Retiring to Europe (from US)

My wife and I have had some casual conversations of where we might want to retire when her parents are gone. Simple answer is to move in to their home (her childhood home). Relatively high tax/COL state (where we live now). Another option is to sell and move to a cheaper location in the US. Third option is to find a country in Europe we can retire to (that accepts American retirees).

Has anyone else looked into this as an option? It looks like we’d likely be able to afford property for a ‘golden visa’ situation for some countries (e.g. Portugal), and Germany seems to have a relatively simple process if you can illustrate you have retirement assets and pay for insurance [and learn German]. My wife is in love with Scotland, but the current post-Brexit UK rules don’t seem they’d easy for Americans to satisfy, so that may be out unless things change in the next 10-15 years.

How my mind read this sentence.

What a cool idea, I’d be keen on the Portugal idea for retirement. I think Germany and Scotland would be a bit grey.

I would not consider retiring to another country if English is not the primary language. There are plenty of cheap places to live in the US and not have to monkey around with the hassles of moving to another country. My parents chose Florida, but the summers are extremely hot and humid. It is hard to have everything.

why pick one country. Find cheap rents and move around every six months or so

I think I’d get tired of this eventually, but I have been toying with the idea of trying this for a year or two.

I haven’t read up a ton but we have considered this. I think Portugal and Italy are relatively welcoming, and it seems that it’s difficult to get permanent residence in the UK. I’ve heard it’s also easy to get into Albania, which looks like an interesting place.

If Portugal is on the list you may consider Azores, if small island life does anything for you.

Even if you don’t stay there forever, you’d have a great opportunity to go really deep traveling all over Europe. Take a train somewhere and spend a month.

That’d be my ideal situation, but not feasible in the EU unless you establish permanent residency somewhere first.

What makes Portugal appealing is you only have to live IN PORTUGAL for 14 days a year as long as you buy property there (500,000+ Euros). It still takes 5 years to establish permanent residency and qualify for a EU passport and be able to freely travel in the EU.

I briefly toyed with the idea but decided against it. I’ll still enjoy traveling there some. At the time I was looking, Portugal did seem like one of the lower cost options. I’d have preferred Spain due to language and I have friends there. I think Greece was pretty low too.

Alternatively to a golden visa situation is to just move somewhere (e.g. Germany) that has generous work visa requirements. That requires learning German though :wink:

there are other countries that are pretty cheap: mexico, Thailand, vietnam

Do you have to keep said 500k+ Euros property after you meet the requirements? Or can you downsize to something after? I could see tying up funds for 5 years if I could then go buy this 3/2 1200 sf apartment 149k Euros without getting dinged.

This was my thought; if we decide to pursue this, it’d be something to discuss with an immigration attorney.

I imagine that you’d have to hold on to the property to renew the residence permit.

I heard Malta was relatively receptive to retirees, and English is an official language there.

If you were looking just to spend a year (as opposed to permanently retire), I understand that Estonia and Croatia both have special programs geared towards “digital nomads”.

1 Like

I looked into it more and the golden visa rules say to maintain the investment for at least 5 years after the golden visa is issued. At year 6, you can apply to become a Portugal citizen, so I’m assuming with that you could definitely downsize.

How is the healthcare in Portugal and Malta? That would be my concern as a retiree.

I honestly don’t know the answers though.

The Dordogne region in central west France has a large British expat population, due to historical ties with Great Britain. - " Dordogne has a thriving immigrant community. The region counts between 5,000 and 10,000 British residents and 800 British entrepreneurs, drawn by a laid-back lifestyle, warm climate, and lower cost of living. The village of Eymet is at the heart of the trend, with 200 British families among 2,600 inhabitants."

We stayed there for a few weeks and it was awesome.

Life expectancy is Portugal is better than in the US. My guess is the healthcare is fine. But it might be less fine if you don’t speak the language.

Malta’s golden visa program is fast, but NOT CHEAP.

I expect to be comfortable in retirement, but not wealthy, by any stretch. Malta’s program is too pricy for my liking.

That’s a much better proxy for the level of obesity than the quality of healthcare, IMO.

That said, if living somewhere else resulted in adopting a healthier lifestyle then it’s possible that would compensate for a decrease in healthcare quality.