Thinking about retiring in Europe? Consider these nine destinations.
Editor’s Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
In recent years, more seniors have been considering retirement abroad, and quite a few have actually made the move. In fact, the Social Security Administration lists more than 700,000 Americans receiving their monthly payments in various foreign countries. Retirees cite a number of reasons for spending their leisure years overseas.
Cost of living is a factor for many, but not all. A few popular retirement destinations in Europe have living expenses comparable to the U.S., but weather, ambience, culture, and environment are other influential components. With recent access to DNA testing and increased interest in learning about family roots, some retirees are intrigued by experiencing the culture of their ancestors. Others may have enjoyed vacations in Europe and want to spend more time there. And while many retirees head for tropical islands, budget-friendly countries, and nearby destinations, Europe has been attracting its fair share in recent decades.
Each country has different rules on visas and residency qualifications, but in general, most require evidence of a minimum income level and private health coverage. Many have restrictions on retirees having jobs or owning property, while others have provisions for both. Americans living abroad must still file a federal tax return, and some countries have treaties that prevent double taxation on retirees’ income. Keep in mind medicare does not pay for health care abroad, and some European countries allow legal residents to participate in national health programs.
With so many considerations, it’s advisable to obtain professional advice on taxes as well as research health care, visa and residency requirements, rental costs, infrastructure, and language. The U.S. State Department is an excellent resource for anyone considering retirement abroad.
To help, we’ve looked into some of the more popular European retirement destinations, but keep in mind that laws, politics, and financial requirements can change, so lots of research, planning, and extended visits will help with selecting a retirement home.