By Vicky Anscombe on 30 January 2015

If you're considering moving abroad for a new life, this applies to you.

A life abroad spent toasting early retirement on the beach might sound heavenly, but there's so much you should consider before you move abroad. Will your pension be able to support you, and will your savings be enough? Will you fit in to the local community? What about healthcare?

As estate agents report a surge in demand for properties in France, Italy and Spain after the pound reached a seven-year high against the euro, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is urging Brits to think long-term and plan thoroughly before moving abroad.

Here are some top tips:

Don’t rush into buying abroad: Visit the area you're considering, get to know it, and think about renting first.

Do your homework: Other people can help you make an informed decision. Visit expat forums to get a feel for the area, and do some research.

Be part of a community: Make an effort to meet locals, try local food, and pick up the language. You can't expect to hole yourself away in an expat bubble.

Consider your long-term financial requirements: Will your money last? Find out how exchange rates and inflation will affect your income, pension and/or benefits, and calculate the cost of living.

Read up on tax regulations: How will your tax payments change?

Plan for your health: Until you're registered under the local state system, take out health insurance.

Tell the right people that you're leaving: You need to notify the Social Security Office, HM Revenue & Customs, the Department of Work & Pensions and your GP.

Seek independent legal advice: Choose a legal advisor who understands the law in the country you are moving to.

Cara Fortune, from the FCO’s Know Before You Go team, says: "A permanent or semi-permanent move overseas involves many practical and social changes. Integrating into the community, by learning the local language for example, can help you settle in to your new home.

"Being friendly with local people gives you an opportunity to learn not just the language, but also the culture, and discover things about your new home country that the average tourist doesn't get to experience. Remember, your life abroad will be more than bricks and mortar!"

If you are planning to move abroad, you can find more information here.


← Suited and booted: How Profeet made The Arctic V’s ski boots practically perfect

The six weirdest ways to get married abroad →