KUSADASI TURKEY

Kusadasi birdisland Ephesus Kusadasi Ladies Beach
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2016-2017 Expat news

Retire Healthier, Wealthier and Happier in Turkey

Is it possible to find increased happiness, to enjoy better health and have a more affordable cost of living from moving to live in Turkey in retirement? We explore all aspects!

Turkey has become a pure lifestyle destination for discerning expatriates who have fallen in love with its stunning landscape and fascinating history and culture, and who have discovered that the cost of living in Turkey can be far cheaper than the cost of living in the UK. 
However, could you retire healthier, wealthier and happier in Turkey?  That’s what this report is designed to help you discover!

We’re going to be exploring everything Turkey has to offer would-be retiree Brits seeking a haven abroad where they can live a comfortable yet affordable life, in a location where there are plenty of opportunities and where other Britons and foreign citizens have already made their home.  If you’re looking for a new place to call home, you want to be outside the expensive and volatile euro zone and you want beautiful weather and affordable real estate – Turkey could be your number one choice after reading this report…

Retiring Healthier in Turkey

When it comes to ‘the good of our health’ many factors should be considered – from the lifestyle we lead to the food we eat, from the medical facilities we can access to the amount of stress we have to deal with on a daily basis.  The good news is that living in Turkey can be good for your health in many ways.

Firstly, the pace of life in the entire Mediterranean region is far more laid back than we are used to in the UK.  The emphasis is on savoring life rather than rushing through it.  This attitude extends throughout Turkey – perhaps with the exception of the main cities where life does seem quite frenetic – so you avoid stress simply by relaxing into the lifestyle that others around you enjoy.

Until you are living a reduced-stress-lifestyle it cannot be emphasized enough how much of a positive impact this can have on your health.  Your blood pressure could benefit, your overall physical and mental wellbeing could benefit – and if nothing else, you will certainly find you have far more time to actually look around you and enjoy the life that you have chosen for yourself.

Secondly the local produce in Turkey is often organic, it is always widely and abundantly available at local markets, and if you shop like Turkish people and buy what’s in season or on special offer from the local butcher, baker and greengrocer, (or across the stalls in the marketplace), you will naturally be eating well and healthily.  They say a Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest – so quit the weekly Indian takeaway and fish suppers in favour of salads, grilled fish and lean meat when you move to Turkey - all eaten at a very leisurely pace so that better digestion is assured.  And all of this could have a positive effect on your health!

Next up you have to consider healthcare in Turkey and this is where things become a little more complex than we are used to in the UK – but only because you have to pay for care and treatment.

In the UK we have the NHS.  It’s free.  In Turkey basic state healthcare is subsidized for taxpayers – but there is no reciprocal agreement in place for foreigners and so to access the healthcare system in Turkey you will have to pay.  You have two options, you can either pay as you go or you can get health insurance in place.  The latter is certainly the more favourable option as it allows you to have peace of mind that you will have the care you need should you fall ill no matter what the problem/illness is.

The only trouble with health insurance is that it is expensive!  Our advice is to shop around – you may get a better deal locally in Turkey than you can get from an international policy…so do your research and get yourself covered.  The next thing you need to think about is actually accessing the potential facilities that you will need.  In the more built up, populated and international areas there are clinics that offer a whole host of services and facilities – and it’s safe to say that somewhere in Turkey there will be the doctor you need, no matter what your ailment!  But that won’t help you if you’re in Alanya and the doctor is in Istanbul!  In other words, no matter where you think about moving to within Turkey, do your research into the local clinics and hospitals and see what level they are at.  Will you be well looked after in the event of an emergency for example – or if you have a protracted illness that requires long-term care?

The final word to mention when it comes to healthcare in Turkey is that nursing standards are not the same.  Most general and basic caring duties are expected to be carried out by family members in Turkey.  Yes nurses are on hand to administer medication etc., but bathing, changing sheets and so on are all duties that the family usually handles in Turkey.  So, you need to work on building up a good network of friends once you move so that if any of you fall ill you can all take it in turns to support each other.

Retiring Wealthier in Turkey

The Turkish currency is the lira – and the lira has remained far more stable in the face of the recent pound and euro fluctuations.  What’s more, the cost of living in general in Turkey is lower than it is in the UK or in Western European countries – so for the most part you can get far more for your pounds when you change them into lira and use them to buy in Turkey!

That is quite a broad generalization that needs to be qualified if you’re thinking or retiring to Turkey however!

First things first let’s consider the exchange rate.  If you’re going to retire to Turkey and your income will come in the form of foreign sourced income such as a pension in the UK, you will regularly need to transfer pounds to lira in order to live and pay your way in Turkey.  To that end you really need to think about contacting a reputable and regulated foreign currency brokerage and talking to them about arranging forward contracts where you commit to a rate of exchange for a period of time – 6 months, a year, two years or whatever – so that your transfers are not affected by a fluctuating currency.

You will then know in advance how much you will get each month in the form of lira.  If you’re going to be transferring a lump sum from pounds to lira to buy a property in Turkey for example, (although many homes are sold in pounds), again it makes sense to speak to a currency exchange specialist about fixing your rate of exchange to protect you against large fluctuations.

The next thing to consider is the cost of living in Turkey.  A lot will depend on where you choose to live and the lifestyle you choose to lead.  Property in large parts of the nation is very affordable – relatively speaking – compared to the UK.  You can still pick up apartments from £50,000 in attractive buildings with good communal facilities in popular tourist towns.  However, if you’re looking for luxury and you’re looking for it in the most popular resorts, you can expect to pay top dollar.

You are strongly advised to rent property in Turkey before committing to buy though anyway.  That way you can get to know which are tourism prices and which are local prices – they differ on the same property or plot of land!  And you can get to know who are the local people who will genuinely help you to a good deal rather than the waiter or estate agent trying to flog off something not very good for a lot of money.

What’s more you can spend time getting to know where you are and the best places to own a home, and you can avoid many of the risks and pitfalls associated with buying property abroad ‘blind…’

In terms of the day-to-day cost of living – if you shop like the locals, exist on local produce that is in season, eat at the restaurants the local people frequent and you stay away from the tourism bars and cafes as well as the supermarket you will find you can live on significantly less than in the UK.

Utilities are not always as cheap however – electricity is quite costly per unit, as is fuel for your car.  So, budget carefully for these and don’t live in air-conditioned isolation all summer long, learn to acclimatize to keep your bills down!  Internal travel within Turkey is cheap on buses and even planes, and there are many cheap flight operators flying in and out of regional airports and back to the UK if you want to visit ‘home’ sometimes.

One additional cost you will need to factor in is healthcare – as mentioned above.  You will either have to have some reserves in place to self-fund any care or treatment should the need arise, or you will have to pay out each month for health insurance.  This is not a cost that should be forgotten about.

Retiring Happier in Turkey

Happiness is a personal thing!  What makes me happy could bore you to unhappiness.  So, is it possible to say that retiring to Turkey could make you happier?  Potentially yes!  If you’re realistic about why you want to move abroad, what it is about your current life that is potentially restricting your happiness and/or how living specifically in Turkey will benefit you, then you could indeed find increased happiness simply by retiring to Turkey.  However, the key in this concept is being realistic.

I.e., if you think that by moving anywhere you will be able to escape your problems in life and instantly find greater happiness you may well be mistaken!  You will take yourself, your issues and problems, your past, your expectations and personality with you no matter where you move to.  So if you are looking at a move as a means to ‘escape’ something I don’t think you’re being realistic and that could restrict your happiness.

What’s more, every nation in the world has warts as well as wonderful aspects – Turkey is absolutely no exception!  It has complex red tape, it has a level of bureaucracy that can only be influenced with a back hander, it has different religious and moral standards to that which we’re used to.  It has poverty like we’ve possibly never encountered and it gets cold in the winter!  All examples of how Turkey is far from perfect or far from an easy country to move to and integrate into.  So, if you’re realistic about the fact that perhaps Turkey won’t be paradise on earth, but that you can create a new life for yourself there in stunning sunshine and surrounded by glorious scenery, you could find greater happiness!

Ultimately, you need to ensure that your expectations of the country are realistic.  To that end you should more than just holiday in one resort for a fortnight before committing to a relocation.  You need to spend an extended period of time living in Turkey before committing to live there forever.  Rent a tourist property out of season and see what life is like in a resort you favour when there are no visitors.  Find out what the local people are like, chat to other expats about their experiences.  Remember to factor in what life could be like on a rainy winter day in the middle of winter when you’re bored and perhaps the electricity has gone off.  If you can still stomach the thought of Turkey and believe that the pros will outweigh any potential cons, you’re in the right place to consider making a commitment to this nation.

In Conclusion

Turkey has so much in its favour as a retirement destination of choice – but it is not perfect.  Depending on who you are and what you want from a move abroad you can potentially find greater health, wealth and happiness from retirement to Turkey – but you must be realistic about the country and your expectations of it and your life in retirement in Turkey.

 


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