Retiring to Spain

More than half of the UK’s ageing workforce plans to retire abroad, taking the pressure off the state system here and piling it on healthcare resources in the rest of Europe.

Less than half (43%) of Brits see the UK as a preferable retirement location, with many instead planning to pack their bags and spend their retirement in sunnier climes. In fact, the Brits are the least likely to retire at home, ahead of the Germans (46%) and the Irish (49%), according to a survey of over 7,500 European workers from Aon Consulting.

In contrast, Spain (87%) and France (81%) topped the popularity tables when it came to workers intending to retire in their home country, followed by the Danes (74%).

Spain is the retirement destination of choice for British workers, with almost one in four (23%) UK employees who wish to retire abroad identifying Spain as their preferred country. In second place came the US (21%), while the similarly warm climates of Australasia, France and Italy filled the next three places in the survey.

An influx of retiree immigrants to any one country could exacerbate the already ticking time bomb of an ageing population in Europe, forcing countries like Spain and France to rethink social policies and budgets to deal with extra pressures on healthcare resources.

This research is part of the Aon Consulting European Employee Benefits Benchmark, a survey of more than 7,500 workers from across Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, 10 of the leading economies in Europe. The benchmark focuses on the views of workers across Europe on topics such as retirement, employee benefits and other pension-related issues.

Oliver Rowlands, head of retirement, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Aon Consulting, commented: “Cheap air travel and the communication tools available over the internet means that retiring overseas doesn’t necessarily mean being completely absent from your family’s life, making the prospect of emigration to other countries on an previously unseen scale a real possibility.

“Not surprisingly, most people want to spend their retirement predominantly in countries with good weather and good social and government benefits, and ideally close enough so that they can get home quickly if they need to.

“There are financial implications that people thinking about retiring overseas need to consider. Cost of living may be higher in the country of choice, and so people planning on retiring abroad need to factor that into their savings plan. There can also be tax implications both at home and in a new country of residence, so it is certainly worth investigating that in advance so there are no nasty surprises later on. And finally healthcare benefits can vary widely for expatriates and this will be a major concern for retirees as they grow older.”