UK expat retirees hit hard by sterling volatility

Published:  21 May at 6 PM
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British expat retirees in Europe have lost 14 per cent of their pensions’ purchasing power since the Brexit referendum.

A report from a technology service handling more than 6,000 regular monthly payments to UK pensioners living in EU member states has revealed British expat retirees’ costs of living have risen by 14 per cent due to currency volatility. In comparison, the rate of inflation in the UK over the same time period is seven per cent. In addition to sterling’s Brexit-induced instability, the USA’s trade war with China is also having an effect on the value of the pound.

Currency movements are often not taken into account when planning retirement overseas, but the political instability of a number of the world’s major economies is now reflected in currency market volatility. Those heading overseas for a total change of lifestyle need to be aware rates are on a rollercoaster which may well result in an even more seriously significant increase in living costs. It’s not just British expat retirees in Europe who’re losing a good proportion of their pensions’ purchasing power, as those in the US pensioners are facing a similar percentage loss.

British pensioners in Australia are losing three per cent, and those in Switzerland and Canada are having to pay five per cent more per month to maintain their lifestyles. The only winners in this dismal scenario are Brits living in South Africa, where the balance is in their favour by three per cent. Currency professionals are advising all would-be expat retirees as well as those already settled overseas to get to grips with the realities of fluctuations in the currency market as well as researching the actual costs of international currency transfers. They add the ‘headline exchange rate’ doesn’t necessarily give an accurate indication of the true cost of monthly transactions.
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