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Updated 18 Apr 2019

Let the good times roll… but wait for the uncertainty to stop first.

by Andy Buckle, Head of Relocations from Crown Relocations


Moving abroad is a dream for many retirees. Finally making that step to sunnier climes and a more relaxed way of life is what drove many of them on during their working years. And that dream remains strong for the UK’s older generation, according to our latest research. Motivated by better weather (important for two-thirds), improving their sense of well-being (40 percent), and finally being able to follow their dream (according to a quarter surveyed) are all driving their thoughts of relocation.

However, new challenges that might prevent that dream from becoming a reality are causing retirees to rethink their next move.

Populism and politics

The Crown Relocations survey found that for many retirees, populism and politics are standing in the way of a potential move abroad. Brexit is a clear barrier to European relocations; people have been put off the idea of moving to the USA and, everywhere in the world, political turmoil looms large in the minds of potential expatriates, according to our survey of 1,000 UK-based Brits. 

While there is a real appetite for relocating abroad amongst retirees, with a third saying they would seriously consider heading overseas, and two percent making firm plans to do so, the current political situation does appear to be holding people back from taking the first step.

Brexit is the number one reason why retirees would rule out a move to Europe and over half of those say they would not relocate abroad at all if the UK were to end up with a no deal Brexit.

Uncertainty is impacting thoughts of moving across the pond. The current political climate in the USA, a consistently popular destination in the past, is presenting even more of a constraint. In fact, nearly half (49 percent) of retirees say they would not consider moving to America.

And, wherever you look in the world, political upheaval is proving to be a strong deterrent. Quite aside from the Brexit situation, almost one-in-four retirees say political instability across the continent stands in the way of relocation to Europe. For Asia, it becomes a barrier for a third of retirees. And more than half say it would stand in the way of a move to South America (51 percent), the Middle East (57 percent), and Africa (57 percent).

Emotional challenges

It’s not just the global climate that is causing retirees to re-think their plans, the ties of friends, family and home add to the general mood of reticence.

Almost half of retirees (48 percent) say that they would miss their family too much to move away, more than a quarter (27 percent) are worried their family wouldn’t come with them, and more than one-in-ten wouldn’t be able to leave their pet. Leaving the UK is also a challenge that pulls at the heartstrings. Forty two percent of retirees say they like the UK too much to ever think about leaving, and 29 percent would miss the British culture.

Emotional challenges aside, retirees are nothing if not practical about the move abroad. They recognise that sorting out the necessary paperwork would be a big challenge, along with getting their finances in order, and 38 percent say that moving their personal affects would be a headache. While it’s clear that retirees are thinking ahead in planning terms, the key to ensuring a smooth transition is working with experts who can help, support and advise at each stage of the relocation process. 

Getting that advice early on in the move is key to improving the chances of a smooth and painless transition. Understanding what needs to be done at each stage of the move can help to break down paperwork requirements, finance management and the moving of personal effects into manageable activities, lessening the feeling of being overwhelmed.

While retirees are realistic about the practicalities and the emotional challenges of relocating abroad, they do still have a yearning to achieve their dream. Aside from the climate, a change in lifestyle is seen as a big benefit. And retirees can’t wait for the opportunity to get immersed in another culture (26 percent) and to meet new people (23 percent).

Expert advice

It’s clear from the Crown Relocations survey that retirees do retain an adventurous spirit and are keen to finally live their dream. Yes, many people may be deterred by the political climate and the practicalities of a move, but a large proportion refuse to rule out the possibility of a move abroad more than once. Almost one-in-ten say they could envisage themselves moving to a new country two-times over, and several (seven percent) say they would be open to moving even more times than that.

It’s meant to be the best time of your life, and retirees are focused on ensuring that they take care of themselves, 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 fulfill 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.

Crown Relocations

With over 50 years of experience, we at Crown Relocations have learned that the more you know—and the better prepared you are—the more likely you will make your relocation a success. We provide intelligence to emigrating individuals and to transferring employees to assist in planning, living and working in a new place.

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