More and more retirees are deciding to spend their golden years in Portugal. A look back at the development of silver economy lusitanian.
Lortugal was considered one of Europe's weakest links, along with Greece, during the debt crisis. Deserted by investors, the worst-case scenarios for the national economy were envisaged in financial circles. Yet the country has managed to turn around its economic situation, moving from -4 % GDP growth in 2012 to almost 1.5 % in 2015, according to World Bank data.
A clear government commitment
This recovery came at the cost of a policy of austerity, but also through the exploration of new economic sectors. These include silver economywhich refers to economic activities aimed at senior citizens. In the space of just a few years, the sector has grown considerably, to the point where it is sometimes referred to as a new Florida.
In 2009, in the midst of budgetary and economic turmoil, the Portuguese government promulgated a decree-law formalizing the status of non-habitual resident (RNH). Its aim was to make it easier for foreign investors and retirees to settle in Portugal. It provided for tax exemption on pensions for a period of 10 years, on condition of living in Portugal for at least 183 days a year. In 2012, the government persisted, announcing that it would simplify the process of obtaining residency status. RNH as of 2013. From now on, all you need to do to qualify is to certify that you have not been a Portuguese tax resident for the past 5 years. At the time, Portugal's tax system for foreigners was proving highly attractive, and government expectations were ambitious. The aim, for example, was to welcome 20,000 French nationals between 2014 and 2016.
Reasons for success
These measures quickly attracted the attention of consultancy organizations and the investment press. Countries such as Morocco had previously been seen as theeldorado seniors to enjoy a golden retirement in the sun. But geopolitical turmoil and terrorist attacks in the Maghreb have boosted the attractiveness of Portugal, reputed to be stable and without security problems.
The country benefits from its coastal location. Above all, its most popular region, the Algarve, attracts visitors with its year-round sunshine and mild temperatures. There are many attractions for foreign nationals. The cultural proximity and warm welcome of the Portuguese are frequently highlighted in trade magazines. The country is a member of the euro zone, so there's no exchange loss for many Europeans. It is also well served by airlines. low-cost. You can get there for around 50 euros from many European cities, for a journey of just a few hours.
Real estate is much less expensive and the cost of living, according to the OECD, is 35 % lower than in France. In terms of healthcare, the Portuguese health system is ranked 12ème out of 154 countries by the WHO. Portugal is proving to be an Eden for retirees, who often complain about their low purchasing power. In 2014, of the 7,000 French people who settled there, 80 % were retirees.
A growing economic sector
Following the success of these measures, the silver economy has really taken off. We're seeing an increase in the number of pension optimization consulting firms, as well as assistance with setting up and administrative procedures. They are increasingly present at trade fairs for senior citizens. We are also seeing the creation and development of health insurance companies. The private sector plays a relatively important role in the healthcare system.
But the most revealing sector is undoubtedly real estate. In 2014, one in five properties sold was purchased by foreigners. A growing part of the sector is turning to this expatriate clientele. Professionals are training in foreign languages and recruiting more and more English- and French-speaking staff. There was no real speculative bubble in real estate before the crisis. This makes it very attractive to Europeans from countries where rents are much higher. Whether you're an investor looking for added value or a retiree with little savings, Portugal is a magnet.