Retire to England? Maybe NOT!

London, England

I asked a friend who lives in the United States six months, and in London, England six months a year to please gather up some prices, because some readers might find the comparisons interesting.

Our friend, a widow for about two years now, must live only 6 months in the U.S.  That’s what the laws say, so that’s what she does.

She is not a citizen of the U.S., and she has to keep her citizenship in England because she has health insurance there, and gets “pension” from the government, which she lives on, along with her savings.  Her children also live in the United Kingdom.

This lovely lady owns a home (paid cash) in the United States, and takes care of the property.  She bought her car (paid cash) in the states, and even a golf cart in the states.

This year, she has decided it is time to do some remodeling and updating on her home – so, there are a lot of workers who will be making money from her investment in the States.

She bought all of her furniture here, and she pays all taxes and licenses required of her, and never has asked for one thing from our government.

She just loves our weather –South/West – but especially she loves the freedoms we have here.

She has told us that to get anything done in England, be prepared to stand in line after line after line, and then nothing gets done.

So, just to get you in the mood, here are some comparisons and info:

“Great Britain” is made up of England, Wales and Scotland.

”The United Kingdom” consists of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, population 63,047,162

The United Kingdom is 94,058 sq mi., slightly smaller than Oregon.

Louisiana is 51,840 sq mile.

75 Englands would fit into the U.S.

Population of U.S. is 295,734,134.

Population of England, only, is 60,441,457.

England lists prices in pounds – £

GBP = Great Britain Pound

1.00 GBP = 1.615 USD United States Dollar (On September 13, 2012- it varies)

They use the metric system, so…1 KG = 2 pounds, 2 ounces (34 ounces)



Here are prices she found in some London Grocery Stores:

                                                   £ GBP  equals= $U.S.

4 cans of Heinz Pork and Beans                 2.49        3.88
Hellmann’s Mayo                                     2.79        4.35
Heinz Tomato Ketchup                             2.54        3.96
Special K Cereal                                     3.29        6.17
6 cans Dr. Pepper or Fanta (orange)          3.35        5.23
8 pack Coca Cola 8X330ml                       3.98        6.21
Yellow onions 2 kg (4 pound, 4 ounce)       1.75        2.73 (approx $.65 a pound)
Potatoes 12.5 kg (27#+8.92ounces)          4.85        7.57 ($.27 ½ a pound)
22-pack snack potato chip packs              4.35        6.78 ($.30 per snack pack)
20 frozen fish fingers                              3.99        6.22
150 g potato chips                                 1.58        2.47
Cheerios 375g (12.68 oz.= about ¾ #)       1.00        1.56 (approx. $2.00 a #)
4 X 48g KitKat candy bar                         1.00        1.56
24 X 440ml Strongbow beer                     18.49        28.84($1.40 a bottle)
Pork Loin Steaks and Joints, 1 kg               8.50        13.26 (approx $6.60 per pound)

Electric bill, an efficiency apt, 1 person £211.18 (total taxes (VAT) £10.06)    $329.44/month

Water for one year – no washer, 1 person    £383.11            $49.80/month

Postage, is 1st class 60p (90 cents) supposed to be next day delivery, but usually takes 3 days.(Check the size of England above).  And 2nd class 50p, (75 cents)

Dental Charges

New Patient Consultation    From £59.00  ($92.72)
Examination only                       £29.00 ($45.57)
Filling, white                             £39 to 171. ($61.29 to $268.73)
Filling, silver                      From £57 ($89.58)
Porcelain bonded crown              £450 to £500 ($707.18 to $785.75)
3 teeth bridge                   From £1370 ($2,152.96)
One implant, including crown       £3000 ($4714.50)
Zoom Whitening kit                    £475 ($746.46)

Wow!  And when you compare these prices to Mexico’s – well, there just is no comparison!

One more little personal insight into the English – they seem to absolutely LOVE beef. (Most of them and it is so expensive in England, for a decent piece of beef…)  So, when our friend comes back to the states, we almost always go, once a week, to a great buffet where they offer really good grilled beef – all you can eat, of course.  She has her fill of beef while Dick and I enjoy the fish, chicken, etc.  In England, there is no such place.  And she says if there were, the price would be so far over everyone’s budget, that it just wouldn’t work – in England.

So, I guess above are several reasons why people aren’t choosing England as a place to which they want to retire!  Just thought this might be interesting to some of you.  And now, I realize even more reasons why our friend loves living in the states, and loves the United States!

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11 Responses to Retire to England? Maybe NOT!

  1. Joe Butz

    September 17, 2012 at 6:00 am

    I’m still very concern with the safety of Mexico. Are there areas that are safe and do you have to be very careful when traveling thru out Mexico. Everything I read says to be very careful .

    Let me know.

  2. Ruth

    September 17, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Very interesting. This came on the eve of our leaving for London for our granddaughter’s wedding there. I have wondered about prices there. Also, I understand that gasoline is nearly $10 a gallon. Yikes!

  3. mary hayes

    September 18, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Prices here in Chicago are mostly higher that England===Chicago downtown is VERY EXPENSIVE–HAVE NEVER FOUND A HOLIDAY TURKEY (15LBS) UNDER $55. AND THE XMAS PRIME RIB WITH3 BONES WAS $85. SO anything is better than this—downsouth is also cheaper—I have a Jr 1 BDRM on the Lake for $2000. plus utilities.

  4. Barbie


    September 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Do read my articles – you need to be careful anyplace you go! Barbie

  5. Barbie


    September 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Bet you’ll have a wonderful time though! Best to the Newly Weds. Barbie

  6. Suzanne

    October 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Hi, Barbie,
    Just a note re citizenship: A British citizen, legal ‘resident’ (Green Card holder) of the United States, does not ever have to give up ‘citizenship’ of the UK. What’s more, our two countries allow ‘Dual citizenship’ .. so even those Brits who have become naturalized US citizens, if entitled to British pensions can, and do, receive them, regardless of which country (US or UK) they actually ‘reside’ in.

    Totally agree re the high cost of living in the UK, but think that your friend’s arrangement sounds like the best of both worlds … since travel to and from lots of other close European destinations is so much easier and cheaper from the UK. … For anyone who loves to travel, that’s a big bonus !

    I enjoy keeping up with your blog, which I first encountered a few years ago, before I moved to Mexico. I stayed (in Yucatan) for a couple of years, whilst waiting for my Green Card to be (finally) sorted and moving to the States to be closer to family here. I imagine that, sooner or later, I too will be looking for a ‘retirement’ location … maybe one that’s a little cooler than the Yucatan, which was wonderful as far as medical care went (Merida has amazing medical services and top-notch hospitals) but just too hot for comfort .. unless you’re already accustomed to extreme heat !
    Best of luck to you and keep up the good work here on the blog !

  7. Marlene Cain

    November 9, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Hi! Barbie my husband loves to golf. We have looked at various places in Mexico but the golf seems to be $100.00 a round. Too much for a pensioner who likes to golf at least three times a week. Are there areas with more affordable golf like $30.00 a round?
    Thanks Marlene

  8. Barbie


    November 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Not that I know, but Dick and I are not golfers. Perhaps you should check out some retirement communities in the States? Think you
    will find at least golf is cheaper in the States.

  9. Paul

    November 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Barbie,

    Thanks for your great site with lots of excellent info! Still stuck in the Northeast US for a bit longer.
    Fortunately, Hurricane Sandy did not affect me much
    (since I am not near the coast). Have started studying Spanish on my own. Have Spanish-longuage TV in this area, so it is interesting to try to listen to it when I have time in evening after work.

    After reading of the British widow, I hope she does not have a US tax problem. I checked with my tax guy and he told me the following:

    1. that if someone is not a US citizen and they spend more than 4 months a year in the US, there is the possibility that they will be considered a US resident for tax purposes. (This is regardless of what sort of US visa, if any, she holds).
    If she is also spending 6 mos in the UK, she might have to pay income taxes to both US & UK!!! Hope she gets some good tax advice to deal with this before UK Inland Revenue and IRS come after her. (Hopefully they won’t bother her!)

    2. Many folks believe that if you spend less than 182 days in a country that you are not considered a resident for tax purposes. This is true of some countries, but there are many (including the US) where this period has been shortened.

    3. I have oversimplified his explanation to fit this blog, so nobody should rely on this without consulting a qualified tax advisor who knows the rules in each country which might affect you.

  10. Barbie


    November 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks for the great information, Paul. Appreciate it! Barbie


    February 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Your own post, “Retire to England? Maybe NOT!
    | Mexico Retirement Blog” ended up being very well worth commenting down here in the comment section!
    Simply just wanted to announce you did a great work.
    Thanks -Winifred

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