Sunglasses on a beach

The best places for sun-seeking expats

Now that September is here, the summer is definitely drawing to a close for another year. For those of us living in the UK, we no doubt have a dark, cold, and almost certainly, wet autumn and winter to look forward to. While this summer may have been better than some years – 2017 saw the country blessed with bursts of intense heat, including the hottest August Bank Holiday weekend on record – the warm sunshine was only fleeting.

It's no wonder then, that so many Britons become tired of the long stretches of gloomy weather of their native land, choosing to move to warmer climates; and this is backed up in the the latest Expat Insider survey from InterNations.

The survey showed that 63% of Britons considered the weather of their target destination as a potential benefit before moving abroad. This figure is significantly higher than the global average of just 46% (the only countries with a higher percentage than Britain were Ireland and Finland), which goes to show that the majority of Brits are dissatisfied with the traditionally dismal British weather. The statistic is almost perfectly mirrored in the opinions of expats who've moved to the UK from other countries, 60% of whom viewed the weather as the number one potential disadvantage before moving.

For those Britons seeking a substantial dose of sunshine, there are plenty of locations to choose from. The same survey went on to look at which countries have the most attractive climates: Malta came out on top, with 92% of expats saying there were attracted to the country because of the weather. What's more, nine out of ten expats said that they found it easy to settle down in the Mediterranean country.

The survey also showed some correlation between happiness and good weather. In Malta, for instance, an overwhelming proportion of expats (90%) said they were happy with their life in general. This suggests that, while some residents may find something charming about Britain's unpredictable weather (it's a brilliant conversation-starter, after all) and the changing seasons can often be seen on the list of things expats miss about their home country, many expats are perfectly happy with their choice to leave it all behind.

Of course, it's hard to discuss sunny locations without mentioning Spain, the most popular destination abroad with British expats. Unsurprisingly, the country ranked highly when it came to great weather as a positive quality. Almost 85% of expats are attracted to Spain because of the lure of enjoying a leisurely life in the sun. And they are not left disappointed; an impressive 88% rate the available leisure activities positively (not one expat who took the survey would rate them negatively) and 92% claim to be satisfied overall with their quality of life. Spain's close proximity to the UK and the potential for a relaxed life outdoors might explain why many see Spain as the perfect retirement destination.

In terms of where specifically in Spain you should move to, there are plenty of ideal spots. The Costa del Sol (which translated into English is, rather fittingly, the Sunshine Coast) is typically the destination of choice for many expats. It's where you'll find glorious beaches, beautiful ancient towns, and, helpfully, Blacktower's expert financial advisers in our Marbella offices. You'll also be joining the largest community of British expats in Europe, so it should be easy to fit in.

Likewise, Spain's neighbour, Portugal, is another country where good weather is a crucial factor in many expats' (83%) decision to move. However, it should also be noted that the survey found it wasn't uncommon for expats to encounter financial difficulties in the country, especially if they've moved for work. Just over a quarter of expats planning to move to Portugal viewed the economy and labour market as a potential disadvantage, and just less than half (48%) of respondents working in Portugal make less income than they would in a comparable career in their home country.

Whether you're planning to move to Portugal or to anywhere else in the world, work and economy problems such as these mean that receiving good financial advice, which can help make sure you have sufficient funds to last your lifetime, is invaluable.

Whatever the reason for your move, the best way to safeguard your finances is by getting guidance from an experienced financial adviser. Of course, the looming threat of Brexit and uncertainty over precisely what the outcome will mean for expats has, understandably, caused a great deal of anxiety. Many expats living in Europe are fearful over whether they'll be able to remain in their dream destinations, whether their rights will be negatively affected, and, for those still in Britain, whether they'll be able to make a move abroad at all.

While it's tricky to determine exactly how you might be affected, we can help you prepare your finances so you're in the best position to face all possible outcomes.

With financial advisers based in Marbella, Lisbon, the Maltese town of Birkirkara, and many other popular expat destinations, Blacktower can help guide you towards making the best of your finances.

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