Britons on the move

Currencies Direct May 20th 2014 - 3 minute read

Up to 3.4 million adults are planning to leave the UK in 2014 with a lower cost of living one of the driving factors, according to our research. This represents a massive increase with 154,000 Britons quitting the country in 2013, says the Office for National Statistics.

The Currencies Direct figures suggest that one in 14 adults (7%) is actively planning to leave the UK and move abroad to work or retire this year. Although the finality of their plans may vary widely as reality bites, the number of Britons moving abroad will double in 2014 if only one in every ten follows through with their intentions.

Among the reasons for people to head overseas are to work for at least five years (49% of those planning to move overseas) and/or permanently (59%) and to then retire (59%). 

Britons aged 34 or younger — with fewer family or work commitments in UK and perhaps looking to advance their careers — are twice as likely as average to be planning a new future in another country overseas (15%).

Likewise, Londoners are more than twice as likely as the national average to be looking to head overseas (16%), while those in the South West (5%) seem to be keener on their home comforts.

One in five of us (19%) has already lived abroad at some point, whether studying, volunteering, working or during retirement.

Spain appears to be the most popular destination for Britons seeking a new life or a bolthole in the sun, given the proximity to the UK and large expat population.

Australia and America follow closely behind, due, presumably, to their favourable climate and shared language with the UK — the latter also being a factor driving people to fourth-placed Canada.

The Currencies Direct's research suggests that lifestyle plays a major role in the decision to move abroad, with 36% of those planning on moving overseas looking for a better quality of life and 34% the experience of living overseas. However, many would-be émigrés are also looking at the economic element. The perceived lower cost of living overseas is a draw for 31% of Brits, while one in ten are attracted by better long-term economic prospects. Others are looking to move overseas to benefit their families' lives at home. Some 5% of those planning to move overseas are looking to save for a property in the UK when they eventually return and 4% intend to send money home. A savvy 7% are looking to exploit overseas exchange rates to boost their earnings.

Alistair Cotton, Currencies Direct head of corporate dealing, said: "It's important to be savvy when transferring funds from the UK to your new home and back again. Getting to grips with currency markets can make a big difference. The pound has enjoyed the last few weeks, with record highs on the currencies of seven of the top ten destinations — the euro, US dollar, Aussie dollar and Canadian dollar. Coupled with the fact that commodity-based currencies like Aussie and Canadian dollar have weakened due to their central banks' dovish outlook — great news for potential émigrés."

The exchange rate of a destination can make a real difference to a move overseas. Someone transferring their life's savings of £50,000 to Australia today would gain nearly £10,500 more compared to last year — more than A$19,000. And while there isn't a large year-on-year difference within Europe, compared to six months ago consumers would receive an extra £1,570.

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You might be one of the people who have already made that move or you might be considering heading to a new country. We'd love to hear your story! Email or tweet us at @currenciesd

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