Humans tend to search for safeness and comfort, nevertheless to be happy. Even if it is unbelievable, some researchers actually study the happiness.
Regarding day to day life, what must happen to someone to be happy? What are the major aspects that bring comfort and safeness? Is the same thing regarding retirement?
What makes people truly happy in retirement?
In the retirement part of the life people have more time, would like to visit countries and places they have never been before, meet new people and spend money on whatever they want. Even if health is an issue, if a country has a well-organized healthcare system, this problem seems to vanish.
The countries that will pass on the final list will be the ones that are considered a ”happy place”, have a good healthcare system, and something to offer for the ones who love to travel and a small cost of living plus rent index.
Top 10 happiest countries
The state of global happiness the top 10 ranked happiest countries in 2020 are Luxembourg, Austria., New Zealand, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Denmark and on the first place, Finland.
There are no surprises here, almost all of them are Nordic countries and the life there is pretty expensive. If a person is happy and satisfies is more prone to offer support to others and seek friendship and human interaction.
‘‘Happy countries” and their cost of living index
Based on the above list and taking into account the cost of living and rent index the most expensive country is Switzerland, the reason being the big incomes they have. The cheapest countries are (from the most expensive to the cheapest): Netherlands, New Zealand, Finland, Austria and Sweden.
Take into account the rent and living expenses as well, after all, base on Michael Finke’s study, money brings joy.
What this actually means in ”money”?
According to The Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in the Netherlands, a budget of 1.500€ per month would cover the accommodation cost, transportation and food.
New Zealand on the other hand, would require a budget range from about NZ$3,000 to NZ$5, 000 per month. That would be between 1650 and 2750€.
In Finland, an income between 700 – 900€/month is needed. Helsinki is the most expensive city, while Laaperanta, Pori and Tampere are known as the most affordable.
The monthly living cost in Austria varies significantly between different cities and provinces., Vienna and Innsbruck are ranked as the most expensive cities, while the most affordable cities include Graz and Klagenfurt. The average monthly living expenses would be around 1000€/month.
In Sweden the life is cheap, a monthly budget of 8,000kr (about 850€ ) is more than enough. On this budget, leisure activities and take the odd holiday are included.
Finland it seems to make the caught to finals also on this list. Fingers crossed.
Note: the amounts stated represent the average budget for an average priced city and is it expressed per person.
When moving to another country with a pension taxed in the residence country is important to consider the tax consequences and to check double taxation agreements. Some of the countries in the residence-based system tax the residents of the country on their worldwide (local and foreign) income, while nonresidents are taxed only on their local income.
Netherlands isn’t taxing foreign pensions; it taxes only the income gained in its borders.
In the first 4 years, New Zealand exempts from taxation the overseas investments or pensions, providing the person is eligible for ‘transitional tax resident’ status. This is a big incentive to take into consideration the move to New Zealand.
Finland also offers an exemption from taxation for income gained in another country, owing to the tax treaty, because pension has already been taxed in the source country. A health care contribution is usually imposed on a foreign pension and it is 1.65% of the pension.
In Austria the worldwide income must be declared to avoid double taxation. Although the foreign pension may be exempt from income tax, the resident can be subject to other Austrian taxes and fees. It may be useful to consult a tax adviser or accountant on such matters.
For the first six months, Sweden considers expats as non-resident for tax purposes. Taxes must be paid only for income earned there. If the person is considered tax resident during that tax year in another country, worldwide income can be subject to taxation in Sweden.
Health care is another major consideration during retirement because of it more likely to see doctors more often in this period of life than before.
Excellent news for anyone looking to relocate permanently or visit the Netherlands is its universal healthcare system. The government requires all adults living or working in the Netherlands to have basic insurance.
The basic plan costs between 100-120€ per month. It covers the basic standard of care like visits to the GP and hospital.
New Zealand‘s public healthcare system grants free access to permanent residents to hospital care, and emergency treatment. In order to access public healthcare, ex-pats need to have permanent residency status.
The municipalities of Finland are responsible for offering their residents healthcare services. Free healthcare is offered for the legal resident.
In most cases, people on retirement visas enjoy a tax exemption in the destination country.
The ones who are Swiss or European Economic Area (EEA) citizens have the right to live and retire in the Netherlands. For the citizens of other countries, a permanent resident visa is required.
To qualify for this type of visa the condition is to have residency in the Netherlands for five consecutive years.
As for immigration, New Zealand offers two dedicated visa options to retire in New Zealand, whether intend to come temporarily or permanently.
The temporary retirement visitor visa is the best alternative; this option allows a temporary stay in New Zealand on a visitor visa for up to 2 years. The conditions are: to be 66 or above, have NZ $750,000 to invest in New Zealand for 2 years, another NZ $500,000 to live on, and an annual income of NZ $60,000.
To obtain a retirement visa in Austria proof of income, proof of residency and proof of medical insurance is needed, as well as German language proficiency. After six months in Austria, the expats are asked to get a residence permit, plus proof of sufficient financial means.
For the first 3 months, tourists in Finland can stay there for up to 90 days don’t require a visa or residence. EU nationals are allowed to stay in Finland for unlimited periods of time. However, they must register their right of residence once their visit exceeds 3 months.
The same procedure is applied to Sweden. After 90 days the person must apply for a Schengen visa.
Finland it is
Besides the fact, Finland has so much to offer regarding health care system and living expenses, on the entertainment and cultural diversity. The official languages are Finnish and Swedish, but the majority also speak English and German.
Regarding the quality of life index, it scores 83.4, occupying the 9th place in Europe.
Weather is not very friendly, probably this one is the biggest down point when choosing this country. The winters are long and cold and in summer it rains a lot and the temperature is not very high.
Beautiful landscapes, a lot of places to hitchhike and bicycle paths through the woods make one forget about the unfriendly weather.