Moving to Portugal
Moving to Portugal
much has been written about this subject already. So why do I
spend my time and write another one? Well, one of the reasons I
have in doing so, is that I do know Portugal well and feel that
I can write with some authority on this very subject.
One other reason I have, is that by reading what has been said
and written about moving to Portugal does not reflect the whole
There are two different and principle issues concerning this
topic. A. moving to Portugal for retirement, and B. moving to
Portugal whilst still in need of employment and the need to make
Too much emphasis in the articles I have read is put on the sun,
the beaches and the wonderful life in a country where the pace
of life is slower, the environment healthier and life in general
is wonderful and easy. Well you may not like what I have to say,
but I believe that such views are slightly removed from reality.
Let me tell you, that I am an extremely optimistic person and to
look at life in a pessimistic way is not part of my make up but
I very much dislike that people who are seriously thinking about
moving to Portugal are getting sold only half the story.
I have a sneaky suspicion, that some of the authors have had a
very personal and vested interest in painting a very colourful
and glowing picture.
Let my get more specific about it all and cover the retirement
To retire in a country with better climate and hopefully with a
lower cost of living is a positive step which more and more
people take. After a lifetime of work and with a pension to
secure this new chapter in their life's there are very little
risks in moving away from your home country. After all Portugal
is less than 3 hours away. Faro International airport has
excellent connections to the UK in particular, with many
operators offering low cost fairs.
The vast majority of retired couples will keep their home in
their respective country and spend a few months at a time in the
sun, returning to their home country whenever they feel like.
Others do live abroad all year round. Both these groups have one
thing in common. A regular income.
With a secure and steady form of income from whatever source,
you truly can enjoy the country, its people, the sun, and the
beaches, the food, in short a great way of life. That's
wonderful. You deserve it.
Now let me turn to the second group of people who are looking to
move to Portugal but are in need of a job and income.
I have met and spoken over the past 20 years with many clients
and given my views and advice on moving to a different country.
I have also met and spoken to many people after they have moved
and heard their stories and learned of their problems.
In almost every case where problems developed, it was due to
the fact that they relied on information they were given and not
taken the precaution to double check, if what they have been
told was indeed correct.
Coming to Portugal today, believing that it will not be a
problem finding well paid employment can not be further from the
truth. It will be tough and that is the reality. I have seen
many foreigners come and go, not being able to make ends meet.
Not speaking the language does not help and will always be a
major obstacle which is not easy to overcome.
If one would like to have a serious desire to succeed in working
in Portugal, or even starting a business here the language is
Not speaking the language will narrow your opportunities, and
you will be restricted to working within your own ex pat
community. Another reason I have identified over the years being
responsible for failure and early return to the country they
left with so much hope and expectations was the inability to
adapt to a very different way of life. If children are involved
in a move abroad, and depending on their ages, the education
issues can add additional pressure. Not everyone has the money
to pay for the education in private schools of their own
nationality. Many parents have to send their kids to Portuguese
schools which can prove difficult for the children. But that
really depends on their ages. The younger they are the better it
is, and the less problems parents will encounter.
So when we are talking about younger people coming to live in
Portugal, the key issue is without any doubt whatsoever
financial stability and the capacity to earn money in a new
country. An amazing amount of people underestimating the
differences in the way things work in Portugal. Even people with
good skills in their respective professions need to learn how to
apply their skills within a new, and at the beginning strange
Starting a business in the sun is the dream of many, but
unfortunately quite often not enough time is spend on research,
evaluating potential markets and opportunities. I don't like to
say it, but the dream of buying a bar or restaurant is mostly
short lived. Very few foreigners, having bought a bar or
restaurant earn enough money to keep a family. I deliberately
said foreigners. The Portuguese bars and restaurants are
different and a foreigner will in most cases not be able to
compete. When I decided to write this article, I promised myself
to be honest and to portray things as they really are.
Please don't misunderstand I am not saying that you can't earn
money in Portugal. What I say is this: Don't repeat the mistakes
countless others have made before you. Take advice from
qualified sources and act upon that advice. Portugal in my
belief has a lot of opportunities to offer if you can see them
and know how to exploit them and make them work for you.
If you come with the attitude to do your "thing" in the same way
you have always done it you have a great chance of "not making
it". Don't let that happen.
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