Year-round sunshine, a friendly expat community and affordable real estate, the Algarve is one of the best places to retire in the world.
Several studies have conﬁrmed it. This little piece of heaven in the south of Portugal is without a doubt one of the top destinations in the world when it comes to retirement. We talked to overseas retirement expert Kathleen Peddicord to ﬁnd out what puts the region at the top of the list, as one of the best places to retire. Publisher of “Live and Invest Overseas” , Kathleen Peddicord ﬁrst visited the Algarve two-and-a-half years ago.
“I was attracted by the location in Europe, the long coastline, the weather, the history and most of all the cost of living and of the real estate,” explains the American expert. “Costs were reported as very low for Europe, so I wanted to see for myself what was on offer. I was impressed and have returned several times since.” So impressed indeed that her company has now hosted two conferences in the Algarve (Carvoeiro) and plans a third one in July 2017. If you are considering retiring abroad Peddicord says that the ﬁrst things to consider are the weather, safety, health care and the ease of access to and from your home country. These are important factors that will determine the comfort of your new life abroad. She also adds that “the large established community of expats and retirees, the prevalence of English, and now the relatively easy residency options,” are also a big attraction for the Algarve.
“The fact that English is widely spoken here makes it very easy for English-speaking retirees and expats to become part of the community and to make friends.” Although most people may see the Algarve as a summer destination, it is an ideal location for year-round quality of life, offering sunshine, mild temperatures and lots of activities such as golf and hiking. “For some, the Algarve could be an ideal part-time retirement choice,” suggests Peddicord. Especially since flight connections keep improving. Travelling within Europe is easy and cheap, several low-cost airlines fly from Faro, allowing easy access to the rest of the continent and travelling within Portugal is also easy.
As for the cost of living in the Algarve, it is deﬁnitely lower than in Northern Europe and coastal areas of the United States. “Even the tourist areas in the Algarve are relatively reasonable,” she says “and when you look beyond the tourist areas you ﬁnd that you can live very inexpensively while still maintaining a very comfortable standard of living. We look at it from the perspective of an average U.S. Social Security check,” explains Kathleen, “which is about $1,300 a month right now. At the current rate of exchange between the euro and the dollar, that works out to about €1,200 per month. A retiree could live on that amount in the Algarve, meaning the Algarve qualiﬁes as a place where an American could retire on his Social Security income alone and that is a big beneﬁt.”
The dreaded bureaucracy is what most people worry about, however it isn’t much more complicated than in other European countries. Applying for residency and opening a bank account are relatively simple if you have your documents in order. Proper health care, both national and private, is essential. Another bonus for the region as these are quite reliable in Portugal. “We haven’t used the systems ourselves,” says Kathleen, “but colleagues and expats living in the country say the systems work well.” As for health insurance, going about ﬁnding the best deal can be tricky. Asking for the help and guidance of an expat association such as AFPOP (Association for Foreign Property Owners in Portugal) is without a doubt the best way to go.
Of course, the real estate market is important and the good news is that the Algarve is still very affordable. “The property market has appreciated since my ﬁrst visit but remains one of the best bargains in Europe,” points out Kathleen. Once a popular destination with the Brits, Spain no longer compares with Portugal. “The coast of Spain has been much more overbuilt than the Algarvean coast,” claims the expert, “All that inventory makes the coast of Spain less appealing in some ways but is helping to keep prices down in particular markets.” Peddicord practices what she preaches. She really does believe the Algarve is the ideal place to retire and has invested in the region. “We bought an apartment in Lagos in 2015 as an investment and a place to spend a few weeks a year. The prices at the time were excellent - prices are still good in Lagos but a bit higher than when we bought, and the represented net annual rental yields were strong. Those projections are playing out, we will net at least 8% this year from this apartment.” A good little investment!
For more information on Live and Invest Abroad visit Kathleen Peddicord’s website: www.liveandinvestoverseas.com