By Humphrey Carter

BRITISH expatriates living here in Spain are apparently less concerned about their financial situation during this global financial crisis than their fellow Britons living in neighbouring Portugal and the United States.

According to the latest NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Report undertaken in conjunction with think tank, Centre for Future Studies, which surveyed British expatriates across the world, more than eight in ten (87%) British expatriates believe they are better prepared to weather the storm abroad.

The study focused on how British expatriates are faring abroad in the current global economic climate, looking specifically at:

1. The global financial crisis

2. Their perceived reduction in quality of life

3. Declining property prices

4. Declining value of savings

5. Declining value of their pension funds

6. Likelihood of unemployment

7. Future prospects in the country in which they are living.
The report reveals that, despite most countries experiencing the knock on negative effects of the current crisis, British expatriates feel better off than if they were back in the UK, and believe they made the right decision to leave the UK behind.

It would appear that the economic pressures are easier to manage in an environment where the quality of life is deemed high and the work-life balance more enjoyable.

Consequently, the study revealed that whilst the level of concern about the world economic climate among expatriates in all countries is high, with 68% admitting that at the very least they are nervous, they are not concerned that economic circumstances may force them to return to the UK.

Nearly three quarters (74%) said they were not concerned at all by this factor, although that does seem to clash with the current situation here in the Balearics and across Spain where we are seeing a growing number of British expatriates deciding to cut their losses and move back to the United Kingdom and many more are determinedly struggling to continue living their dream in the sun and defy the credit crunch.

Expatriates in France, for example, have also reacted in a similar fashion.
The study did however discover that a large number of British expatriates have not been left totally unaffected by the current global economic crisis.

Over three quarters (78%) stated that the current situation in the country they are living has affected their overall quality of life to some extent.
There are also concerns over the rising cost of food and every day goods as well as the declining rate of savings which is likely to be impacted by the currency exchange rate decline for those expatriates who are paid in Sterling and, in particular, living in a euro zone country.

More than nine in ten (96%) said they were concerned about the value of their savings reducing, whilst 87% stated they were concerned about the value of everyday goods increasing, and 86% are concerned about the cost of food going up.

However, British expatriates were less concerned about the possibility of job losses, with just 14% concerned that this could be a real possibility - but that is probably because many expatriates are retired.

Overall, according to the report, 64% of British expatriates claim they feel comfortable about their current financial position, with the same number stating that they are happy to be living abroad despite the current economic conditions.