How to Retire in Turkey: Costs, Visas and More

How to Retire in Turkey: Costs, Visas and More – SmartAsset

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Turkey is filled to the brim with beautiful architecture, art and a melange of cultures that reaches back thousands of years. It’s home to artifacts from communities like the Hittites, Ancient Greeks, early Christians and Mongols, which fill this nation of some 82 million, with a rich sense of history. Lying as it does at a crossroads of Europe and Asia, visitors can see a unique blend of Western and Eastern influences. Its Mediterranean and Black Sea beaches are renowned for their beauty. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar extends across 58 covered streets hosting some 1,200 shops. If you’re considering retiring in Turkey, here’s an overview of some basic information you’ll need. A financial advisor can offer valuable guidance as you consider retiring abroad.

Cost of Living and Housing

It’s much less expensive to live in Turkey than it is to live in the U.S. Without accounting for rent, Turkey’s cost of living is 53.56% lower than in the U.S. on average, according to Numbeo, a cost-of-living database.

U.S. rent prices are 556.13% higher when stacked against those in Turkey, on average. To rent a one-bedroom apartment in a city center will run you around $215.26 in Turkey, whereas a comparable setup in the U.S. would run about $1,340.16. If you wanted to pursue purchasing an apartment in Turkey, you would find that the price per square foot in a city center is averaged out to $83.07. In comparison, the same square footage in a similar city location in the U.S. would cost about $328.96.

To further illustrate the contrast, we can compare Istanbul, Turkey’s most populated city, to the U.S.’s New York City. To maintain the same standard of life, you would need around $8,203.10 in New York, which contrasts starkly to the approximately $1,960.45 necessary in Istanbul, assuming you rent in both.

So, if you’re looking for a country to retire in with both affordable renting prices and lower property costs to make the most out of your savings, Turkey may be a solid option.

Retire in Turkey – Visas and Residence Permit

Turkey doesn’t have a visa specifically for retirement, so you have to apply for a residence permit instead. This requirement applies to anyone who intends to remain in the country more than three months. You’ll first have to apply for a short-term residence permit, and you must do so within a month of your arrival in Turkey. There is an online application you fill out at the Turkish Ministry of Interior’s website. Once you finish, it will prompt you to make an appointment with the nearest DGMM office to continue the process and pay the fee your visa requires.

A short-term residence permit is issued on a two-year basis. After you’ve lived in Turkey uninterrupted for eight years under your short-term visa, you can apply for a long-term residence permit. These extend indefinitely.

No matter what residence permit you are applying for, you will likely need to show proof that you possess adequate assets. This can shift whether or not you have dependents, but a single person is generally required to have the equivalent to a month’s worth of Turkish minimum wage. As of early 2021, that would be around $400.

Retire in Turkey – Healthcare

The World Health Organization ranking of national healthcare systems puts Turkey’s at 70th out of 191. The central government body responsible for healthcare and related policies is the Ministry of Health (MoH). There is also a private sector and university-based care; however, the MoH is the main body responsible for providing healthcare. You can expect the quality of healthcare in Turkey to vary between regions. Although it’s cheaper than some of its European neighbors, access is limited in more rural areas. You’re more likely to have high-quality care in major urban locations like Istanbul – as well as the ability to communicate with your healthcare providers in English. This increase in quality is why most expats choose to go to private medical facilities over public ones.

All residents under 65 must have either public or private health insurance. Expats who have resided in Turkey for over a year under their residence permit can apply to have public health insurance through the state-run Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (SGK). Expats usually choose to supplement this with private insurance (or just choose private) to cover additional fees at private facilities.

As Turkey has grown as a country and political entity, it has experienced a great deal of reform around its healthcare system. It likely will continue to experience further changes in the future.

Retire in Turkey – Taxes

Like many countries, residents and non-residents are subject to different taxes in Turkey. Residents pay taxes on their worldwide income, whereas non-residents only have to pay taxes on Turkish-sourced income. The country uses a progressive tax scale, ranging from 15% to 35%, depending on your income bracket.

Turkey does possess a tax treaty with the U.S., which can provide some relief. You will only have to pay into one country’s Social Security program as a result, which in Turkey is a 14% flat tax for employees. Otherwise, there are also tax exemptions that may allow you to pay less on your U.S. income taxes. One example is the foreign earned income exclusion, which lets you exclude the first (approximately) $100,000 for foreign earned income if you can prove your Turkish residency.

Retire in Turkey – Safety

Each expat’s experience is unique. Some may travel through Turkey and find they encounter little to no issues on a security level. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be cautious. The U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory warns travelers either visiting or moving through Turkey to be wary of both terrorism and arbitrary detentions. The advisory heavily suggests that you avoid the Sirnak and Hakkari provinces, which are in the southeastern part of the country, as well as any area within six miles of the Syrian border to avoid terrorist activity. The State Department’s most recent report on human rights practices in Turkey bears a close reading, especially sections 1 and 6.

Although you should speak with locals and enjoy the culture, you should also be wary of your surroundings and keep an eye on political developments. It is also advised that you don’t engage with political topics online either since that can still be a red flag.

The Takeaway

Turkey is still in the process of significant political change, making settling down difficult for the average retiree. That, along with terrorism concerns, may encourage you to look at other countries instead. However, Turkey has a strong sense of identity with a warm populace who wants to share their cultural. That sense of belonging, along with the country’s beautiful features and its low living costs, may make the challenges worth it to you.

Tips on Retiring

  • Finding the right financial advisor who can help address your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you up with local financial advisors in as little as five minutes. If you’re ready to be meet with advisors in your area that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Planning your retirement comes with its challenges, especially if you intend to move abroad. While Turkey may have low living costs, there still may be other financial burdens you have to address. To get an idea of what to expect, stop by our retirement calculator.

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Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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How to Retire in Barbados: Costs, Visas and More

How to Retire in Barbados: Costs, Visas and More – SmartAsset

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An island in the West Indies, Barbados is a jewel of the Caribbean. Its turquoise waters and golden beaches are a perfect match to many people’s idealized days in the sun that they hope is waiting at the end of their working life. While this commonwealth country, where English is the official language, does have good reason to boast, you may wonder whether it’s right for you to retire in Barbados. Before contacting your financial planner to see if your finances are in order for the move, here are a few matters to consider first.

Cost of Living and Housing

Barbados’s cost of living tends to run a little higher than the U.S.’s on average, according to Numbeo, a cost-of-living database. At 12.24% above the U.S.’s average, without taking into account rent, the difference is not as significant as some other percentages found between the two.

For example, although Barbados has a higher cost of living, it has a much lower rent average. In comparison to the U.S., Barbados’s rent is generally 48.53% lower. You’ll find that renting is the cheaper way of living in Barbados, with a single-bedroom apartment in a city center at about $654.55. However, purchasing is a different story. At about $3,087.21 per square meter to buy an apartment in the same setting, it’s in the same price range as the U.S. There, it’s around $3,533.12 per square meter.

So, if you’re looking to stretch your retirement funds further, it makes more sense to pursue renting Barbados rather than purchasing a property.

Retire in Barbados – Visas and Residence Permit

For those who want to retire in Barbados, the process is relatively simple. Individuals over 60 with sufficient funds to support themselves can apply for immigrant status. After living in the country for five years, those people can then apply for permanent residence. You’ll have application and approval fees, in this case, $300 and $1,200, respectively.

Another option open to retirees is a special entry permit (SEP). This permit is offered to retired property owners and allows them to visit the island and leave as they please. The main requirements include owning Barbados real estate valued at $150,000 or higher and health insurance coverage. The latter’s value depends on the person’s age; below 50 has to have $350,000, and over 50 has to have $500,000 worth of coverage.

There are flat fees to cover for the SEP. It’s $5,000 for those below 50 and above 60 with $3,500 for those in between 50 and 60. Once you hit 60, this permit is indefinite, but you must renew it until then.

Retire in Barbados – Healthcare

Barbados enjoys a high standard of living and, thus, its people’s health is overall quite good. Its healthcare system is even viewed as among the best in the Caribbean. However, if you’re not a Bajan (as citizens of Barbados are sometimes called), you are not included under the island’s universal healthcare system. Therefore, if you’re an expat looking to retire in Barbados, you should ensure that you have private health insurance. Otherwise, numerous travelers and potential residents seek out the U.S. for treatment instead.

This outsourcing is also partially due to the difficulty in accessing professional care, such as rehab services. Otherwise, you’ll generally find four types of institutions: hospitals, both private and public; polyclinics; alternative healthcare clinics; and somewhat specialized hospitals, such as the five geriatric hospitals on the island.

Retire in Barbados – Taxes

After you spend 182 days of one year in Barbados, you are considered a resident. So, it’s important to know the tax distinctions between resident and non-resident status. Residents must pay taxes on their worldwide income, or the income they earn both inside and outside Barbados. In contrast, non-residents only pay taxes on income earned in Barbados.

For residents, they must file their income taxes on a minimum threshold of BBD50,000, or approximately $24,786. Incomes up to and including BBD50,000 incurs a 12.5% tax rate, while going over that amount leads to 28.5%. Residents are ensured a basic personal allowance of BBD25,000 ($12,500) and BBD40,000 ($20,000) for pensioners older than 60.

Non-residents receive the same tax rates. However, it’s important to note that even if you live outside the country, you must file taxes with the U.S. as an expat as well. Barbados and the U.S. have a tax treaty that can offer benefits and help ease the burden. There are also opportunities for U.S. expats through the foreign earned income exclusion and foreign tax credits to avoid double taxation on their Barbados earned income.

Retire in Barbados – Safety

While U.S. expats are not specific targets of crime in Barbados, they are still susceptible to crimes of opportunity and violence. Theft, such as burglary and gun violence, among other crimes, exist in Barbados. So, it is essential to remain vigilant, to avoid walking alone, particularly at night, and to know who you’re with at all times.

In particular, the U.S. Department of State advises against traveling through specific areas on the island to avoid these dangerous interactions. Areas to avoid include Crab Hill, Nelson and Wellington Streets and general nighttime party cruises.

Be cautious about which activities you enjoy, such as water sports or tourist events. This advisement comes more from a practical, safety concern than a pointed targeting of tourists, though. So, keep your wits about you.

The Takeaway

Barbados is the island of dreams for some retirees. Thanks to the prominent U.S. community as well as an English-speaking citizenry, there’s less of a culture shock to shake you up. There is also the gorgeous weather, a location out of most hurricanes’ paths and the relative ease in becoming a resident. However, before you start to plan out your future on this island, it’s best to speak with a trusted financial advisor. Such a person can lay out the commonwealth’s tax and healthcare systems and help you determine whether the high purchasing price of property is in line with your long-term goals.

Tips for Achieving Your Retirement Goals

  • Finding the most suitable financial advisor for your needs doesn’t have to be complicated. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with local financial advisors in as little as five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with your financial advisor, who will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Barbados may not have a high cost of living compared to the U.S., but the difference could still affect your finances. To see  if your finances will support this, try our retirement calculator. Just put in a few details about where you want to retire, when you want to retire and the value of your current savings.

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Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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How to Retire in South Africa: Costs, Visas and More

How to Retire in South Africa – SmartAsset

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Home to both lively landscapes and a highly diverse and fascinating culture, South Africa stands out as a place of opportunity for many potential retirees. Bask in a glowing sun while out on the golf course or relax in the shade on a beach. If you are a foodie or oenophile, you can enjoy this country’s culinary treats and excellent wines. Between all the things to do and see, this southernmost African nation, where English is widely spoken, can sound like a dream. So, if you’re considering how to retire in South Africa here are a few areas to look into first. A financial advisor can help you determine if your U.S.-based assets will cover expenses in the Rainbow Nation.

Cost of Living and Housing

A common draw for U.S. expats when selecting a country to settle down in is a low cost of living, and South Africa tends to suit that criteria. Generally, its cost of living is 41.77% lower than that in the U.S., with rent 60.88% lower on average as well.

According to Numbeo, one of the largest cost-of-living databases, these averages stay relatively consistent across the country’s most important cities. Whether you examine one of its three capital cities, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town, or its most populated urban location, Johannesburg, both the average cost of living and rent remain low.

For example, Johannesburg’s cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in a city center averages around $470.22, and the price to purchase an apartment, by foot, in the same location is $92.53. According to World Population Review, Johannesburg’s 2021 population sits around 5,926,668. A comparable city is the U.S.’s New York City with 8,622,357. The cost of living in comparison to New York is less than half at 54.59%. For example, the average single bedroom in New York City is $3,269.65 for rent and $1,515.09 per square foot to purchase.

So, if your ideal retirement location has lower-cost housing, regardless of whether you want to rent or buy property, South Africa may be a suitable location.

Retire in South Africa – Visas and Residence Permit

While South African does have a visa that foreign nationals can apply for in the hopes of retiring there, there is no set age range for such a visa. Anyone of any age can apply for the retired persons’ visa as long as they meet other requirements.

It’s important to note that none of these rules concern working in South Africa. Generally, to retire in a foreign country and obtain a retirement visa, work is barred from the applicant. They have to have a sustainable pension to support them instead. However, while you still must prove a set amount of assets or funds, you are free to work.

Retirees tend to take two routes when retiring in South Africa: a retired permit or an independent financial person permit. The main difference between the two is that the retired permit allows for a temporary residency basis. A retired visa for a temporary residence is valid for up to four years and asks for a minimum income per month or year to be proven. Similarly, a retired permit application for permanent status asks for an increased minimum monthly income. Still, it lasts forever as long as the holder visits South Africa once every three years.

Lastly, the independent permit requires a minimum net worth of about $800,000 at time of writing and fee of about $8,000 at time of writing, but it has the same lifespan as the retired permit.

Retire in South Africa – Healthcare

The majority of South Africa’s hospitals are public, which tend to be overcrowded and under-resourced. They often have issues you would expect from an overburdened staff, including a need for updated equipment.

Expats are more likely to find excellent healthcare through the country’s private hospitals and practitioners, which can mostly be found in major urban areas. There, you’ll find several well-established, nationwide hospital chains that offer a high standard of care. You also won’t run into the issue of non-English speaking staff at these hospitals. However, their services are expensive. While South Africa’s Bill of Rights demands healthcare for all, it is based on a sliding scale. Typically, expats are put into a category that forces them to pay for healthcare out of pocket, so it’s a better idea to have private health insurance.

Retire in South Africa – Taxes

South Africa experiences extreme income inequality. The Gini coefficient, the standard index to measure inequality, of the country is 0.58 – one of, if not the, highest among any nation. South Africa, as a result of this and historical instability, is only just beginning to recover. However, because of this wealth disparity, personal income tax and most forms of revenue are only collected from a small percentage of the population.

South Africa’s personal income tax rates for residents are progressive and range from 18% to 45%, depending on your income bracket. Non-residents are only subject to taxes on income made from South African sources. The country defines a resident as someone present in the country for more than 91 days during the current and preceding five years.

It’s important to keep in mind that the U.S. requires all of its citizens to file taxes regardless of where they currently are in the world.

Retire in South Africa – Safety

The U.S. Department of State warns its citizens that South Africa is a location that experiences crime and civil unrest. More than the petty theft you may find in a travel advisory, South Africa experiences violent crimes, such as rape and mugging, which generally only occur at a higher frequency in central urban locations after dark. It’s also possible to find a demonstration or protest that has devolved into violence, disturbing the area and its traffic in the process.

On a lower level, some crimes, such as scams, also call for caution. It’s essential to be careful with your money, where you walk (especially at night) and keep your wits about you when interacting with things such as ATMs. Some are tampered with to obtain your cards and information.

The Takeaway

South Africa offers many potential benefits to the average retiree. It’s a naturally beautiful country that hosts a number of exciting sights and events to keep anyone entertained. Not only that, it’s a low-cost option in comparison to many countries and doesn’t put as many regulations in place for its retired foreign-born residents. There are legitimate safety concerns for the average tourist and a healthcare system that needs fine-tuning. Depending on your preferences for your retirement, the benefits may outweigh the difficulties or vice versa.

Tips for Achieving Your Retirement Goals

  • Finding the right financial advisor who can help you towards your goals shouldn’t be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool pairs you with financial advisors in your area in as little as five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with your local advisor, get started now.
  • Retiring can come with all sorts of unexpected costs and obstacles. This is true even when you’re looking at a low cost of living country like South Africa. To prepare yourself, stop by our retirement calculator. All you have to do is input a few details about where you want to retire, when you want to retire and the value of your savings.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Byelikova_Oksana, ©iStock.com/ManoAfrica, ©iStock.com/Picture_Perfect

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.

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How to Retire in the Netherlands: Costs, Visas and More

How to Retire in the Netherlands – SmartAsset

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With just under 4,000 retired Americans getting Social Security benefits in the Netherlands at the end of 2019, this Western European country may not stand out as an obvious choice for retirement among some of its neighboring countries, but its high standard of living, universal health system and centuries of rich traditions, culture and food could make this the ideal retirement place for you.

If you want to retire in the Netherlands, a financial advisor can help you create a retirement plan to reach all of your goals and needs. 

Cost of Living and Housing

The cost of living database Numbeo says that consumer prices in the Netherlands are 9.9% higher than the U.S., when you exclude rent. And if you compare the overall cost of rent between both countries, American retirees can save a small amount — the Netherlands is 4.19% cheaper than in the U.S. But when you compare rents between specific cities, your Social Security dollars could go in some cases a lot further in this Western European country than in the U.S.

For a specific comparison, let’s take a look at Amsterdam, which has just over 1.1 million people. Average rent in the Dutch capital is 41% lower than in New York City. A one-bedroom apartment in Amsterdam’s city center averages $1,932.64, while a similar apartment in the Big Apple could cost you $3,269.65.

If you want to compare the average cost of rent in Amsterdam with other U.S. cities, the Dutch capital is 19.72% cheaper than in Los Angeles and 2.32% lower than Miami. However, Amsterdam rent is 3.54% higher than in Chicago, 41.80% higher than in Houston and 53.65% higher than in Phoenix.

So while the Netherlands may not be as affordable as other European countries, it may still be a reasonable choice depending on your financial options.

Retire in the Netherlands: Visas and Residence Permit

The Netherlands, like other European countries, is part of the Schengen Agreement, which means that American retirees are allowed visa-free entry into the Dutch country as tourists or for business purposes up to 90 days. If you plan on a longer residency, you will have to apply for a permit. Requirements will differ, depending on the reason for your stay. However, you should note the Netherlands has no specific option for retirees. So your pension income needs to be sustainable.

You can apply to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) for your residence permit once you have arrived in the Netherlands. In some cases, you will need a sponsor, such as an employer or partner, who will also need to submit an application (TEV). Once the IND approves your permit, it will be valid for up to five years.

Retire in the Netherlands: Healthcare

Universal healthcare is mandatory in the Netherlands — the country’s system makes health insurance compulsory for all residents, and expats are no exception to this rule. So American retirees who are permanent residents living in the Dutch country for more than three months will have to purchase private insurance. And to do so, you’ll need to register with your local council and receive a service number (BSN).

The basic insurance plan costs between $121 to $146 out of pocket, which will then become a monthly recurring payment. The government also reviews the mandatory deductible account and adjusts it yearly when needed. For example, in 2019, this amount was $493. In addition, consumers can pay a voluntary deductible on top of the mandatory payment in exchange for a lower monthly premium.

Retire in the Netherlands: Taxes

If you are earning money in the Netherlands, then that income is subject to taxes. Those employed by a company will have the amount automatically deducted from their salary through a wage tax. But if you are self-employed, you will have to calculate and pay your income tax on the annual tax return.

The Dutch tax office divides income tax into three categories based on income bracket, worldwide income, individual gross salary and pensionable age. Non-residents are only subject to a tax on the income they earn from sources in the Netherlands.

Beyond the Netherlands, you should keep in mind that American citizens are still required to file tax returns with the U.S. government, independently from where they reside. However, expatriates in the Netherlands could get some relief thanks to a tax treaty between both countries that eliminates double taxation. On top of that, expats can also benefit from the 30% ruling. This policy allows employers to pay their foreign-born workers 30% of their income tax-free continuing for up to 10 years.

Retire in the Netherlands: Safety

While the Netherlands can be picturesque from the windmills to the tulips, general safety precautions are advised, as in other countries, to safeguard against crimes that could target tourists and other expats.

The U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisory says that the Netherlands is a low-crime threat, but puts the Dutch country at a Level 2 due to possible terrorism threats. The Netherlands raised its own threat level as well in 2019 and put forth counterterrorism measures to address the situation.

But while individuals are urged to exercise caution, the average traveler in the Dutch country has a generally safe experience, even in major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.

Bottom Line

While the high standard of living in the Netherlands could be challenging for budget-savvy retirees, the Dutch country’s universal health system and rich culture could make it the ideal retirement place for you.

Tips on Affording Retirement

  • If you want to retire in the Netherlands or any other country, a financial advisor can walk you through all the steps that you’ll need to take for a comfortable retirement abroad. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with local financial advisors in your area within five minutes. If you’re ready to speak with an advisor that will help you hit your financial goals, get started now.
  • The Netherlands is one of the more challenging European nations to rely on your Social Security benefits alone. SmartAsset’s Social Security calculator can help estimate your benefit amount and compare it with the costs of living that you will have to pay during retirement.
  • Whether you want to retire comfortably abroad or in the U.S., both an IRA or a 401(k) plan will offer you tax benefits, and help you grow your retirement savings with compound interest.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Budanatr, ©iStock.com/Madkruben, ©iStock.com/Yasonya

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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How to Retire in Taiwan: Costs, Visas and More

How to Retire in Taiwan: Costs, Visas and More – SmartAsset

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The Republic of Taiwan is an attractive place to live due to its island setting and metropolitan feel. This island nation is known for having the highest concentration of mountains globally, and the food in Taiwan has made its way around the world. For example, bubble milk tea has become an international delight. If you are considering international retirement, there are a number of factors to consider so it’s wise to work with a financial advisor. They will help you navigate the intricacies involved with moving abroad.

Cost of Living and Housing in Taiwan

The cost of living in Taiwan is similar to the U.S. According to Numbeo, a cost-of-living data base, consumer prices in Taiwan are 12% lower than in the U.S., not counting rent or purchasing a home.

When it comes to renting, Taiwan is still significantly cheaper than in the U.S. In the average city center in America, a one-bedroom apartment costs an average of $1,346 per month. In Taiwan, the same apartment costs about $485 per month. If you were to choose a three-bedroom apartment, it would cost $2,156 in the U.S. and $1,132 in Taiwan.

However, if you want to purchase an apartment in Taiwan, it is significantly more expensive than in the U.S. An apartment in a city center in the U.S. will cost an average of $292 per square foot, according to Numbeo. In Taiwan, it costs an average of $761 per square foot to purchase an apartment in a city center.

Retire in Taiwan – Visas

Taiwan does not offer a retirement visa like some other southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand. However, foreigners who want to settle in Taiwan long term can apply for one of several non-retirement visas.

If you want to do a series of mini-retirements in Taiwan, you can get a tourism visa for 90 days at a time. You can then exit the country and re-enter later to receive another 90-day visa.

If you want to stay for longer, there are foreign investor visas and business visas that you can apply for. To do this, you must either invest a set amount in the country or work for a Taiwan-based company.

Finally, spouses of Taiwanese citizens can get residency in Taiwan. Additionally, spouses of Taiwanese citizens can work in the country legally.

Regardless of the visa option you choose, it is wise to work with a local immigration lawyer in Taiwan to ensure that your paperwork is filled out correctly. Additionally, they will be able to help you navigate the intricacies of the language and local customs.

Retire in Taiwan – Healthcare

Taiwan ranks 11th globally in the healthcare efficiency index of Knoema.com, and Numbeo ranks the nation’s healthcare system as the best in the world. Consider its record in handling COVID 19: as of early December 2020 it had 716 cases and seven deaths among a population of 23.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Taiwan has a national health insurance (NHI) system that was introduced in 1995. All citizens are enrolled in the system, and the government administers it. A legal resident of is eligible for the NHI program. It includes coverage for inpatient and outpatient care, prescription drugs, dental care (excluding orthodontics and prosthodontics) and more. For those employed in Taiwan, they can apply through their employer. Simultaneously, those who are resident retirees can find enrollment information on the Bureau of National Health Insurance website.

Taiwan doesn’t offer free healthcare for expats, but payments will come in the form of copayments. Usually, you can expect to pay 10% to 20% of treatment. You may also have to pay out-of-pocket costs if you choose any other healthcare treatment outside of the NHI coverage.

Therefore, to fill the coverage gap, you may have to purchase private Taiwan expat healthcare insurance. Additionally, it can take a few months to complete the NHI registration, so during this time, you may also need private insurance to make sure you have coverage if the worst-case scenario happens.

In Taiwan, there are many different private insurance options available. It’s wise to consult with an experienced insurance broker such as Pacific Prime which can help you assess your suitable options. Healthcare in the U.S. spending per capita (public and private) is higher than in any country in the world. That said, private healthcare in Taiwan might still be expensive but may cost less than what you would see in the U.S. for private insurance.

Also, pharmacies are widely available in Taiwan, and several are open 24 hours per day. Medicine is typically less expensive in Taiwan than in the U.S.

Retire in Taiwan – Taxes

If you earn an income in Taiwan, you will be required to pay taxes. This is important to remember if you are in Taiwan on a business residency visa. Taiwan tax rates vary between 5% and 40%. The 40% tax bracket applies to residents who make over $160,422.15 annually. But, if you lived in the U.S. and made between$163,301 to $207,350, your tax bracket would be 32%, saving you eight percentage points.

The sales tax in Taiwan is 5%. Also, for residents who get over $9,558.98 in interest from investments, it will be treated as excess income which will be taxed between 5% and 40%. But, this interest must be sourced from Taiwan specifically. As for the U.S., capital gains taxes range between 0% and 20%, depending on your income.

If you are an expat living abroad, you will also be required to file a tax return in the U.S. It is crucial to work with a tax specialist that understands the tax systems both in Taiwan and the U.S. to help you find tax exemptions and avoid being taxed twice on your income.

Retire in Taiwan – Safety

Taiwan is generally regarded as a safe country. According to the U.S. Department of State, Taiwan is a low-threat location for crime. Also, Taipei is ranked as one of the safest cities in the world by SafeAround. There is little violent crime in Taiwan against foreigners recorded. As in any large city, expats should take precautions in Taipei. It’s important to note, that pick-pocketing can be a problem in crowded areas.

Additionally, if you plan to spend your Taiwanese retirement hiking and enjoying all the outdoor activities that Taiwan has to offer, it is wise to take precautions and know where the nearest medical facilities are in case of an accident.

The Takeaway

Taiwan is an excellent place to retire. It has beautiful beaches, mountains, cities and towns. Healthcare is excellent, and public safety is rarely a problem. The most challenging part about making a move to Taiwan is deciding which visa is best for you. Therefore, you may want to work directly with an immigration attorney and a financial advisor to help you understand what your legal and financial options are to make a Taiwanese retirement a reality.

Tips on Retiring Abroad

  • Consider talking to an experienced financial advisor who can help you understand the finer points of relocating, including the tax implications. Finding the right financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area quickly. If you’re ready, get started now.
  • Taiwan’s cost of living rivals that in the United States. It is possible to retire comfortably on Social Security retirement benefits and a pension, and for some people Social Security may cover all their costs. Use a Social Security Calculator to see what you can expect to receive in retirement.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/f11photo, ©iStock.com/zorazhuang, ©iStock.com/Gins Wang

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.

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How to Retire in Denmark: Costs, Visas and More

How to Retire in Denmark: Costs, Visas and More | SmartAsset.com

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If happiness is contagious, think about retiring in Denmark. Danes are routinely held to be some of the world’s happiest. Indeed two of the top five cities in a global survey of happiest cities occupy this tiny Scandinavian nation. Perhaps that’s due to the country’s generous social safety net. Or maybe it’s Danish devotion to outdoor recreation and culture. Children’s book author Hans Christian Andersen, composer Carl Nielsen, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki and some of the world’s most avid sailors all hail from Denmark. Its capital, Copenhagen, is the most bike-friendly city in the world and home to the second-oldest continuously operating amusement park, the 177-year-old Tivoli Gardens. Here’s what you need to know about visas, healthcare and cost of living in this nation of some 6 million, virtually all of whom speak English.

Cost of Living and Housing in Denmark

Like its neighbors, Denmark is generally more expensive than the U.S. Consumer prices are 28% higher than in the U.S., according to Numbeo, a cost-of-living database. However, the cost of renting is lower than in the U.S., but purchasing a home may prove to be more expensive depending on where you choose to live.

You could expect to pay about $3,415 per month to rent a one-bedroom apartment in central New York City and about $2,000 for a one-bedroom outside of Manhattan. In Copenhagen, a one-bedroom apartment costs about $1,671 per month in the city center and about $1,302 outside the center. If you want a bit more space, a three-bedroom apartment in central Copenhagen costs about $2,930 per month and about $2,218 per month outside the city center.

If you want to purchase an apartment in Denmark, the average cost is about $551 per square foot. In central Copenhagen, an apartment costs about $727 per square foot. Outside of the city center, you can expect to pay about $510 per square foot.

Retire in Denmark – Visas and Residence Permit

If you plan to retire in Denmark, you’ll need more than just a tourist visa. If you plan to stay in Denmark for more than three months, you’ll be required to get a long-term visa. Denmark does not offer a retirement visa, so you will have to get a student visa, a worker visa or be a Danish citizen’s partner.

The most common option for American retirees is the worker or partner visa, the latter of which is relatively straightforward. If you are married to or in a long-term partnership with a Danish citizen, they can sponsor your visa.

If you want to work in Denmark, you must apply for a residence and work permit in Denmark. You must have a company that is willing to sponsor you and provide information on your work and personal history to be considered for a visa. You can find all the requirements on the New to Denmark website.

Retire in Denmark – Healthcare

The World Health Organization ranks Denmark’s healthcare system as the 34th best in the world (out of a total of 191 countries), which is slightly better than America’s rank of 37. The World Population Review ranks the health of Danes as the 23rd best in the world.

The healthcare system in Denmark is universal and decentralized. The government provides money from tax revenues to all the regions and municipalities to ensure that health services are delivered throughout the country. Therefore, non-taxpayers are not automatically enrolled in the system and must pay with private insurance or out of pocket.

Denmark has a social healthcare scheme called the Danish Health Security Act. It covers foreign nationals who stay in Denmark for over three months, provided they are registered with Citizens’ Services and have a CPR (Det Centrale Personregister) number. If a person is not yet covered or does not have access to a CPR number due to their visa status, the Danish healthcare system will still see them if they have health insurance in their country or can cover their healthcare costs.

Retire in Denmark – Taxes

If you can get a work or partner visa in Denmark, you will be taxed on your income from Denmark sources. Your tax rate will range from 8% to 56%, depending on your income.

Denmark also has a sales tax on items that can reach 25%. This is known as a value added tax (VAT). Additionally, capital gains taxes on investments in Denmark can be taxed between 27% and 42% of the gains, including bought and sold properties at a higher value. This is higher than most taxes in the U.S.

Additionally, American citizens are required to file expatriate tax returns annually. Your income earned in Denmark may be subject to tax, so be sure to work closely with an accountant or other financial professional to learn about the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and other potential tax credits.

Retire in Denmark – Safety

In a global analysis of nations in which residents felt safe walking home, Denmark got the fifth highest score. And in the same study’s Law and Order Survey, Denmark got the sixth highest score. According to the U.S. Department of State, Copenhagen is a medium-threat location for crime.

Not only is crime significantly lower than in the U.S., but the superior public healthcare system is also widespread. Therefore, if someone is injured in physical activity or otherwise, excellent healthcare will always be available to citizens and foreign nationals.

The Takeaway

Denmark checks a lot of boxes for outsiders seeking a retirement home. The social safety net is about as strong as exists anywhere. Expats will find the country safe, civilized and full of encouragements to ride a bike, enjoy a beach, hike a centuries-old path through a conifer forest or hunker down on a cold evening to savor hot mulled wine – all with some of the world’s happiest people. They might even help you pronounce difficult Danish phrases (try saying “red porridge” in their language). The combined effect of these distinctly Danish pleasures is sometimes called “hygge,” a term that evokes international admiration.

Tips on Affording Retirement

  • Consider talking to a financial advisor about retiring overseas. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors to help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Retiring in Denmark has many intricacies. In general it’s more expensive than the U.S. But your Social Security and, if you have it, a pension could cover the costs. You can estimate your benefit amount with this Social Security calculator.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/scanrail, ©iStock.com/pixdeluxe, ©iStock.com/Westersoe

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.

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How to Retire in Slovenia: Costs, Visas and More

How to Retire in Slovenia: Costs, Visas and More – SmartAsset

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Slovenia, a country known for its castles and caves as well as a high number of bee-keeping aficionados, shares borders with Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary. While it isn’t one of the most popular retirement destinations, this predominantly Roman Catholic nation of some 2 million has a lot to offer expatriates looking for a quiet retirement, either along the shores of the Adriatic Sea, in the mountains or in one of its cities. If you’re wondering how to retire in this central European country, consider working with a financial advisor who understands your goals of retiring abroad.

Cost of Living and Housing in Slovenia

Slovenia is generally less expensive than the U.S. For example, according to Numbeo, a cost-of-living data base, consumer prices in the U.S. are about 20% higher than in Slovenia, and rent prices are on average 117% higher in the U.S. Therefore, your retirement budget may stretch a lot further in Slovenia than in the U.S.

Ljubljana is one of the most popular cities in Slovenia for retirees. If you choose to live in Ljubljana, you can expect a one-bedroom apartment in the city center to cost about $718 per month. If you want to live outside the center, the same apartment will cost about $557 per month. In contrast, a one-bedroom in New York City will cost between $2,000 and $3,500 per month, depending on where you choose to live in the city. A three-bedroom apartment in central Ljubljana costs about $1,321 per month, and outside of the city center, a three-bedroom costs $984 per month on average.

If you want to purchase an apartment in Slovenia, you can expect to pay about $413 per square foot in central Ljubljana and $314 outside of the city center. In comparison, apartments in central New York City sell for about $1,589 per square foot.

Retire in Slovenia – Visas and Residence Permits

Slovenia does not have a designated retirement visa for non-EU citizens. However, U.S. citizens can get a one-year temporary residence permit to Slovenia before leaving home. This permit is renewable annually, and after five years of living in Slovenia with the temporary residence permit, you can apply for permanent residency.

To apply for the temporary residence visa, you must prove that you have a monthly income equal to Slovenia’s basic monthly income. This amount changes but is currently around $1,000 per month. You will also be required to submit a copy of your bank statements among other financial documents. You can apply for your temporary residence visa via the Slovene embassy or the Slovene Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Retire in Slovenia – Healthcare

As part of the European Union, Slovenia has good healthcare. Numbeo ranks it No. 46 out of 93 countries, and Photius ranks it at No. 38. Slovenia has a public healthcare system and includes private healthcare and physician access as part of public health insurance. All residents of Slovenia who pay taxes are covered by the country’s compulsory health insurance scheme. The public health scheme also covers retirees. Many people choose to purchase private health insurance to cover visits to private physicians and pharmacies.

The cost of health insurance will vary but typically costs less than $300 per month. Visits to doctors are typically fully covered by insurance, and prescriptions are available at about 10% of the cost of prescriptions in the U.S., depending on the drug.

Retire in Slovenia – Taxes

Slovenian residents are taxed on their global income. Income taxes range from 16% to 50%, depending on a person’s income. Capital gains tax is 25% in Slovenia. Therefore, if you earn an income in Slovenia or buy and sell assets, you will be taxed.

To avoid being taxed in both Slovenia and the U.S., you should work with an accountant or financial professional that understands both countries’ tax codes. This will help you prevent being taxed by both governments on your retirement income.

Retire in Slovenia – Safety

Slovenia is among the safest countries in the world. The 2020 Gallup Law and Order report says there are only four other countries in which people feel safer walking alone. It also got the sixth highest score in Gallup’s 2020 Law and Order Index. According to the U.S. Department of State, the capital city of Ljubljana is a low-threat location for crime. Although many travelers don’t encounter crime, popular tourist locations can experience non-violent petty crime.

It’s important to note; crimes can take place anywhere. But, travel throughout Slovenia is safe, and there are no areas you should avoid when touring.

The superior healthcare system makes Slovenia a safe country to retire to as access to quality medical attention is readily available.

The Takeaway

Slovenia is a beautiful and safe country to spend your retirement. Although Slovenian is the main language spoken in this country, many people, especially younger people and urban residents, can speak English, too. The taxes in Slovenia are similar to those in the U.S., but the cost of living is significantly lower. Therefore, you can live a similar lifestyle as you would in the U.S. at a much lower cost.

Tips on Affording Retirement

  • It can be challenging to plan your retirement, especially if you would like to move abroad. A financial advisor can also help you understand the finer points of relocating, including the tax implications. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors to help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • The minimum monthly income required to retire in Slovenia is about $1,000 per month. For many people, this is equal to or less than their monthly Social Security benefit. You can estimate your benefit amount with this Social Security calculator.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Ababsolutum, ©iStock.com/Alenka Vujkovac, ©iStock.com/MikeMareen

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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How to Retire in Brazil: Costs, Visas and More

How to Retire in Brazil: Costs, Visas and More – SmartAsset

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Brazil, which has a population of some 213 million, is known for its passionate and fun-loving people, beautiful beaches and pristine rain forests that are home to an array of fauna and flora. Portuguese is the national language, and proficiency in English is rare, especially outside the main cities. Americans will find the cost of living favorable, and in some cases, one’s Social Security check may be enough to live on. The right financial advisor can help you plan for your Brazilian retirement as well as help you navigate some of the tax laws and other implications of moving abroad. Here’s what you need to know about South America’s largest nation.

Cost of Living and Housing in Brazil

According to Numbeo, a cost-of-living database, Brazil’s consumer prices are about 54% lower than in the U.S., and rent prices in Brazil are about 80% lower than in the U.S.

The most popular destination for retirees in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro. If you were to rent a one-bedroom apartment in central Rio de Janeiro, you could expect to pay about $325 per month. If you chose to get a three-bedroom apartment in the same area, you could expect to pay about $675 per month. By contrast, in central New York City, a one-bedroom apartment costs about $3,416 per month and a three-bedroom apartment goes for about $6,600 per month.

However, if you didn’t want to live in the city center, housing in Rio is still significantly cheaper than in the U.S. A one-bedroom outside of the city center costs about $237 per month, and a three-bedroom costs about $675 per month. In contrast, a one-bedroom outside of central New York City costs about $2,006 per month, and a three-bedroom in the same area costs about $3,482 per month.

Retire in Brazil – Visas and Residence Permit

Americans can retire to Brazil on a retiree visa. To obtain a retirement visa, you must be over age 60 and have a pension that earns at least $2,000 per month. To apply for the retirement visa, you must apply at least four to eight weeks before arriving in Brazil. You must apply through a consulate general office or the Brazilian embassy and provide several personal documents, including a copy of your birth certificate.

You can find more information on the website of the Brazilian Consulate General.

Retire in Brazil – Healthcare

Brazil runs a universal healthcare system that is administered by cities and states and funded by local, state and federal taxes. Healthcare, including primary, outpatient specialty, mental health and hospital care, as well as prescription drug coverage, is available to anyone who is legally in Brazil, including people living there on retiree visas. Although universal and free, wait times to access care can be very long. And the quality of care is not highly regarded: The World Health Organization ranks the nation’s healthcare system as 125 out of 191 nations.

Private hospitals can be found in all major cities and are significantly less expensive than in the U.S. For example, private insurance costs up to $250 per person and covers physicals, medicine and hospitalization.

Retire in Brazil – Taxes

All Brazilian residents are required to pay taxes. Income taxes on global income are taxed at a progressive rate that maxes out at 27.5%. In the U.S., depending on how much you earn, you may pay up to 37% of taxes. However, pensions are often taxed differently.

Sales tax in Brazil is up to 17%. This is compared with the U.S. tax rate of 7.25%, so sales taxes are significantly higher in Brazil.

All American citizens must file taxes each year. It is wise to work with a tax professional or other financial professional to ensure that your pension earnings are not taxed in both the U.S. and Brazil.

Retire in Brazil – Safety

From petty theft to violent crime, Brazil has a problem with personal safety, especially in the country’s larger cities such as Rio de Janeiro. According to the Gallup Law and Order 2020 Report, Brazil is a country in which people feel least safe walking alone. Likewise, the U.S. Department of State assessed a critical-threat location for crime. It’s crucial to exercise extreme caution in December and January. During the holiday season, Brazil experiences crime increases because of Brazil’s prison furloughs when prisoners are allowed to leave during the holidays.

So, when visiting or living in Brazil, it is wise to travel with a partner. This is especially true at night. It’s also wise to avoid high-risk areas. Brazil’s neighbors, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia and Guyana, are known for having high crime rates. These crimes do cross borders and include illegal drug trade and personal crime. Therefore, it is advised that people avoid border areas.

The Takeaway

Brazil is a beautiful country full of people ready to welcome American retirees. Its people are ranked as the 32nd most happy in the world, according to the World Happiness Report. It is much less expensive than the U.S., which helps explain why it is such a popular place for foreigners to retire in. Violent crime is a problem in the largest cities. It is recommended to visit the nation several times before making a final decision to settle down.

Tips to Help You Afford Retirement

  • A financial advisor can help you understand the finer points of relocating, including the tax implications. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors to help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Because Brazil is so inexpensive, you can retire comfortably on a little more than the average Social Security benefit. You can estimate your benefit amount with this Social Security calculator.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/zxvisual, ©iStock.com/TK, ©iStock.com/Global_Pics

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.

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How to Retire in Austria: Costs, Visas and More

How to Retire in Austria: Costs, Visas and More – SmartAsset

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From Oktoberfest to the Salzburg Summer Festival, Austria seems to have festivities year-round. This German-speaking nation of some 9 million has a rich cultural heritage and can boast of such fabled composers as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, among others, as former residents. Citizens and visitors also come to Austria for the Alps, which offer some of the best snow skiing in the world. As you weigh whether to retire in Austria consider working with a financial planner to make sure you can afford it and handle your taxes in the most efficient way possible.

Cost of Living and Housing in Austria

The cost of living and housing in Austria is very similar to the U.S. In general, consumer prices are 6% higher in Austria, according to Numbeo, a cost-of-living database.

However, rent prices in the U.S. are about 44% higher, on average, than in Austria, so your housing costs could be significantly lower if you decide to live in Austria. Compare rental costs in Vienna and New York City: If you choose to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of New York, you will likely pay about $3,415 per month. The same apartment in the heart of Vienna costs about $1,089 per month. A three-bedroom in the heart of New York City costs about $6,610 per month, and the same apartment in Vienna costs about $1,969 per month.

If you choose to purchase an apartment in Vienna, you can expect to pay about $845 per square foot in the city center. The cost outside of the city center is about $504 per square foot.

Retire in Austria – Visas

Austria offers several visas to Americans, but the most popular one for retirees is a settlement permit. To qualify for a settlement permit, a person must prove that he or she has sufficient funds, health insurance and a place to live.

Additionally, Austrian residency requires a language test to prove that you comprehend the German language. The settlement permit is for financially independent individuals who do not intend to work while in Austria. You may apply while in the country on a tourist visa or while still in the U.S. It is best to work with an immigration lawyer as the application process is entirely in German and can take several months.

Retire in Austria – Healthcare

Austria has affordable access to high-quality facilities for most residents, citizens and visitors. According to Knoema, an index that assesses the countries with the best healthcare globally based on life expectancy and health expenditure, Austria ranks 27th. In comparison, the U.S. ranks 49th.

Private health insurance in Austria costs about $240 per month, and a doctor’s visit may cost you up to $70. You must obtain health insurance to get a residence permit or settlement permit, and you can purchase health insurance policies for expats from Austrian or American companies.

Retire in Austria – Taxes

All U.S. citizens are generally required to file a tax return each year regardless of whether they are in the country or not. The foreign earned income exclusion (FEIE) can be applied depending on how much time a person spends outside of the country. For example, on your U.S. expatriate taxes you can exclude up to $105,900 of your 2019 foreign earnings.

If you earn an income while in Austria, that income may be taxed up to 55%. However, your foreign earned income will not be taxed by Austria. Therefore, your tax on your retirement income will be taxed as it would be if you were in the U.S., and any income you earn in Austria will be taxed separately.

Retire in Austria – Safety

The 2020 Gallup Law and Order Index ranks this Central European nation as the sixth safest in the world. According to the U.S. Department of State, Austria has low crime threats and is one of Europe’s lowest-crime countries.

The most common crime experienced by U.S. citizens is purse and wallet snatching, typically in crowded public areas, according to the State Department. Other crimes of opportunity occur in trains, restaurants, shopping areas and crowded tourist areas where criminals distract a victim who usually was not in direct physical control of valuables.

In general, road safety is not a concern. The threat of terrorism, though, is currently listed as Medium when directed to or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The Takeaway 

Austria ranks among the top three most livable countries, according to the Global Peace Index. In fact, a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Vienna as the most livable city on Earth. This city alone offers a seemingly endless array of museums, fine art and world-renowned architecture. The cost of retiring in Austria will be similar to the cost of retiring in the U.S. So whether you choose to waltz through Vienna or ski in Innsbruck, this land-locked country, which shares borders with Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Hungary, has a retirement lifestyle for almost everyone.

Tips on Affording Retirement

  • Consider working with a financial advisor about the cost of retiring abroad. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. The SmartAsset matching tool can connect you to several advisors in your area in just minutes. If you’re ready, get started now.
  • Many American will be able to retire in Austria on a combination of their Social Security benefit and a pension. You can use a free Social Security calculator to see what to expect from Uncle Sam in retirement.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/benedek, ©iStock.com/Marcin Wiklik, ©iStock.com/CHUNYIP WONG

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.

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How to Retire in Sweden: Costs, Visas and More

How to Retire in Sweden: Costs, Visas and More – SmartAsset

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Sweden is one of the most sought-after countries in the world. It offers an excellent quality of life for retirees with beautiful landscapes and historic, walkable cities to enjoy. The archipelagoes on both the nation’s East Coast and West Coast, famous smoked herring and classic meatballs plus vast, unspoiled forests offer something for just about any retiree. If you want to retire in this Scandinavian nation of just over 10 million people, this article will cover everything you need to know, from what costs you can anticipate to the quality of the healthcare system and more.

Cost of Living and Housing in Sweden

Sweden is an expensive country. Not counting rent, Sweden’s consumer prices are about 8.5% higher than those in the U.S., according to Numbeo, one of the largest cost-of-living databases. That higher cost of living, however, does not come from more costly housing expenses. Rather it comes from more expensive groceries and transportation, including more expensive gasoline.

Your housing dollars can go farther in retirement in Sweden than in the U.S. For example, rent costs are, on average, 32% lower than in the U.S. If you rent an apartment in New York City, a one-bedroom unit in the city center will likely cost about $3,415 per month. The same apartment in Stockholm would cost about $1,507 per month.

If you want to purchase an apartment in central NYC, it will likely cost about $1,319 per square foot. If you purchase in central Stockholm, it will likely cost just over $1,000 per square foot.

Retire in Sweden – Visas

Americans do not need a tourist visa to visit Sweden. However, if you plan to retire in Sweden, you’ll need a Schengen visa, which you must apply for before you move to Sweden. You can apply by visiting a Swedish consulate or embassy in the U.S. You’ll need to bring a valid passport, financial disclosures and a passport photo. You will also go through a residence permit interview in Washington, D.C.

The processing time for a Swedish residence visa varies, so you may want to wait until your residence permit is approved before purchasing a one-way ticket.

Retire in Sweden – Healthcare

Sweden has some of the healthiest seniors in the world. This is partially due to a culture that encourages people – no matter their age – to enjoy the outdoors during every season. People are encouraged to walk and bike whenever possible, as well as ski and skate in winter.

Another reason for the health of Swedes and Swedish residents is the country’s top-flight healthcare system, which also provides preventative healthcare. All Swedish residents have access to public healthcare. All residents must also pay taxes on their income, and taxpayers fund their public healthcare system. Nearly 10% of the country’s GDP is invested in healthcare, so Sweden has some of the best public healthcare in the world. Its Karolinska Institute, and attached hospital, is world renowned. The institute selects the winner of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Health insurance is rare in Sweden due to the public healthcare system being strong and available to all residents. Expats who want to use the public healthcare system must apply for a personal identification number at their local tax office. Then they will be issued a healthcare card.

Retire in Sweden – Taxes

Taxes in Sweden are notoriously high, though the burden of these taxes falls primarily on consumption rather than corporate earnings. That has fostered the rise of global giants like Ikea, Volvo, Electrolux and Ericsson.

What expats pay in taxes varies depending on a person’s stay in the country. For example, anyone staying six months per year or longer will pay the highest taxes, and anyone who is a resident but chooses to stay for less than six months may pay less. There is an opportunity for expatriate tax relief that reduces salary tax.

However, if you are not working during your Swedish retirement then these laws may not apply to you. Sweden taxes foreign-earned income if you are considered a resident. This includes your American pension and capital gains. If you want to avoid paying taxes in the U.S. and being taxed again in Sweden, it is a good idea to work with a tax professional and a financial advisor. They can help you navigate the complicated tax codes such as the U.S.-Sweden Tax Treaty, which helps determine how both countries will treat income.

Retire in Sweden – Safety

In general, Sweden is a very safe country. There are minimal personal crimes and very few personal safety concerns in this country. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council, general crime rates in Sweden are below the U.S. national average. However, the organization also cautions that just because the crime rates are low, it doesn’t mean the foreign travelers are immune to crime. The majority of crime involves the theft of personal property from vehicles, homes and public areas.

But, if you find yourself in an unsafe situation, emergency medical care is available throughout the country and is both affordable and high quality. There are several rural areas in Sweden where one might find themselves far from the nearest clinic or hospital and therefore should take extra precautions when traveling.

The Takeaway

Sweden is known for its healthy and active seniors as well as its beautiful landscapes and coastal areas. It is generally very safe, has excellent healthcare and is affordable for those living on a fixed income. If you are considering a move to this northern European country, be sure to discuss your plan with a financial advisor. They will be able to help you create a financial plan that includes an international move.

Tips on Retiring

  • Retiring abroad can seem like a difficult task. Still, the right financial advisor can help you understand what you need to do to take your retirement income abroad and navigate the tax implications. SmartAsset’s free tool will match you with financial advisors in your area in a matter of minutes. If you’re ready to start planning your move to Sweden, get started now.
  • As mentioned above, Sweden and the U.S. have tax codes that can help make your retirement more affordable. You may be able to live there on your Social Security retirement benefit. You can estimate your benefit amount with a Social Security calculator.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/scanrail, ©iStock.com/Sjo, ©iStock.com/Martin Wahlborg

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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