Brit expats counting the pennies as sterling sinks

Published:  26 Jun at 6 PM
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Whilst British expat retirees are counting the pennies, multinationals relocating staff to London are cashing in on the weak pound.

By now, it’s a well-known fact that British retirees in popular EU retirement destination are having a hard time making ends meet due to the falling pound, but many don’t realise that companies sending expat staff to the UK are saving money for the same reason. In the 2018 annual surveys, London was the 19th most expensive world city for relocating expats, but this year’s rating for the capital is 23rd, due simply to the Brexit-induced fall in sterling’s value against other major world currencies.

It’s not just London which is now cheaper for expats, with Birmingham, Belfast and Aberdeen also less expensive for incomers whilst Britons in Mediterranean hotspots such as Spain are becoming ever more worried about meeting day-to-day expenses as the pound/euro exchange rate hits pensions paid in sterling. British expats aren't the only group having a hard time, as UK citizens who’ve bought a second home in advance of retirement are having to cut back on necessities and make fewer visits.

Over the past three years since the Brexit referendum, sterling has fallen against the euro by 14 per cent and against the dollar by seven per cent, with further falls almost inevitable due to political chaos and the all too real possibility of a no-deal exit courtesy of a Boris Johnson premiership. Britishers in the wider world are also feeling the effects of the shrinking pound as their local exchange rates are affected.

For example, UK retirees in Thailand who arrived a decade ago were getting 65 Thai baht to the pound, but a combination of the inflated value of the baht with an exchange rate of around 39 is hitting hard on expat pensioners, especially as the British state pension is frozen in Asia and the Thai government is upping the financial requirements for the so-called ‘retirement visa’. For Brits overseas, it’s all bad news, and not likely to get better.
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