Retirement and The Elderly in Portugal

For those of us who are seriously considering retiring in Portugal, but not currently living there, what helpful information or advice might others have to post here? This is a complex topic of great interest, apparently, for many people. Perhaps those forum members who have already gone through this relocation process can help! We are currently seriously exploring this option. I am already retired, and soon to be a Portuguese citizen, but my spouse, who is a Portuguese citizen, has a number of years to go before reaching the official retirement age of 67 here in the US–although retiring early might be possible. We are watching many of the YouTube videos that talk about this, most of which are from Brazilian vloggers. It is a huge process of deciding location; accommodation; post-retirement job options; cost-of-living; etc. Pretty exciting and energizing! Would love to hear from others who might be in the same process!

1 Like

I can say that Portugal has been trying to be as attractive as possible for expats of any age and retirees in particular, especially if wealthy :no_mouth: If you get non-habitual resident status, you have full tax exemption on your foreign pension for up to 10 years, which is quite a great deal!

1 Like

Will follow this thread closely, as I’m on a similar path.

This is a vlog by a Brazilian man, which discusses the cost of living/retiring in Portugal for a couple. He compares the cost-of-living in several areas of Portugal. It is in Brazilian Portuguese, but is fairly easy to understand. Others might find it useful.

1 Like

Caso alguém não tenha visto este artigo do Sapo Portugal…

3 Likes

Here’s an associated question - how do the Portuguese care for their elderly?

1 Like

Oh, that is a very interesting question and topic! I am eager to hear from those with some knowledge about this! :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Here is an extract from an article in the Algarve News

there is an expectation that the elderly will be taken care of by family, but in Portugal this is reinforced by a legal obligation for adult children to care for their parents, which means that care services have tended to largely consist of organisations providing care within the family home.

1 Like

Just based on what usually comes up on the news, in studies, reports and so on, I would say there’s major room for improvement, @stephencanthony. Here are some reasons why: 1) the number of abandoned elderly in hospitals is high enough to be newsworthy most years; 2) elder abuse (psychological and/or physical) is a thing in several househoulds, 3) pensions are generally low; 4) our public healthcare system is lacking in some areas and difficult to access outside of major urban areas; 5) retirement homes are too expensive for the average person and 6) there is not enough support for carers/caregivers.

But, since not all is bad, let me tell you that earlier this year, a law was passed with a number of measures to support and protect informal caregivers - cuidadores informais -, including additional state allowances, protection of their right to pensions, professional home support, etc. Also, even though the numbers and statistics paint a generally bad picture, there are many uplifting stories all around. They’re just harder to come by!

2 Likes

A little more food for thought, since it’s been quiet here for awhile! :nerd_face: Also, perhaps a helpful website for those who haven’t yet seen it:

2 Likes

Yes, too quiet… Was wondering if it was the post August-recess-come-back-to-speed effect.

Having said that, has anyone (US based) explored insurance options vz Medicare? Opinions to offer? Maybe that a more expat focused site would be a better venue for such a question, but thought I’d ask here as well.

1 Like

Could be that not that many active forum members are in a position to contribute to this discussion, since it’s so specific to a certain demographic. But there’s already a lot of good stuff here, especially from @David2019 :slight_smile:

Hi, @stephencanthony! I think @Joseph’s comment about the limited demographic here is very accurate. I don’t think this topic will ever compete with “What’s the Hottest Portuguese Music Right Now?” :slightly_smiling_face: But, over time, others may join the Forum and respond to the topic. In the meantime, have you seen the section on Healthcare in Portugal on the ExpatExchange? I haven’t had a chance to sift through it, but there seems to be a lot there:

I’m keeping an eye on this forum from afar, hoping and dreaming that one day in the not too distant future I might be lucky enough to be in this situation!

2 Likes

Good points made… and I’ll check out the link.

For me, retirement-wise, the curves have crossed (math expression - meaning I have enough $$/€€ to support my needs for expected lifetime). So, while I enjoy my job, I’m starting to get some wifely pressure to get us over there. Hence needing to understand some of the fundamentals, insurance, taxes, visas, etc.

1 Like

Lucky me, @Jeremy - for now, I’m already in the right place!

@stephencanthony, I have the impression that the Portuguese government is working towards simplifying all these bureaucratic processes a bit, or at least having stronger IT resources/solutions for them. For example, for taxes, our “Portal das Finanças” is becoming a better tool year after year, it seems (even with all its crashes when it’s time to file tax returns). This, along with the increasing availability of information not only from official sources, but also from other expats, etc., will hopefully make your transition easier once the time comes.

1 Like

More food for thought in this article from Portugalist.com! I’d be curious to know what those who currently live in the country think about the points in this article.
https://www.portugalist.com/portugal-downsides/

1 Like

Informative, and worrying, report on Portugal and the elderly. The face of the man in the photo certainly conveys great pathos. I am not a sociologist and am surely more ignorant on these types of issues than I should be, but what are the solutions to this problem in Portugal? Does it all hinge on improving the overall level of education? It cannot be as simplistic as that. I very much would like to hear from those who are living in Portugal and who may have some insight into this issue.

1 Like

And it isn’t. There are so many things that need to be changed. The average young adult doesn’t have enough job security and financial stability to make having kids a priority, not to mention the fact that so many of them moved abroad over the last ten or so years. Also, we need better family-promoting policies and employers who see the value in them. These are some key factors that explain the aged population.

Money and priorities also aren’t managed well enough on a governmental scale to properly invest on what matters (access to affordable healthcare can fall, at least in part, under this discussion). On top of that, there’s way more corruption on all levels than politicians would ever care to openly admit, even though many of them only barely cover it up.

In terms of education, I would say that it is relatively accessible in terms of costs and availability (apart from the more isolated villages on the countryside, where students may have long daily commutes to almost empty classrooms) and I also would like to understand better the factors behind school dropout and whatnot. Still, I think there’s definitely room for improvement on the school curriculums and progression, and especially on the whole textbook situation. Not only are they expensive, but students are made to buy entirely new manuals year after year for no special reason - textbook publishers are constantly releasing “new” or “updated” textbooks even when curriculums barely change. It’s all for business, it’s a waste of money and resources and it makes it impossible for textbooks to be handed down to other students. Teachers also have it bad in Portugal, in terms of career management.

2 Likes

Thank you, @Joseph, for this very informative and well-thought-out response. This is, clearly, a hugely multifaceted issue, for which there are no easy answers. The ever-growing disproportion of aged to young brings to mind the similarity to what is happening in Japan–perhaps there are similar dynamics going on there. Your comments regarding the constant pushing of “new editions” of textbooks, at great expense to the students, and teachers having it bad, in terms of career management, certainly also apply to things here in the U.S. I appreciate hearing your thoughts, as a native Portuguese!

2 Likes