – tax-free prior to withdrawal – you can park your money in stable funds without worrying about market-timing or stock-picking.
You’ll also only be taxed 50% when it’s time to make your withdrawals. Since the interest compounds, you’ll get to reap more savings the earlier you start.
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Start planning which countries to stay in for retirement
Since we spend most of our lives working to enjoy a comfortable retirement, we should definitely start thinking about how we’re going to afford it.
This is especially true for those who’d like to travel the world or settle down in another land.
From beaches to lakes and even familiarity, we hope the city choices we’ve curated will inspire you to start on your retirement planning journey.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice or investment advice. All investments bear an element of risk and anyone who chooses to make investments are fully responsible for making their own decisions. Always be smart, and do your own research.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with MoneyOwl.