Expat Advice: Retiring in
Eifel , Germany
A couple from the UK discusses their decision to move abroad to reduce living costs and travel more. For now, they are living in Eifel, but the locals are not welcoming and they are considering moving again.
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Why did you choose to retire abroad?
I worked in Frankfurt for many years and have a German pension, as well as a British one. The country offers a higher standard of living than UK, although I prefer atmosphere of UK. My husband and I have much more money over, after paying all bills and shopping bills. We could not afford to live in UK again. We also live on a park in a mobile home and so we live even cheaper than we would, paying rent for a flat. We do find though, that the people are as cold as the winter here, which is pretty terrible. You have to join a club here to meet people, i.e. sport or music club. We miss the English pubs, and spend most of our time at home watching TV. We do have the opportunity of going out for trips to Belgium and Holland and Luxembourg, which are just over the Border. We live in the Eifel which is very good for getting around in Germany. We are thinking of going somewhere else where it is warmer, and now I read about Bulgaria, will not go there, which we wanted. Any ideas would be appreciated. It's better to go somewhere in Europe because of sickness insurance and increases in British pension.
We are a music duo, but now are getting older and retired don`t get much in that way.
Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?
Why did you choose the country you retired to?
Because I also have a German pension and know the country.
Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?
Yes, we lived in Spain for nine months and Hungary for one and a half years.
We were making music on the weekends, Spain was very good for that, but much too hot.
Hungary was not so good, but we played once a month in the local nightclub in Baja, South Hungary. Living there was not good.
How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?
Altogether for nine years.
How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?
What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?
For us, while we are a music duo, it was playing in other countries and with other audiences and also getting more work. Now this has dwindled since we are older.
What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?
Not having to worry about having enough money to pay all the bills monthly, including council tax. We were always struggling in England, with little chance of good job.
What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?
We would have gone to a warmer climate and naturally, learned the language, and have integrated more with the locals.
What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)
Where we live in the Eifell, the expats do not meet up and keep themselves to themselves. Maybe in a larger town, where I used to work, i.e. Frankfurt am Main, there is a busy expat community.
What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)
None. I have a German pension and we are in the European Union and with a British passport one can go where one wants.
Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)
We did buy an old house in East Germany, Nordhausen, and we got very ripped off when trying to sell it. We had to practically give it away in order to get rid of it. It needed too much work and did not like the locality. It's easy to pick up a cheap house in East Germany, but then you must do a lot of work on it and as I said, selling it again is a no go.
Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?
Yes, fully, we have done well with the costs, and can even save a little every month. We do live anyway, practically, but we go often out for meals and days out. In UK this would have been difficult with our pensions.
What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?
Not having to feed all our pensions into paying rent.
How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?
We have 1750,- Euros, with 4 different pensions, one German and 3 English ones. I think in England we would be on the border line. One can live here without any debts on 1000 Euros easily. On a park, where we are, it is very cheap. As we only pay the site fees which are about 3.800,- Euros including Electricity and gas and water is free.
Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)
I am on the German Sickness insurance because I worked longer here than in the UK. My husband is insured with myself, but he is over the UK Pension Service, because he never worked here and is British. We are both very happy with the medical situation here and pay only 1% of our annual income, medicines and treatment are thereafter, free. We have both been and still am having treatments for cancers, and we will stay here till the treatment is finished.
Treatment is better here than in the UK.
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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)
Where we live there is hardly no crime. But in Cologne, which is some 55 Kilometers away, there is quite a bit. In all the big cities here, especially Berlin, there is a large amount of crime. Where there are migrational community, i.e. Turkish, there is a lot.
Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?
One does definitely need a car, here, the transport situation is not very good. We have a car but think that if we didn't have one, we would have a lot of problems. One would have to go by taxi. The train station is about 5 kilometers away also. Buses are mainly running for the school children. Naturally, in a larger town there is good transport possibilities.
Is there high-speed internet access where you live?
Yes. We do have quite good internet access. Sometimes, it runs a little slow, but that is not much of a problem.
Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?
We are glad that we made the decision to live abroad and inspite of the fact that we sometimes miss friends and family, we can always get on a boat and make a visit to UK, then we are always glad to get back to peace and quiet.
We certainly have a lot more for our money and peace of mind, and enjoy our good lifestyle with good medical facilities.
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