Retiring in the UK

The United Kingdom has been a popular retirement destination for a lot of people over the years. The country offers a number of superb locations to make your retirement days memorable as well as an excellent nightlife, rich culture and natural beauty. To add on, the UK is a geographic hub, allowing you to easily roam around Europe. After all, if you’re an English speaker, you’ve not much to worry about as English is spoken throughout the country, even though you’ve got to get around understanding the accents. Another reason for why you should retire in the UK is the people: whether they’re from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or England, the people are kind-hearted and fun to be around.

Currency

The Pound, or Sterling, is the UK’s currency. Despite having been part of the European Union, for quite a number of years, the UK never switched its currency to the Euro as the British Government believed that the euro doesn’t meet the five critical tests that would be necessary to use it. The currency is only used within the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and on the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

Brexit

The majority of the British public voting in favour of Brexit to leave the European Union is old news now. At the start of the year, the UK ceased to be a member of the EU – with the move out being made official. Moreover, the UK is free to initiate discussions with other countries over trade deals. What has changed is that you can no longer work and live between the UK and the EU, and UK nationals will need a visa if they want to stay in the EU more than 90 days in a 180-day period. Luckily, the deal will not introduce any new taxes at the border, but due to the increase in paperwork, deliveries may be delayed – so that’s something you should consider if you’re moving to the UK. William Bain from the British Retail Consortium described this as, “This is the biggest imposition of red tape that businesses have had to deal with in 50 years.” If you’re unsure if Brexit could affect your finances ahead of your move to the UK, speak to a professional adviser for more clarity.

Cities

  • Cumbria

The area has third-lowest crime rate in the UK and can be considered as a retiree paradise. The possible downside of the area is the weather, which tends to be a bit chilly throughout the year. However, it is home to some great landscapes. Ambleside, Hawkshead and Keswick are some of the recommended towns in Cumbria to live in, with property prices being around £187,119. On the other hand, if you’re more into a city life, Carlisle is the city for you, offering a variety of places and restaurants to spend your time. If you’re planning a move to Cumbria, check out for schemes that can benefit you, such as the “older person’s bus pass” and the minibus sharing schemes for the community.

  • Suffolk

Suffolk is on the coastline in the east, offering a life away from the hectic city atmosphere. It has the 11th lowest crime rate in the UK and its average property price is £272,714. Prices are higher than others, but it gives a different life than the one you’d get in London. Here, you can be close to the coast, as well as high street stores, local restaurants and pubs. If you’re planning a relaxed retirement period, Suffolk may be the place to be, where you’ll benefit from spas, swimming pools, golf courses and tennis courts that there around.

  • York

Back in 2018, York was voted as the top place to live in, being a favourite among retirees for many years. The rich cultural heritage and character that the city offers is why people enjoy the retired life there. It’s also the chosen city for retirees to stay active in. York is also a popular tourist destination – there’s a lot to see in the city. Probably, one of its best features is that there isn’t a lot of traffic in the city – mainly due to restrictions but results in a quieter and cleaner environment.

  • Scotland

We can’t forget the other countries within the UK. Scotland has some of the UK’s most affordable seaside towns, which are attracting to those who are looking to retire in a lovely environment. Russell Galley, Halifax managing director pointed out that “more affordable options exist for those willing to move further north, with many towns on Scotland’s coastline offering great value for money.” For example, Perth offers an active lifestyle, with plenty of areas to go walking close to the Abernethy Glen. Another alternative is Dunfermline, which is close to the capital and is very affordable.

  • Swansea

Beautiful Swansea! Known for being a happy place in the south of Wales. It is home to the majestic coastlines at the Gower peninsula and a perfect retirement destination. The Rhossili headland walk, and the Vile long circular walk are only two of Swansea’s National Trust sites to explore. The area is also a safe one, as said by a spokesperson for the South Wales police, “Swansea is a very safe place to live, work and visit. Generally, people should not live in fear of becoming a victim of crime. As always, there are simple things that people can do to make themselves and their property even safer.”

Healthcare

Once you’re ready from the process and officially a resident of the UK, you have access to the National Health Service and free healthcare. Anyone who is legally living in the UK on a permanent basis has access to the services and funding of the NHS. The NHS is regarded as one of the world’s leading healthcare systems. If you’re coming from a non-EEA country, you must have an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status to get the NHS access. If you are seeking NHS public treatments, you may have to be placed on a waiting list to get an appointment. On the other hand, you can opt for a private hospital, which in the UK are likely to be specialised in an area. The drawback of such private healthcare is its cost, which is expensive. If you’ve moved to the UK, keep in mind that the term chemist, is used instead of pharmacies. Chemists can be easily found in every town with most almost all medicine being available.

Tax

As a UK resident, you are entitled to a personal allowance, the amount you can earn each tax year without paying income tax. During retirement, you pay tax if your total annual income adds up to more than your Personal Allowance. Your income includes your State or Private pension, any earnings from investments, earnings from employment or self-employment and any taxable benefits you get. You can receive up to £12,570 in the 2021/22 tax year and not pay any tax. Learn more about the UK’s tax rate here.

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