The phenomenon of working expatriates after reaching retirement is rapidly growing in Italy in recent years, but there are countries where this tradition is much more consolidated and moves massive numbers also towards Italy. What we can draw from their experience?
The expatriate pensioners come from many parts of the world but the citizens of Anglo-Saxon countries are particularly numerous.
According to the Social Security Administration in 2014 the USA pensioners receiving the pension abroad were more than 600,000, 250% compared to twelve years before. Since this number does not include those that keep the bank account in the United States the total number probably doubles.
International Living, specialized American magazine, predicts that this number will grow even faster in the coming years: their paying subscribers increased from 39,000 to 100,000 in just five years, as well as they have more than doubled the participants to their public events. And soon there will be the wave of baby-boomers, 3.3 million of them are planning to leave the country as soon as pensioners according to the trade magazine Travel Market Report.
Why do so many Americans take this decision? According to Wharton University, the key factor is the (little) money or the lack of confidence that their savings and pension are enough for a happy old age. In 2012 only 14% of workers declared themselves "very confident" about their well-being as a pensioner and this is understandable, given the harshness with which the crisis has affected the American middle class.
One of the factors of greatest concern is related to medical expenses. Fidelity Investments has estimated that a couple of 65 years retired in 2012 will have to spend a total of $ 240,000 for care not covered by public health. Many people adopt the strategy of going to countries with good public health services and with a fraction of that sum activated excellent health insurance for more complex medical procedures.
Many Italians will be surprised to know that the Italian healthcare has a good reputation abroad. Experts for Expats states categorically that "in Italy health care ranges from good to excellent" and adds that a number of factors, such as the Mediterranean diet and climate, help to keep healthy. Of the same opinion is International Living whose general report on Italy highlights that the World Health Organization puts the country in second place in the world rankings for health services (the US is 37th, UK is 18th). The research is a little dated, going back to 2000, but the concept is reinforced by the WHO in 2014 when they put Italy in the top places in the world for life expectancy (5th place for women, 7th for men).
The changes in American society are encouraging the decision to emigrate. Children are often forced to change city or country to find work and for parents is removed one of the strongest anchor points; at the same time the technology helps them to stay in touch, while not fully compensating for the distance.
The United Kingdom has a long tradition of "retired expat" with a flexible and careful to their needs legislation. Many of them use the law of 2006 on QROPS that allows them to transfer their pension fund in a country "tax efficient" such as Malta and get paid in another country of their choice, for example Italy. The advantages are that they can immediately pick up the 30% of the fund without paying taxes in the UK and that UK does not tax the income and inheritance.
The Guardian on its article Where do UK expats live? paints a remarkable mobility framework in which 4.7 million British, about 10% of the population, reside outside the motherland. Very popular are Spain and France which alone absorb more then a million people. We can estimate that in Europe the "retired expat" are 350,000 with Italy that is home to 34,000.
Among the Italian regions, the traditional destination of the expat is Tuscany, but is increasing the trend of those who seek the kitchen, the beauty, the Italian climate in locations less expensive and well-known but just as beautiful as the Marches (with their culture and their kitchen), Abruzzo. and Umbria.
Given all these favorable conditions, what can Italy do to attract expats? Looking at the experience of others, the catalyst that triggers the local success stories often requires no upfront investment. It helps to have attention to the foreigners' needs, for example by creating a one stop shop in English for all the paperwork. It helps to have some small exemption on local taxes for a few years, as well as having a direct airline between London and our local airports. Above all, it helps to create a direct line of communication between expat and local economy, so that an American who wants to move can easily find on the internet all the necessary resources.