Why this is Europe’s favourite retirement destination

Why this is Europe’s favourite retirement destination

Blog By Andrew Hallam – October 03, 2023

The guy next to me on the airplane asked, “Where do you plan to sleep tonight?”

I was 18-years old…and just dumb enough to think my plan was smart.

“I’m going to sleep on the floor at the airport,” I said. “Then I’ll ride my bike back to England.”

My 35-year-old seatmate wasn’t impressed. It was midnight in Faro, Portugal when we landed, so he insisted on getting me a hotel room. Somehow, he was able to rent a car that fit my bicycle, book a room and stick me in it before rejoining his girlfriend at a fancier place across the street.

He insisted on paying. And that was lucky. Credit cards were for real adults, so I didn’t have one. I had just enough cash to buy a burger, and £300 in traveller’s cheques.

While cycling the length of Portugal, several people invited me into their homes, fed me and offered me a bed. Without their kindness, I couldn’t have stretched my paltry purse enough to pedal back to England.

I’ve returned several times since that adventure back in 1988. I love the beaches, the landscape and the friendliness of the people. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when International Living named Portugal the world’s best place to retire for 2023.

Fifty-eight-year-old Stephen Bird also gushes about the place. He and his wife, Juanita, visited Portugal as tourists on eight separate occasions before taking the plunge to move there. They left their native South Africa and brought their two children, 21-year-old Bianca and 18-year-old, Grant.

 

“I love the friendliness of the people, the country, and the culture,” Stephen says. “Out of all the cities I had visited in Portugal before, Porto was the friendliest. It’s very accepting of everyone, has great public transport and a good median annual temperature range.”

That’s why Stephen and his family moved to Canidelo, just 6km from Porto’s city centre. “I sell software for a Mauritian company in Africa,” he says. “My wife has a small web design and hosting company, and we started a small business assisting people who want to move to Portugal. It’s called Gateway to Portugal.

Residency visas and taxes

Plenty of wealthy retirees gained Portuguese residency through the country’s Golden Visa plan. Upon acceptance, recipients can maintain their residency status by spending as few as 7 days a year in Portugal. They won’t have to pay Portuguese income taxes unless they spend at least 183 days there within a tax year.

Arguably, the most popular road to the Golden Visa comes from purchasing a property valued between €280,000 (for low population density regions) to €500,000. But based, partly, on how the program spiked property prices (which has harmed the locals) the Portuguese government plans to disband the real estate option soon.

You can still gain acceptance to the Golden Visa program by meeting the minimum property purchase requirement. But time is running out.

Otherwise, Golden Visa applicants could gain acceptance through a variety of other channels. They include putting a minimum of €500,000 in a qualified Portuguese investment fund. You could also qualify by donating €250,000 to a Portuguese charity, or you could invest in a company that employs Portuguese citizens.

There is, however, a lower-cost route. Stephen Bird acquired a D7 Residency Visa. It’s also known as a Retirement Visa or a Passive Income Visa. Compared to the ritzier requirements for the Golden Visa, the D7 is more like a McDonald’s Value Meal. According to Atlantic Bridge Consulting & Investment, the D7 Visa requires a passive income of about 9000 a year; a minimum 9000 deposit into a Portuguese bank account, and a clean criminal record.

If you’re worried about paying high-income taxes, Portugal sweetened the pot. D7 Visa holders receive preferential tax treatment for the first 10 years of their residency.

Elena Montgomery and her husband, Peter, will enjoy the fruits of that. They spent about six months touring Portugal last year, looking for the perfect place to settle down. They chose the city of Portimão, in the southern Algarve region, on the Mediterranean Sea.

Reflecting on their move, fifty-nine-year-old Elena says, “The things that made us want to be here the most were the people, food and wine, and just how peaceful a place it is. And with the cost of living difference compared to the US, it allowed us to retire early and spend more time living our best life.”

Cost of living

Elena and Peter rent a 2-bedroom apartment for 1,250 a month. It’s a 25-minute walk from the beach. They’ve budgeted to spend about 45,000 a year.

Generally, Portugal is cheap. For example, according to Numbeo.com, the same standard of living that would cost €5000 a month in Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon would cost €6,950 in Dubai; €8,800 in London, England; and €6,600 in Amsterdam.

Costs of living comparisons to Lisbon, Portugal

How much more expensive is…
Dubai, UAE 39% more
London, England 76% more
Amsterdam, Netherlands 32% more
Frankfurt, Germany 22% more
Brussels, Belgium 18% more
Calgary, Canada 30% more
Seattle, USA 98% more
Nashville, USA 60% more
Melbourne, Australia 40% more

Source: Numbeo.com (assuming residents are renting in each of the above cities)

But Portugal, like most countries, has a few pricey pockets. Several years ago, friends of mine bought a tiny one-bedroom, one-bathroom condominium in the seaside city of Cascais for €300,000. It doesn’t have a view, and the street in front isn’t pretty.

According to Numbeo.com, it costs 34 percent more per square foot to buy an apartment in Cascais’ city centre, compared to Dubai’s city centre. Outside the centre, Cascais’ properties cost 47 percent more than they do outside Dubai’s centre (although rental costs are significantly higher in Dubai).

You can, however, buy a modest home in a smaller Portuguese town for less than €150,000. And much larger homes are still surprisingly cheap.

In 2022, fifty-five-year-old Jayme Henriques Simões and his wife, Laura, bought a home outside the small city of Estremoz. “We did a three-week scouting trip in the summer of 2021,” he says. “Estremoz has great food, dozens of local wineries, lovely people, fantastic landscapes, history and culture, and is only 90 minutes from Lisbon [Portugal’s capital city].” He says most of the buildings and sidewalks are made of white marble.

“We own a traditional Alentejo farmhouse, set on 16 acres of olive trees and oaks. It has surprising views of Estremoz [and it has] a pigeon house, a ruined dairy barn, a big barn, and a Roman tomb carved out of marble. The main house has 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and two kitchens. There’s also a studio guest house next to the main house.”

And it costs about as much as a two-bedroom flat in Cascais.

Activities and fitting in

Portugal might be the most popular country in Europe for retirees on a budget. But I think it would still be a magnet, even if it were expensive. After all, it might offer the best weather in Europe.

It has plenty of golf courses and water sports activities; the entire west coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. The Algarve region is popular among expats, including cities along the Mediterranean, such as Faro, Albufeira and Lagos. The Alentejo region, north of the Algarve, is also a favourite.

Plenty of expats also live along the Silver Coast between Porto and the capital city of Lisbon. The seaside towns of Nazaré and São Martinho are popular, as is the municipality of Cascais.

And while you’ll find plenty of expats, fitting in with the locals will enrich your experience. If you plan to make the move, embrace the local culture. Learn (at least some) Portuguese. The more you can embrace the local community, the more you’ll enjoy your life.

Andrew Hallam is the best-selling author of Millionaire Expat (3rd edition), Balance, and Millionaire Teacher.

 

 

Navigating Culture Shock – A Guide to Settling into a New Country

Navigating Culture Shock – A Guide to Settling into a New Country

Moving to a new country is an exciting and life-changing experience. However, along with the adventure comes the phenomenon known as culture shock. Culture shock is a common response to the unfamiliarity and differences encountered when immersing oneself in a foreign culture. This article will explore the stages of culture shock, the associated feelings, and provide practical means to assist in settling into a new country while minimizing the impact of culture shock.

Stage 1: Honeymoon Stage:

Upon arrival in a new country, individuals often experience a sense of excitement, fascination, and curiosity. Everything seems fresh, novel, and intriguing. During this initial stage, individuals tend to focus on the positives of the new culture, appreciating the unique customs, sights, sounds, and flavours. The feelings associated with this stage include enthusiasm, exhilaration, and a sense of adventure.

Stage 2: Frustration / Anxiety Stage:

As the honeymoon stage subsides, individuals start noticing the differences and challenges associated with the new culture. Everyday tasks that were once second nature may become obstacles. Communication barriers, different social norms, unfamiliar routines, and the absence of a support network can trigger frustration, confusion, and even homesickness. Feelings of isolation and a longing for the familiar are common during this stage.

Stage 3: Adjustment / Acceptance Stage:

With time and effort, individuals begin to adapt to the new culture. They acquire a better understanding of local customs, develop coping strategies, and gradually adjust to their surroundings. Familiarity with the language improves, and daily tasks become more manageable. Relationships start to form, both with fellow expatriates and locals. The adjustment stage brings a sense of accomplishment, resilience, and a growing comfort within the new environment.

Stage 4: Adaption Stage:

In the final stage of culture shock, individuals have successfully integrated into the new culture. They feel more at ease navigating the social norms, communicating effectively, and embracing the local way of life. By this point, individuals may have established a strong support network, engaged in meaningful activities, and developed a sense of belonging. The acceptance stage is characterized by a sense of satisfaction, cultural competence, and an appreciation for both the new and old cultures.

Tips to Assist in Settling into a New Country and Reduce Culture Shock:

  1. Preparing before the Move: Prioritize research on the new country’s culture, customs, language, and practical aspects such as healthcare, transportation, and housing. This pre-departure knowledge can help alleviate anxiety and provide a foundation for understanding and embracing the new environment.
  2. Language and Cultural Training: Investing time in learning the local language and cultural nuances can significantly ease the transition. Enrol in language classes, attend cultural workshops, and engage with language exchange programs to improve language skills and cultural awareness.
  3. Seek Social Support: Connect with expatriate communities, international clubs, or online forums to meet fellow expats and locals who can provide guidance, support, and friendship. Socializing with people from diverse backgrounds can foster a sense of belonging and facilitate cultural exchange.
  4. Embrace Local Experiences: Actively participate in local events, festivals, and activities to immerse yourself in the culture. Try new foods, explore historical sites, visit museums, and engage in local traditions. Embracing the host country’s culture can accelerate the adjustment process.
  5. Maintain Connections with Home: While embracing the new culture is important, it’s equally vital to maintain connections with loved ones back home. Regular communication with family and friends through calls, video chats, and social media platforms can provide emotional support and reduce feelings of homesickness.
  6. Practice Self-Care: Managing culture shock requires self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Engage in activities that promote well-being, such as exercising, pursuing hobbies, and finding time for relaxation. Taking care of physical and mental health is crucial during the adjustment period.
  7. Adopt a Positive Attitude: Cultivating a positive mindset and being open to new experiences can significantly reduce the impact of culture shock. Embrace the differences, be patient with yourself, and view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.
  8. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If culture shock becomes overwhelming and starts to affect daily life, seeking professional assistance from therapists, counsellors, or support groups specializing in expatriate or cross-cultural issues can provide valuable guidance and support.

Culture shock is a natural response when relocating to a new country. Understanding the stages and associated feelings can help individuals navigate the challenges more effectively. By utilizing practical tips and strategies, such as preparation, language training, seeking social support, embracing local experiences, maintaining connections with home, practicing self-care, and seeking professional help if needed, individuals can ease the transition and settle into their new country while minimizing the impact of culture shock. Remember, with time, patience, and an open mind, the challenges of culture shock can transform into enriching experiences that contribute to personal growth and intercultural understanding.

A Culture Shock Anecdote:

Sarah came from a small town in the United States. She had always dreamt of exploring new cultures and embarking on exciting adventures. One day, she decided to fulfil her lifelong dream and move to Portugal. Little did she know that her journey would be a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences.

As Sarah stepped off the plane in Lisbon, she was overwhelmed with awe. The vibrant streets, the charming architecture, and the aroma of delicious pastries filled the air. She was in the honeymoon stage, captivated by the beauty and allure of her new surroundings. She eagerly embraced the Portuguese way of life, trying local delicacies and attempting to communicate in the language.

However, as time went by, Sarah started to become frustrated. The language barrier became a significant hurdle. Conversations felt like puzzles, and simple tasks became challenging. Sarah often found herself feeling isolated and misunderstood. She longed for the comfort of familiar surroundings and missed the ease of communicating with her loved ones back home.

Determined to overcome her difficulties, Sarah decided to take action. She enrolled in Portuguese language classes and sought out language exchange programs. Through these initiatives, she met locals who became her language partners and friends. Their patient guidance and shared experiences helped Sarah navigate the intricacies of the Portuguese language and gain confidence in her communication skills.

Sarah also joined expat communities and attended cultural events. She celebrated local festivals, explored historic landmarks, and immersed herself in the vibrant Portuguese culture. Through these activities, she forged new friendships and discovered a sense of belonging. The adjustment stage had begun.

With her newfound support system, Sarah faced each day with enthusiasm. She embraced the Portuguese way of life, adopting their customs and traditions as her own. Sarah’s perseverance and positive attitude allowed her to adapt and overcome the challenges of culture shock.

Finally, Sarah reached the acceptance stage. She no longer felt like a foreigner in a strange land but a part of the Portuguese community. She had built a life for herself, established meaningful relationships, and created a home away from home.

Reflecting on her journey, Sarah realised that culture shock was merely a steppingstone to personal growth and self-discovery. Her experience in Portugal had broadened her perspective, expanded her horizons, and taught her the value of resilience.

Years later, Sarah looked back on her decision to move to Portugal with gratitude. She had not only conquered culture shock but had also found a new sense of purpose and fulfilment in her life. Her story served as an inspiration to others who were embarking on their own adventures, reminding them that with determination and an open heart, they too could overcome any obstacles they encountered along the way.

In the end, Sarah’s story was not just about fitting in; it was about embracing differences, celebrating diversity, and finding her place in a world that was much bigger than she had ever imagined.

Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience, but with the right mindset and preparation, you can navigate culture shock and settle into your new home. Remember to be patient with yourself, seek out support networks, and embrace the differences that make your new country unique. If you’re considering a move to Portugal, Gateway to Portugal is here to help. Our team of experts can provide you with all the information you need to make your transition as smooth as possible.

Contact us at info@gatewaytoportugal.net to discuss your plans for moving to Portugal. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more interesting articles and information about life and living in Portugal!

Personal Tax Deductions in Portugal for 2022

Personal Tax Deductions in Portugal for 2022

In 2023, certain expenses incurred in 2022, such as those related to education, health, real estate, alimony, nursing homes, VAT, and general family expenses, qualify for IRS tax deductions, offering potential benefits for you. Here’s how you can benefit from these deductions and the limits associated with each category:

How to Benefit from Personal Tax Deductions in Portugal:

  1. Always include your NIF in invoices: Remember to include your personal Tax Identification Number (NIF) on every invoice (“fatura”) to be eligible for any tax deduction in Portugal. Only invoices containing your NIF will be considered by the Portuguese Tax Authority. Ensure that you request invoices with your tax number for all purchases to maximize your tax deductions.
  1. Validate all your invoices on the e-Fatura platform: To account for expenses made in 2022, validate all relevant invoices on the e-Fatura online platform within the deadline specified by the Portuguese Tax Authority (usually in February of the following tax year). The e-Fatura system serves as the basis for your annual IRS, with companies transmitting invoices with your taxpayer number to the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority. By doing so, the Tax Authorities will make your expenses available on your personal page on the Finance Portal. This information will then be used to pre-fill your income tax return for 2022, to be submitted in 2023.

Understanding Eligible Expenses and Deduction Limits:

Not all payments in Portugal qualify for the same type of tax deduction, and the maximum deduction amount varies depending on the expenditure category. It’s important to note that in certain cases, you may not be able to deduct the entirety of your expenses if they exceed the limit. Here are the personal expenses and their corresponding maximum deduction amounts for 2022:

  1. General Family Expenses (35% deduction): This category encompasses expenses such as supermarket purchases, clothing, petrol, utilities, and other general expenses. You can deduct up to a maximum of €250 per taxpayer. For single-parent families, the deduction percentage rises to 45% with a limit of €335.
  2. Health Expenses (15% deduction): You can deduct 15% of your health-related expenses, up to a maximum of €1,000. This includes medical appointments, surgical operations, hospital stays, treatments, medication, prostheses, orthodontic braces, eyeglasses, and health insurance.
  3. Education Costs (30% deduction): Expenses associated with education have a limit of €800, covering fees for schools, day-care centers, kindergartens, college/university tuition, textbooks, school books, tutoring, meals, transportation, and rent for displaced students. If there are additional expenses for student rent justifying the increase, the general limit of €800 can be raised to €1,000. The maximum deduction for student rent is €300. Families with students enrolled in schools in the Interior region of Portugal can benefit from deductions up to 40% with a limit of €1,000.
  4. Housing Costs (15% deduction): You can deduct 15% of your housing costs, up to a maximum of €502. If you have a home loan taken out before December 31, 2011, you can deduct 15% of the interest expenses, with a maximum deduction amount of €296.
  5. Senior Nursing Homes (25% deduction): Expenses related to senior home support, nursing homes, and institutions supporting the elderly are eligible for a 25% deduction, up to a maximum of €403.75. This category also covers expenses for nursing homes and residences for disabled people, dependents, ascendants, and collateral family members up to the third degree, provided their income is less than the national minimum wage.
  6. Alimony Payments (20% deduction): You can deduct 20% of your alimony payments without any limits.
  7. VAT (15% deduction): Expenses in certain categories allow you to deduct 15% of the VAT paid, up to a maximum of €250 per taxpayer. These categories include restaurants and hotels, hairdressers/beauty salons, car and motorcycle repairs, veterinary costs, and sports club and gym/fitness activities.
  8. Social Transportation Passes (100% deduction): You can deduct 100% of the VAT paid on social transportation passes, up to a limit of €250.

By following these guidelines and understanding the various deduction categories and their limits, you can optimize your Personal Income Tax in Portugal. Make sure to consult with the Portuguese Tax Authority or a tax professional for specific guidance tailored to your situation.

If you are looking for an excellent Accountant who speaks great English, and can assist you with setting up your activity and walking you through the Recibo Verde Process and assist you with learning to use the “Financas” website, contact the Gateway to Portugal Team today to set up a call. Please reach out via WhatsApp +351 915 523 146 or email info@gatewaytoportugal.net

Buying Electronics and Appliances in Portugal

Buying Electronics and Appliances in Portugal

 

When planning a move to Portugal, it is important to consider where to purchase electronics and appliances and what the cost may be. For those coming from countries outside of the EU, such as the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa the cost may be higher due to shipping and customs fees, and it may be more cost-effective to sell your existing items and purchase new ones once you arrive in Portugal.

Some common electronics and appliances that you may need include a washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher, TV, microwave, fridge, and freezer. Additionally, you may want to consider buying smaller items such as blenders, food processors, home audio systems, and coffee machines.

There are several shops in Portugal where you can purchase electronics and appliances, including:

Additionally, many Portuguese towns and cities have smaller shops that sell white goods and appliances. Shopping online is also an option, with Amazon Spain (https://www.amazon.es)  and Amazon Germany (https://amazon.de) delivering a wide range of items to Portugal, and Kuanto Kusta (https://www.kuantokusta.pt/)  being Portugal’s primary online comparison shop. However, it’s worth noting that when shopping on international sites like Amazon, the price may not include installation and you may need to hire a plumber to install the item.

Additionally, purchasing second-hand items is an option through OLX.pt (https://www.olx.pt/), local Facebook Groups, or Facebook Marketplace. There are even some Cash Converters (https://cashconverters.pt), but only a few shops in Portugal in Lisbon & Porto. There are also some 2nd hand shops dotted around that might be able to assist.

In conclusion, buying electronics and appliances in Portugal can be a great experience, with a wide range of options available both in-store and online. Whether you’re a local resident or an expat, it’s important to do your research and compare prices before making a purchase. If you’re considering moving to Portugal or have already made the move, Gateway to Portugal is here to help you with all aspects of life and living in Portugal. Reach out today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in making the most of your time in this beautiful country.

Contact us at info@gatewaytoportugal.net to discuss your plans for moving to Portugal. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more interesting articles and information about life and living in Portugal!

 

Streaming Services Options In Portugal

Streaming Services Options In Portugal

Streaming Services Options In Portugal

Portugal, like many other countries, has seen a surge in streaming services in recent years. Streaming services provide an affordable, convenient, and easily accessible way to watch TV shows, movies, and other types of content.

This article will provide a detailed overview of the most popular streaming services available in Portugal, including their monthly costs, pros and cons, and what they have to offer.

1. Netflix

Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services in the world, and it’s available in Portugal. With a vast library of TV shows, movies, and documentaries, it’s a great choice for anyone who wants to binge-watch their favourite series. Netflix is compatible with many devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and game consoles. The monthly cost for Netflix in Portugal ranges from €7.99 to €15.99, depending on the plan you choose.

Pros:

  • Huge library of TV shows, movies, and documentaries
  • Compatible with many devices
  • Affordable plans

Cons:

  • Some content is only available in certain regions
  • New releases may take some time to arrive on the platform

    2. Amazon Prime Video

    Amazon Prime Video is another popular streaming service in Portugal. It’s an excellent choice for anyone who has an Amazon Prime subscription because the video service is included with the subscription. Prime Video offers a vast library of TV shows, movies, and exclusive Amazon originals. The monthly cost for Amazon Prime in Portugal is €3.99, and the service includes other benefits such as free delivery on Amazon orders.

    Pros:

    • Included with Amazon Prime subscription
    • Large library of TV shows, movies, and Amazon originals
    • Compatible with many devices

    Cons:

    • Not as many new releases as other services
    • Limited availability of some conten

    3. HBO Portugal

    HBO Portugal is a streaming service that offers a large library of TV shows and movies from HBO and other providers. It’s an excellent choice for anyone who loves HBO content, such as Game of Thrones or Westworld. The monthly cost for HBO Portugal is €8.99, and it’s compatible with many devices, including smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs.

    Pros:

    • Large library of HBO content
    • Affordable pricing
    • Compatible with many devices

    Cons:

    • Limited library of non-HBO content
    • Limited availability of some HBO content

    4, Disney+

    Disney+ is a streaming service that offers a vast library of Disney movies and TV shows, including content from Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar. It’s an excellent choice for families with young children or anyone who loves Disney content. The monthly cost for Disney+ in Portugal is €8.99, and it’s compatible with many devices.

    Pros:

    • Large library of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar content
    • Affordable pricing
    • Compatible with many devices

    Cons:

    • Limited library of non-Disney content
    • Limited availability of some Disney conten

    5. Apple TV+

    Apple TV+ is a streaming service that offers a small but growing library of original TV shows and movies. It’s an excellent choice for anyone who wants to watch exclusive Apple content, such as The Morning Show or Ted Lasso.

    The monthly cost for Apple TV+ in Portugal is €4.99, and it’s compatible with many devices.

    Pros:

    • Exclusive Apple content
    • Affordable pricing
    • Compatible with many devices

    Cons:

    • Limited library of content
    • Not as many new releases as other service

    6. Rakuten TV

    Rakuten TV is a streaming service that’s based in Spain but available in Portugal. It offers a wide range of movies and TV shows, including new releases and classic titles. Rakuten TV has a rental and purchase model, with prices varying depending on the title.

    Pros:

    • Wide range of content
    • No subscription required

    Cons:

    • Rental and purchase model can be expensive
    • Limited selection of original programming

    In conclusion, there are a variety of streaming services available in Portugal, each with its own features, pricing, and pros and cons. Whether you are looking for a low-cost option or access to exclusive content, there is a streaming service that is right for you. It is recommended that you research each service to determine which one best meets your needs and budget.

    If you are considering moving to Portugal or have any questions about life and living in Portugal, feel free to reach out to Gateway to Portugal today. They are dedicated to helping you make a smooth transition and can provide you with all the information you need to make informed decisions.

    Contact us at info@gatewaytoportugal.net to discuss your plans for moving to Portugal. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more interesting articles and information about life and  living in Portugal!