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Living in Bulgaria: Quality of Life

Why would anyone want to buy property in Bulgaria and then move permanently to live in the country? The answer may just lie in the quality of life which Bulgaria has to offer. It's all a question of individual preferences and quality of life is not really a tangible thing and not to be confused with standard of living which is different entirely. Indeed, you can be relatively "poor" living in a village compared with the standard someone from a city would apply but you can still have a far better quality of life.



This means for most people, quality of life combines a mix of physical and psychological factors, including less stress and a slower pace of life. It also includes: 
natural good quality foods
low living costs
less cars on the road
good neighbours
decent schools
pleasure in living
better health
lower crime rate
family values
less debt

We take a look at Bulgaria and see what is has to offer you if you are looking for a high quality of life. We also talk to one couple about their personal experience of living in the UK and how they bought a Bulgarian property and now live in the country full time.

Wikipedia describes quality of life as "the degree off well-being felt by an individual or group of people." To even meet the basic ingredients in the mix of quality of life, everyone needs food, shelter and a level of decent health. Beyong this, each person's quality of life depends upon the degree to which 'wants' are met. Everyone wants different things but in the main, the more that are met on the above list, the higher the quality of life.

One may think that the quality of life in Bulgaria, it being a much poorer country overall than the UK, would mean it would rate very badly in quality of life terms. The Economist Intelligence Unit's survey across some one hundred countries, placed Bulgaria around half way but interestingly the UK only came in at 30th itself! There has also been significant progress in Bulgaria over the last few years, with many more people realising their 'wants'. The country also enjoys the legacy of the Communists social provisions, with good education, housing and access to statge health care.

A survey from Gallup International gave surprising results in the level of quality of life of the Bulgarians. Data showed that amongst middle class Bulgarians, 90% of them felt secure about their living standards and no worries about the future of their kids. Nearly 80% own a car and over a quarter own a second home. The middle classes in Bulgaria are only emerging, many are in their mid 40's, have completed high school or higher education and 10% of them run their own businesses. They are positive and optimistic about their own and Bulgaria's future, particularly in the light of being part of the EU.


It is interesting to note how many Bulgarians own cars and second homes without the level of debt of the UK. They have a high quality of life, yet by UK and western European standards, they are 'poor', earning on average of only 500 euros a month.

A primary basic need for quality of life is 'shelter'. Unfortunately, in western Europe the cost of having a roof over your head has become almost a luxury. A simple comparison with owning a property in the UK compared with Bulgaria demonstrates amply.

John and Patty Morgan, from Hertfordshire, both in their early 50's, decided they had had enough of the UK with all its problems and settled on buying a property in Bulgaria with the intention to move permanently.

Their house in Hertfordshire was a semi-detached, three bedroom, one bath property which they sold for 300,000 euros. John told us, "The running costs of the house were crippling us even though we had no mortgage. Council tax was more than 3,000 euros a year alone. Then by the time we'd paid for insurance, that was another 4,000 euros. With utilities, that added 7,000 euros. So even before food, we were spending 14,000 euros just to keep the roof over our head. We worked it out that we needed 33,000 euros a year just to keep the house, run our little car and buy food."

The Morgans are only one couple of many who are in a situation of having to fork out hard earned money just to provide basic food and shelter. John and Patty decided enough was enough and looked at alternatives. Their main concern was not just to reduce outgoings but they wanted a better quality of life. "The UK is downright horrid these days. Plenty of crime, it's just not safe to be out of your home at night. The cost of living has gone through the roof and the government does nothing to help. We started looking overseas and decided after visiting that Bulgaria was for us. Beautiful unspoilt countryside, lovely people, low cost of living; just what we wanted. Our dream home was going to be detached with a big garden in the countryside or village but near to a big town with all amenities."

They bought a pretty detached home with pool and sea views,near Bourgas on the Black Sea coast. The house has three bedrooms with two bathrooms and is just 15 minutes from the city. The price was 220,000 euros, so they had already been able to put 80,000 into a high earning savings account from the sale of their UK property, as Patty says, "For a rainy day".

"We knew the cost of living in Bulgaria would be much cheaper but even we've been surprised by just how much. We need only 12,000 euros a year now to pay all our monthly outgoings. We also eat out more than we used to which is lovely. We have much kinder neighbours who uphold proper old-fashioned family values and we really appreciate this as it makes the whole neighbourhood feel safe. Bourgas is an easy drive and with the new shopping mall having opened, there is now Carrefour where we can get everything we need. Even in Bourgas we don't mind being out on our own at night, there's no thugs standing on the street corners. We always wanted to live on the coast and this is like a dream for us. Our friends in the UK laugh at us and say we are paupers. Well, let them laugh! We are living the better life and we feel healthier too without the stresses of back home."

Quality of life: ultimately it's contentment and Bulgaria ticks all the boxes.