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Portugal has become the Eldorado of the silver economy

The Portuguese can rub their hands, as their country has become the Eldorado of the "silver economy". The silver economy is an economy that caters for senior citizens, the "silver" in question referring to the silver hair, or supposedly silver hair, of the over-60s.

This silver economy (in every sense of the word) represents a juicy market, particularly in France where the over-60s now make up 25% of the population and hold, by far, the highest wealth of any age group (over 200,000 EUR on average). The reason for this sudden craze is quite simple: moving to Portugal substantially increases their purchasing power, thanks to less expensive real estate, a lower cost of living and tax breaks.

Tax carrot

Embroiled in the crisis and burdened by a debt still flirting with 130% of GDP, the Portuguese showed their inventiveness by adopting a decree-law in September 2009 that formalized the status of non-habitual resident (NHR), a measure designed to attract foreigners to their country.

In practical terms, this status allows expatriates to benefit from tax exemption for 10 years, provided they spend at least 183 days a year in Portugal, either as tenants or owners. 

With the special status of non-habitual resident having been simplified in August 2012, Portugal has become the preferred destination for French retirees moving abroad, to the point of supplanting Morocco and Spain in the rankings of favorite destinations according to a recent survey carried out by Opinionway. " The French are among our main customers "confirms Ricardo Simoes, Director of the Franco-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. However, Ricardo Simoes does not see what he calls a "tax carrot" as the sole reason why the French are attracted to his country. " Tax advantages are obviously a plus, but they're not the only one. "he objects. " There's the climate, the gastronomy, the diversity, the purchasing power, the cultural proximity, and also the human dimension: the Portuguese are very welcoming. ".

In his opinion, these many advantages have finally won over the hearts of the French, at a time when other destinations, such as Morocco and Tunisia, have become less attractive due to fear of terrorism, while Portugal has the reputation of being a very safe country. "Tax exemption and the international situation have only shortened retirees' decision-making time. "he assures us.

The Algarve is popular

As a result, Portugal's target of welcoming 20,000 French nationals between 2014 and the end of 2016 looks set to be achieved, a windfall valued at 1 billion euros. And it's not just the French: the Swiss and Germans are flocking in droves, as are the British, who already have a strong historical presence in a country with which the UK has always had close ties.

Three regions are particularly popular with expatriates: Porto in the north, the capital Lisbon and the Algarve in the south. Reputed to be the Côte d'Azur of Portugal, this sunny, almost year-round region has just been named one of Portugal's most beautiful regions. ranked N.1 best place to retire by the American version of the Huffington Post website.

Young retirees Anne and Dominique took the temperature last Friday at Porte de Versailles in Paris. Salon des seniors in Paris, where they attended a conference on the advantages of moving to Portugal, a country they already knew from vacations with their respective husbands. " It's not out of the question that my husband and I will be retiring to Portugal in a year's time. "Anne admits. " Finallyshe continues, there are some very interesting advantages. Many companies leave France to improve their tax situation. So, as individuals, we're bound to ask ourselves some questions. ".

The main motivation for leavingshe adds, is the tax burden, which is very high in France from the moment you earn a cent. According to our calculations, you could save between EUR 10,000 and EUR 30,000 a year by moving to Portugal. ". "In additionshe adds, Inheritance tax can benefit from the Portuguese tax system, which is more attractive, something I didn't know. before coming to the show ". Her friend Dominique would have been tempted too, but there's a catch: the tax exemption only applies to private-sector pensioners. And she's a civil servant. " It's a country that I've always dreamed of and that I'm familiar with. As a result, I'm much less interested "she admits, a hint of regret in her voice.

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