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European workers want to retire abroad… and ideally to the sun


Spain and France the retirement destinations of choice
British and German workers the least enthusiastic about retiring at home

LONDON, ROTTERDAM - Spain, the country famed for lazy days in the sun, siesta, tapas, sangria and of course a World Cup winning football team, is the retirement destination of choice for workers in Europe, with one in four (25%) Europeans wishing to retire abroad identifying Spain as their preferred country according to a survey of over 7,500 European workers from Aon Consulting, the leading employee risk and benefits management firm.

In second place came France, the country identified by 15% of Europeans. Close behind France and Spain, the similarly warm climates of the USA, Italy and Australasia filled the next three places in the survey.

Spain and France also topped the popularity tables when it came to workers intending to retire in their home country. In this case, the Spanish (86.8%), French (81.1%) and Danes (73.6%) keenest to retire at home, in stark contrast to workers in the UK (42.7%), Germany (45.9%) and Ireland (49.0%) where the majority hope to retire abroad.

An influx of retiree immigrants to any one country could exacerbate the already ticking time bomb of an ageing population in Europe, forcing countries like Spain and France to rethink social policies and budgets to deal with extra pressures on healthcare resources.

This research is part of the Aon Consulting European Employee Benefits Benchmark, a survey of more than 7,500 workers from across Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, ten of the leading economies in Europe. The Benchmark focuses on the views of workers across Europe on topics such as retirement, employee benefits and other pension-related issues.

Top 10 Retirement Destinations for Europeans (for those who hope to retire abroad):

1. Spain
2. France
3. USA
4. Italy
5. Australasia
6. Africa
7. Switzerland
8. Latin America
9. United Kingdom
10. The Netherlands

Percentage of those wishing to retire in their home country:
Spain 86.8%
France 81.1%
Denmark 73.6%
Norway 63.4%
The Netherlands 61.4%
Switzerland 53.0%
Ireland 49.0%
Germany 45.9%
UK 42.7%

Oliver Rowlands, head of retirement, Europe, Middle East and Africa, at Aon Consulting commented: “Cheap air travel and the communication tools available over the internet means that retiring overseas doesn’t necessarily mean being completely absent from your family’s life, making the prospect of emigration to other countries on an previously unseen scale a real possibility.

“Not surprisingly, most people want to spend their retirement predominantly in countries with good weather and good social and government benefits, and ideally close enough so that they can get home quickly if they need to.

“There are financial implications that people thinking about retiring overseas need to consider. Cost of living may be higher in the country of choice, and so people planning on retiring abroad need to factor that in to their savings plan. There can also be tax implications both at home and in a new country of residence, so it is certainly worth investigating that in advance so there are no nasty surprises later on. And finally healthcare benefits can vary widely for expatriates and this will be a major concern for retirees as they grow older.”

Aon Consulting has recently published an in depth report, ‘Expectations vs. Reality: Meeting Europe’s Retirement Challenge,’ based on the data from the European Employee Benefits Benchmark. This report gives insight into some of the retirement and pension issues across an aging workforce in Europe, one of the key human capital risks for European employers today. The report can be downloaded from


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