One of the world’s friendliest, easiest and safest countries, Portugal tops the Annual Global Retirement Index for 2020 published by International Living. Adding to Portugal’s appeal are its gracious people, attractive beaches, brilliant sunshine and rich culture.
Executive editor of International Living Jennifer Stevens said: “There’s no one-size-fits-all destination, but by gathering insights and specific data from our correspondents around the world, we’re able to compare apples-to-apples and create a snapshot of what each of the 24 countries we rank has to offer across categories like Cost of Living, Healthcare, Visas and Residence and more.
“Portugal is the best-value destination in western Europe today,” said Stevens. “A place where not only do dollars really stretch, but where the quality of life is high, healthcare is excellent and low-cost, the pace is slow and pleasant and the populace is unendingly welcoming.”
Portugal is one of Western Europe’s most affordable countries. In Lisbon, the capital city, a couple can live comfortably on about US$2,200 a month—and it’s much less for a single person. In smaller cities and in the country’s interior, a couple’s budget will be about $1,700 a month. And there are areas where your money goes even further, like Peniche on Portugal’s Silver Coast, where you can live for less than $1,400 a month.
Portugal was selected above five countries in the Americas – Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador – with the Top Ten being rounded off by Malaysia, Spain, France and Vietnam.
“After living here for more than seven years, I’ve been asked many times, ‘Why Portugal?’” says Tricia Pimental, International Living’s Portugal correspondent. “My response is often to enumerate factors like affordable lifestyle – which includes quality professional healthcare –temperate climate, high safety rating and excellent food and wine.”
But Pimental says the real reason is even more ephemeral. “It’s the overarching sense of well-being we experience here. The country’s natural geographical beauty blends with its architecture of various eras, dating back millennia, to evoke a sense of permanence and timeless tradition. When you add to that the kindness and gentility of the Portuguese people, it is a winning combination.”
Sovereign first established an office in Portugal in 1999 specifically to offer tax advice to its clients on all matters relating to property ownership or living in Portugal. With our full complement of qualified accountants and bi-lingual administrative staff, we are able to keep up to date with the ever-changing fiscal demands placed on property owners and have established good relationships with lawyers and villa managers all over Portugal.
A special tax regime – Non-Habitual Residency Status – was introduced in 2009 that allows individuals to benefit from a final flat rate tax of 20% for 10 consecutive years if he or she qualifies as a tax resident in Portugal and has not been taxed as a Portuguese tax resident in any of the previous five years.
In addition, and depending on the terms of any double tax treaty between Portugal and the paying country, pension income may also be exempt from taxation for the 10-year period. Sovereign has successfully applied for NHR status for many clients who now enjoy tax free pension income!
The Golden Visa Residence Permit (GVRP) further offers a fast-track, investment-based opportunity for non-EU citizens to gain residency in Portugal. When granted, this provides qualifying individuals and their family with full rights to live, work and/or study in Portugal, visa free access throughout the 26 countries of the Schengen zone and, after five years, the right to apply for permanent residency in or citizenship of Portugal. Our international and Portugal based teams are available to assist potential applicants with all requirements needed to qualify for, prepare, submit and process a successful Golden Visa Residence Permit application.
Ceri Pratley, Sovereign’s Residency and Citizenship Consultant, says government-approved European residency (RBI) and citizenship (CBI) by investment programmes provide a solid foundation upon which families are able to build flexible wealth management strategies.
“It is potentially the most important investment you will ever make,” he says. “I still find however that the majority of individuals and advisers are not aware of the multitude of benefits to be gained when programmes are implemented and utilised correctly. European RBI and CBI programmes provide a wide range of lifestyle, travel, business, investment and tax efficient benefits.”