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The number of British citizens leaving the UK to start a new life abroad is on the rise again, according to official figures.

Recently released data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that to the year up to September 2012, a total of 154,000 people had permanently left the UK, which represents an 8 per cent increase on the previous year.

This statistic comes after a survey conducted by revealed that one fifth of all under 25 year-olds in Britain today expect to be living abroad by the time they are 40 – a time when most people are reaching their peak in terms of income.

Further supporting these findings that the expat lifestyle has lost none of its appeal are results from a recent poll carried out by us here at the deVere Group. These show that three quarters of Brits living abroad said they could never see themselves returning permanently to Great Britain.

As Nigel Green, deVere’s founder and chief executive, highlighted in The Telegraph: “This poll underscores how regardless of whether people are drawn to a country because of its lifestyle or because of the career opportunities to be had, the vast majority consider themselves more content abroad than in the UK.

“Most of those interviewed said that it would take seriously poor health, a personal financial crisis, or a family emergency for them to even think about moving back to Britain.”

Why people move overseas

The UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office estimates that there are around 4.7 million British nationals living outside the UK on a permanent basis. However, it also admits this figure could be substantially higher as many of those abroad don’t inform the authorities – either in Britain or in their adopted countries – where they are residing.

So what is driving these people out of Blighty? Or, on the other hand, what is luring them to other destinations?

As the deVere Group’s recent survey showed, when it comes to emigration there are always ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors.

The top three push factors – issues that actively encouraged people to leave the UK – cited by those who were polled were the country’s poor climate, high crime levels and the high cost of living.

It is slightly less clear-cut about the ‘pull’ factors – issues that attract expats to a country – as these will, naturally, depend on the destination itself.

For example, British expats in the south of France or southern Spain are typically drawn by the lifestyle options; whereas those in places such as Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, for instance, would more likely be lured by higher salaries and career prospects.

Indeed, historically, many top-paying jobs in emerging markets such as Russia, China and Dubai have gone to expatriates as they often had more professional experience.

Expats confident about finances

What we at the deVere Group, as recognised market leaders in expat wealth management, have noted in previous studies is that most expats, wherever they choose to live in the world, feel more confident about their personal finances than their contemporaries ‘back home’.

This could be because, as I suggested above, many expats leave the UK to further their careers and therefore feel in a better financial position.

But as this trend of well-being amongst expats is a global one, it is more likely because expatriates are increasingly aware of how to use their ‘expat status’ to their financial advantage.

There are a raft of ways and a plethora of ‘expat-exclusive’ products that are available that can enable those abroad to acquire a greater disposable income, and/or become vastly more tax efficient, than their friends and families in their countries of origin and also in their adopted nations too.

EURBS (European Union Retirement Benefits Schemes), QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes) and QNUPS (Qualifying Non-UK Pension Schemes) are amongst the most popular ways that clients of the deVere Group, which has some 70,000 clients worldwide, reap the benefits of residing outside the UK.

Of course, everyone’s situation and financial needs are different – which is why deVere tailor-makes and implements carefully-considered, bespoke financial strategies with its clients to ensure they are best placed to reach their financial goals.

But one thing seems pretty universal: expatriates require a different approach to financial planning to get the most from their money, and luckily there are lots of options available – meaning those who seek advice from an expert independent expat wealth manager should find themselves, from a financial point of view at least, agreeing with the three out of four expats who would never willing return to live in the UK.