Four expat destinations best avoided

Published:  21 Dec at 6 PM
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Would-be expats face a huge choice of places to hang their hats but, in some, all is not as it seems.

Getting away from the familiar and embracing the new is a challenge familiar to hundreds of thousands of expats from many Western countries, but how does the average expat make sure what they’re seeing on their reconnaissance trip is what they’ll actually get? Retiring overseas isn’t for fun, it’s for life, and checking the bad before embracing the good is essential.

It’s true to say that every country has its darker side, but some hide it whilst the rest let it all hang out, making them easy to avoid. The countries below all have much to recommend them, except for the hidden dangers which hit many unsuspecting newcomers.

Italy, for example, attracts Western expats from colder, more northern climes for its sunnier weather, great food and fantastic history, but behind the mask of beauty, wine, women and operatic song lurks another story. If you’re planning on working or starting a business, this gorgeous country has almost the world’s highest tax rate! High income earners lose half their take-home pay and expats must declare their overseas assets.

India is an up and coming destination for retiring British refugees from the ‘60s era searching for nirvana in a hot country with an amazingly low cost of living and a fascinating, colourful history. If you can stand the in-your-face poverty and incessant noise, that’s a starter, but you’re more likely to be killed on the road than almost anywhere else on the planet. A 2009 report by the World Health Organisation stated 105,725 people fell foul of fatal traffic accidents here, and it’s got to be worse in 2016!

Nicaragua tempts US expats with its many benefits including stunning scenery, a low cost of living and glorious weather, but, unfortunately, there’s more. According to Transparency International, the country is one of the Americas’ most corrupt societies, ranking at 133 out of 175, just ahead of Russia, Haiti and Venezuela. Being hassled by police for bribes and having to present brown envelopes stuffed with cash to actually get anything done can become very tedious for expats who just want the simple life.

The UK’s got a lot going as regards scenery, history and 21st century conveniences, sounding like the perfect safe haven for expats. Unfortunately, it’s too expensive to even consider unless you’re a financial professional with oodles of ill-gotten cash. Overseas investment interest has sent property prices through the roof, and rentals in anywhere you’d want to live are even more unaffordable. The other no-no is the weather, the reason why huge numbers of Brits leave the country for warmer, drier climes every year.

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