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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Rabat, Morocco

Submitted by Rags


Rabat, Morocco

An expat retiree offers some amazing advice for living in Rabat, Morocco. However, there is some sage advice offered for expats regardless of how old you are or where you want to live.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Rabat

Why did you choose to retire abroad?

After having retired and taught English in 5 countries, on 4 continents (including the US), Morocco is best for me. It offers a peaceful, affordable lifestyle with fresh foods and adequate health care. Moroccans are good people. Very welcoming and nice. Because they are polite and expect you to be polite, learn at least a few words such as please and thank you.

If you plan to stay, develop a relationship with a few vendors; we don't shop at the supermarket except for occasional 'exotic foods', they're expensive.

Up to a point, respect the dress code. No, women don't need to wear a hijab, but please forget the shorts and sleeveless tops unless you are going somewhere 'western', then throw something over your shoulders on your way there.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

Most of the year

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

The Atlantic and the Med, main roads are good, trains are very inexpensive. First class is worth the little money extra. It's convenient to go to Gibraltar and Spain. Easy flights to London.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

Not lived, but spent up to 3 months in different countries.

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

Almost 7 years.

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How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

Four Not Counting Morocco

What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

Language. I've never had problems with different cultures because I grew up in a multicultural setting. Go into any culture with an open mind. Be willing to try the language, no matter how badly you butcher it.

Graciously accept the local foods when offered. people will respond in a good way. Never say a version of 'this is not what we eat back home', or 'this is not how we do it back home'. Do not compare. If back home is better for you, that's ok. You had a new adventure, and it was not suited to your needs.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

Learning the 'secrets' of a place. The best restaurant, the elderly woman who loves to tell stories in broken English, volunteering with a project and finding how the real people live. Great food everywhere.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

I thought I'd eventually end up in Morocco, but had to float around to check out other places. If you have any idea, start language lessons rather than wait and 'pick it up'. That's my biggest regret.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

I am still getting acquainted with Rabat, I moved from a different city.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

Proof of income

Proof that you're not a criminal, you need to go to the police department and register. They'll give you a printed form. For retirees it's the most efficient process I'd been in.

They want us, we help their community. Other countries are not quite as welcoming. Usually, it's an economic problem. Ecuadorians, for example, have been priced out of many housing markets because of the influx of people from wealthier countries.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

At this point, just renting. Not difficult. I have friends who helped me, so it was not a problem.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

I knew ahead of time because I had spent time here before, and am moving from another area. Rabat is more expensive because it's the capital.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

You have to prove your income. If you bring money into the country and convert it to Dirhams, you cannot export them. I'm not sure of the procedure, so won't comment further. There are multi-national banks that can guide you.

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

I live very carefully, don't drink, don't smoke, so can't answer for anyone else. It depends on lifestyle. My favorites are enjoying the ocean, and a Moroccan mint tea. It also depends on what kind of neighborhood you choose.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

I know it's good, here in Rabat. However, in other areas it is not as good. My guess is if you need very high tech medical treatments, you'd probably be better to go to the UK or the EU.

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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

Very safe. Pickpockets are around, but have never had a problem. Nothing like Barcelona.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

Some areas have the tram there's bus service, which some people don't like. Taxis are cheap. If you go for a big taxi, you may have to wait until enough people jump in, going the same direction. If you hire it by yourself, it's expensive. Car? Forget it.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Yes.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

If you're very attached to home/family, it will be harder. I've been an adventurer since I was a kid. Choose a place you think you'd like, spend 3 months there. Not a 3 week "honeymoon" when you still have stars in your eyes. When reality sets in, do you still love it? If so, welcome home.

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Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Rabat.

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