A Devil’s Advocate Article

The last couple of month’s has seen a dramatic slump in Sterling with some exchange rates going 20% against us. Although this may assist us in Exports and Tourism to this Country from abroad, it is affecting those wishing to travel or are living in other Countries very negatively.

It was of therefore with interest that I read last weeks article in the Independant and listened to the BBC News this morning about the plight of ex-pats who have moved abroad to places like France and Spain.

The main bones of contention seem to be from Pensioners, who are getting up to 20% less on their payments and people who have moved abroad but do business solely with the UK over the Internet.

I think at this point we need to consider why people move to these places and research seems to show it’s two thing’s; the weather and the lower cost of living.

I have a genuine sympathy for the Pensioners who have at least paid into the system all their working life and would be the same over here as over there by not working. I also have admiration for those brave enough to up sticks and try elsewhere.

However, with the others (I’m sure the great minority), isn’t life about choices, decisions and most of all, chances? They have opted for a different way of life like many have here, but without moving abroad. Sometimes luck and chance go with you and sometimes it doesn’t.
They decided upon their move, it was their own personal choice to do so.and if by a quirk of fate, things have turned against them, isn’t that what happens to almost anyone?

In some cases, according to news reports, some haven’t learnt the Spanish or French languages which would at least give them an option of working on the same terms as the Nationals and would save them, again according to news reports, having to pay for Translators for their official letter writing and other business.

So if I’d have moved to France or Spain, I’d be pretty peeved of with the financial situation, but I don’t think I would try and seek too much sympathy – I don’t think so anyway. There are many Business’s big and small which are hugely affected by this situation, especially with those who need to import goods to make their Products and this in turn will lead to job losses for those who have not moved out.

The only simile I can come up with is that if you brought a House next to a beautiful field without taking into account what could happen through Surveys etc. and they then decided to build a Supermarket on it, I’m afraid to say that. other than protesting at Planning stage, there wouldn’t be much you could do about it.

Life is full of chances, sometimes it works out well for us and sometimes it doesn’t. Which Road we decide to take at each of Life’s Junctions is our choice, so we have to accept it when things don’t go our way all the time.

To those who have moved abroad and are genuine in their quest and stand firm with a brave heart, good on you and I write this without predujice, but to some, maybe we have to take life on the chin.

It’s a pity that it is the minority having a go and some may recall how the Brits became known as Whinging Poms down under, but in reality it was just a few.

The Credit Crunch is proof alone that no matter what we do or where we go, things aren’t going to be the same as they were before.
Maybe it’s the wake up call we need, but to some, a wake up call was not necessary and they are the one’s who will really suffer ??


2 Comments on “Ex-Pats struggling with Credit Crunch”

By Jane. February 8th, 2009 at 8:23 am

I feel for pensioners who now find that a pension which would have converted to 100 Euros now brings only 65 Euros, after all their bills haven’t gone down to match their reduced income so it must be very worrying for them. Nevertheless as you say they chose to move to France or Spain because of the much warmer weather and much lower cost of living and many expats have had the financial benefit of a decade or more of easy living during which they could have saved against a rainy day. Even if they had only saved their winter heating allowance (which many certainly didn’t need) then they would have had a little cushion. Now, like virtually everyone else wherever they live, they are finding themselves in economically straightened circumstances but you will notice that whinge as they do, they don’t go so far as to return home in order to experience the British cost of living!

By jamie. March 26th, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I agree with you that life is full of chances. Ultimately however, our power to exert free will in those circumstances, in an attempt to control our own future (selfishness), is disturbed by one thing: other people’s agendas that are different from your own (conflict). Compounding this conflict is the tragi-comic barrage of seemingly random and almost definitely insignificant events. At least we hope for the wisdom to differentiate the difference between the things that we can and can not change. Right? The wisdom to know the difference.

That is as far as I understand human nature.

As it relates to gardening, if you end up in a place where you have access to water and sunlight, you are in a particular circumstance. You are in the position to garden. I rent a small home in a residential neighborhood in southern Saint Georg’s, Grenada, a place where sunshine is always in abundant supply. Beaches, warm oceans and bikinis might complement the sunshine nicely but make no mistake, Grenada is still a part of the developing world and will be hit hard by the market’s adjustments. It seems to me that many people move abroad to enjoy a slower pace of life, no?

My wife and I have a small yard with mature apple, banana, mango, cherry, orange and cashew trees. Since I moved in I have been very anxious to get a good vegetable garden started. The soil is very rich but the seedlings I plant must compete with voracious jungle plants. Chickens roam the streets freely but our attempt to domesticate one recently ended in tragedy when our dogs decided the young chicken was getting to comfortable. I have been working the earth in small plots around the yard and have planted the eleven different vegetables we are most likely to eat.

I am new to this website having set a goal for myself of attaining a 50% reduction in food cost by next year.

I guess my point is this: If you are unfortunate enough to be an ex-pat (from any country) feeling stuck or nervous, look around and ask yourself, this: do I have access to water, sunshine and a place to stick a couple of old five-gallon buckets? Maybe a little parch of land for raised beds? Boxes built beneath windowsills?

If so, don’t wait!

The fact that you are reading this now means that you are on the forefront of the impending storm and have a good chance of weathering it with a smile. The real decision you are faced with now is this: are you going to be a leader, an innovator and a friend to those who haven’t opened their eyes or are you going to wait until the sky is dark and the winds of change are already upon you to go out and buy your first rake and hoe?

Just remember to apply sunscreen regularly and drink plenty of fluids.

Out of curiosity, are there any other Caribbean folks who are following this site?


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