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Weak pound scuppers expat pension dreams

It's tough on the continent if you're a Brit looking to escape it all. High inflation and interest rates mean that many expats have been forced to return home with their tails between their legs.

Research has indicated just how much expats are suffering due to diminishing pension pots and the weak pound. Foreign exchange specialists HiFx estimates that the average monthly pension income for Brits has dropped by €250 since the recession took hold.

Mark Bodega, director at HiFX, said: 'Over the last couple of years everyone has felt the pinch of the global economic downturn. Unfortunately, Brits living abroad and receiving a fixed income in Sterling have been hit particularly hard, and could not have failed to notice that they are now receiving less from their pensions.

'For pensioners in Europe, 2011 certainly started off on a more positive note, with the exchange rate for GBP to Euro hitting a 16 week high of 1.2045. However, the celebrations were short lived, as the prospects of an interest rate hike in the UK waned and with the European Central Bank (ECB) raising interest rates in April, the Euro has continued to strengthen against the Pound.'

What can we do about it? Protecting your pension income is a good idea, Bodega explains: 'With further sterling volatility predicted, any pensioners who cannot afford to see the value of their pension income decrease any further should consider using one of the regular payments schemes offered by many currency specialists in the UK.'

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