July 2023

A select group of US retirees have opted to purchase homes overseas, some for vacation use and others as permanent homes. One motivating factor is the dramatic savings in cost of living. We explore the numbers in and around cities worldwide and offer an example — The Algarve area of Portugal — that offers much in the way of golf and easy living.

Conserve Cash in Retirement: Buy a Golf Home Overseas

My brother, who manages investment portfolios, is nearing his retirement. He is a couple of years away, but for years he has been researching overseas locations that would afford him the lowest possible cost of living while not compromising his lifestyle.  He is not a golfer and, therefore, has a wider range of options than those of us who would never retire to a place without golf nearby.

However, he echoes what I have read elsewhere, even in golf-related publications and websites, that Portugal has one of the lowest cost-of-living indices in the “civilized” world – I mean “civilized” literally and figuratively – and is one of the most golf-centric countries outside the U.S.  With 75 golf courses across a country the size of Indiana, and 31 of them in the ocean resort area known as The Algarve, Americans seeking a permanent or vacation home in Portugal won’t starve for recreation – or anything else for that matter.  (I am an unabashed lover of Porco a Alentejana, pork and clams, something of a national staple.) 

Faro is the largest city in the Algarve and boasts the only airport in the region – with service to/from London, Madrid, Barcelona and a few locations in France. According to the online service Numbeo, which ranks 529 of the world’s largest cities, consumer prices in Faro that include rent are 48.6% less than they are in Tampa, FL.  A couple could live quite comfortably in such a world class resort area with excellent golf.

Built on the Rio Formosa Estuary on the Portugal coast, the 35-year-old San Lorenzo Golf Club has had plenty of time to mature and become one of the best in the country.  It was designed by American architect Joe Lee, who is most renowned for his work on Florida layouts.  Golfers who play southern U.S. courses will feel at home on the Bermuda grass fairways and greens. Most of the rest of the 30 Algarve golf courses have excellent reputations.

Although the people you meet in European resort areas – locals, ex-pats and vacationers alike – will probably speak English, you may feel more comfortable considering a home in an officially English-speaking land.  Although I will admit it has taken more than a half dozen trips for me to adapt to the Scottish brogue, I have spent enough time there to know I could live on the east coast of Scotland happily.  I decided to investigate what the cost-of-living index had to say about Scotland, and specifically Edinburgh, one of my favorite cities in the world and surrounded by a wonderful selection of renowned, 100-year-old golf courses.

According to the city-compare function at Numbeo, the costs to live in Edinburgh, assuming you rent a home, would be $3,800 per month compared with $2,690 in Faro, Portugal.  But compare Edinburgh to, say, Charlotte, NC, and Edinburgh appears to be a bargain, with Numbeo indicating you would need $6,893 per month in Charlotte to live the same lifestyle as you would in Edinburgh for $3,800.  The comparison for Charlotte is slightly better when put up against the home of golf, St. Andrews, where Charlotte cost of living is $5,404 to maintain the same lifestyle in St. Andrews at $4,200.

In the attached sidebar, I’ve listed the 25 most expensive foreign cities, courtesy of Numbeo. It is fun to play around with the numbers, especially if you have an inkling about moving overseas for a vacation or permanent home.  (Note:  Many countries expect you to “contribute” financially to meet their resident requirements; those contributions might include the purchase of a home at a certain minimum level, a substantial deposit in a national bank or other considerations.  Always check before getting serious about relocating to a foreign land.)

If any readers are currently living in a foreign country part- or full-time, I would love to hear from you and recount your experiences in this space.

Larry Gavrich
Founder & Editor
Home On The Course, LLC


The World’s Most Expensive Cities 

 Top 25 Cost of Living Index
 Hamilton, Bermuda 140.4 
 Basel, Switzerland 130.0 
Zurich, Switzerland 128.5
Lausanne, Switzerland 120.6
Zug, Switzerland 119.1
George Town, Cayman Islands 118.5
Geneva, Switzerland 112.9
Bern, Switzerland 111.2
Nassau, Bahamas 103.3
New York, NY, United States 100.0
Honolulu, HI, United States 98.4
San Francisco, CA, United States 98.4
Oakland, CA, United States 98.1
Seattle, WA, United States 94.6
Reykjavik, Iceland 90.8
Canberra, Australia 89.2
Adelaide, Australia 89.0
Barbados, Barbados 88.9
Boston, MA, United States 88.7
Trondheim, Norway 88.1
Saint Helier, Jersey 88.0
San Jose, CA, United States 87.7
Sacramento, CA, United States 87.4
Bergen, Norway 87.1
San Diego, CA, United States 86.5

Source: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/

Quinta do Lago Golf Course,  The Algarve, Portugal
Quinta do Lago Golf Course, The Algarve, Portugal


Be the first to comment

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...