At a recent business lunch in London several of the guests expressed great interest in the fact that I lived in Majorca and soon I learnt why. The majority, most in their forties and fifties, were considering moving abroad as soon as they reached retirement age and were keen to seek my advice.
All of those present wanted insider information about healthcare, schools and quality of life for expats, particularly in Spain. Of the six people planning to relocate following retirement, four were seriously inclined towards Spain while the other two felt that Australia and Canada offered better work opportunities and an attractive lifestyle. The remaining five luncheon guests admitted that they were tempted to leave the UK once they had reached pensionable age but had outstanding commitments and extended family to consider. The main reasons given for wanting to up sticks were patchy healthcare for the elderly in the UK and the pension crisis. Most felt taxation was too high, interest rates too low and they all yearned for better weather and a more al fresco and healthy lifestyle.
So it came as little surprise to discover that in a new survey of the over-50s in Britain by deVere Group, 59 per cent confirmed that they were giving serious thought to leaving the UK on retirement, 10 per cent up on a similar poll conducted by the company last year. Respondents maintained that the burgeoning pension crisis, care crisis, cost of living and scrapping of some age-related benefits were all ‘push factors’.
Interestingly financial concerns were uppermost in their minds with considerations such as quality of life, crime and weather being of secondary importance. Spain proved to be the number one choice for retirement followed by Australia, the United States, France and Thailand. Those surveyed felt that they could expect a better cost of living in another country and lower taxes.
Of course many over-50s dream of moving to a sunny foreign location but simply don’t have the means. A good proportion will not even have the luxury of retiring in their sixties with many working into their seventies in order to pay off mortgages and fund their children’s education. So while some lucky retirees will be packing their bags for a new life overseas, there will be a good number of Britons left working on the coalface, relying on escape to the sun type television programmes to feed their sun-kissed reveries.
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