Home and abroad – the best hot-spots for Brits
If you’re thinking of retiring abroad, you could broaden your horizons beyond the usual places. Sharon Dale reports.
BLAME it on the weather, the crime rate or the cost of living, but in the last few years there’s been a steady stream of pensioners leaving the country.
A staggering one in 12 retirees now live overseas and forecasts suggest that one in five will be resident abroad by 2050.
The exodus is backed up by a NatWest International personal banking survey that reveals nine out of 10 expats believe they enjoy a better quality of life.
The largest numbers of British retirees are found in Australia, then Canada, America and Ireland. Spain is fifth on the list of top 10 favourite places to retire.
But, says David Creffield, coauthor of The International Retirement Directory, the figures are distorted by many thousands of Britons who moved to the old colonies decades ago and never gave up their British citizenship.
He says: “Today’s retirees seeking a haven abroad are most likely to look first at the Mediterranean, so Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Cyprus.”
While all have their merits, property prices can be on a par with Britain and the cost of living can be equally as high, thanks to poor exchange rates devaluing pensions.
That’s why, in the book, retired journalist David, and son Daniel, have given the low-down on more than 60 countries, with case studies and information on everything from healthcare to travel costs and language issues.
“The book covers the Mediterranean countries; it is also aimed at opening people’s eyes to the opportunities that exist outside the ordinary.
“What isn’t commonly known is that dozens of countries around the world actively woo what they see as rich Western retirees because of the hard currency they bring in.
“This is not the case in the old
Today’s retirees seeking a haven abroad are most likely to look first at the Mediterranean.
colonies like Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. They make it tough, offering mainly investment-based visas, which means you need serious money, up to half-a-million, to get in.
“By comparison, Thailand requires you to bring in a lump sum of £14,000 and have an annual income of about the same amount.”
He adds: “Malaysia is a wonderful country with a low cost of living, fantastic food, charming people and a low crime rate. More than 1,500 Britons moved there under its second home scheme, which admits retirees on a permanent basis if they have assets of about £70,000 and a monthly income of £2,000.”
Bali allows you to settle there if you have a minimum of income of £300 a month, but Rachael Lovelock, who has lived there since 1998, says: “Paradise is hot, wet, dangerous, exciting, challenging, scary and wonderful. You can fulfil your dreams here or drown in a treacherous sea.”
There are other destinations, which appear to be good value, but which come with dangers. In South Africa, you can buy a fourbedroom house with a pool for £100,000, but the robbery and murder rates are among the highest in the world.
David says: “People need to consider a great many things if they are considering moving abroad and, unless they are loaded, they will have to look at practical considerations.
“The cost of healthcare is an obvious one as are travel costs to and from the UK, and the language. Are you prepared to learn a new one? You will adapt more quickly, get greater respect and integrate more easily into the local community if you do.”
The International Retirement Directory can be ordered online at www.internationalretirementdirectory.co.uk or tel: 01273 648909 for £18.99 (including delivery).
THE GOOD LIFE: The Costa Del Sol is high on the list of places where Britons retire.