Blog Location Matters: 20 factors to consider when deciding where to retire

Location Matters: 20 factors to consider when deciding where to retire

Retirement is a universal dream, but the path to achieving it can look vastly different depending on where you choose to spend your golden years. For expatriates, the decision of where to retire can be especially crucial, as it can significantly impact your financial security, lifestyle, and overall well-being. In this article, we’ll explore the most important factors to consider when deciding where to retire. We’ll also take a closer look at Germany as a potential retirement destination.


Your 20 factor-check-list

Certainly, deciding where to retire is a complex decision that involves considering a multitude of factors. Here are additional factors to consider when determining the ideal retirement destination as an expat:

  1. Visa and Immigration Requirements: Research the visa and immigration requirements of your prospective retirement destination. Different countries have varying visa options for retirees, and the application process can be time-consuming and bureaucratic. Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and understand the application process.
  2. Political Stability: Political stability is crucial for a peaceful retirement. Unstable political environments can lead to uncertainty and potential risks to your safety and financial security. Stay informed about the political situation in your chosen destination.
  3. Economic Outlook: Assess the economic stability and outlook of your retirement location. A strong and growing economy can provide more opportunities for retirees, including investment options and a stable currency.
  4. Social and Cultural Fit: Consider whether you’ll feel comfortable and accepted in the local culture. Differences in language, customs, and social norms can affect your overall happiness and integration. Examine the expat community and support networks in the area.
  5. Accessibility: Evaluate the ease of travel to and from your retirement destination. Proximity to international airports and transportation infrastructure can influence your ability to visit family and friends back home.
  6. Taxation on Retirement Income: Examine the tax treatment of retirement income in your chosen country. Some countries offer favorable tax rates or exemptions for retirees, while others may impose high taxes on foreign income.
  7. Safety and Security: Investigate the safety and security situation in your retirement location. Low crime rates, political stability, and a reliable police force are essential for a peaceful retirement.
  8. Retirement Communities and Services: Some countries have established retirement communities with specialized services and amenities for retirees. These communities can offer a supportive environment and a sense of community.
  9. Estate Planning and Inheritance Laws: Understand the estate planning and inheritance laws in your retirement destination. These laws can vary significantly from one country to another and may impact how you pass on assets to your heirs.
  10. Natural Environment: Consider the natural environment and climate of your chosen location. Whether you prefer a warm, tropical climate or a cooler, temperate one, the local weather can significantly impact your lifestyle and activities.
  11. Cost of Transportation: Evaluate the cost and convenience of transportation within the country. Reliable public transportation and affordable options for getting around can improve your mobility and independence.
  12. Local Healthcare: Beyond the quality of healthcare, consider the accessibility and affordability of medical services. Are there adequate healthcare facilities in your chosen area, and can you easily access them?
  13. Residency and Citizenship Options: Investigate whether your retirement destination offers a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship. This can provide long-term security and additional benefits.
  14. Social Activities and Hobbies: Think about your interests and hobbies. Does your retirement location offer opportunities for activities you enjoy, whether it’s golf, hiking, cultural events, or volunteering?
  15. Exchange Rate Stability: As mentioned previously, currency fluctuations can impact your retirement income. Assess the stability of the exchange rate between your home currency and the currency of your chosen country.
  16. Family and Personal Connections: Consider the impact of your retirement choice on your family and personal relationships. Moving abroad can strain ties with loved ones, so think about how you’ll stay connected and whether they might visit you.
  17. Legal Considerations: Consult with legal experts to understand the legal aspects of retiring abroad, such as estate planning, wills, and any legal requirements related to expat retirees.
  18. Long-Term Planning: Think about your long-term needs and how your chosen destination will meet them. As you age, healthcare, accessibility, and support systems may become even more critical.
  19. Local Cuisine and Dietary Preferences: If you have dietary restrictions or specific food preferences, consider whether your retirement destination can accommodate your culinary needs.
  20. Personal Preferences and Priorities: Ultimately, your personal preferences and priorities should guide your decision. What matters most to you in retirement? Make a list of your must-haves and deal-breakers to narrow down your options.


Germany as a Retirement Destination

Germany is an attractive option for retirees due to its strong economy, high-quality healthcare system, and rich culture. Here are some reasons why expats might consider Germany for their retirement:

  1. Healthcare: Germany boasts a world-class healthcare system, providing excellent medical care and access to state-of-the-art facilities. As an expat, you can participate in the public health insurance system or opt for private health insurance.

Tip: Ensure you understand the German healthcare system and explore insurance options that suit your needs and budget. The experts from our partner MW Expat will be happy to give you free advice and to find the best German health isurance solution for your.

  1. Safety and Infrastructure: Germany is known for its safety, efficient public transportation, and well-maintained infrastructure. These factors contribute to a high quality of life for retirees.

Tip: Consider your mobility needs when choosing a location within Germany. Larger cities like Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg offer extensive public transport networks.

  1. Cultural Richness: Germany offers a rich cultural experience, from historic towns and castles to world-renowned museums and theaters. Retirees can enjoy a vibrant cultural scene.

Tip: Embrace the local culture by participating in language classes and engaging with the community. This can enhance your overall retirement experience.

  1. Residency Options: Germany offers various residency options for retirees, including the EU Blue Card for highly skilled workers and the permanent residence permit. Meeting specific criteria can lead to long-term residency.

Tip: Consult with German immigration authorities or a legal expert to understand the residency requirements that best suit your situation.

  1. Financial Stability: Germany’s strong economy and political stability provide a secure environment for retirees. The country’s robust social safety net ensures that retirees can access essential services and benefits.

Tip: Explore the banking and financial services available in Germany, and consider opening a local bank account for convenience.

We highly recommend you to check out Project Expat to learn more about Germany, guide yourself through your potential new home and find English speaking services like doctors, hairdresser and relocation partners.


Choosing the perfect retirement destination is a highly individualized process, and it’s essential to prioritize what matters most to you and your unique circumstances. Conduct thorough research, consult with experts, and consider visiting potential locations before making a final decision. By carefully weighing these factors, you can make an informed choice that leads to a fulfilling and enjoyable retirement as an expat.

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