Whether you are a Pole who has spent your entire life working and living abroad, a person of Polish descent driven by nostalgia, a foreigner willing to move closer to your children working here, or a tourist who fell in love with the country and now wants to retire in Poland - before making the move, there are a few issues that need serious deliberation. Let’s go through them to make this decision easier for you and your families.
Polish pension system
Although Polish pensioners follow a three-pillar pension scheme (obligatory public contributions, obligatory individual accounts, and voluntary occupational accounts) the hustle surrounding changes to retirement age and pension plans in Poland should not be a concern to expats moving here. Since your money will be coming from a foreign pension system, you can rest assured that your pension will not be affected by any changes implemented by the Polish government.
If you are self-sufficient in terms of finance (and as a pensioner you are) and can provide an address of residence in Poland (either rented or your own property), you can be granted a residence permit. Initially, it is always temporary, meaning that it is valid for up to three years. After a few years of legal stay in Poland, you can apply for a permanent residence permit or even citizenship if you feel like it.
This aspect needs to be carefully examined before relocation to Poland. In some cases you can be considered a tax resident in both your home country and Poland, but in such circumstances you should rely on bilateral contracts. The countries ensure that their residents do not fall under double taxation rules, so eventually you are going to pay income taxes in one country only. However, do consult it all in advance with an expert, paying extra attention to Personal Income Tax (PIT) in Poland, so as to avoid any problems after relocation.
Standard of living
Poland can be a quiet and wallet-friendly destination for many Western retirees, but it does not mean that you will be fine with all aspects of living here. While property prices can be significantly lower, making it possible for you to buy your very own place in a city centre, the language barrier can be too much to bear. Please remember that elderly people in Poland may find it difficult to communicate in foreign languages, so if you are not willing to brush up your Polish or learn it from scratch, friendly chit-chats with neighbours may disappear from your everyday schedules altogether! On the other hand, there are more and more foreign professionals working in Polish business centres, so if your children happen to live and work here, being close to them may compensate any inconvenience. Not to mention the peaceful Polish nature and proximity to both the sea and the mountains - if you are willing to spend your golden years in an active way, we cannot think of a better place for you.
As we get older, we tend to pay more attention to healthcare services and how medicine can affect our everyday lives. If you are an EU citizen you can use Polish healthcare system in emergency circumstances, but for regular visits expats should consider paying subscriptions to the National Health Fund (Polish: Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia, NFZ) or use private medical packages. To see if you are happy with the quality of service in private sector, you can try a short trip to Poland for treatment or to visit a health resort to see if you are satisfied with the quality of this kind of services.
What do you think then? Are there more pros or cons in moving to Poland for retirement? Let us know!