I renovate senior homes in Florida for a living, so when I recently vacationed in Portugal, I was curious to find out how well senior U.S. expatriates lived there. The first thing I discovered is that the government has a 10-year tax-exemption deal for expat retirees in Portugal. No income tax will be deducted from their pensions for a ten-year period. That’s a pretty good deal if your pension is large enough to benefit from it. It’s no secret that Portugal is taking an economic beating right now, with credit rating downgrades, large amounts of debt and high unemployment. But that also means you can live very well there if you are getting a decent pension such as Social Security. Your pension acts as a buffer against the wild gyrations in the Portuguese economy. You will be able to find nice living arrangements for a low rent and have money left over to hire a housekeeper. Many Portuguese people will work for pennies to prevent starvation, so you can have a whole private staff for only a few dollars a day.
Another factor to consider is the language barrier. However, two factors are helping overcome this problem:
- · Many Portuguese are learning English so that they can get jobs with expats.
- · Many personal devices now offer spoken translation. If hears what people say and translates it in real time. Each year the technology gets better.
On the positive side of the ledger, Portugal offers many attractions:
· Food: Portuguese food is so delicious, especially if you like seafood and shellfish. Meat and vegetables are also terrific and inexpensive there. The cuisine is Mediterranean and very healthy. I especially liked the many different pork dishes I sampled. Even the best restaurants are very affordable and the service is first-rate. All of my waiters spoke flawless English. Also, authentic Port is half the price in Portugal as compared to U.S. prices. You can drink a bottle a night without worries.
· Golf: I think they have the best golf courses in Europe! I played every day and the populace is passionate about the sport. I found that greens fees and alike were much lower than in America.
· Climate: Nice if you like it hot, especially in the southern part of the country. That’s important because the coastline has beautiful beaches where you will want to spend a lot of your time.
· Healthcare: Much more enlightened and relaxed than in the U.S. You can get most medicines without a prescription.