British expat pensioners in Europe need relief from sterling devaluation

Published:  11 Apr at 6 PM
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One of the worst aspects of Brexit for British expats living in the EU is the devaluation of sterling.

Expatriate Brits living on the measly UK state pension in European Union member states haven’t just had to deal with the fear and uncertainty of losing their chosen lifestyles due to Brexit, they’ve also had to scrimp even more due to the referendum’s effect on sterling’s value against the euro. Europe’s forcing Theresa May to accept a longer delay may cause a relief rally for the pound, but how long this will continue is down yet again to Britain’s unruly parliamentarians.

October 31 may seem along way away, but time passes fast in the political world, especially when it’s already in chaos. Admittedly, the chance of a softer Brexit has increased, but so has the chance of a second referendum putting to an end the worst three years’ politicking the UK has seen for decades. As usual, the City will do its best to take advantage of whatever news leaks out, but businesses in general are still fearing the worst – a no-deal exit followed by a recession lasting at least two years, as predicted by doomsayers who may even be right this time.

Whilst parliament continues to struggle so do British expats on state pensions, not just in Europe but also in every world country where there’s an expat community. Even those with funds stashed legally offshore are in trouble should their savings be in sterling, and very few retirees are experts in predicting currency fluctuations to their advantage. For expats working overseas and being paid in sterling, it’s the same problem with the same solution – cutting down everyday expenses as rates fall.

Surprisingly, heads of offshore-based insurance firms may now be making the right noises re Brexit and the call for a second referendum, rather than spending their valuable time finding ever more subtle ways to take advantage of elderly expats’ lack of understanding about their savings and investment products. One such CEO is reported as saying yesterday’s extension doesn’t affect the fundamentals as businesses and citizens alike are in sore need of certainty rather than financial pie in the sky or promises unable to be fulfilled.

The CEO adds the only way forward is to allow the British public to vote on the real facts of the issue, referring correctly to misleading campaigns followed by a total lack of effective negotiations as the reasons. Whatever they may think of his firm’s products, most British expats would agree with his exact assessment of the present situation.
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