In an international survey carried out by deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial services organisations, 69 per cent of those polled said that they would never relocate back to the UK. 10 per cent said they would consider it, whilst 21 per cent said ‘maybe’.
Despite the majority of respondents saying they would not consider returning to Britain, the poll also found that 72 per cent still regularly send money back to the UK and that 87 per cent were able to save more in their overseas location.
The survey also shows that 23 per cent relocated from the UK primarily for work/career reasons.
The 808 respondents who participated currently reside in the U.S, Australia, the UAE, Hong Kong, Spain, France, Germany and South Africa.
Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, the world’s leading expat financial advisory firm, said of the findings: “The number of Britons living outside the UK has soared in recent years. Officially there are approximately 5 million Brits now living overseas, although the real figure is universally acknowledged to be considerably higher as many expats do not register themselves in their new countries of residence with the relevant authorities.
“Extrapolated to the total number of [only officially] identified British expats, that amounts to 3.5million Brits abroad vowing never to return to the UK.”
He continues: “The survey underscores that for most people living abroad is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. This outcome is likely down to several key factors including better or more lucrative career opportunities, lower cost of living, higher quality of life, high quality childcare and education, lower crime levels, and good weather. As an expat of many years myself, I recognise this positive scenario well.
“However, the fact that seven out of 10 expats state that they would never return to the UK, also concerns me.
“Are these people really 100 per cent sure that they will never return, or perhaps be forced to return to the UK for reasons beyond their control, such as a change in family circumstances, being made redundant, or political upheaval in their new country of residence? Are they sure they will retire or be retired forever overseas?
“No-one knows for sure what the future holds, plus the expat lifestyle can be, by its very nature, quite transient. The concern is that those who assume that they will never return to the UK, or indeed relocate somewhere else, is that they will not have all the available and/or necessary financial options open to them should they need to go back to Britain or elsewhere for whatever reason.
“Expats should ensure that flexible, cross-border financial solutions form a key part of their overall personal financial strategy.”
He goes on to say: “It is encouraging that 87 per cent can save more living overseas. But to make this money work effectively, to make it truly worthwhile putting this money aside, they need to use their expat status to their financial advantage, explore all their options, and cover all the cross-border bases.
“And whilst it is encouraging in some respects – in the sense that they are not cutting off all financial ties – that 72 per cent of those surveyed regularly send money back to the UK, it is, in our experience, likely that this is for one specific purpose, and not part of a wider, integrated plan.
“In addition, if they are using traditional banking services, they are likely to be being caught out by unnecessarily high transfer fees. This highlights why expats should consider their finances holistically and over the longer-term.”
Mr Green concludes: “Whilst living an international life is a hugely positive experience for most people, it is imperative not to rule-out the possibility of returning back to the UK or moving on somewhere else in the future.
“If expats fail to plan for such eventualities by not considering all cross- border financial options now, they could be compromising their longer-term financial security.”
Would you ever move back to the UK?
Did you relocate for work or lifestyle (including retirement)?
Are you able to save more money on a regular basis in your country of residence?
Do you use any financial solutions designed for expats (eg offshore bonds)?
Do you regularly send money back to the UK (eg mortgage repayments, school fees etc)?