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Surviving Retirement

Surviving retirement financially for Britons who wish to retire abroad is crucial to ensure where every hard earned penny goes. Many OAPs find that once they retire they are unable to pursue the lifestyle they desire in the UK, where the weather limits the outdoor activities possible and personal safety is not what it used to be.

Moving to Bulgaria fulfils many dreams and often people buy their Bulgarian property with a view to relocating to the country upon retirement. Bulgaria is an increasingly popular destination not least because of the lower cost of living.

Moving abroad in itself is a big step and the last thing to have to worry about is money. Taking the time to look at your finances when you are still at the planning stage is very beneficial and will allow you to sort out whether your pension will cover your needs to survivng retirement. This is the time to re-organise your money if needs be to ensure you have sufficient income.

As the cost of living is low in Bulgaria it is easy to think that you’ll have enough money to live on. Whilst that may be true now, will it be so in the future? Most people will have a pension but thought needs to be given to the fact that you’ll probably have thirty years or more to enjoy your retirement. Being poor in the UK is substantially easier than in Bulgaria, where there will be no welfare state to pick up the pieces.

Careful financial planning of survivng retirement is needed to make sure your money doesn’t run out before you do. Nobody wants to be in a foreign country with no money in later years and perhaps no family to look after you. Therefore it is essential that you are sure your money will last. And not just last at a “survival” level but one that will keep you in the manner to which you are accustomed; you will need money to cover meals out, shopping trips, excursions to exciting new places as well as a sum in the bank to cover emergencies like a leaky roof or upgrades to the existing heating system.

Much is said about average wages in Bulgaria and how many Bulgarians live on 400 leva a month. Whilst it can be done, is this really the lifestyle you would want? Growing all your own produce, perhaps living in one room in the winter, unable to afford to go out? Naturally, most would prefer to keep up their old lifestyle. It’s also strange that assumptions are made that retirement is much cheaper than working. No lunches to buy every day, no commuting costs, etc.


However, your lifestyle will be different and you may take up new hobbies, eating out more, travelling back to the UK a few times a year, entertaining, visiting relatives and friends. This all adds up and so whilst you might think that you’ll get buy on 75% of your current income, this may in reality not be the case.


You also need to study the cost of living in Bulgaria. Food, particularly fruit and vegetables are considerably less in cost but good meat is not that much different in price and if you want to purchase all of the comforting “Brit foods” available here like Baked Beans and oven chips you will end up paying a premium. Electricity prices are pretty much on a par with Britain and you may find that you are using a lot more being at home all day. You are likely to spend more on phone calls home too and the costs associated with this are similar to the UK.

You will also have additional expenses for water rates and annual council taxes. Whilst these are substantially less than in the UK it all adds up.

If you don’t fancy watching the three Bulgarian terrestrial channels, you will need to consider subscribing to a satellite provider to give you a range of English language programmes, indeed many pensioners choose to subscribe to the UK’s Sky satellite service, which is by no means cheap. Eating out is excellent value as is alcohol and cigarettes. Three flights a year to the UK will soon up your expenditure, but at the end of the day, your monthly budget will depend upon the lifestyle you want to keep.

You will also need to consider the damaging effects of inflation. This is an important point and not one to be overlooked.

If you have a monthly income which remains static it will buy you less and less over the years. Looking ahead ten or twenty years, you will have lost a substantial part of your money in terms of how much it will buy you and this could even mean that you lose as much as 50% depending upon the rate of inflation.

Putting all your money on deposit at the bank does feel as if there are no risks and protects your capital. But the interest, which your hard-earned money is supposed to be making for you, could be wiped out by inflation in future years.

Additionally, there are certain items, which usually increase much more than the official inflation rate and, which are essentials to retirees. Insurances of all kinds from health to motor insurance can often increase by double the government declared figures.

It is worth talking to a financial advisor who is up to date with pension funds and Bulgarian regulations to see if you can make more of your pension and how to get it transferred to you in Bulgaria. Talk as well with other pensioners who are already resident here to get their view on Bulgarian life and the costs associated with it.



By planning your future and making sure your money is protected and you have enough to live on comfortably for  survivng retirement, your later years in Bulgaria will be full of all the good things you want and a lot more relaxing.