Global uncertainty causing UK retirees to rethink a move abroad

Jul 21 | 2019

Global issues and uncertainty are having an impact on retirees considering a move abroad, according to new research from Crown Relocations.

UK Uncertainty causing a rise in retirement relocation with Brits. Nearly half of retirees said that they would not relocate to the US because of President Trump; a quarter would stay away from Europe because of Brexit, and 55% are not relocating abroad at all if the UK ends up with a ‘no deal’.

Despite political, social and economic issues, 60% of retirees have considered moving abroad simply to get better weather. The survey of 1,000 people found that while getting more sun was the number one reason to relocate abroad, retirees are also proving that it’s never too late to dream. Nearly half are looking to improve their quality of life, 40% want to improve well-being and a quarter are following their dream.

Global turmoil may be the reason why nearly half (42%) of respondents stated that they love the UK and its culture (29%) too much to leave. Emotional ties are also strong with nearly half of retirees stating that they would miss family (49%) and friends (25%) too much to ever leave the UK.

UK Uncertainty causing a rise in retirement relocation with Brits. In the build up to a move abroad, retirees’ biggest concerns are the practical details - with sorting out documentation (42%) and finances (40%) proving to be a challenge. But it’s the emotional test that they face that’s causing the most concern. The biggest challenge, named by half of retirees, is saying goodbye to family, closely followed by leaving friends (42%).

Retirees are looking to travel light. Out of all the age groups surveyed, pensioners are less likely to take everything they own with them - and more likely to take just a suitcase as they head to pastures new. They will pack a few photos however, with over 51% naming them as the most important item that they couldn’t move abroad without. These memories are so important that retirees rate them more highly than their pets (35%), clothes (32%), jewellery (18%), music, art and wine collections and even their children (12%). 

On reaching their destination, retirees biggest concern is learning a foreign language (49%), closely followed by finding somewhere to live (47%). Despite 38% saying that ‘adapting to a new culture’ is one the top five challenges, the research found that it isn’t too late to teach old dogs new tricks. Two thirds will completely embrace the culture and change their style/way of living – compared to only 38% of millennials who will immerse themselves fully.

UK Uncertainty causing a rise in retirement relocation with Brits. Despite some misgivings over the food (a fifth will not consider relocating to some continents because of strange food) the research found that more pensioners felt that sorting out utilities (32%) or driving on the wrong side of the road (20%) is a greater challenge than getting used to the new food (8%) in their new home countries.

Retirees will turn to local experts over technology to help ease the transition when moving abroad. Two thirds would either want to physically meet or at least talk to a local expert at their destination of choice. Although access to an app or a website with specific destination advice in advance of the move was thought to be useful by 41%.

Andy Buckle from Crown Relocation says, “Our research shows that retirees are focussed on ensuring that they take care of their health and mental well-being. While they recognise the emotional turmoil caused by saying goodbye, they also understand a need to improve their quality of life. Finally, being able to put themselves first and the opportunity to fulfil the dreams that they’ve been working hard towards keeps them focussed on the practicalities of a move. Utilising expert advice is key for a smooth transition.”

UK Uncertainty causing a rise in retirement relocation with Brits. Despite fears and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, UK retirees consider Europe to be the easiest (63%) and the safest (39%) destination to retire to. Australia, New Zealand and Europe are considered the ‘friendliest’ countries. 

Nearly half (42%) of retirees consider Europe to be the cheapest destination, with Asia coming in second, but by a big margin (16%). 12% said India was the third cheapest (compared with other age groups who rated it much lower). This may reflect why the majority of retirees don’t think that their financial situation would be improved when relocating abroad.