Retiring abroad in the European Union can be an ideal way to spend your golden years. Traveling around Europe can be exciting and streamlined. You could spend your retirement visiting different countries and cultures and having new experiences.
The downfall of living in Europe is the price tag. A lot of EU countries feature a high cost of living. One country, however, costs a fraction of the price and also offers a very low crime rate. Bulgaria, located in southeastern Europe, is that country.
This small country borders Serbia, Romania, Macedonia, Turkey, Greece, and the Black Sea. Though the country is a member of the EU, the euro currency has not been integrated into the economy, so the cost of living is low. The economy is improving, especially in the past ten years, as foreigners are seeing the appeal of the quiet nation.
A Bulgarian retirement abroad would definitely be a quiet one. Your day-to-day may consist of a cold beer in the garden and a glass of wine in the evenings with friends. Bulgaria has a low crime rate, so you won’t have to worry about your safety, or your wallet, like in many European countries.
One of the many draws to Bulgaria is the scenic mountains located next to the sunny seaside, a view that you can’t get in most countries. Imagine going from the Alpine forests of Borovets in the morning to an early afternoon swim in the Black Sea.
The climate is perfect for enjoying a variety of activities all year long. Many love the idea of spending their days in a year-round summer, but others miss the changing seasons. Bulgarian winters are cold and snowy, while summers are hot. In between sits a pleasant spring and autumn. You’ll get to ski during the winters and enjoy swimming the Black Sea in the summer!
Not only is the country aesthetically pleasing, the people are welcoming and kind. The locals of Bulgaria know how to party and have a good time!
Second only to the low cost of living, the low taxes are one of the biggest draws for expats looking to retire abroad. Bulgaria has a flat income tax rate of 10%, the lowest in the European Union. The health and pension insurance costs are also pretty low, as well as costs of starting a business. You will be paying very little of your income to the government.
Cost of Living
Cost of living is one of the biggest factors when deciding where to retire abroad to. Compared to other EU countries, Bulgaria is a very inexpensive country to live in. This is due to low salaries compared to other European countries.
Real estate prices are some of the lowest in Europe. Sofia, the capital city, is the cheapest capital in the European Union. A 900-square-foot apartment on the higher end of the price range sits at around $550. Utilities each month are around $100.
Food is also inexpensive in Bulgaria, especially when eating out. In Sofia, where most expats gather, there are plenty of restaurants and bars. Groceries are also inexpensive but stay at prices that are comparable to the rest of Europe.
Long-term residence permits are issued for one year for non-EU citizens and can be renewed. There are several different options for residency, but this option is the one you would use if you were going to live in the country off a pension or a retirement fund. As a non-EU citizen looking to obtain long-term residence, you must submit your application in your home country to the Bulgarian consular representative.
When you apply for the permit, you will need to prove you have sufficient means to support yourself, have a place to stay, and own a valid passport.
After five consecutive years of long-term residence, you can apply for permanent residence in Bulgaria. This earns you the same rights as a Bulgarian citizen, other than the right to vote. You will submit your application to the National Migration Directorate in Bulgaria no later than 60 days before your long-term residency permit expires.
If you want the freedom to travel in Europe during your retirement abroad without the pricetag of living in Italy or France, Bulgaria is the country for you. Just because it’s cheaper, doesn’t mean you’re missing out on anything either. You will be safe and the people are kind. You can always enjoy the quiet Bulgarian scenery, and when you are looking for more excitement, hop on a train or plane and visit any of the nearby countries.
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