The amount of UK pensioners living abroad in the European Union decreased from 474,900 to 468,700 between 2017 and 2018. The last time the number of pensioners retiring abroad decreased was over a decade ago in 2007, according to research from EasyMoney.
There are several reasons for pensioners to be hesitant about making the move. One of the main causes is the uncertainty that Britain creates in its expats about their rights for EU citizenship after a no-deal Brexit.
Pensions are a big issue. UK pensioners are nervous about what may happen to their state pensions post Brexit. These will only be uprated if host countries decide to reciprocate, which in some countries could cause stagnated pensions and the risk of poverty.
Other challenges pensioners may need to face are related to private pension incomes. For example, without an agreement, a UK insurance company paying a regular annual income to a UK expat in the EU might no longer have the authorisation to do so and may risk a fine. If these UK pension companies tried to solve this issue by paying the money into a UK bank account, there would still be additional costs to transfer the funds to their European banks, and what’s more, not all UK expats still hold UK bank accounts.
Property is also something to think about. In the past, UK expat pensioners have been keen to buy property abroad, however they are now hesitating to do so due to the currency fluctuations associated with Brexit.
Healthcare after a no-deal Brexit is a huge concern for pensioners. Currently British nationals who retire in the EU have access to local healthcare which is covered by the NHS, but the UK government has said that if no Brexit deal is agreed before 29th March this will no longer be the case. Read more here about healthcare post-Brexit.
UK driving licenses would no longer be valid for expats living in the EU post-no-deal-Brexit. Yet another issue to worry about; Britons living in the EU may have to retake their driving test if they don’t swap their British license for a European one before 29 March. Something which will most certainly affect their decision to move abroad.
Forth Capital specialises in expat pensions and investments for British expats – to speak to one of our advisers click here or call +41 22 311 1441.