There’s over 5m British people living their lives abroad around the world. We take a look to see if it's still a something that is seriously worth considering for the average Brit.
In the first half of 2014 over 300,000 Brits left the country each quarter. While emigration levels are their lowest since 2001, it’s still a sizeable portion of the population deciding to up sticks and go. Moving abroad is a viable option, but it’s not one to be take up lightly. You’re going to have to do your research. Your location is going to define just how easy or hard life will be abroad, so here’s some details to look into.
House prices are going to be very different in each country. According to this article some of the best options are Greece and Japan, while Canada and New Zealand are going to be far pricier. But relying on that alone would be too simplistic.
For a start, what’s the economic condition of the country itself? Greece might have some cheap property, but it’s also suffering an economic crisis. A cheap house might seem appealing but if it is in a ghost town without shops and restaurants it might not be the retirement you imagined.
Also looking at house prices from a nationwide perspective could be unhelpful. For example, the article mentioned earlier says Japanese house prices are 'good value'. This is an average across the country so, if you were planning a move to Tokyo based on that, you’ll be in for a nasty shock.
It’s definitely worth looking into the tax situation in the country you’re panning on moving to, as this can affect the cost of living. Depending on where you are, you could end up paying tax to both the UK and your new homeland. This is obviously not ideal, so have a look into double taxation treaties to find out more.
You’re going to want to get the most from your money, whether it’s pensions or other income, so make sure you know what you’re doing.
Whether you’re a UK or non-UK citizen will heavily affect this, so make sure you keep HMRC up-to-date and make yourself aware of their guidelines.
This is another big issue and, unfortunately, one very difficult to predict far into the future. Nevertheless, knowing how much your money is worth in other countries is going to be important. Keeping an eye out for major fluctuations could lead to a bargain, but a reversion could mean you find yourself stuck in a country where suddenly buying a new car isn’t as affordable as it was a few months ago.
It’s hard to protect yourself, but avoiding countries with volatile currencies is a good place to start. Keep an eye on how currencies have changed over the years and start planning from there. For example, the GBP to Ruble rate has altered dramatically in the past year. That might mean you can buy a lot more with your pounds in Russia at the moment, but that won’t necessarily always be the case.
What’s the state of your pension?
New pension laws in the UK mean that if you move to a certain country, you might lose out on a lot of money. The problem is that if you moved to say, Canada, your pension amount will be frozen at the rate it was when you left the country. If you went to Israel, it will increase with inflation.
If you want to find out which countries are frozen and which aren’t, here’s a handy list. Unfortunately, don’t expect too much logic from it.