Spain and France are still the most popular retirement destinations for British expats, according to a new survey.
Spain led the way with 24% of the poll for financial services firm Retirement Advantage.
France was second with 20% of the vote, while 9% pitched for the hot spots of the Eastern Mediterranean, such as Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.
Another 6% favoured Portugal, while 6% more opted for other places in Europe.
Outside of Europe, the USA and Canada topped table with 22% of the vote. Other popular non-European destinations included the Caribbean (12%); South America (11%) and 17% to other countries worldwide – including Australia and New Zealand.
This was a surprising result as Australia and New Zealand topped the polls for retirement and emigration destinations for British expats for many years.
The drivers for expats wanting to leave the UK are cheaper homes and living costs, along with better, warmer weather and a more relaxed lifestyle.
“A lot of expats opt to retire to places where they have had holidays and have many happy memories,” said spokesman Andrew Tully. “The trouble is somewhere which is great for a holiday doesn’t necessarily mean it is somewhere good to live.”
He explained tourist areas are often more expensive places to live than other places in the same country, even though they may still be cheaper than Britain.
“People often forget to factor in local taxes, foreign currency exchange rates and other financial and legal matters,” he said.
Financial check up
“Before deciding to leave Britain, potential expats really should spend some time in their chosen destination checking out what it is like to live their long-term and should give serious consideration to sporting out their finances.”
Issues that need investigating include health care, retirement care for the elderly and finances.
For instance, in many cases, switching a UK pension to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) can offer tax and investment benefits.
“A financial check-up is a must before going abroad,” said Tully. “Little catches like not having your State Pension index linked can cause massive financial problems if you have not included this in your budget, as many expats have found to their despair.”