The best value destinations for Brits retiring abroad

Playa de Las Teresitas in Tenerife / Canary Islands and Santa Cruz in the background.

Brexit hasn't killed off our desire to retire overseas. The draw of better weather - combined with a lower cost of living and a slower pace of life - means we're as keen to retire in the sun as ever. A new study has revealed the best value for money destinations for Brits looking for an overseas retirement.

SEE ALSO: Brexit expat pensioners to cost NHS £500m more a year

See also: Labour backs fight against state pension freezes faced by some expats

The study, by International Currency Exchange found that the most common reason for wanting to retire overseas is for better weather. Some 76% of people listed this as a major motivation. It's hardly surprising given that there were just 1,432 hours of sunshine recorded in the UK in 2016 - and average temperatures of 9 degrees.

Money matters came next on our list of priorities, with 74% of people mentioning cheaper living expenses, and 68% saying they were attracted by better value for money on property. The rest of the top five was rounded out by a slower pace of life and better health.

If you're after a value-for-money destination, the study revealed the top ten best destinations:

1. Tenerife (Santa Cruz). The large expat community, year round good weather, and affordable housing, makes this a popular spot.

2. Lanzarote (Arrecife). The attractions of Arrecife mean there will be plenty of other British expats to socialise with - while you enjoy the cheaper lifestyle and more affordable housing

3. Portugal (Lisbon). This offers some incredible weather, in the heart of an international city. The housing is affordable, and you can choose to throw yourself into Portuguese life, or track down the expatriate community.

4. Panama (City). More adventurous retirees can enjoy a much lower cost of living, and around 1,000 Brits currently do. Much of the country is bi-lingual, offering an alternative to the traditional retirement destination, without being too much of a culture shock.

5. Greece (Corfu). The weather, the expat community, and the idea of living a holiday lifestyle all year round is appealing. The more affordable lifestyle is also a big draw - despite the fall in the value of the pound.

6. Malta (Valletta). The weather is a major attraction here, and the towns around Valetta offer affordable living, cheap property, and a slower pace of life

7. Spain (Madrid). There is a big and busy international population in Madrid. Property prices have fallen to represent great value, and although the cost of living has gone up as the value of the pound has fallen, those who want a buzzing retirement will feel very at home.

8. France (Paris). Anyone who has ever visited Paris will know that affordability isn't always the city's strong point. But if you're after a lively international crowd, it has an enormous amount to offer

9. United States of America (Orlando). The combination of the weather, cheap housing, and the fact that the English language makes life a doddle, are all big draws. It's worth getting to grips with the impact of state pensions regulation before you consider the US, however, as your state pension will be frozen on the day you retire overseas.

10. Australia (Sydney). The weather and the cultural attractions are major draws - despite the fact that housing is incredibly expensive, life isn't all that cheap, and your pension will be frozen. However a city on the beach with fantastic weather will have plenty of expat fans who are happy to pay the price.

Dream retirement destinations
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Dream retirement destinations

A study by MGM Advantage discovered that Portugal is the 10th most popular dream retirement destination among Brits.

You get the attractions of the sun, a more relaxed way of life, lower living costs and cheaper property. You can also benefit from pension arrangements that mean your pension rises with inflation.

And if you choose to, you can spend your time with the enormous expat population, feeling like you never left.

In the tradition of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, there’s a large number of people keen to move to India, partly in order to enjoy a much higher standard of living than they would be able to afford in the UK.

If course it’s important to consider that your state pension will not rise in line with inflation - so will halve in real terms during your retirement.

This part of Europe offers a great combination of some of the lowest living and housing costs on the continent, along with a more forgiving climate than the UK.

For that reason Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Greece and Turkey are a big draw for retirees.

However, state pension provision varies across the region, so you will need to check whether retiring to these locations will mean your pension continues to rise in line with increases in the UK, or will be frozen when you move overseas.

Italy is a country of contrasts, so anyone planing a retirement there needs to think carefully about whether they want to call a bustling city home, or whether they would be happiest in the mountains or by the sea.

Housing tends to cost less than in the UK, and in some regions it's incredibly cheap. Living costs are also lower than in Britain, and your pension will rise in line with increases in the UK.

Canada is a big draw for British expats of all ages. This spectacular country is known for being welcoming to people from all over the world, and in many cases has no language barrier for Brits. The quality of life is high, and the cost of housing lower than in the UK.

However, you will need to factor in the fact that your UK state pension will be frozen on the day you leave, and you will need some health insurance if you want to replicate the sorts of things that are available for free on the NHS.

As with India, the Far East offers an exciting and dramatic change from life in the UK, with much lower costs, which can buy you a higher standard of living (although bear in mind your state pension will be frozen).

You will need to consider the cultural and practical differences associated with the move, but you will have the opportunity to live in one of the most exciting places in the world.

The weather, lifestyle, space, and lower cost of living means that British expats of all ages are keen to move to Australia.

Property can be a bit of a stumbling block in some areas, as prices have gone up so much. The currency is also strong, which has posed some issues for those who receive their income in pounds, and there’s the fact that the UK state pension will be frozen if you move. However, if you can overcome these things, then a new life in the sun awaits.

The US offers much more affordable housing, and in many respects a lower cost of living than in the UK.

It appeals to those who don’t want to live with a language barrier, but want more space, possibly more sun, and an American Dream of their own.

There are some important things to factor in before you move, such as the additional cost of healthcare, and the exchange rate. However, one bonus is that your state pension will rise at the same rate it does in the UK.

France is close to home, and yet offers cheaper accommodation than the UK, a lower cost of living, and in many regions there’s better weather too.

Your pension will rise at the same rate it would in the UK, and at any time friends and family are just a short boat or plane ride away. It’s no wonder France is the second most popular dream destination for retirees.

It will come as little surprise that Spain tops the list - largely because it’s already the most common overseas retirement destination for Brits.

Millions of us have experienced the delights of the sun, sea, and the lower cost of living while we were on holiday in the country, so it’s hardly a shock that so many want to experience it on a full-time basis in retirement.

Huge falls in the price of property has made this a cheap place to buy, and the fact that your state pension will keep pace with rises in the UK means you’ll be able to maintain your standard of living throughout your retirement.


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