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World’s woes causing retirees to rethink their expat dream

Global issues and uncertainty are having an impact on retirees considering a move abroad, according to new research from global relocation and moving services company Crown Relocations. 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 we end up leaving the EU with no deal.

Despite political, social and economic issues, 60% of retirees have considered moving abroad simply to get better weather. However, 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 state 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.

In the build-up to a move abroad, retirees are naturally preoccupied with the practical details – with sorting out documentation (42%) and finances (40%) proving to be a challenge. But it’s the emotional test 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 of 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 of the top five challenges, the research found that many old dogs are more than willing to learn 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.

Despite some misgivings over strange food (which completely puts a fifth off relocating to some continents) the research found that more pensioners felt that sorting out utilities (32%) or driving on the wrong side of the road (20%) was a greater challenge than getting used to the cuisine (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 focused 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 focused on the practicalities of a move. Utilising expert advice is key for a smooth transition.”

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’.

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 cheapest (compared to 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.

About the study

The survey was conducted by Sapio Research in January 2019. They interviewed 1,000 people across different demographic groups to understand their attitudes to relocating abroad. Full data tables are available on request.

About Crown Relo

Crown Relocations provides transportation, destination and immigration services, as well as family support, to assist people relocating internationally or domestically.

With experts working in 54 countries, Crown is an enthusiastic champion of the benefits of relocation. We provide support, guidance, care and the personal attention needed to ensure success.
Crown Relocations – Go knowing – www.crownrelo.com

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