Top overseas retirement destination

New Zealand is the number one destination for Australians looking to retire overseas.

Global foreign exchange provider WorldFirst analysed thousands of pension-type international transfers by its Australian customers across 2016 and 2017 to gauge the leading destination for overseas retirement.

The data revealed that 19 per cent of all Australian pension-type international transfers via WorldFirst were made to New Zealand in 2017, declining slightly from 23 per cent in 2016.

The second leading destination for pension money transfers was the UK, in both years, though the data followed a similar trend, with a decrease to 17 per cent in 2017 from 21 per cent the previous year. 

Australia has strong migrant ties with New Zealand and the UK. Five per cent of Australia’s population are migrants born in the UK, and 2.5 per cent are New Zealanders according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Singapore had the third highest proportion of pension money transfers, with 15 per cent in 2017 up from 12 per cent in 2016.

Closely following were Thailand and the US, the next most popular retirement destinations, accounting for 13 per cent and 7 per cent of all pension transfers respectively in 2017.

“New Zealand is extremely attractive for those looking to retire overseas and presents many positives for pensioners: economically, geographically and culturally,” said WorldFirst’s Patrick Liddy.

“While Australia and New Zealand’s economies have followed similar positive trajectories over the past 25 years, New Zealand’s lower cost of living and comparatively cheaper properties – Auckland’s median house price is 28 per cent cheaper than Sydney’s – means every pensioner’s Australian dollar will go that little bit further if they spend it across the ditch.

“New Zealand also has strong cultural similarities to Australia, and its proximity – a short three-hour flight from Sydney and Melbourne – makes it is easier (and cheaper) to visit family and friends.

“We’re also seeing an increase in Asian destinations. Although the cost of living in Singapore is high, its strong economy is drawing in more Australian expats.

“An Aussie pension in Thailand, on the other hand, can go a lot further, and you have the added luxury of stunning beaches and cheap living costs.”

Would you ever consider retiring overseas? Which country would you choose for your retirement?

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Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.
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