Retirement by Design: How Location Shapes Your Financial Goals & Lifestyle

Determining where you want to retire is as crucial as when and how. 

Some places could be more expensive than others, and some may offer more/better amenities and activities you may enjoy during retirement.

The place where you decide to spend your golden years can shape your financial security, access to amenities, cost of living, and overall well-being.

Here are a few ways location can influence your retirement plans, 

The Financial Foundation

Cost of Living 

The cost of living in different places varies greatly. For example, the cost of living in Dubai/London/New York can be higher than in India/Egypt/Philippines or other developing countries.

Also, there could be a significant difference in living costs between living in a city vs. rural areas.


Inflation between different locations can also vary considerably. For Eg: Inflation in Dubai can be lower than in Mumbai, Egypt, or Lebanon. 

During our Holistic Financial Planning Sessions, many clients were surprised that they needed almost similar or a lower retirement corpus in the UAE than in cities like Mumbai or Delhi.

This is mainly due to higher average inflation in India and its impact over the long term on retirement income. 

Retirement by Design: How Location Can Impact Your Financial Goals & Lifestyle -2

Cost of Housing 

Depending upon where you want to retire, a significant portion of your retirement income could go into housing costs. Also, rents tend to increase with inflation, further burdening your retirement budget. 

That is why I encourage my clients during our Holistic Financial Planning session to consider investing in a property for retirement as one of their financial goals. 

Additionally, having to move houses at the behest of Landlords can be a burden on your income and overall well-being. 

Hence planning to retire in a location where you can own property for living should be a key consideration. 

Tax Implications: 

Income tax

While you may stop earning an active income when you retire, taxes don't stop there. They continue to be charged on your pension and other income you generate from your investments. They can significantly impact your disposable income.

Countries like the UAE have no personal income tax. However, a majority of countries across the world have different tax rates, rebates, and deduction eligibility. 

Planning your tax residency & Domicile is a crucial aspect of retirement planning. 

Capital Gains Taxes

Like income tax, the capital gains tax regimes vary from place to place. It is Zero in a few countries and could go as high as 45 in a few. 

For Eg: it is 42% in Denmark and Zero in Singapore and UAE. 

People who build assets to sell and fund their retirement could have less money than planned if the gains are subject to taxation. 

Inheritance, Estate, and Wealth Tax

Wealth tax is assessed and paid on the total value of your assets, such as real estate, stocks, and bonds, minus your liabilities. It is a progressive tax, meaning your tax rate increases as your wealth increases.

According to the World Inequality Report 2022, "Progressive Wealth taxes have been on the decline in rich countries, they still exist in varying forms in several countries, such as the Netherlands, Norway, Spain or Switzerland."

"In several other countries, there have been discussions about wealth taxes based on detailed proposals (such as in the USA, Germany, the UK, or Chile). This renewed interest in progressive wealth taxation has been stirred by two factors: the surge in aggregate private Wealth relative to national income and the increase in wealth concentration."

Estate & Inheritance Tax

Estate tax and inheritance tax are two different types of taxes levied upon the transfer of Wealth on the death of the owner of the assets to their heirs. The critical difference between estate tax and inheritance tax is as follows;

The Estate tax is imposed on the total value of a deceased person's estate before it is distributed to heirs or beneficiaries. It is calculated based on the estate's net worth, including property, investments, cash, and other valuable possessions. The estate tax liability is typically paid by the estate itself, using funds from the deceased person's assets, before the remaining assets are distributed to beneficiaries.

Inheritance tax is imposed on the assets received by individual beneficiaries or heirs. It is calculated based on the value of the assets inherited by each individual beneficiary. 

If you intend to retire in a country with Inheritance and or Estate taxes, then you may want to avoid or reduce by using one or more of the following strategies;

  • Spending your Wealth during your lifetime, however, you should ensure it lasts as long as you live.
  • Distributing the Wealth during your lifetime. Again having enough to maintain your desired lifestyle should be a crucial consideration. 
  • Placing your assets in a trust.
  • Moving to a favorable tax environment
  • Buying a Whole Life Policy to fund the estate taxes.

Overall Well-being

It is crucial to consider the following aspects before choosing your desired retirement destination;

  1. Access to Affordable and Quality Healthcare
  2. Social Security Benefits
  3. Access to affordable health insurance
  4. Social Support and Community
  5. Proximity to family and friends 
  6. Lifestyle and Amenities to enrich your retirement 

Additionally, buying Whole Life insurance with Critical Illness Benefits can help you protect your retirement savings in the event of diagnosis of a major ailment.


The objective of this post is not just to encourage you to move to a retirement-friendly location but to provide you with the knowledge that enables you to choose a place that fits your retirement budget and allows you to live the lifestyle you want.

I am here for you if you need help identifying the various aspects that could impact your retirement planning. 

I have more than ten years of experience helping people from more than 50 countries build their retirement. For Bespoke retirement planning guidance, please schedule a call with me. 

Click here to schedule a Discovery Call.



The information provided in this article and the website is for general information purposes only and should not be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please avail of personal consultation with professionals to discuss your personal situations and retirement goals. 

The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. 

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