Helping You Build a Life Overseas

A guide to retiring to the Caribbean

For years, many have dreamt of retiring to the tropical paradise of the Caribbean and when you look at what the islands have to offer – it should be no surprise. First things first – the weather. Although some of the islands can experience tropical storms and hurricanes, the majority of the time it is nothing but sun, sun, sun! This means that you will benefit from a far healthier, outdoors lifestyle and the climate will do wonders for those aches and pains.

Although initial outlay on property in the Caribbean can prove pricey, once you are settled you will get more for your money as utility bills and basic supplies are much cheaper. All of the islands are popular with expats, meaning that no matter which one you choose for your new home, you will meet likeminded people who are making the most of escaping the real world and enjoying their retirement in unbeatable surroundings.
If you wish to retire here you will need to follow certain guidelines to obtain residency. You can read all about what you need to do by clicking here
The practical considerations of retiring abroad are plentiful. The most important things to consider are how you will survive financially, your health and your accessibility to important amenities and airports where you can catch flights back home when you are missing the grandkids a little too much. 
Tax, Benefits and Pensions
Make sure you fully understand what your financial situation is before you take off. You need to address what to do with your pension, what your tax liability is and whether you are entitled to any benefits. Here’s how…
  • Acquire an estimate of your state pension so that you can work out how much you will have to live on each month.
  • Ask HM Revenue and Customs for information on your tax liability on any income over your UK personal allowance. Be mindful of the fact that UK tax payable from abroad can vary quite significantly from country to country.
  • Seek independent tax advice about the benefits of offshore banking – it could make a big difference to your savings. 
Of course, your health is the most important thing to consider above everything else. This is why you need to guarantee that should you require medical attention, you have access to the treatment that you need and that it is the same high standard as in the UK.
Here are a few things that you must consider:
  • Find out about your welfare rights abroad. Some UK benefits aren’t payable outside of the UK, others apply only in the EU or in countries which have reciprocal agreements with the UK. It is important that you know what your situation is.
  • Investigate healthcare costs in the country you are planning on retiring to. If you have a chronic condition, make sure that the service you require is available.
  • If you are not entitled to any healthcare benefits, it is vital that you take out insurance to cover all private medical and dental treatment and it is worth including medical repatriation to the UK in your policy.
Other things to take care of…
Your “to-do” list might seem uncontrollably long, but here are another couple of things that need to be dealt with that might have slipped your mind:
  • If you decide to split your time between the Caribbean and your property in the UK, work out how best to secure it if it will be empty for a number of months at a time. Also remember to inform your mortgage lenders and insurers that you are going to be elsewhere.
  • Notify your utilities companies of your imminent departure and provide them with a forwarding address so that they can send on any refunds that you could quite possibly be entitled to.
  • Contact your local Council Taxation organisation, the Electoral Register, your banks and building societies and make sure all mail will be forwarded to your new address.
Finally when moving to the Caribbean, using a currency exchange specialist rather than a bank to transfer your money could save you thousands. Smart Currency Exchange can help you do this – for more information download their free guide by clicking here.