The recession is biting just as sharply abroad, according to a major new survey of expatriates by Bupa International.
Almost three quarters of expats are concerned about the economic downturn and, in particular, the negative impact of currency fluctuations, with the value of the British pound falling by 17 percent against the euro since the start of 2007. Expats say they are now spending less money, while saving is proving increasingly difficult. Falling property prices are also affecting 40 percent of the expats surveyed and over a third are concerned about the impact the credit crunch will have on their pension.
When asked how the recession is impacting their daily lives, almost half of expats are not spending as much when they go out, while around 40 percent are reducing their spending on luxury items such as holidays and clothing.
However, in spite of the global financial uncertainty, it seems expats wouldn't swap their life abroad for one back home. Over three quarters believe their lifestyle is better in their new country, with most citing the weather and the way of life as the key benefits of an international lifestyle. Over a third say their health has improved since moving, due to more exercise and a healthier diet.
Tim Slee of Bupa International says: "Expats are certainly feeling the pinch and so are many of the big companies they work for, back home. In the year ahead, the onus will be on insurers to help customers on tightening budgets. We need to ensure they remain well covered internationally for healthcare at a price that works for them, even if this means adjusting their cover back to what they consider to be the essentials. But even in these challenging economic times, our customers know they will not be stung for a large medical bill should they fall ill abroad, as their health insurance can cover the cost of all their drugs, treatment and hospital fees - and even bring them back home, if this is needed. Expats want peace of mind about their healthcare, and importantly that of their families, while living away from home - ultimately you can't put a price on your health".