Pandemic smaller issue than Brexit for the over-50’s planning to retire abroad

  • Half of over 50s planning on retiring abroad are reconsidering because of Brexit
  • Most popular retirement destinations include Spain, France and Portugal
  • Thoughts of better weather, lifestyle and cheaper cost of living drives decisions around retiring abroad

New research from Canada Life reveals that Brexit concerns still outweigh those surrounding the pandemic for the over 50s interested in retiring abroad.

Half (50%) of the over 50s who are thinking about or planning on moving abroad when they retire are reconsidering where they might retire to due to Brexit, up from 46% in 2020. A further 47% (up from 44% in 2020) say the uncertainty is making them reconsider their plans altogether. When asked about the pandemic, two in five (42%) of the over 50s planning to retire abroad say they are reconsidering which country to retire too, while a further 39% say they are thinking about whether to retire abroad at all.

The notion of retiring abroad has long been on the wish list for Brits in search of better weather (69%), a more desirable lifestyle (62%), and cheaper living costs (45%).

For the ninth year running, Spain tops the charts as the most popular overseas retirement destination (49%) with France (21%), Portugal (19%) and Italy (14%) also popular.

With many retirees considering moving abroad for a cheaper standard of living, the average monthly income needed is thought to be £1,461 – £367 less than the UK. This varies by country, with those hoping to retire to America thinking they will need the most at £1,916 per month, followed by New Zealand (£1,664). Unsurprisingly, retiring in the UK is considered to be more expensive than retiring to most popular overseas countries, and on average the over 50s thought it would require a monthly household income of £1,828, increasing to £2,082 for London.

Sean Christian, MD and Executive Director, Wealth Management Division for Canada Life commented:

“Despite Brexit and the ongoing global pandemic, many over 50s continue to harbour the dream of a retirement which includes better weather, a more desirable lifestyle, or cheaper standards of living than the UK.

“There are a number of key considerations when planning a move abroad, such as which countries offer reciprocal payment agreements, thinking about the impact of currency exchange rates and whether State Pensions will keep pace with the cost of living. To help navigate the complexities around retiring abroad, it’s important to seek specialist professional advice. An expert in expatriate finance will be able to help and ensure you make the most of the retirement people have worked long and hard for.”


1.Research among 1,012 UK adults aged 50+ who are interested in retiring abroad, conducted by Opinium Research between 7-13 July 2021.

Next article:17% of Brits trying to spend “every penny” of retirement savings