Would you retire abroad? It seems to be a dream of many Brits, with cheaper living expenses and better value properties encouraging many to take the plunge and retire to warmer climates.
Given how expensive properties are in the UK, it's little wonder. Figures from the ONS show that average house prices jumped up by 8.3% last year, and while that pace of growth is expected to slow somewhat in the year ahead, it can't be denied that typical properties still cost a pretty penny.
As a result of this, 68% of people surveyed by International Currency Exchange (ICE) said that securing better value for money on property was a key factor when considering retiring abroad, and similarly, 74% of respondents said that cheaper living expenses were important. Then there's the weather (76%), and considering that there were only 1,432 hours of sunshine recorded across the UK last year with an average temperature of just 9°C (according to the Met Office), it's no surprise that so many would jump at the chance to retire in a bit of sunshine.
Other top factors ranked as important when considering a move include a slower pace of life (60%) and health (57%), so it looks as though any decision to move will be built on a combination of head and heart – financial factors and lifestyle choices.
"It's no surprise that better weather is one of the main motivators for Brits retiring abroad given the cold and damp winters we experience in the UK, but the economics of heading for a retirement in the sun can also really work in your favour," said ICE CEO Koko Sarkari. "Receiving a good exchange rate can be vital in ensuring that you can make the most of your money.
"Value for money on property and cheaper living expenses were both high on the list as factors that would convince people to spend their retirement in the sun. Property prices in Spain and Greece are very favourable in comparison to the UK, and both offer the pace of life and warm weather the results show we obviously crave in our retirement."
So, if you're thinking of taking the plunge, just where should you go to enjoy your golden years on the best financial footing possible? Well, the research also uncovered the best value destinations for those looking to retire in the sun, and considering some of them (such as Lanzarote, Tenerife and Orlando) show a reduction in house prices of more than 89% compared with London, and a reduction in transport costs of over 35%, it could prove to be a cost-effective as well as enjoyable move.
According to ICE, the best value destinations for Brits retiring abroad are Tenerife (Santa Cruz), Lanzarote (Arrecife), Portugal (Lisbon), Panama (City), Greece (Corfu), Malta (Valletta), Spain (Madrid), France (Paris), USA (Orlando) and Australia (Sydney), but no matter where you're thinking of going to, it's vital to make sure your finances are in check.
Getting your pension arrangements sorted should be at the top of the agenda. Speak to your provider about the possibility of getting your pension benefits paid overseas, and make sure you've got the usual financial issues organised (such as current accounts, offshore savings accounts, etc.) as well. You'll probably need to sort out international currency exchange if you'll be buying property abroad, too, but once you've got all the details organised, all you'll have left to do is look forward to your golden years in the sun.
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