By Elizabeth Roberts
Rather than putting their feet up, expats who retire overseas enthusiastically embrace the fun side of life and become part of the community faster than their younger counterparts it seems.
Almost half (49 per cent) of people who retired overseas told HSBC Expat Explorer researchers that it took them less than six months to feel at home and 52 per cent said it took less than a year.
In comparison, only a third of expats aged 18 to 34 settled in so quickly.
The secret, according to the researchers – who any asked 22,000 expats in 100 countries about their lives – is to make the effort to find local friends.
“Retired expats immerse themselves in life abroad and rather than opting for a quiet or expat-focused lifestyle, have become true members of the local communities they live in,” said the report.
Less than a third of expat retirees say they go out more with expat friends than locals, a much lower figure than the global average of 42 per cent of expats. For a third of retirees, the key milestone to feeling at home is when they join local community events and activities, higher than the global average of 23 per cent.
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox
Hitting the social scene also benefits expat retirees in other ways, according to the research. More than two in five report leading a more active social life than at home.
Meanwhile discovering new cuisines plays a major role in socialising, with seven in 10 retired expats enjoying cooking or eating the local food.
As a result, 63 per cent found it easy to form new friendships abroad. Nearly three-quarters believe they are integrating well overall with the local people and culture.
Among the most popular spots for retirement are Spain, France, south-east Asia and Mexico.
Regardless of location, it seems to be a rewarding decision as 67 per cent of those who moved abroad to retire reported their quality of life is now higher than back home.