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Spain topped the list of best European countries for retirees, followed by Finland, Italy and Slovenia, according to the study of 45 countries by wealth manager Blacktower Financial Management.
Switzerland – with easily the highest cost of living – Czech Republic and Poland came in just behind the UK.
The UK is only the 17th best place in Europe to retire in a new league based on crime, cost of living, house prices and other measures.
Germany took seventh spot and Greece was in eighth place, but Norway was at 23rd and France only made 25th. Azerbaijan was bottom of the league.
The research was based on crime rates, cost of living, life expectancy, property prices and population age – but not weather, which is one of the main reasons that UK expats flock to Spain, but might overlook Finland.
Would-be expats also have to consider their finances when retiring abroad, and one big issue is that where in the world you go will affect how much state pension you get in future.
State pensions are frozen when you first retire or move abroad if you decide to live in certain countries, such as Canada, India and Australia, but not in others, including EU countries – at least for now – and the US.
That means if you move to the ‘wrong’ country, whatever amount the state pension is set at when you leave is what you will continue to get throughout retirement, unless you move back to the UK.
Elderly expats living in the EU have been told that after Brexit, their state pensions will be uprated annually until 2023.
Blacktower found that Iceland was the best country for lowest average house prices, while Italy has the largest population over the age of 65 so retirees are surrounded by people of a similar age. Switzerland has the highest life expectancy rates across Europe, with people living on average to 83, and Georgia has the lowest cost of living, the firm discovered. Blacktower said of Spain: ‘The historic country hosts a wealth of great towns, cities and coastal locations which draw millions of retirees to its borders each year. ‘The great weather, food and friendly locals make Spain the perfect destination for anyone looking to relax in their “golden years”. Second in the rankings is the country of Finland. The laid-back Scandinavian atmosphere and magic of the northern lights sees many retirees going “off grid” to enjoy their well-deserved retirement.’