Many of us dream of moving abroad when we retire – but new research suggests a life in the sun isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

According to NatWest, very few retired expats actually feel like they belong in their new home and many are planning to head back to Blighty.

Findings from the bank’s Quality of Life Index show that 32% of British people who have retired abroad intend to return to the UK.

Retirees head to sunnier climes with hopes of finding financial security (99%), good weather and surroundings (93%) and a higher standard of living (94%).

But a quarter of retirees who have moved abroad say their new home has not met their expectations.

It is important that people do not expect an extended holiday when they plan their new life away from the UK

Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking
An atom of type quote lives here

An increase in the cost of living (97%) and other financial worries (99%) are the main concerns for retired expats.

The global economic downturn has particularly affected Brits living in European countries, NatWest said, although it seems many are simply homesick.

More than a quarter of retired expats say they rarely feel happy (28%) and almost all (94%) miss their family and friends back in the UK.

85% miss British culture and 92% admit they do not feel like they belong in their new home.

Despite living abroad, retirees feel their loyalty lies exclusively with the UK (100%) and see their identity as British nationals as a useful asset.

85% of retired Brits living abroad admit missing British culture. Image by John Kelly/Shutterstock.com

A third of all expat retirees intend to return to the UK and a further 23% are considering coming back “at some point”.

The Quality of Life survey, which was carried out by the Centre for Future Studies on behalf of NatWest, also found that younger expats (aged 25-35) are increasing and now make up 27% of all Brits living abroad.

Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking, said: “It is inevitably disappointing for expats who do not feel their expectations are fulfilled by their new life overseas.

“It is important for anyone planning a move abroad that they make an informed decision which factors in both the financial realities of living abroad and considers the impact of living in a new environment.

“It is important that people do not expect an extended holiday when they plan their new life away from the UK.”