Hot finance tips for Brits moving abroad

16 August 2007
A new study from Alliance & Leicester International (ALIL) reveals that 52% of British expatriates move abroad to avoid the high cost of living in the UK and to help improve standards of living.

More than one-fifth of expatriates are choosing Middle East as their new home, while Australia and the USA continue to appeal. For Europe, Spain and France remain the most popular destinations among Brits.

UK pensioners are also involved in this exodus process, according to Bank of Scotland International, with 31% having considered living overseas. 11% said New Zealand would be their preferred destination, with Australia (7%), Canada (6%), France ($6) and Spain (5%) also proving popular.

However, both banks are warning those thinking of emigrating to think carefully about the practicalities.

ALIL managing director Simon Hull comments: “For the many people in a hurry to start a new life abroad, it is important to properly prepare for relocation. Moving country is not just a case of buying a house and packing your bags, it involves a lot of organisation.”

The company has compiled a list of suggestions to help. This includes carrying out thorough surveys and searches before purchasing property abroad. It advises people to provide banks with new address details and to research the offshore market for savings accounts information as well using a local insurance broker to find out standard practice and insurance requirements. Utility providers and the council tax and electoral roll registration unit must be informed of the move, while mortgage lenders and insurance providers should be made aware if a UK property is being left empty.

Bank of Scotland International offers advice to pensioners taking the plunge as numbers are expected to rise to more than 3.3 million by 2050. It warns that, although British pensioners receiving their state pension within EU countries will continue to see pensions increase in line with inflation, this is not the case for those in countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Pensioners should set up an account allowing them to receive pension payments as well as allowing international banking. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should be consulted to establish whether any pension benefits may be affected by a move abroad and the relevant government departments - the Social Security Office, the DWP and the National Insurance Contributions Office - must be informed. Pensioners should ensure they understand tax status and taxable income laws, and evaluate currency risks.

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