GUIDE ON EMIGRATING TO GERMANY

Retiring to Germany

Germany might not attract as many retiring expats as sunny Spain or feel-good France but its high quality of life, impressive infrastructure and numerous attractions still make it a popular retirement destination.

Living Expenses

Germany is all for retirees coming over and spending their pensions but they do have to prove that they have the means to support themselves, as well as adequate health insurance. The nation’s general cost of living is reasonable compared to other European countries but this does vary according to location. Obviously the cost of living in popular cities like Berlin and Munich is much higher than the cost of living in more rural locations. German average food costs are generally in the mid to low bracket, as are utilities and clothing. Conversely, accommodation, transportation and leisure activity costs are all in the mid to high range.

Healthcare

The average life expectancy in Germany is high at 80 years and the country is renowned for its top quality healthcare, but the most important thing to consider for any retiree relocating to Germany is health insurance. Healthcare is notoriously expensive and the country has quite strict guidelines and restrictions relating to insurance coverage. Whether or not you qualify for German state insurance depends on a variety of factors so most expat retirees find private health insurance the best bet. Finding a suitable provider and settling on a scheme shouldn’t be rushed as insurers can vary massively in terms of cost and cover. Whilst this is a key issue to resolve it’s far better to take your time and do your research!

Housing

Rental accommodation is Germany’s most popular form of housing with short and long term leases available. The vast majority of German properties are let completely unfurnished, often without kitchen cupboards! It’s important to remember that rental costs are usually significantly higher in main cities, although Berlin is often better value than most others.

Social and Political Climate

With the largest economy in the EU Germany is a significant power within political spheres. Although Germany has a troubled past, since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and reunification the country has been comparatively stable and prosperous.

German authorities are known for their vigilance when it comes to combating threats to security (like terrorism) and the nation has been predominately free of major incidents. Violent crime is rare in Germany and as long as reasonable precautions are taken it’s one of the safest places to live in Europe.

Infrastructure

Germany holds a central position in Europe and is known for the excellence of its extensive infrastructure. It ranks highly based on the quality of its roads, rail links, airports, shipping and energy infrastructure and its outstanding communications.  The German motorway is the third longest in the world and the nation’s efficient high-speed trains transport passengers to both major cities within Germany and neighbouring countries.