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Why Do More Americans Choose the Happy Land of Portugal for Retirement?

Top: Praça do Comércio, Lisbon, for great selfies. Palacio do Chiado, Lisbon, for cocktails and dinners, with a view.

Three Key Reasons

1 – Portugal holds the top spot as "The Best Place to Retire in Europe" for four consecutive years. In 2024, it secures the second position in "The Best Places to Retire in the World", just behind Costa Rica, according to the esteemed 2024 Annual Retirement Global Index by International Living.

To earn this accolade, Portugal was assessed on various factors, including national population, life expectancy data from The World Bank, cost of living, visa accessibility, healthcare provisions, abundance of beaches, annual sunshine hours, and its ranking on the Global Peace Index.

2 – Portugal is placed at #7 in the 2024 Global Peace Index, shinning behind Iceland, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Austria, and Singapore.

Portugal boasts a year-round mild climate and ample sunshine, scoring 7.83 out of 10 in the index. It is praised for being a safe country with a significant elderly population, offering abundant sunshine, pristine beaches, and a reasonable cost of living. Notably, Portugal is renowned for its wine, port, splendid golf courses, and picturesque landscapes, making it an alluring destination.

3 – Portugal offers a comprehensive package, distinguishing itself from the top six countries on the Global Peace Index. These seven key factors that attract people to relocate to Portugal, which are seldom found in a single nation:

  • Wonderful Climate

  • Warm Welcome

  • Affordable Housing

  • Healthcare Support

  • Lower Cost of Living

  • Vibrant Culture & Community

  • Relaxed Pace of Living

Wake up the 'gourmand' child in you –with the irresistible Pastel de Nata.

Portuguese dress code, to be as cool as this gentleman.

Why work around sunset time? In Portugal, no one would miss the golden hours.

Retirement transcends merely leaving work behind. It often involves reevaluating and reshaping one's lifestyle, relationships, surroundings, and the sacrifices made due to work. Isn't the excitement of retirement in redirecting human ambitions for challenges, high life standards, and adventurous pursuits from the professional realm to the personal sphere? In re-thinking priorities, health might come first. One in three Americans or about 131 million people are living in communities with unhealthy levels of air pollution in an industrial and post-industrial that eventually exhausted the soil, the air, and the rivers all living creatures depend from. Un chart shows the gradation per cities. [Source: Wired]

Living a long life is unique in experiences and self-acknowledgement.

Perhaps another way to approach the matter is to accept that this was an unexpected result of more science, progress, peace, and life support in the 20th century. As such, can senior life being scrutinised and re-thought entirely, so to no longer use resources in the obsession for exponential growth, but build a legacy of constructive and reflective learnings and self-awareness in the aftermaths?

Overall, it becomes easier to relocate to a new country when retiring. People's major obligations and responsibilities have reduced, and focusing on starting anew something else, somewhere beautiful, somewhere sunny, with affordable healthcare, and a higher quality of life, is a very reasonable and attainable dream. And no doubt, one of the most thrilling odysseys!

And the ability to work and research from a laptop, communicate and navigate from a mobile phone, and swiftly access information in English through fast-translating apps, has made things much easier. While many European countries are proficient in English, Portugal stands out once again. Whether wandering through Lisbon, Porto, Evora, Baleal, or Evora, English is spoken on the streets.

For retirees contemplating a move to Portugal, there is a multitude of options to consider:

  • Living in main cities or small towns

  • Embracing an eco-project inland or a seaside lifestyle

  • Choosing between buying or renting property

  • Deciding whether to reside in Portugal year-round or adopt a 'snowbird' lifestyle, spending colder months elsewhere

  • Selecting a property type: a house to renovate, a flat on a hill, or land for construction

  • Exploring various appartment options: a top-floor unit with a view, a third-floor flat with an elevator, or a ground-floor landing on a tranquil street

  • Opting for a house with one or two floors or a single-level residence with a pool

  • A house shadowed by vegetation or a house nestled in a restored castle town

  • A beach house along the coastline or in an olive grove...

The excitement of pursuing these dreams is part of the journey. However, the reality of costs, procedures, and timing requires tapping into the expertise of companies and individuals with extensive experience in the country.

A Political Visionary Approach

Portugal's warm embrace of senior citizens stems from a political ethos that has shaped the nation over the past twelve years. This visionary approach remains steadfast.

Over the years, Portugal has implemented various initiatives to attract foreign residents, such as the golden visa in 2012 and the visa for digital nomads in 2022. The success of these strategies is evident, with the number of foreign residents surpassing 700,000, a record high. Specifically, the influx of American residents has more than tripled, reaching 9,794 between 2018 and 2022. Additionally, Portugal continues to grant visas for digital nomads, with North American citizens being the largest recipients. [Source: Broomberg]

To revitalize the country's economy, Portugal took bold steps, offering enticing packages to foreign investors and affluent expatriates. One of the most notable initiatives, spanning from 2012 to 2024, provided attractive tax incentives to expatriates willing to settle and potentially retire in Portugal. This policy has benefited approximately 10,000 individuals, initially from France, Britain, and Italy. [Source: La Tribune]

Lisbon. Street scenes.

The transformation in Lisbon is remarkable. Streets like Rua da Boavista and Jardim de Estrela are buzzing with the energy of housing renovations. Rua São Bento, streets in the 1990s in Le Marais, Paris, undergoes a complete facelift, with modern buildings replacing dilapidated housing. The change inspired art galleries, high-end vintage clothing stores, and rare antique shops to hold their ground. The mega construction of the new Estrela metro line, scheduled for completion by 2025, adds to the whirling sense of 'the place to be.'

Everyday life in Portugal bears witness to the positive impact of these political and local programs. The housing boom has revitalized entire neighborhoods and reshaped small towns. And design choices matter. For instance, Lisbon's elegant Azulejo facades are no longer marred by unsightly cables; instead, housing renovation projects are invited to bury network cables beneath the sidewalks.

In Évora, Portugal has unveiled a pioneering green hydrogen project at Alentejo Science and Technology Park (PACT) with a €13.5 million investment, supported by the EU, to boost the region. This initiative, spearheaded by universities, Galp, and HYLAB, aims to establish a hub for green hydrogen.

While other countries offer retirement visas, such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, the Philippines, Spain, and Thailand, Portugal leads in Europe and excels at the intersection of housing, lifestyle, and sustainable living, appealing to retirees worldwide.

On innovation, Lisbon serves as a role model, inspiring cities like Doha and Rio de Janeiro. "The Portuguese experience was already well known here in Rio de Janeiro," shares Artur Pereira from Diagonal Minds, referring to Lisbon's and Portugal's success in technology.

[Source: TPN]

In just twelve years, local talents, state policies, foreign investors, and settled expats have transformed Lisbon into a cosmopolitan capital where English-speaking professionals can work, host, innovate, produce film and advertising, collaborate in tech, biotech, and fintech, flourish in contemporary architecture, and pursue bilingual higher education at any age.

Portuguese architecture firms like Aires Mateus Studio, ARX Portugal, and Site Specific Arquitectura are great exemples of the highest quality renovations, seen in projects such as the Redbridge International School and a 1950s school renovation in Lisbon.

Through innovative reforms, Portugal is not just captivating the world with its stunning blue skies, surf spots, and record-breaking 100-foot-high waves in Nazaré. This is an investment and economic model geared towards long-term returns.

A safe haven with a vibrant culture and rich history A destination attracting those seeking to redefine their lifestyle

An interactive spaces that combine entertainment and security And a business model

Lisbon, around the shopping area of Chiado.

50+ consumer class growth (2022-2040) – Source

Adults aged 65 and over are poised to become the largest spenders. “In the large developing countries where the growth is concentrated, the new cohort of seniors will have accumulated higher savings than their predecessors, so per-capita spending will also increase. The combination of these two forces will result in aggregate growth of older adult spending of 6 to 6.5% per year for the next decade, making the 65+ age group the fastest-growing age cohort.” [Source: The age of the longevity economy]

Portugal's climate and its hospitality are paralleled with upscale entertainment. With over ninety golf courses, including the Costa Terra Club and its tagline "The Simple Luxury of Natural European Living", places like Comporta-Melides have gained international acclaim in creative circles from Paris to Los Angeles.

The Costa Terra Club is funded by American actress Sharon Stone, 65 years, who has acquired land in the region, encouraged by fellow actor George Clooney. Amal and George Clooney, courtesy of Tribuna.

Portugal's allure, with its simple lifestyle, has attracted affluent expats to its untouched enclaves. Among them are wealthy retirees, remote workers, ocean enthusiasts, eco-entrepreneurs, tech investors, and female business owners. Some seek refuge from countries that no longer align with their values. Exit Florida, Palm Springs, and regions marred by political unrest. For more insights, read for instance, “Meet the wealthy boomer Americans fleeing to Portugal, Spain, and Italy out of fear of a Donald Trump presidency: ‘This country of mine has become intolerant’ [Source: Fortune]

At Nave Padel in Marvila, Lisboa, generations of technologists and hipsters mix and play.

Baby Boomers are high achievers. Resigning to a sedentary lifestyle is out of the question, especially when considering the number of CEOs over 75, many older than American President Biden.

Life expectancy is a testament to their era's dedication to scientific progress, clean water, and technological innovation.

The American boom was also due to significant migration. The American 'Progressive Era' welcomed over 15 million immigrants between 1900 and 1915. This period was marked by peace, prosperity, and progress, with booming cities and economic growth.

Read our blog: Follow The Artists in Alentejo. In picture: Ai Weiwei.

Boomers are natural. They will seizing opportunities wherever they arise.

Portugal’s nickname 'The California of Europe' perfectly captures its appeal for them. Combined with universal healthcare, friendly locals, and excellent schools, it's no surprise why Portugal is a hotspot for investors seeking to settle down and grow roots. 'They were in the right place at the right time,’ writes Jack Kelly in his Forbes article “The Great Wealth Transfer From Baby Boomers To Millennials Will Impact The Job Market And Economy.” [Forbes]

Today, Baby Boomers meticulously craft their retirement plan, anticipating its impact on future generations. "Boomers—born between 1946 and 1964—are currently the wealthiest generation, with over $68 trillion expected to be passed down to their children and grandchildren. This 'great wealth transfer' will reshape the economy and job market." [Source]

The wealth handover will have a significant impact on the economy. "Millennials are expected to hold five times as much wealth as they do today, by the 2030s. This could lead to a shift in the job market, as some may choose to pursue entrepreneurship or take time off work to travel or pursue other interests. The influx of wealth could lead to increased demand for certain industries, such as luxury goods and services.” [Forbes]

Portugal’s decade of successes places the country as a leader at these intersections: affluent skilled international expats, digital nomads innovating remotely from its shores, and emerging businesses around the #proaging or #activeaging movement.

Read our blog: "Find Your Dream Den or Perch: What Blend of Animal Are You?" to define your ideal habitat.

Run, walk, breath along the promenade between Estoril and Cascais.

In The Age of Longetivity Economy we learned that year 2023 marked four demographic milestones: 


– The global population topped 8 billion

– India overtook China as the most populous country in the world

– China saw its first population decrease in decades. 

– The number of age 50+ adults surpassed the number of children under the age of 15 for the first time, which, broadly speaking, means the 8 billion global population is now comprised of 2 billion children, 2 billion older adults, and 4 billion youth and other adults.


The National Institute on Aging report states that: "The 85-and-over population is projected to increase 351 percent between 2010 and 2050, compared to a 188 percent increase for the population aged 65 or older and a 22 percent increase for the population under age 65. The Algarve stands as a pioneer in the Active Aging and Pro Aging movement, boasting Senior Living communities, also known as continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).

In Lisbon, Campalimaud Foundation exemplifies an independent biomedical research model, focusing on neuroscience and cancer research; the legacy of visionary entrepreneur António de Sommer Champalimaud.

Dr. Nuno Marques, former director of the Algarve Biomedical Center and a prominent figure in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Marques, was the recipient of the Francisco George Public Health Award. He now leads the Active Aging Competence Center (CCEA) in Loulé, and coordinates the National Plan for Active and Healthy Aging.

Portugal's commitment to preservation is often overlooked. From safeguarding its land during the Napoleonic era to preserving its sandy beaches from the mass tourism boom of the 1960s and 70s, the country demonstrates a profound understanding for its irreplaceable resources. Extending this ethos to the preservation of life on Earth seems an obvious progression.

Lisbon. Street scenes. Documentary photography

"Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears." – John Lennon

Stretching life to a whole century is such a privilege, starting with that simple fact. Anyone who’s 60-70-80-90 years old today has outlived The Beatles' most spiritual being, unfairly scooped by death at age 40. ‘Imagine all the people / Livin’ life in peace /

You…’ Let’s live long enough at least to contribute this honorable mission.

So why retire or resign when mind, body, and soul remain aligned and capable?

With each passing year, life's simple pleasures become more precious:

  • The morning shower's water

  • Green tea replacing G&Ts

  • Walks in beloved forests, beaches, and cities

  • A cherished bench shared with friends

  • Live orchestras atop mountains

  • Watching sunsets and fluffy clouds

  • Days lost in daydreams by the ocean

These luxuries epitomize the Portuguese lifestyle, where nature and culture foster well-being. The country is weaved into tight-knit communities and mutual support.

Portugal, once a land of scarcity, now exemplifies conservation and sustainability.

It hosts the EU's fifth-largest vineyards, a variety of tastes, and renewable energy leadership.

As one of the largest maritime nations, Portugal innovates in marine resource exploitation.

It's a country where living car-free is feasible, with affordable public transportation and rentals for road trips.

Portugal fosters movement through rituals like walks, naps, swims, runs, and leisurely meals. Local markets offer fresh produce and seafood.

It's a country designed for all outdoor passions: hiking, running trails, birding, fishing, surfing, sailing and cycling...

Retire or rebirth? Relax for a bit along the Portuguese coastline and the magnetic silence of Alentejo. Feel imbued with the country's sense of chilled freedom. Portugal is a blank canvas upon which to invent everything anew, including oneself.

Correia/Ragazzi Arquitectos transformed a 19th-century ruin into this contemporary villa complex in northern Portugal. Photography by Juan Rodriguez.

Read more

Europe’s Economic Laggards Have Become Its Leaders

More than a decade after painful austerity, Greece, Portugal and Spain have been growing faster than traditional powerhouses like Germany.

Aging in Place, or Stuck in Place?’

Homeownership is not the boon to older Americans that it once was. These Couples Survived a Lot. Then Came Retirement.

For many relationships, life after work brings an unexpected set of challenges.

Infographic: Oldest and Youngest world leaders 

The oldest is 91, the youngest 38.

Octogenarians Rule the Rich

Six of the 25 richest Americans are over 80, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Carl Icahn and Charles Koch, for example, are 81. Earlier this month, Sheldon Adelson turned 84 and George Soros hit 87. Warren Buffett, the fourth-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $77 billion, celebrates his 87th birthday next week.

Around the world, older generations are becoming the dominant demographic groups. 

A Timeline of the Richest Person on the Planet Since 1900. NIA [National Institute on Aging] Celebrates 50 Years! For 50 years, the institute has led a broad scientific research effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life.

Maria Branyas Morera is the oldest person in the world at age 116. Maria was born in 1907 in San Francisco, California, where her Spanish parents had moved a year earlier. The family later moved back to Spain, where Maria still lives a healthy life in the sunny region of Catalonia. 

Mojo Real Estate Solutions is an international team of experts helping you find your ideal property in Portugal and renting it short or long-term fully furnished via concierge services.

We scout and cherry pick the perfect property within your dream location, specifics, and budget. We lead the purchase process and all required renovations. If wished, we can place your property for short and long-term rent striving optimal yields for our investors. 

Call up anytime Portugal: +351.210.509.154

USA: +1.800.470.3407 Follow us on instagram. Read all our blogs.


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