Currency exchange roller coaster hitting Brit expats in Europe

Published:  30 Mar at 6 PM
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British pensioners who’ve moved to other EU member states over the past ten years have seen currency rates shave 11 per cent off their income.

Fluctuating exchange rates since 2006 have reduced the actual value in euros of British pensions by 11 per cent, according to pension provider companies. Combined with a rise in the cost of living across the Eurozone and a major fall in property values, it’s bad news for expats who planned a comfortable retirement overseas.

The latest fall in the value of the British pound is the result of increasing uncertainty over the Brexit referendum due on June 23. For many now planning a reluctant return to the UK, it’s the last straw. Over the last two years, 7,000 Brit expats have left Italy and returned to the UK, as have 72,000 retirees formerly living in Spain.

Rising energy prices and dearer food costs have played their part, and uncertainty about continuing EU benefits is causing many thousands more to reluctantly consider giving up on their chosen lifestyle.The effect of exchange rate fluctuations, however, isn’t confined to British expats in EU states, it’s also bad news for British citizens in the USA, who’ve lost 24 per cent of their income since 2005. Pensioners based in Switzerland have fared the worst, with a massive loss of 37 per cent of regular pension income.

The overall winners in the currency stakes are Brits who moved to South Africa a decade ago and are now enjoying receiving 93 per cent more than when they first arrived due to the weakness of the rand. UK expats in Jamaica are in a similar position. It’s true to say that the exchange roller-coaster can and does move in two directions, but the general economic conditions and ongoing uncertainties at present don’t give much hope of sterling strengthening any time soon.
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