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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Taiba, Brazil

Jan 09, 2017


Brazil

Eight years ago, a British couple bought a small farm that's a few minutes from the beach and settled into retirement in Brazil. They have great tips for newcomers about finances, renting vs. buying and learning the language.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Taiba

Why did you choose to retire abroad?

Our money goes further. We also have a nicer house than we could have afforded in the UK. The weather is perfect, year round. We have a lovely large garden, and also fishing lakes. Plus we are just a few minutes to a beach.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

We live in Brazil full time.

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

For us we wanted somewhere with good weather. Plus it had to be one which we could afford a lower necessary allowance to enter with. For us that was a determining factor.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

Yes, I have dual nationality US/UK and have live most of my adult life abroad.

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

We have lived here for 8 years and plan to continue with this plan.

How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

Only one, which is Brazil.

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What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

For us it was getting to grips with the language. We are far from fluent yet we still get by. In our area, most people still don't speak English. In saying that, Brazilians are some of the most gracious and polite people, and are patient with our attempts to make ourselves understood.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

The lack of stress has to be the best thing about living in Brazil. Latin countries, seem to be very laid back when it comes to time. Once you adapt to this, stress seems to melt away.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

For us, we would choose a smaller property which allowed us time to travel around the country. We have a small farm and it is time consuming. A beach house would have been a better choice for us instead of our land.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

There are many activities but not necessarily targeted at retirees or expats. The Latin way of life is a family life which extends from babies to those in their 90's. If you get to know Brazilians, you become part of their group and are invited to their gatherings. There are museums, the beach, gyms etc, although I don't attend these with other expats, just friends.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

Once we saw a property we liked we started the process before we left the country. We obtains a CPF card (tax card). Our attorney, who had power of attorney, acted on our behalf. We returned to the UK for 9 months while the paperwork was going through the process. In this time at the Brazilian consulate in London we handle the visa doing our part whilst the attorney handled the money and paperwork in Brazil.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

We bought a home. We saw our property on the internet and the agent met us at the hotel the day after we landed. We looked at 5 or 6 as I recall. We found one we liked, obtained our tax card (CPF) and spoke to a lawyer who handled both the house purchase and our immigration. With the vendors, and agents we went to a cartorio and signed an official contract.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

We have found it much hard financially then we thought we would. Prices here have doubled, not just on food but on petrol/gasoline. We are struggling financially.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

Have a backup plan if it doesn't go well. Also I would suggest renting instead of buying as you could be tied to the country when you want to leave. Don't think that retiring with the minimum allowed is a good idea, it isn't enough.

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

If a person wishes to have a comfortable lifestyle including a housekeeper and a groundsman, I would say the minimum is $5,000 a month. (US dollars)

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

We use the state medical system and have found it to be satisfactory. Although some of the services aren't included, it is affordable. For example, a mammogram is circa $40.

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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

There has been crime in our area. Some of this is gang related but it is still a good idea to not wear flashy jewelry, or watches. The same as you would in any big city. We have been the victims of crime twice, both robberies in our home. (one was an attempted robbery).

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

A car is beneficial in the area I live in although bus services are frequent. The buses can be crowded. There are motorcycle taxis, and normal taxis which cost about $50 for a 4 hour round trip with several stops.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Ours is 1 mb so it isn't the fastest. We do not have a phone line where we live and use a local service provider. The good thing is, if I telephone, they know me and come to my house to resolve an issue. For this I pay the equivalent of $40.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

I would tell someone to definitely rent before you commit to buying. Living here is much different than being here on a holiday. Buy a television and learn the language as soon as possible.

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