Expat finances in fine shape

Author: Hannah Beecham
International Investment | 01 Mar 2012 | 08:40

Categories: Offshore Investment

Topics: NatWest| Expatriate


British expats have remained untouched by the global turmoil experienced by those in the West as 72% of this community confirms the quality of their lives has not reduced over the last five years, despite growing political concerns.

NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Index further confirms that the number of expats planning to return to the UK has fallen to just 17%, compared to 23% in 2007. Although, power shifts and leadership changes across the world have meant that confidence levels in government institutions have fallen across the board; those that rated their confidence low increased from 13% to nearly a third (27%).

While in three locations -  Spain, Portugal and France - expats’ report their financial confidence has taken a knock, nothing it seems can knock Canada off its pedestal for being voted the location with best quality of life experience for the third year in a row.

Commenting on the results, Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking, said: “When the first Quality of Life Index was carried out in 2007, confidence around the world was high as the global economy was expanding, household prosperity was increasing and global GDP forecasts were positive. Fast forward five years and it’s a very different picture however, it is the expats who are riding the storm with the majority planning to remain abroad. Those who are most likely to return home are those who retired to France, Portugal and Spain as their disposable income diminishes and the cost of living rises.”
NatWest IPB’s survey confirms that while seven in 10 expats believe their decision to move abroad was the right one, they appear to be a cautious lot. As many as 44% - up from 17% five years ago - declare they are managing their money in a more prudent manner as they cut back on luxury items. But as the Bank’s Index shows, that still leaves the majority (56%) not undergoing significant cuts in their spending even though the cost of living over the five year period has increased significantly.

Expats living in China, the UAE, Hong Kong and Singapore say their financial position has ‘improved dramatically’ since moving to the country. Those living in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand assess their financial position as having ‘improved significantly’. Those living in Western Europe, South Africa and the US are less enthusiastic about the improvement in their financial prospects reporting their financial position to have only ‘improved moderately’.

The ‘Quality of Life’ study was carried out for NatWest International Personal Banking by the Centre for Future Studies between October and December 2011.




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