In 2016, my wife and I chose to relocate from central London to the Portuguese island of Madeira. We had visited Madeira on many occasions and decided a more leisurely pace was reasonable at this stage of our life. I soon realised retirement may not be required yet, and decided to start a small property advisory business, Émigré Limited, helping UK and American expats to relocate, both to the island and mainland Portugal and hopefully help them overcome many of the difficulties I encountered. Since then, my primary role has been to work with clients to find the property solution that best suits their needs.
Now, as the days grow shorter and the seasons change, I can see why so many Brits are looking to relocate to a warmer climate. With the combination of spiking energy prices, strikes on the railway system, higher interest payments on mortgages, costs and choices for education, energy bills quadrupling and uncertainty of the government’s next step; folk are searching for more certainty.
Searches in Google for relocating to Portugal have just become the number one search engine request overtaking Spain and Greece, but why? It could very well be the 300 days of sunshine, the blue flag award winning beaches, the low crime rate, relaxed atmosphere with patient multilingual locals. Or the reduced cost of living, helping a family’s budget go further with food prices around 67% cheaper than London, and talk of the country avoiding going into recession.
Relocating your family in a new and more welcoming tax environment such as Portugal, which has a modern fiscal regime, a health system without long waiting lists and with over 90% of the population speaking English, is a beneficial scenario for many UK and American families. Instead of exporting capital, it is time to export the family and future generations to countries with attractive taxation schemes providing greater financial freedom. Do not think of equity release, think of capital release in a lower inflationary environment.
Whilst the Golden Visa approach might not be suitable for all potential retirees, many who have elected to use the Golden Visa route consider this to be an excellent stepping-stone to possible permanent residency. In particular, the fund route is increasingly appealing as it allows investors to diversify their investment portfolio, while benefiting from a second citizenship and greater quality of life. HNW families are now seeing not only the financial and succession planning opportunities in holding a second residency, but also the opportunity to stretch retirement budgets or improve their lifestyles. It’s as much a Plan B as a Plan A, particularly for Baby Boomers or highly mobile digital nomads.
John Mather Director of Émigré LDA
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+44 207 078 4112 Office from UK
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