One third of Brit expat retirees planning to return home

Published:  23 Mar at 6 PM
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New findings by a British bank show that at least one third of all UK expat retirees plan to return to the home country at some point.

The recent release of NatWest Bank’s Quality of Life Survey seems to shed a new and depressing light on the expat dream of retiring overseas. Results show that over 33 per cent of the poll’s respondents are seriously considering returning to the UK.

High on the list of reasons to give up on sun, sea, sand and a new life overseas is the global recession, hitting harder in popular European retirement hotspots than in other more distant destinations. The fall in property prices across European countries has wiped tens of thousands of pounds off the value of villas and apartments, causing financial insecurity for many home owners. Fluctuating exchange rates, inflation and cost of living increases are adding to stress levels, and the possibility of Britain’s leaving the EU isn’t helping.

Settling in to a new culture and lifestyle seems to have been a major cause for concern amongst older expats, with almost all those surveyed admitting to missing their families and former friends in the UK. The ease of communication introduced by the internet age doesn’t seem to have helped the feelings of isolation amongst elderly expats.

Surprisingly, missing British culture also featured strongly in the reasons given for wanting to return home, with many of those surveyed saying they had no sense of belonging in their chosen retirement destination. Generally, expectations of a new and more fulfilling life overseas seem not to have been realised, with the only answer to return to the old life back in the UK.

According to NatWest, the only exception to the depressing results comes with a increasing number of younger Brits between the ages of 25 and 35 who are taking the expat plunge and creating new opportunities for themselves outside the UK. This age group makes up over a quarter of the total numbers of British citizens living abroad.
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