ATHENS – It’s no surprise to retirees from around the world, including Americans, already living in Greece to take advantage of a quality of life and great weather and now the country has placed 7th in the world’s Annual Retirement Index as a great place to live inexpensively.
While food and energy prices are soaring and gasoline is more than twice as costly as in the United States, rents and purchase prices for homes are far less than in American metropolitan areas.
The evaluation for International Living by Lynn Roulo noted that the “sunny Mediterranean country offers stunning natural beauty, warm hospitality, an affordable cost of living, some of the best food in the world, and a rich, deep history.” She must have tried the moussaka.
She noted the beauty and islands that are a major lure for tourists as well, more than 30 million – three times the country’s population – taking a vacation in 2022 and discovering the riches for themselves.
She knows what she’s talking about. She’s lived in Greece for a decade and said that, “With each year that passes, I grow to love it even more,” and offered up a lot of reasons why retirees would as well.
“Greece is an emotionally-driven country that operates from the heart, and Greek hospitality is a real thing. The genuine kindness of the locals is observable, and almost everyone who comes to visit comments on how warm and engaging the people are. The language even has the word philoxenia,’ meaning to offer friendship to strangers,” she said.
The elderly also are treated with respect she said and you can find older men hanging out together and socializing at clubs serving ouzo and company and coffee on the sidewalk and indoors on ice cream chairs in old settings.
“Look for groups of elderly women sitting outside storefronts, catching up on neighborhood gossip and sharing recipes. The older generation is front and center in Greece, and this adds to the country’s charm,” she said.
The doctors are terrific too even if the public hospitals infrastructure looks like something out of an old World War II barracks, but the cost of health care is much less compared to the US or other industrialized countries.
“Many Greek doctors are trained in the U.S. or the United Kingdom, and most speak very good English. As a retiree, you’ll have the option of public or private insurance. Most expats opt for private insurance as the facilities are more modern, but you can get good care either way,” she said.
“The relatively low cost of living is what attracts many to Greece, and for people who are not dependent on earning income in the country, the equation is a good one. Greek wages tend to be approximately one third of what you’ll find in the U.S., and this means the cost of living is also dramatically lower,” she noted.
A major benefit for those from other countries with bigger economies is that their retirement monies will go a lot further in Greece where the average salary is under 20,000 euros ($21,216) for workers.
She recommended, however that potential arrivals check carefully about a Greek visa and residency requirements and restrictions because the Greek bureaucracy can move very slowly with paperwork.