25 August 2019
There are several reasons that compel retirees to choose Portugal for retirement. The country has a great climate, numerous vacation spots and stunning coastal scenery, but these aren’t the only things that will attract you to this haven. A relatively affordable living cost, decent healthcare, security, good infrastructure, reduced taxation and good real estate costs are all huge motivators.
The cost of living has always been lower in Portugal compared to other EU countries, and it is one of the major reasons that compel people to retire here. However as is the case in almost all places, living costs are much lower in villages and rural areas compared to the cities. Utilities and essentials may cost double in Lisbon as opposed to a rural town in Portugal.
On average, you will find that food and beverages cost less than they do in European countries on the western side. You can get great value for your money if you buy your fresh produce at the local markets. Portugal also boasts a thriving fishing industry with almost 1,800 kilometers of coastline, so seafood is another treat you can enjoy without spending too much.
The commodities and utilities that are expensive include domestic fuel, imported items, phone calls, prescription medicines as well as cars (both new and used).
Overall, Portugal’s cost of living is significantly lower when compared with a place like the UK, and the substantial difference in rent is also a great incentive.
Until 2015, property prices were falling due to a recession that lasted several years. However, largely due to buyers belonging to the UK who were motivated by the low prices, the market improved although prices remained somewhat lower than they used to be during 2006.
Major developers seized the chance to develop apartments and lease them as holiday homes in the recession, waiting for the market to turn around. Prices were not affected as much in high-end resorts and posh areas, so prices of homes grew in these places.
You will be eligible to receive public healthcare if you become a formal resident in Portugal. Once you have been given a Residence Certificate after registering with Immigration authorities or a Town Hall in your proximity, you can sign up for health care in your locality.
Portugal provides both private and public healthcare options, but people retiring to this country often prefer consulting privately. The reason for this is not that the state-run health sector is unsatisfactory or substandard. However, there is sometimes the possibility of delays in treatment and/or follow-up consultations.
If you do choose to avail the public healthcare services, the good thing is that retirees can enjoy the same level of care and benefits as those available to native Portuguese residents. Some medication and treatments, however, are not entirely free and you might need to partially pay for them.
Once you become a resident in Portugal, you can obtain a user card for the Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS) in order to be eligible for their health care and hospital services free of charge. Take your residency card and passport to the nearest health center for registration.
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