British people are living longer than ever before – according to the Office of National Statistics, life expectancy is likely to rise to 85 by 2040. And this figure is an average; if you are physically healthy you can realistically expect to live one or more decades longer, particularly if you have a family history of longevity.
And what if you live abroad in a warm and agreeable climate? Well, chances are that your life expectancy could be even higher. This is good news of course, but it brings with it important expat wealth management and retirement planning implications.
Perhaps chief among these is the need to ensure that your retirement assets are sufficiently valuable to last you through a long and healthy old age, and this means making sure you factor in the likelihood of inflation eroding the purchasing power of your assets over time.
Growth is key for an inflation busting investment strategy
A portfolio that overly emphasises fixed interest securities, annuities or cash savings may struggle to keep pace with inflation and could ultimately result in you needing to make unwanted adjustments to your lifestyle or, worse, could even cause you to run out of money.
With this in mind, it is unlikely that a conservative or “low-risk” expat wealth management strategy is going to provide sufficient income as you get older.
Before August this year interest rates in the UK had remained at or below 0.5% for nearly a decade. When you consider that the inflation rate in the Euro Area averaged 1.97% from 1991 until 2018, it is easy to understand how, even with the recent interest rate rise to 0.75%, relying on UK-based savings could leave you short of enjoying the expat retirement lifestyle you have always dreamed of.
The bottom line is, that while your savings are growing at one rate, the cost of living is rising at another – and if the two don’t match, or your growth rate is lower than the inflation rate, as time goes on, your savings will buy you less and less.
There is only one answer to this and other expat wealth management retirement planning problems: plan ahead and work to diversify your assets so that you can find the balance between growth and safety that is suitable for you and your goals.