Ireland is home to some of the most stunning landscapes and coastlines in the world. This, plus the pace of life and rich Irish culture, make it an ideal destination for Americans looking to retire abroad. Americans who go this route should be ready to spend more in Ireland, though, as housing and other costs are generally higher than in the U.S. Still, it’s entirely possible to live on the Emerald Isle for a manageable price. Here’s what you need to know about cost of living, visa rules, and more.
Cost of Retiring in Ireland
Even the priciest areas in Ireland aren’t as expensive as New York City or San Francisco. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the country is cheap, either. According to July 2019 data from Numbeo.com, a site that measures the cost of living of various countries around the world, average prices in Ireland are, on average, 6.45% higher than in the U.S.
Similarly, rent in Ireland is 6.47% more expensive than in the U.S. But if you’re planning on buying a house, you can expect to pay about what you would in America. Even at these prices, renting is typically the way to go in Irish cities that fall into either the mid-size or small categories.
As is the case with any country you choose to retire in, your cost of living will heavily depend upon where you choose to call home. Dublin is the most expensive city in Ireland, and choosing to live in the city center there will cost you quite a bit of money.
Ireland is known for its gorgeous countrysides, though. So if living in a quaint town here is of interest to you, doing so can help you save some cash. Be aware, too, that residents older than 66 can take advantage of Irish public transportation for free.
Getting an Irish Visa
You can visit and remain in Ireland for up to three months as a tourist. While this might suffice for your home search prior to your move, a retirement visa is necessary for a longer stay.
To obtain this, you’ll need to prove to Irish authorities that you have an income of at least 50,000 euros (about $56,000 as of Aug. 2019) per year, or 100,000 euros (about $112,000) if you’re applying as a couple. You’ll also need proof of a lump sum of money in case of an emergency, which should be around $250,000. Unfortunately, you will not be able to work for supplementary income with this visa.
Ireland requires you to renew your visa every year for the first five years that you reside in its borders. After five years, you can get a five-year visa. Only after you live there for a decade will you be able to apply for permanent residency.
Healthcare in Ireland
Ireland offers both public and private healthcare. According to the World Health Organization, the Irish health system is ranked 19th in the world, but about half of residents opt for private insurance, too.
You’re charged for public healthcare on a per-visit basis. Most emergency room visits will cost around 100 euros (about $112), whereas visits to a doctor’s office can cost as little as 25 euros (about $28). For those that go with a private health insurance policy, it will cost you around 1,500 euros (about $1,680) annually. Residents over 70 years old can opt in for the public healthcare system without private insurance.
Taxes in Ireland
An Irish retirement visa doesn’t allow you to work in Ireland, but you still need to file your taxes there. For the most part, retirement income won’t be taxed in Ireland if it’s generated outside of Irish borders.
As is the case with any American citizen living abroad, you’ll still need to file your U.S. taxes as well. That being said, it’s important to talk to a financial advisor to ensure that you’re paying what’s due come tax time.
Safety in Ireland
According to Aug. 2019 data from SafeAround, dangerous crime is rather uncommon in Ireland. Some of the larger cities like Dublin have some pickpocketing issues, but they’re relatively minor. In general, Ireland is about as safe a country as you’ll find, with petty crime unlikely to be a problem for anyone looking to retire there.
Ireland can be expensive, but it’s a great retirement destination. It’s easy to find cheaper housing and living options, and the Irish lifestyle is perfect for anyone who is looking to settle down and live life on the slower side.
Some areas of the country are exceptionally rainy, but temperatures are mild throughout. And while visa requirements are steep for some, it’s easy to obtain a visa once you’re able to meet said requirements. If you’re looking for a European retirement destination, Ireland should not be overlooked.
Tips for Retiring in Ireland
- It’s a good idea to talk to a financial advisor before you move to Ireland or any other foreign destination. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Will your current retirement savings allow you to keep up with the cost of living in Ireland? Our retirement calculator can help you see just how much income your current savings will afford you in your golden years.
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