For anyone considering an Ireland retirement plan, there are any number of reasons why you are on the right path as Ireland retirement offers a lot of benefits, many of which may not be so obvious until you’ve actually been living here for a while. Ireland regularly makes the top 10 list of places in the world to retire. It’s rural landscape of rolling green hills, medieval castles, traditional stone cottages and homely pubs still dominate and gives it all a small town, slow paced feel that suits many people, retirees especially. But more than that, the locals are mostly a warm welcoming bunch so it usually doesn’t take long before strangers feel right at home. To give you an idea of the size of the entire country, you’re never much more than an hours drive from the coast no matter where in Ireland you live.
It’s relatively easy for Americans wanting an Ireland retirement. According to the Census Bureau, around 35 million Americans claim Irish heritage and ancestry. If you, your parents, or grandparents were born in Ireland you can normally become an Irish citizen without any problem.
If you can’t claim such direct heritage, and want to stay longer than 3 months, you simply need to present to local authorities with your passport, and relevant documentation, such as copies of bank statements that show you’re able to financially support yourself and any dependants, and not be a burden on the state, if you stay. Once permission to stay longer is granted you can then stay for a year before having to renew in a similar fashion. After 5 years of being in Ireland, you can then get a single authorisation for the next 5 years. After 10 years you can get permission for permanent residence, allowing you to live out your dream of Ireland retirement.
Ireland’s health care system is very good by American standards, and of those Americans deemed to be resident, determination is made between ‘medical card holders’ and ‘non medical card holders.’ Eligibility for a medical card is by a means test. Irish citizens or those who are ‘ordinarily resident’ can apply for a medical card if their income meets the requirements. Those who qualify for medical cards receive nearly all medical care for free, while those without medical cards are entitled to free public hospital services but they may have to pay hospital charges, including in-patient and out-patient services. Medical card holders are also entitled to subsidised prescription drugs, and maternity and infant care services and may be entitled to free or subsidised community care and personal social services. They are not entitled to free GP services, but may be entitled to some community care and personal social services. Private health insurance though, is quite affordable
Permanent residents, 66 years and over are also entitled to free public transport everywhere.
Property prices in Ireland have been on the rise again over the last few years, although they still have not recovered fully from the 2008 recession, especially outside of Dublin, and property prices everywhere, including Dublin, fell in early 2015, and may continue to fall.
Ireland retirement is relatively affordable by Western european standards, but still it isn’t cheap as can be seen on a ranking of 131 major cities around the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey. In this survey, Dublin ranked the 34th most expensive city. Almost as pricey as Los Angeles and New York City. Outside of Dublin, however, bargains can be had, and in some very desirable places too, such as Galway, Co. Clare and Co. Cork, among others.
The downsides to Ireland Retirement
But, of course, it’s not all positives. There are a few downsides to Ireland retirement.
Not least is the weather which is cloudy and rainy famously often. This is due to the gulf stream, but this also means there are no real extremes with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing in most parts or getting above 30ºC (86ºF). Central heating is now standard everywhere, but air conditioning is rare and for the most part unnecessary, so if you don’t cope well with extremes of heat or cold, then and Ireland retirement may be ideal. And if you ever do crave guaranteed sun and sand, it’s only a 3-6 hour plane trip away, depending, even in the dead of winter when many escape to places like the Canary Islands. And you don’t need to break the bank to spend a few weeks or months in the sun every year. You have the whole of Europe on your doorstep and you can be in London in under 2 hours, or Paris and any number of European Capitol or major cities within 3-4 hours.
Cost of Living
Another downside to Ireland retirement can be the cost of living which generally is on par with both the US and the UK. Below are some tables taken from numbeo.com which compares the cost of living everywhere, relative to the cost of living in New York City (NYC). The lower the numbers, the cheaper is the cost of living, however it is very generalised and other factors need to be taken into consideration, such as the huge size of the US in comparison to Ireland, the UK and Portugal, so a general cost of living covering the whole of the US, or indeed any other country is going to be at least a little skewed. But these tables giving the basic cost of living indexes for the US, UK, Ireland and Portugal(another popular retirement option) should help give a rough idea of the cost of living in each relative to the others. As can be seen, financially, Portugal seems the most attractive option, but then if you take other factors into account, for example, what price are you will ing to pay to retire to a country whose native tongue is the same as yours. How many retirees are up to, or willing to take on, the task of learning Portuguese.
|Consumer Price Index (Excl.Rent):||72.24|
|Consumer Price Plus Rent Index:||53.14|
|Local Purchasing Power:||152.03|
|Consumer Price Index (Excl.Rent):||83.03|
|Consumer Price Plus Rent Index:||58.83|
|Local Purchasing Power:||128.96|
|Consumer Price Index (Excl.Rent):||50.66|
|Consumer Price Plus Rent Index:||33.17|
|Local Purchasing Power:||81.48|
|Consumer Price Index (Excl.Rent):||79.41|
|Consumer Price Plus Rent Index:||57.13|
|Local Purchasing Power:||128.52|