Expat retirement haven options shrink due to Brexit

Published:  7 Jun at 6 PM
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Although the looming shadow of Brexit may well have killed retirement dreams of Mediterranean sunsets, there are still value for money destinations overseas.

One thing Brexit hasn’t destroyed is adventurous British would-be expats’ dream of a retirement overseas, it’s just meant their choices of destinations may have to change. A slower pace of life combined with better weather and a reasonable cost of living can still be found, even in non-EU countries.

A new study reveals the most common reason for retiring outside the UK is the search for warmer, sunnier weather, with 76 per cent of respondents giving this as their main reason for leaving. The study also shows personal finance as an important reason for retiring overseas, with 74 per cent looking to reduce their monthly spend on living expenses – hardly surprising given the ungenerous UK state pension.

Money matters for pensioners also included the price of a suitable home in the chosen retirement destination when compared with the soaring cost of homes in the UK. This, of course, has its benefits when the family property is sold for far more than it originally cost and the cash invested in a home in the sun.

It’s unfortunate that the majority of the top ten value for money retirement destinations publicised by the survey are EU member states likely to be out of bounds to British pensioners post-Brexit. Greece and Corfu are already popular with UK expats, as are Spain, Malta, Portugal and France. Greece and Malta offer Golden Visas to the seriously wealthy, but the usual European destinations are unlikely to remain secure retirement havens for the average British pensioner and his wife.

Australia is still a possibility, although inflation is soaring at present and visas are becoming harder to get. The weather is superb, with seasons such as in the UK but far more sunshine and outdoor life as a result. British pensioners need to take into account their pensions will be frozen the minute the plane takes off from Heathrow, with extra income in the form of investment income or a work-related pension a must.

The USA is another value-for-money destination of interest, with better weather, cheaper housing and far cheaper food costs. English is spoken, making the transition easier, although local variations may be tricky to say the least. As regards long-stay visas, it’s best to consult an immigration specialist as green cards are hard to come by. For the more adventurous retirees, Panama is a good choice, combining much lower living costs with a British heritage resulting in most citizens being bi-lingual. It’s not so much a culture shock as a culture adjustment.
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