Expat Life

Allaying The Two Biggest Retire Overseas Fears

“As I’ve met and interviewed boomer generation expats considering retirement abroad,” writes Euro-Correspondent Lucy Culpepper, “I’ve found that they share two common concerns: a fear of leaving friends behind and a fear that their world will get smaller after they’ve made the move. They worry that they won’t be able to find a way to ‘get involved’ and make new friends in their adopted foreign homes.

“But to a woman, and a man, I’ve watched as those same people have found that the opposite is true.

“My parents are a perfect example. They were 69 and 72 when they decided to move from England to France. Both of them had traveled overseas before, but they had never lived in another country. Neither of them spoke French.

“However, they both wanted to make a big change. They wanted to live in a country that respected their generation. They wanted a culture that was thriving and rich. So they searched and searched and eventually found a property in a village in southern France, a place where they did not know a soul. Debating whether to take the plunge, they had those fears I mentioned that all would-be retirees have in their shoes.

“Before moving, back in the UK, both of them had friends and busy social lives. They enjoyed their garden and spent time with their grandchildren.

“Five years into their retirement in France, they are even busier and have a much wider social network than they had in England. I now have to book a date to go visit.

“What do they do…that you could do, too? My father is an active member of a local choir (the Choir Master is English, and members come from nine nationalities) and has just become their solo baritone.

“My mother has started playing the piano again so that she can accompany my father as he practices (daily!).

“They have traveled with their international expat’s club to Spain, Nimes, Montpellier, and the Auvergne and have plans to go farther afield in 2011. My mother has weekly French lessons with lots of homework (she tells me her brain hasn’t worked that hard in years). They are members of a walking group (or, more accurately, a wine-tasting group that likes to walk through vineyards). They belong to the local petanque club, playing matches throughout the year (Mum is now one of the tournament organizers). And they seem to have at least one lunch or dinner date every week.

“Not bad for two people who thought they might become isolated and lonely in their new retirement home overseas…

“I write this to allay your fears and to inspire you to make the leap. Just do it. Your new life will unfold in ways you couldn’t predict today.”

Kathleen Peddicord

Continue Reading: Retire To England Or Scotland?

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