Millions planning to retire abroad
Darren Behar, Evening Standard
18 November 2003
NE in five older people will soon choose to live out their retirement years abroad, a study has revealed.
Increasingly affluent senior citizens are opting to retire to the warmer climes of the Mediterranean, America, Canada and Australia. And there will be a huge rise in the number moving to more unusual destinations such asCroatia and Turkey.
Currently, one million over-50s have retired abroad but by 2020, one in five - an extra fourm - will be living outside the UK.
The study, carried out for Alliance & Leicester by the Centre for Future Studies, reflects a more adventurous and self-reliant spirit among British pensioners. But it also marks the desire to escape to a warmer climate where taxes and prices are lower.
Frank Shaw, author of the research, said: 'One of the key factors behind the move is the weather. But it's also quality of life and that is linked to cost of living and economics. There is also a belief that there is an infinitely better public service infrastructure and issues to do with healthcare are high on that agenda.'
Instead of moving to live near relatives as they did in the past, older people are now prepared to take care of themselves in return for sunshine, better food and exquisite surroundings.
Increasingly, they want a slower pace of life, lower crime and better transport and health systems. Cheaper and more accessible air travel also accounts partly for the trend and the cost of living abroad is often much cheaper. Taxes, food and house prices are lower in many retirement destinations.
Mass tourism is also playing a huge part in encouraging retirement abroad. The research found that Britons made six million trips abroad in 1960, rising to 60m in 2001 and an estimated 117m in 2010, increasing exposure to foreign cultures.
Many pensioners are likely to choose their destination on the basis of opportunities for part-time work and further education.
Simon Hull, managing director of Alliance & Leicester International, said: 'We believe that British society is on the cusp of significant change in aspects of retirement migration. In the next two decades, we are likely to see far more British people retiring abroad.'
The study claims foreign governments will be competing with each other to offer tax breaks and other incentives to entice retirement migrants.
The global market for goods and services for British retirement migrants will be worth in excess of £100bn in 2020.