New research from a visa application help website suggests that a third of Brits are looking to retire abroad when they eventually think it's time to go into retirement - with the top three destinations of choice being the U.S, Australia and Canada.
The study, conducted by Global Visas, polled 1,521 UK residents over the age of forty as part of on-going research into attitudes towards expatriation in retirement. All respondents were currently in employment.
Respondents were initially asked about when they intended to retire. 57% of those surveyed said that they intended to retire once they hit the 'UK retirement age', 24% planned to 'retire early' and 19% of those taking part planned to 'work indefinitely' or at least as long as they were able.
They were then asked, 'Are you looking forward to your retirement?' to which the majority, 49%, said 'yes'. 31% stated that they 'weren't looking forward to it' and 20% said that they were 'indifferent' to their forthcoming retirement.
For those that weren't looking forward to it, the most common reason was acknowledging ‘getting older’ at 44%. A further 41% felt that they would lack 'direction in life' once they retired. In contrast, of those that were looking forward to retirement, 45% explained that it was the 'leisure time' that appealed most, followed by the 'opportunity to try new things' for 34% of the respondents.
The study then asked 'Would you contemplate retiring abroad?' to which 35% said that 'yes' they would. The remaining 65% maintained that they would be happier retiring in Britain.
Those who claimed to be contemplating retirement abroad were asked what they considered to be most appealing about living abroad in their retirement, which revealed the following top 5. According to the results, the top 5 most enticing factors when considering retirement abroad were as follows:
1. Sunshine (warmer climate) - 59%
2. Laid back lifestyle - 48%
3. Less populated area - 44%
4. Pleasant surroundings (environment) - 37%
5. Cheaper living standard - 35%
The study then looked at the favourite destinations, asking 'What would be your preferred destination for retiring abroad, if there was no problem obtaining a visa or no restrictions on residency?' which revealed the following top ten. Respondents were allowed to select more than one destination if they would contemplate living in more than one country:
1. U.S - 31%
2. Australia - 27%
3. Canada - 24%
4. Spain - 23%
5. New Zealand - 18%
6. France - 15%
7. Turkey - 12%
8. Portugal - 11%
9. United Arab Emirates - 9%
10. Germany - 8%
For those that didn't want to retire abroad, the overwhelming factor was that they worried they would 'miss friends and family' (61%) and were worried about 'cultural differences' (46%). A further 37% didn't want 'drastic change'.
Gary Smith of Global Visas commented: “When it comes to retirement, many people want to enjoy sunshine in their sunset years. After years on the hamster wheel of work, it’s time to relax and slow down. This often influences people’s long-term plans."
He continued: "With the British climate notoriously unpredictable and the economic output seemingly as reliable as the weather, some people see living abroad as the better option. The credit crunch stung a lot of expats living within Europe, which seems to have influenced some people's decisions as the wider world now seems more appealing."