Recently, however, I have learned about a few European locations that are charming, convenient and affordable! The first one I wish to cover is the Abruzzo region of Italy.
Cost of Living in Abruzzo
According to some estimates, an American couple could live comfortably in Abruzzo for about $1500 to $1700 a month, including renting an apartment or house for about $450 to $700 a month. (If you prefer to buy, homes can also be purchased in the $50,000 to $150,000 price range.)
In addition to rent, an estimated monthly budget would include $100 a month for local transportation, $50 for utilities, $125 for phone/internet/cable service, $125 a month for household help, $300 for groceries and $300 for entertainment and other expenses.
(Note: I took the above figures from articles that were written in 2013 and 2014. None-the-less, one person in the comments section suggested that the figures should be increased. You may want to adjust these numbers substantially upward if you are planning to retire there in 2020 or later. Even with a 20% increase, it would still be possible to live there for less than $2500 a month, an average amount for a retired couple living solely on Social Security.)
Senior citizens in Italy are frequently offered restaurant discounts and there are express lines for seniors in many public locations, including grocery stores.
Not only is the cost-of-living for Abruzzo well within the means of most American couples who are living solely on Social Security, but many couples will also be able to occasionally tour around Europe or visit the United States. The region is only about an hour's drive away from Rome, and residents have easy access to both train and air travel.
Climate and Quality of Life in Abruzzo
Americans moving to this region of Italy will find a very appealing climate. Summer temperatures are warm and can reach into the low 90's. Temperatures in the spring and fall will typically range from the 60's to the 80's. In the winter, the average daytime temperature is in the 40's or 50's, although temperatures can become colder and there is increased precipitation the further inland you are from the sea. It is very rare for the temperatures to be freezing along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, while snow can fall in the nearby mountains. Consequently, you can live in this area of Italy and still choose the climate you think your would prefer.
Like Southern California, in a typical Abruzzo winter it is possible to visit the mountain ski slopes in the morning and relax at the beach that afternoon.
This picturesque region is full of lovely vineyards, gorgeous castles and romantic stone villages. There is a low crime rate and residents can expect to find friendly, caring neighbors. The hillsides are gorgeous ... as you can tell from the above photo of fall foliage in Abruzzo.
Italian Healthcare System
Americans cannot utilize the Medicare system when they are living in another country. It is also unlikely that you will qualify for the national health plan service in Italy. However, you can pay privately for your medical care and it tends to be quite affordable ... about $30 for a doctor visit and $200 a night for a hospital stay. The quality is quite high, as well. Italy's healthcare system is ranked second in the world by the World Health Organization, far above the United State's 37th ranking. If you have a serious, chronic condition which could require frequent treatments and doctor visits, however, it may be worth it to contact a hospital in the area to get a realistic idea of what you would need to spend per year to maintain your health.
Risks of Moving to Italy
It is important that people understand that there are risks when moving to another country and you have to take precautions to protect yourself. In particular, you should know that you cannot buy some types of homeowner's insurance which are common in the United States. Some types of natural disasters are not covered by insurance. Since this could change over the years, it is important you speak with an attorney and insurance agent to learn more about specifically what would and would not be covered should your home be damaged or destroyed in a wild fire, earthquake or flood.
In addition, you should be careful about putting down what Americans call "earnest money" when purchasing a property. According to an Italian woman who contacted me, "Tell buyers never to advance money to the realtor or to the owners. In case an advance of money is requested, go to the Notary for the "rogito" (passage of property), and always ask to send the money the the "clients account" of the Notary. Be careful in Italy. There are two forms of advance money. One is called "accounto" and the other "caparra confirmatoria". The "acconto" goes back to the potential buyer , should he decide that he changed his mind; but if the Notary registered the advanced money as "caparra confirmatoria" the money is lost if the potential buyer steps back."
As you can see, it is very important that buyers understand the laws before entering into a real estate transaction. The same can be true if you decide to start a business or engage in any business dealings in Italy or any other foreign country. It is always wise to be well informed.
If you are thinking about moving to another country, you may also be interested in using this Amazon link to the book: "How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (For Less) Abroad."
If you are making your retirement plans, use the tabs at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of articles about places to retire in the United States and overseas, financial planning, medical concerns, family relationships, and more.
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Photo credit: www.morguefile.com