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Old Mar 25th 2012, 9:15 pm   #1
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Default Best place in Europe to retire

Hi there,

I've been reading this forum for years now and have finally decided to post as I understand the value of this forum and the thoughts and opinions of those on here.

I am 39 and thinking of buying a property with the intention of using it as a holiday home/place to retire. The idea is to buy it in the next year or so, let it out some, stay in it some and pay it off in the next 20 years or so.

I was wondering your thoughts on where the best places in Europe would be (obviously somewhere warmer than where I am now in Scotland) to retire? Somewhere with good healthcare, transport links, low crime, nice community of people, sunny, warm - and well just fabulous!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Kind regards,

Jennifer in Edinburgh
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Old Mar 25th 2012, 9:40 pm   #2
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

Well, I have googled this and found the following article:

http://www.escapefromamerica.com/201...ire-in-europe/

I haven't been to Cyprus yet or Croatia....Spain several times though.
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Old Mar 26th 2012, 4:23 am   #3
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

Hello Jennifer,

There are so many factors to consider. First, of course, is your budget. If you want to retire to Tuscany and renovate an old farm house there, you're talking about needing hundreds or thousands of pounds. As you've spoken about paying it off, I'm assuming you'd be getting a mortgage to buy it. If that's the case, you could try slightly less obvious places (and cheaper than the usual France/Spain/Italy hotspots) like Bulgaria, Romania or even Portugal.

You also need to consider language: which ones do you speak or do you think you coulld learn or are you just planning on going to an area with enough expat Brits in it that language learning isn't that necessary?

Also consider how you'd like to spend your free time. What do you like doing? What areas of Europe provide those activities? Sitting on the deck with a G&T watching the sun go down in a foriegn clime is great on holiday, but gets boring if you're doing it full time! The area would also need to have some attractions if you wanted to rent it out more easily.

How much time would you want to spend travelling to and from the house? This is especially important if you want to rent it out. Do you want to be able to drive there from the UK? Is there an airport nearby.

Good healthcare is probably going to be the tricky one. Generally, the cheaper the country in terms of cost of living, the lower the quality of healthcare. As long as there's a private hospital nearby you should be ok. You can alway go back to the UK for anything more serious.
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Old Mar 26th 2012, 6:59 am   #4
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

Hi, language is an important factor when you need hospital treatment. Maybe in 20 years, all European hospital staff will speak English, but at present this is certainly not the case, at least in Southern Europe. From my own observations in France and from the BE forum, expats who don't speak the language of the country have problems communicating with nurses, carers, dinner ladies, ... and "young" retirees and the elderly fare even worse since it's too late to learn the language.
But you're organising yourself well in advance, and once you've decided which country you wish to retire to, you'll have plenty of time to learn the language before you move there for good!
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Old Mar 26th 2012, 7:16 am   #5
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

Hi there,

Thanks for the replies so far. I knew it would be a good idea to post here as you've given me much food for thought.

To answer some of your questions:

1) I speak/have studied the following: French, Spanish and Italian
2) It's important to me to not use a car - as this is an added expense and I really love having a pedestrian lifestyle (it's what I do now in Edinburgh and I feel really great about what I am doing for the environment as this will hopefully cancel out anything I do by adding it back by air travel! )
3) Out of everything, I would say healthcare and nice environment with friendly people are the most important factors to me (by nice environment, I mean low crime, aesthetically appealing)
4) Ideally, not longer than a 2 hour flight away from the UK
5) Yes, I will take out a mortgage to pay for the place. My husband will service our mortgage here in the UK and I will service the foreign property

There really are so many places to choose from. But as noted above, I have lots of time.
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Old Mar 26th 2012, 9:37 pm   #6
 
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

remember that Spain has a tax on a house sale, also - subject to very few exceptions - they also can claim income tax on world wide income unless you are very careful, which could mean both UK and Spain getting a lump before you do.

its not as free and easy as it used to be think very carefully and take Good legal advice.

rgds
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Old Mar 27th 2012, 5:38 am   #7
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

I suppose if you want a head start on the language, you're best off going for a place where they speak romances languages, so Italy, Spain, Portugal, France or Romania.

Do you want a place with plenty of other expats?

Can't tell you much from first-hand experience about the other four, but I'd say Romania probably isn't for you:

It's still quite wild and if you were to live in the countryside, you'd probably need a car unless you're happy with village life, cycling, hitching, or waiting for irregular minibuses.

Healthcare from the state is pretty much non-existant. Well, it exists, but you have to pay for it (discrete envelopes to the doctors and nurses). Private healthcare is fine though.

It's more than two hours from the UK. If you had a holiday home in Transylvania, it would take you about 3-3.5 hours to fly to Targu Mures airport from London (plus however long it takes you to get to London!).

On the plus side, you can get a decent renovated property for about 50K with a few bedrooms and some land. The landscape is fantastic and there are plenty of countryside pursuits to take part in if you don't mind getting in with the locals. You'd pick up the language in no time as you speak Italian and the cost of living and property taxes and stuff like that are very low. Crime is low (just petty theft most of the time) and it's warm and sunny most of the year (although winter can usually present one harsh month with plenty of snow and minus temps). If you want expat community support too, Romania isn't awfully good, especially in the countryside. You're likely to be the only non-Romanian in any particular village (although that might be seen as an advantage!).
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Old Mar 27th 2012, 7:00 am   #8
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domino View Post
remember that Spain has a tax on a house sale, also - subject to very few exceptions - they also can claim income tax on world wide income unless you are very careful, which could mean both UK and Spain getting a lump before you do.

its not as free and easy as it used to be think very carefully and take Good legal advice.

rgds
Good to know and something to think about. I made the assumption that if my main residence was in the UK and I had a holiday home elsewhere and only stayed a certain number of days in the foreign country, that I wouldn't be paying double taxes (actually, I am a dual UK/US citizen and already have to pay US taxes when I make a certain amount about UK ones, so I would for sure want to avoid paying any additional tax!!!).
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Old Mar 27th 2012, 7:01 am   #9
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azarel View Post
I suppose if you want a head start on the language, you're best off going for a place where they speak romances languages, so Italy, Spain, Portugal, France or Romania.

Do you want a place with plenty of other expats?

Can't tell you much from first-hand experience about the other four, but I'd say Romania probably isn't for you:

It's still quite wild and if you were to live in the countryside, you'd probably need a car unless you're happy with village life, cycling, hitching, or waiting for irregular minibuses.

Healthcare from the state is pretty much non-existant. Well, it exists, but you have to pay for it (discrete envelopes to the doctors and nurses). Private healthcare is fine though.

It's more than two hours from the UK. If you had a holiday home in Transylvania, it would take you about 3-3.5 hours to fly to Targu Mures airport from London (plus however long it takes you to get to London!).

On the plus side, you can get a decent renovated property for about 50K with a few bedrooms and some land. The landscape is fantastic and there are plenty of countryside pursuits to take part in if you don't mind getting in with the locals. You'd pick up the language in no time as you speak Italian and the cost of living and property taxes and stuff like that are very low. Crime is low (just petty theft most of the time) and it's warm and sunny most of the year (although winter can usually present one harsh month with plenty of snow and minus temps). If you want expat community support too, Romania isn't awfully good, especially in the countryside. You're likely to be the only non-Romanian in any particular village (although that might be seen as an advantage!).
Romania sounds great - thanks for sharing.
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Old Mar 28th 2012, 8:36 am   #10
 
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

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Originally Posted by jenninedinburgh View Post
Good to know and something to think about. I made the assumption that if my main residence was in the UK and I had a holiday home elsewhere and only stayed a certain number of days in the foreign country, that I wouldn't be paying double taxes (actually, I am a dual UK/US citizen and already have to pay US taxes when I make a certain amount about UK ones, so I would for sure want to avoid paying any additional tax!!!).
Jenn, it is a complicated matter - isnt all taxation

however, it is also difficult for the layperson to get it right, after all ask 3 accountants and get 5 answers

as the first step is to look at domicile then you need to see the HMRC
website on Double Taxation Agreements - which is where countries have agreed to allow only one tax payment
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxtreaties/dta.htm

since man first started travelling to other places there have been taxes to pay, so the more you move around the more taxes you pay.

buying a property in another country, i.e. Spain, will indicate you have money, so they will start looking at you carefully, and there is a tax on certain elements of purchase plus also IVA/VAT.
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Old Mar 28th 2012, 9:19 am   #11
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domino View Post
Jenn, it is a complicated matter - isnt all taxation

however, it is also difficult for the layperson to get it right, after all ask 3 accountants and get 5 answers

as the first step is to look at domicile then you need to see the HMRC
website on Double Taxation Agreements - which is where countries have agreed to allow only one tax payment
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxtreaties/dta.htm

since man first started travelling to other places there have been taxes to pay, so the more you move around the more taxes you pay.

buying a property in another country, i.e. Spain, will indicate you have money, so they will start looking at you carefully, and there is a tax on certain elements of purchase plus also IVA/VAT.
Very helpful , thanks so much. Maybe I'll just buy a place on the coast of the USA as I am already set up there and know the systems.
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Old Mar 28th 2012, 5:20 pm   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenninedinburgh View Post
Well, I have googled this and found the following article:

http://www.escapefromamerica.com/201...ire-in-europe/

I haven't been to Cyprus yet or Croatia....Spain several times though.
Try Ayamonte ticks all your boxes and with 2 international airports close by it is a 2.5hr flight from most airports in UK.
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Old Mar 28th 2012, 5:32 pm   #13
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

QUOTE:Somewhere with good healthcare, transport links, low crime, nice community of people, sunny, warm - and well just fabulous! QUOTE:

You have just described Carinthia in Southern Austria
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Old Mar 28th 2012, 6:19 pm   #14
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Originally Posted by Austrobrit View Post
QUOTE:Somewhere with good healthcare, transport links, low crime, nice community of people, sunny, warm - and well just fabulous! QUOTE:

You have just described Carinthia in Southern Austria
Can she walk to the beach.
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Old Mar 28th 2012, 7:51 pm   #15
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Default Re: Best place in Europe to retire

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Originally Posted by John & Kath View Post
Try Ayamonte ticks all your boxes and with 2 international airports close by it is a 2.5hr flight from most airports in UK.
Hi - just Googled this place. It looks fantastic!
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