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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the forum and look forward to getting some input as well as helping out others.
I am currently in the USA.
Have lived in Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica for about a 10 year total.
I traveled when I was working throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Question of the century: Where is an affordable place to live, that is extremely expat friendly in Europe for a US citizen?

Thanks and if you have any questions on my recent travels just ask.
 

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Don't mean to sound cynical, but in Europe the best country for a US expat is one in which you can get a job. (And that ain't easy these days.) That usually means that you have the local language or somewhere your current employer has a facility they can transfer you to.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Don't mean to sound cynical, but in Europe the best country for a US expat is one in which you can get a job. (And that ain't easy these days.) That usually means that you have the local language or somewhere your current employer has a facility they can transfer you to.
Cheers,
Bev
Already retired with an income so do not need a job. Just looking for a reasonably priced place to live that is tax friendly to expats.

I speak pretty good Spanish, not Castilian, and that is one reason I have considered Spain, but seems Spain is taking a turn to less favorable treatment to expats since their economy headed south.

Considering Spain, Portugal and a few others.
 

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The first factor to consider is where it's legal for you to retire. Assuming you do not have EU status, that narrows your choices at least a bit. Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Bulgaria are among the countries that have residence programs for foreigners which require buying a home (of a certain minimum selling price). Spain's program is probably the most affordable.

Italy has an elective residence (ER) visa for foreigners. It does not require buying a home, but it does require demonstrating sufficient legal income (or income-generating wealth) obtained without employment in Italy. A pension qualifies. The minimum to be considered for an ER visa is reportedly 3000 euro per month per person, though Italian consulates can require more at their discretion. You must also demonstrate the intention to reside in Italy for over 12 months because this is a residence visa, not a long vacation visa.
 

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The legality of retiring to most countries in Europe probably isn't an issue. In France, for example, retirees apply for a "visitor visa" under which they are not permitted to work. They need to show sufficient income for the term of their stay (basically one year at a time) - and if you have pensions you're probably covered. And, you have to show a private health insurance policy that covers roughly the same as the national health care coverage (because you won't be eligible for the national program).

The question, however, of a "reasonably priced" place to live depends quite a bit on your definitions and circumstances. I've been here in France through a couple rounds of US and/or British expats moving back home due to unexpected shifts in the exchange rates. And it can depend on your standards of living - if you want to kit out the house with US-style appliances, it's going to be more expensive than if you "make do" with the local variety and standards.

However a few other things to consider:

To retire to a country means that you may be needing more in the way of medical services. Are you prepared to deal with medical professionals in the local language? (Outside large cities, it can be difficult to find English speaking professionals - and in an emergency situation forget it.)

If you have children or other people you're planning on providing for in your will, make sure to check out the country's inheritance laws and taxes. Once you're resident in a country, you fall under their tax laws (and there is some question as to whether or not the new EU rules concerning which inheritance rules a person can invoke applies to non-EU nationals).

You may want to take a look at local taxation. You'll still be on the hook for US taxes (or at least filing the tax returns) - but the interaction of US and other tax laws sometimes have some unintended consequences. You can only credit foreign income taxes paid against any US obligation - and if you find a country that gives you a "break" on your pension income, you may find that you don't have the credits available to offset the US taxes on the income. (Many European countries get their main revenue stream from the VAT, which is definitely NOT deductible nor creditable on US taxes.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Already retired with an income so do not need a job. Just looking for a reasonably priced place to live that is tax friendly to expats.

I speak pretty good Spanish, not Castilian, and that is one reason I have considered Spain, but seems Spain is taking a turn to less favorable treatment to expats since their economy headed south.

Considering Spain, Portugal and a few others.
Shouldn't be the case for a retiring expat in Spain . . . as long as you're not taking a job away from the locals I've found they are very welcoming of expats . . . knowing the language goes a long way as well!
 

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Securing residency is relatively easy in Spain as my roommate did it as an American and I did it as a Swede with little time wasted. This country thrives on tourism so expat friendly is not going to be a problem.

I can't speak to the Portuguese immigration system but the environment is expat friendly and there are a greater number of English speakers on average.

The whole Iberian peninsula is a rich travel experience that is widely diverse in costs of living, landscape, languages and weather. Galicia, Andalusia and Communidad Madrid are among the cheapest in Spain. Sunny Andalusia is the traditional Spain that Westerners sometimes imagine with bull fighting, beaches, flamenco, wine, etc. Madrid can be hectic in comparison but for European metropolises it is relatively calm and affordable. It is the largest city south of Paris, West of Rome and North of Lagos.
 
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