How to Retire in Barbados: Costs, Visas and More

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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 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 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 Singapore: Costs, Visas and More

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

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Singapore is a tiny country made up of 64 islands clustered around the end of the Malay Peninsula. Most of its population of nearly 6 million lives in Singapore City. Many locals speak English, and it is home to many human-made wonders, including a massive artificial waterfall, iconic skyscrapers and what is generally regarded as the world’s best international airport. If you are considering the Lion City, as Singapore is sometimes called, as your retirement destination then it is wise to partner with a financial planner to help make your dream of retiring in Singapore a reality.

Cost of Living and Housing in Singapore

Singapore is less expensive than the largest U.S. cities, such as New York, but more expensive than smaller American cities like St. Louis, according to Numbeo, a cost-of-living database. For example, a standard of living in New York that would set you back $ could be roughly matched in Singapore for about $2,000 a month less, according to Numbeo.

On average, rent in the U.S. is 36% lower than in Singapore, but that changes when comparing this southeast Asian nation with the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. For example, you can expect to pay about $3,415 per month in rent for a one-bedroom apartment in central New York City and about $6,610 for a three-bedroom apartment. In central Singapore, you can expect to pay about $2,171 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and about $4,030 for a three-bedroom apartment.

Property costs more in Singapore. Buying a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Singapore will cost about $2,500 per square foot; a comparable residence in New York City will cost about $1,500 per square foot.

Retire in Singapore – Visas

Singapore does not offer a specific retirement visa, but they have several options for retirees to obtain a residence permit.

First, if you worked in Singapore before the age of 50, you might have an option to continue your visa into retirement. If you want to move to Singapore after age 50, you can use Singapore Entrepreneur Pass or the EntrePass, which requires that you start a company with paid-up capital of at least $37,000.

After two years of acquiring the EntrePass and permanent residency, you can apply for citizenship. However, you’ll need to show significant “financial merit” and relation to a Singaporean citizen for government approval.

All other routes to a permanent resident visa in Singapore require being married to a Singaporean citizen, having a work pass or making a major investment in a Singaporean entity.

Retire in Singapore – Healthcare

Singapore has some of the best healthcare in Asia. According to Knoem’s healthcare efficiency index, Singapore’s healthcare system is rated second in the world. This index takes both life expectancy and health expenditure into account. Singapore does not provide free healthcare to expats, so retirees must have private healthcare insurance. Insurance for expats can cost up to $300 per month.

Even with insurance, people may be required to pay for expenses out of pocket, including elective procedures and deductibles. Even without full coverage insurance, a trip to the doctor can cost as little as $25.

The cost of medication in Singapore can vary. Typically, general practitioners and specialists will dispense medications after you’ve seen a doctor. In general, private insurance will cover the cost of medications.

Retire in Singapore – Taxes

All citizens and residents of Singapore who work in the country must pay into the Central Provident Fund. Foreigners who do not work in Singapore do not have to pay into the Central Provident Fund, even if they are residents. There may be a tax on pension income depending on how much you receive.

U.S. Citizens are generally required to file a tax return each year. To avoid paying taxes twice, especially on pension income, it is wise to work with a financial planner and a tax professional that understands the Singapore tax system’s intricacies. Income is taxed at a maximum of 22% in Singapore, so you may want to change your tax status to Singapore if you earn over a certain amount.

Retire in Singapore – Safety

The 2020 Gallup Law and Order Index ranks Singapore as No. 1 in the world for law and order. The index also ranks Singapore as the city where people feel most safe to walk alone.

According to the U.S. Department of State, personal crime in Singapore is very low. The department also notes that Singapore topped the list as the world’s safest city in the categories of personal and infrastructure security, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit 2019 Safe Cities Index.

However, like other major cities, expats need to watch out for pickpocketing, theft of unattended property and purse snatching.

The Takeaway

Singapore is a beautiful country and attracts thousands of expats every year. It is safe for Americans and has similar standards and costs of living. Language won’t be a problem: English is one of four official languages, the others being Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. While it would be difficult for most U.S. citizens to live in Singapore on Social Security retirement benefits alone, someone with a pension or other retirement fund could possibly live comfortably in Singapore in retirement.

Tips on Affording Retirement

  • Consider talking with a financial advisor before moving abroad. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free advisor matching tool can connect you to several financial advisors in your area in just minutes. If you’re ready, get started now.
  • While many Americans would find it difficult to retire to Singapore on their Social Security benefits alone, it may be possible to do that if you also had a pension. Use a Social Security calculator to see what you can expect to receive from Uncle Sam in retirement.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/southtownboy, ©iStock.com/fotoVoyager, ©iStock.com/mehdi33300

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 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 are in 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 in Denmark than in the U.S., according to Numbeo, a cost-of-living data base. 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 a Danish citizen’s partner.

The most common option for American retirees is the worker visa or the partner visa. A partner visa 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 spouse 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 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 Honduras: Costs, Visas and More

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

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Honduras is known for it’s beautiful beaches and low cost of living. The country is home to one of the largest cities in Central America, Tegucigalpa, and plenty of quaint mountain towns and a popular island called Roatan. In recent years, Americans have flocked to this Central American oasis of some 10 million people because their retirement savings can go much farther than in the U.S. A financial advisor can help you plan your retirement abroad and help you stretch your Social Security and other retirement funds while in Honduras.

Cost of Living and Housing in Honduras

According to Numbeo, a cost-of-living database, the cost of living in Honduras is about 41% lower, overall, than in the U.S., not counting housing costs. Rent in Honduras is about 73% lower than in the U.S.

Let’s look at a specific example. One of the most popular places to retire in Honduras is Roatan. Rent on a one-bedroom apartment in Roatan’s center will cost an average of $250 per month, and a three-bedroom apartment in the same area will cost about $967 per month. In contrast, an apartment in New York City will run about $3,452 for a one-bedroom and about $6,767 for a one-bedroom in downtown Manhattan.

If you want to purchase property in Honduras, the average price per square foot is about $93.79. In the U.S., the average cost per square foot to purchase a home or apartment is $292.35.

Retire in Honduras – Visas

Americans do not need visas to visit Honduras as tourists. However, if you want to retire in Honduras, you will need to get a retirement residency card, of which there are three types. The Secretary of Justice processes these in Tegucigalpa. You will need to work with a Honduran attorney to get your residency card.

It takes up to nine months to process an application for a retirement residency card, but Americans may enter Honduras on a tourist visa and begin their application process in country. Be prepared to spend about $2,500 to complete this process.

Be sure to bring your passport, police record, a health certificate, a passport photo and any residence-related documents with you when you enter Honduras as your residency application will require them. You must also be able to prove that you have at least $1,500 of lifetime monthly income if you are applying for the retirement visa.

Retire in Honduras – Healthcare

Honduras does not have a robust public health system. The World Health Organization ranks it 131st out of 191 countries. Therefore, many retirees choose to get private healthcare insurance and live near private hospitals. People can purchase healthcare insurance in Honduras or before leaving home. There are several 24-hour hospitals in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, all popular with American expats.

Most pharmacies will offer the same prescriptions as in the U.S., especially in a tourism hotspots. It is important to note that rural healthcare is scarce in Honduras.

Retire in Honduras – Taxes

If you earn an income in Honduras, it will be taxed between 10% and 20%. If you purchase a home in Honduras and then sell it, your real estate capital gains will be taxed at 10%. Additionally, your property will be taxed each year at about 0.4% of the total property value.

Money received from the U.S., like a pension, tax-advantaged account or Social Security retirement benefits, will not be taxed as income by Honduras.

Don’t forget that as an American citizen the U.S. government will tax you on foreign-earned income.

Retire in Honduras – Safety

According to the U.S. Department of State, violent crime, such as homicide and armed robbery, is common in Honduras. Additionally, gang activity, street crime and narcotics and human trafficking are pretty widespread. In large cities such as Tegucigalpa, violent crime exists and riots or protests are expected. However, there are plenty of gated communities and large pockets of expats living in Honduras that employ security staff to maintain a safe living environment.

The Takeaway

Honduras is a beautiful tropical location to visit or live in. It is home to mountains, beaches and more, so there is a bit of something for everyone living in Honduras. It is important to remember personal safety in Honduras and not take unnecessary risks when traveling throughout the country, mainly because private hospitals are only available in cities and tourist hotspots.

Tips on Retiring

  • Consider talking with a financial advisor before moving abroad. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free advisor matching tool can connect you to several financial advisors in your area. You can find the perfect financial advisor for you in as little as five minutes. If you’re ready, get started now.
  • Retiring comfortably in Honduras is entirely possible, even on Social Security retirement benefits. For some people, Social Security is even enough to provide disposable income for recreational purposes. Calculate your Social Security retirement benefit here.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Robert_Ford, ©iStock.com/Jodi Jacobson, ©iStock.com/dstephens

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.

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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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