One in three British expats who moved overseas to retire are disillusioned with their new lives and intend to return home.
Most are coming back to the UK because they found their dream retirement failed to meet their expectations.
A quarter told researchers for NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Index they were disillusioned with the reality of their expat lifestyle.
The report revealed that expat finances were at the root of the decision to pack up and return to Britain.
Nearly all found that living overseas was more expensive than they expected, with 97% saying the rising cost of living was eating into their pensions and savings when one of the main reasons for moving was to secure a better standard of living than they had in the UK.
Thousands of British expats in Europe, especially France, Spain and Cyprus, have seen thousands of pounds wiped off the value of their homes in the sunshine.
They are concerned that if they sell and return to Britain they will not have enough money to buy a home.
Besides money worries, missing family and friends also plays a big part in most expats making their minds up about returning home.
Despite easy video conferencing and online chat, many expats miss personal interaction with their loved ones.
Many older expats (75%) also felt coping with a foreign culture was difficult because they were used to Britain and British ways.
Although retired expats were miserable with their lot overseas, the index also showed fewer expats are leaving Britain to retire and today’s expats were more likely to be in their 20s or 30s and moving for careers rather than lifestyle reasons.
Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking, said: “Not everyone is cut to be an expat, and this shows more in the older age group than among younger expats keen on building a career.
“For many expats, weighing up the pros and cons of leaving family behind and whether they can afford to make the move should really be considered before they go.
“Living overseas means immersing yourself in a new lifestyle and the ones who seem to have the most problems are those who believe their retirement is an extended holiday.”
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