Quality Of Life Is Biggest Reason To Leave UK, But Family Ties Make Us Stay

by Simon Hilton, senior foreign exchange consultant at World First and official Expat Focus foreign exchange partner

Spring has sprung and we’ve had a taste of sunshine. But merely a ‘taste’ may not be enough – you may be tempted by something a little more, well, permanent.

Ask yourself this – what would make you want to pack your bags and go more than anything else? If you said a better a quality of life, you’re not alone.We asked over a thousand people what most attracted them to a move overseas; three quarters of them said it was a better quality of life. But when it comes to actually making the big move, there’s one thing that keeps us at home more than anything else; family and friends.

Fed up of Britain’s changeable weather and unpredictable summers, 60% of respondents are enticed by better weather. 53% are attracted to the culture, and a more relaxed way of life appeals to 47%. It seems that many of us are stressed out by life in the UK, and the idea of somewhere to redress the work/life/commute balance is pretty alluring. What’s attractive about a move overseas?

27% think it would be cheaper to live abroad, while 38% say it’s the healthier living that appeals. 38% also point to the food as being a big pull, and with Italian pizza and pasta, Spanish tapas and French bread and cheese to name just three, it’s not exactly difficult to see why…
It seems that we like the friendliness of where we call home in the UK, and wouldn’t expect a place overseas to be any friendlier; 73% don’t include friendliness as a reason for moving abroad.

When it comes to starting a new life overseas, it seems like a lot more of us would take the plunge if we weren’t so worried about leaving behind our friends and family. Apart from that, there’s not really much to stop us.

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When asked what stops them from heading overseas, three quarters of people who said they couldn’t see themselves ever moving abroad answered ‘family and friends,’ the most popular answer by a long way.

The next most common answer was that they’d never really thought about moving abroad, or were happy with things as they already are (35%). A third (33%) said they’d miss the culture in the UK, 31% say healthcare is better here and 16% said the quality of life is better at home. What stops you moving overseas?

Only 5% were worried about settling in in another country, 6% had concerns around learning a new language, 2% had worries about the costs of the move. It’s interesting that the logistical things – getting a visa, transport, cost – aren’t the things that worry us most about leaving the UK. In fact, if it wasn’t for misgivings over leaving our families and friends behind, a lot more of us would probably go for it.

For one in five of us, it’s the ideas of a new start that attracts us to a move abroad. Hmm, the idea of just upping and going is pretty tantalising. Now, where did I put that passport…?

World First transacted over £4.7bn for their 40,000 clients in 2012 and have a 3A1 credit rating from Dun & Bradstreet – the highest possible rating for a company their size. As well as tailored hedging solutions designed to protect you from adverse market movements, they also offer excellent service. Winner of the Client Focus Award at the 2012 National Business Awards, they provide personal service with a dedicated dealer, and a regular transfer service, which is perfect for mortgage or rental payments.


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