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What British expats DON'T miss about home

By Rebecca Steele - February 11, 2015

And 3 reasons why we may see expats heading home

Every day an estimated 400 Britons leave Blighty in search of a life abroad. For those of us who have left UK soil behind we often find ourselves chatting about what we do and don't miss about home. However, the results of a recent survey on the matter which has been published in the Telegraph may surprise you.

Let's start with what we apparently don't miss.

  1. The quality of life: Despite their nostalgia (which we will touch upon a little later), a staggering 89% of those questioned felt that they now had a better quality of life than they did in the UK. Mainly due to a better work/life balance, with two thirds feeling that they had no time to see friends when they were at home in the UK.

  2. The high cost of living: Almost half of those who took part in the survey said that they have a lower cost of living now that they live overseas - adding to their increased quality of life. Being able to save more regularly for the future, and the unpredictable UK property market were also major factors, with 26% feeling that there was more housing that is affordable abroad. 

What British expats miss about home

  1. The tax: Expats living in low tax or 'no tax' countries may spare a thought for a tax system back home which has been described as complicated, stealth and morally compromising, to name but a few adjectives.  A new report from AIRINC, on international mobility, shows certain countries offer distinct advantages when it comes to expats paying and saving tax – with jurisdictions such as Bulgaria featuring highly, particularly for expats who wish to minimise their income tax bill. 

  2. The unfriendliness: Perhaps shockingly, almost half of those asked felt their non-UK home was friendlier than that they had left behind. For expats, top marks go to Auckland (recently voted the friendliest place to live in the world by Conde Nast Traveller) and Dublin which came in at 5th place. 

But surely it isn't all that bad? We feel it is only fair to mention what the survey says we DO miss and why expats may head home.

  1. The weather: Where else would we begin? It is no secret that Britons love to talk about the weather but it would seem that we wouldn't have our characteristically bleak, wet and changeable weather any other way. According to the survey, one in five of those asked said they long for the seasons they are used to. 

  2. The NHS: A classic case of not knowing what you have until it's gone. Often the subject of negative coverage at home, the NHS is sorely missed by expats, many of whom now have to avail themselves of (often) expensive private medical care. In our “cost of living” series of blogs, we looked at expenditure on healthcare in 11 countries across Europe and the Middle East.  Perhaps not surprisingly, giving that Zurich, Geneva and Bern rank among the top 10 most expensive places to live (according to Mercer), Switzerland had the biggest per capita spending on health. It is however, some of the best in the world.

  3. The quirky sense of humour: This can be found abundantly in our infamous classic comedy and our passion for culture. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to explain it, a non-Brit will never quite grasp the complex delicacies of British humour. Four candles anyone?

If you are an expat deciding on your next move, or are leaving the UK for the first time, we would love to help you plan your future. Follow us on social media, subscribe to our blog or contact us directly and enjoy a slice of home with an international financial adviser who is committed to exporting another great British tradition - best practice in financial advice