I have previously spilled my dreams onto these pages about a partial retirement in Scotland. No self-respecting golfer could dream otherwise. I am mindful that dreams, for many reasons, often exceed our grasp. A few years ago, I plunked down a couple hundred dollars and became an overseas member of the Crail Golfing Society, thereby almost forcing myself to make the trip across the Atlantic on an annual basis to play the eight rounds of golf on Crail’s 36 holes beside the North Sea to which I am entitled on an annual basis. For now, that is about as close as I can get to living in Scotland, at least part time.
In an article the other day, the website Top Retirements.com pitched Scotland as a potential retirement location but added the appropriate caveats about moving to a foreign (non-American) land. I recommend the article to those fellow golfers who might be contemplating a Scottish relocation. The major obstacle to an American living in Scotland is that, except for a few of us –- those with Scottish ancestry or a couple million dollars to invest in a Scottish business –- residency is capped at six months per year.
No problem for those who might otherwise live seasonally in two homes, as friends of mine do in the States; six months and a day in Florida, to qualify for its non-existent state income tax, and the rest of the year in Connecticut, a high-tax state. Those with the means, inclination and love of golf could just substitute Scotland in summer for Connecticut or any other cold-winter state. I daresay that real estate in a small Scottish town near great golf will be more reasonably priced than comparable housing in most northern US states, and renting an apartment for five to six months annually is also a viable and cost-effective approach.
Tax rules for foreign residents in Scotland and the rest of the UK became a bit complicated with a new tax law enacted a few years ago; it is best to consult an expert or at least do your research online before getting serious about a part-year retirement in Scotland. But the effort will be worth it for those who can imagine a relaxing and healthy lifestyle – most Scottish layouts require walking -- and cool summers on some of the greatest golf courses in the world.
You can read the Top Retirements article here.