For many Aussies with a limited retirement budget, the idea of selling the family home and moving overseas to live in a retirement home, like the cast in the 'The Best Exotic Marigold', can seem like a tempting option to optimise their retirement. Here are some things to check before selling up and moving abroad. 

How much does it cost to come home or visit?

If you still have family in Australia, you might want to be able to head home for important family events such as wedding, funerals or milestone birthdays. You may also need to head home for specialist medical treatment.  It's also nice to get visits from your family. As a result, it is a good idea to price visits to and from Australia from your proposed location. Luckily with the lower prices and extra competition of overseas flights, it can often be cheaper to fly overseas than to take domestic trips within Australia. 

What does it take to maintain Australian citizenship?

Some overseas retirement homes ask that you take on national citizenships in order to claim certain benefits. However, the benefits associated with Australian citizenship including Medicare coverages and the aged pension can be very valuable. It can be worth investigating what, if any, criteria you need to fulfill in order to maintain these benefits. This can be very valuable if you run into serious issues overseas. 

What property rights do you maintain?

Many foreign countries have a different approach to property rights, and you may not be able to own property as a foreigner in your own name. This can make it challenging for your family to sell your overseas retirement apartment if you pass away. This can be an important issue if you are looking to invest a large part of your assets into the retirement apartment but want to leave some financial rights to your children or grandchildren. You can ask a legal firm to confirm your legal rights. 

How well is the complex staffed?

If you are not confident in the local dialect of the area, it's a good idea to check if there are translators or native speakers in your language working in the area. This can be very useful for people who are sick or not confident in learning a foreign language.

If you are contemplating buying a retirement apartment in a foreign country, you should meet with a real estate agent to discuss the best option.