The medieval town of Sighisoara

I think that anybody would love to get the biggest bang for their buck when they retire – no matter if we’re talking about early retirement or not. Retiring in Romania might not be even a possible option for now for you – after all, it’s a poor Eastern European country where people are killed in broad daylight, clans of gypsies rule the cities and you can’t find drinking water anywhere.

Well… that’s really not the case, as we’ll see in today’s article which tackles a topic you might have not thought too much about: retire in Romania!

I will try to keep this list as up to date as possible (with answers to any possible questions that arise), but for now here are my Pros and Cons for retiring in Romania.

Pros of retiring in Romania

1. It’s a very cheap country. Compared to Europe, the US, Canada and Australia, Romania is very cheap. You can see my cost of living details here, as well as my Cost of Living in Romania in 2013 article to get a better view of pricing. But to keep it simple, for 1 US Dollar, you could buy here three baguettes or one kilo of tomatoes (during the summer) or a hamburger or two newspapers. CHEAP!

2. Housing / rent is cheap. If you don’t want to live in Bucharest (the capital), then you can buy a one room apartment for as low as $33,000. Rent for something similar would go as low as $200 per month. Bucharest is more expensive, though. But generally, housing is cheap.

3. Romania is a safe country. Despite what you might believe you know, Romania is a pretty safe country. You won’t get robbed, kidnapped or murdered here.

4. Most of the people speak English. It’s the main foreign language taught in schools and most of the city population can speak and understand English. Maybe you won’t be able to start a philosophical conversation with all Romanians (in English), but small talk would be OK.

5. Movies are not dubbed. Not really the biggest reason to move to Romania, but all English movies have subtitles and are not dubbed. So you won’t have any trouble understanding Home Alone 1 and 2 every year around Christmas (you’ll see that Home Alone is broadcasted every year here).

6. You can easily walk or ride a bike to get anywhere. Say goodbye to fuel costs if you decide to Retire in Romania. Except for Bucharest and a few of the other big cities, our cities are small and you can easily ride a bike or walk.

I, for example, live in one of the most underrated cities in Romania and everything is withing walking distance. We only drive about twice per month to stock up on groceries from one of the multiple hypermarkets available here.

7. Romanian food is delicious. Mostly based on pork (beef is rarely consumed here), Romanian food is really delicious and extremely easy to prepare. Not the healthiest in the world, but it sure tastes good and the shopping basket won’t ruin your budget.

A bit of traditional Romanian cuisine
A bit of traditional Romanian cuisine

8. Romanians love foreigners. And I’m not talking here about cheap girls who like foreigner males from pretty obvious reasons. I’m talking about your regular Romanian who would be extremely pleased to meet a foreigner. Most of us (like all Eastern Europeans, probably) still have the American Dream, so meeting somebody from the US would be extremely fascinating. Also, people say that Romanians are great hosts.

9. Romania is beautiful. The Romanian villages are as raw as possible as technology hasn’t made it’s way there completely. We have 7 Unesco World Heritage sites, the best preserved delta in Europe, the largest rock sculpture in Europe (a 20 minutes ride from my city, so make sure to leave a sign if you visit) and much, much more. There hasn’t been a person visiting from abroad that wasn’t blown away with the beauty of Romania.

10. Private health care options are cheap. Although you’ll find the “health” part at the cons below, private health care is really cheap here. A visit to the doctor can be as low as $20 (but usually around $30) and most of the private hospitals/clinics are very modern.

11. The pace of life is slower. In most of the cities (except for Bucharest and other few big cities like Cluj, Timisoara, Iasi), everything happens at a slower pace. Everything is nearby and people have more time to chill. For somebody coming from a busy city, living in Romania would probably be like a calming break in a silent cabin in the woods. In my city for example, there is very little traffic after 10 PM.

12. You can still get a lot of food from farmer markets. As close as it can get to eating organic at killer prices. Many of the people selling in the farmers markets are not using chemical fertilizers, but they don’t charge extra for that.

Cons of retiring in Romania

1. Corruption is still here. Although this wouldn’t directly impact you as a retiree, it’s worth knowing that corruption is still present in Romania. You might still avoid a speeding ticket if you give some money to a police officer and in many cases, offering a financial gift to state employees will ensure that you are at least served in time, if not better than those who give no gifts.

2. Customer service sucks. Don’t expect to walk into a store and be greeted by a smiling sales person, or walk in to a state building to get some info and easily get that. Customer service sucks and bureaucracy is killing you slowly.

3. Private health might be the only way to go. The public hospitals are understaffed, have old equipment, are overcrowded and are generally a bad choice. It would be a lot cheaper (for Romanians is free) than private clinics, but it’s not a visit you’d like to make. Stay away from public Romanian hospitals and choose your doctor carefully (some internet research would be enough) since most of the great ones decide to leave the country because salaries in Romania are extremely low.

Not uncommon for state hospitals to be this "welcoming"
Not uncommon for state hospitals to be this “welcoming”

4. Low to no opportunities to get hired. If you’re retiring in Romania, this shouldn’t be an option, but don’t expect to be able to make much extra income in Romania unless you have an online/offline business elsewhere. The minimum wage in Romania is about $240 and job openings are still few, plus being able to speak Romanian is generally a must. So if you come here, make sure that you have a source of income or at least a job offer.

5. Poor public transportation. The big cities might have better options, but usually the buses are old and overcrowded, while Bucharest is the only city in Romania with subway lines. Smaller cities lack public transportation options almost entirely – in my city, there are just several bus stops and buses come every 30 minutes or so. On the brighter side, walking to your destination is really an option, as well as the taxi if you’re in a hurry. Where I live in for example, a taxi ride from the city center to the suburbs is $3.

In the end, my overall opinion is that the Pros really outweigh the Cons and I am sure you would find Romania really charming.

Considering retiring in Romania or visiting it? Shoot me with an e-mail and I’ll help you if possible – or just comment below with any questions you might have!

115 COMMENTS

  1. The pros are very inviting. We have the same cons you have in my country. I live in the US but retiring in my country is still an option for me.Even if we do not enjoy all the good things like the US, I cherish the sense of belonging I have in my country.Which is priceless when retiring.

  2. Very interesting…are there a good amount of foreigners living in Romania? It definitely sounds like a nice place to retire. I doubt I would leave the country to retire, but for some I think it is a great option. I’d like to visit as a tourist though.

    • There are a lot of foreigners living here – most of them for work though and clearly not as many (percentage-wise) as in the US. But there are a few pretty large expat communities, especially around the larger cities.

  3. Romania is one country I’ve always wanted to travel to, and never did quite come up with the opportunity. Did do some business with two large suppliers years ago, and found it quite agreeable. Honest, straightforward and professional. And as you said above, the cost was very competitive with other sources in western Europe. That photograph of traditional cuisine looks right up my alley: bacon, sausage, roast, topped with bacon.

  4. I have been to Romania (Bucuresti to be exact), and found it to be great. I was there for just over 5 weeks. I found the people to be friendly and patient with my accent (I am Australian, and it seems American English, and British English is easier for them to understand), and had the opportunity to pick up some Romanian language (only words to get me out of trouble). I miss the friendships I made there, and the sense of belonging. I hope to return there sooner than later. I am starting to get on in age, and never really considered retirement. But, if I couldn’t find employment there, I would love to retire there. I never got a chance to go any further than Bucuresti, but I would love to see the rest of the country, with all its beauty and rich history.

    • I am glad you enjoyed visiting Romania, even if it was just Bucharest. There are other great places to see, too and it would probably be better to retire here rather than try to get employed.

      And I find it strange that you said you only learned words to get you out of trouble in our language. Usually, exactly those that can get you in trouble are the first we teach foreigners :))

      • Hi C.
        Thanks for your reply. I had a laugh at your comment about the first words that you teach foreigners, being the ones that would get me into trouble. I should of said that I picked up the very basics of Romanian when I was there. Again, my friends were so very helpful and patient with me. Plus, we all got a good laugh from me trying to get the “r’s” correct when I was pronouncing the words that had them.

    • Hi Shawn
      I’m a retired Brit with Aussie citizenship and married to a Romanian. I’ve been to quite a few places in Romania and like the country and the people but not the bureaucracy. Nevertheless I’m considering moving there.

  5. So I am planning on retiring form Minnesota and living in Alba Iulia starting in 2019. I am lucky that I am married to a Romanian woman and we are planning it now. The concerns I have are taxes how will i file them. I expect an annual income of about 20,000 U.S a year. My hope is we will live well on that. What do you think?? We own a house out right. I plan on building and paying for it in total over next five years. Cost about 50k. Would like to pick you brain on what you think of our plan. Could i find consultant work? I have a career in lean manufacturing that I would enjoy sharing.

    • Hello Otto,

      Tax papers are relatively simple to file – it depends how do you get those funds. Since you’re talking about retiring, it’s probably not salary, so a simple form would be enough. You would be paying 16% tax and 5.5% of the income as health insurance. This means you would still have about $1300 per month which would be enough for two people who are careful with their spending.

      Regarding the costs of the house, in Romania prices tend to end up higher than anticipated, so if the 50k doesn’t include some “extra money just to be safe” it would be best to add 10k more. Just to be prepared for unexpected surprises. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Finally, I don’t really know what to say about finding a job… it’s a bit more difficult to find a job here if you’re not speaking Romanian, but you have to investigate this on your own.

    • Hello Otto,

      You are planning very early for your retirement. Congrats! I am very sure that you will accommodate in Alba-Iulia with no issues, especially because your wife it is Romanian.
      From your tax point, ( I believe that you are concern more about your US Tax) you shall be able to file your tax online, nowadays. Also, through Turbo Tax you can download your tax software for free (for Federal) and for the same price as in US for the more advance software. Or, you will be able to do it through IRS or download all forms for mailing the taxes.

      Unfortunately, finding work will be a bit of an issue unless you are going to be an entrepreneur.

      Your expected income shall be generously enough to live well for two persons if you have your own place paid off. Hope that you will have a place with a garden and some other means for living in a traditional way to save more money for vacations and emergencies. I’m not joking, you could actually save some money.
      I would encourage you to consider living in the country side as you may have a car. Driving to a city will not be far. Anyway, it is more rewarding living in the country side and always you will be busy if you are an active couple. It may be enough an income of $12,000 for two per year I would say.

      Building a house it is more a hands on project. I strongly, advise you that you and your wife will be present when building process starts. As well, plan ahead before you buy a piece of land as it is a long process especially if the sellers does not have all the property documents up to date.

      Please, let me know if you may have any questions @ dandy272000@yahoo.com. I will be happy to respond as I am living in US but I am born, raised in Romania and I am current with life back home.

      Good luck!

  6. I’m 56, male, American, and have around 150,000 USD in savings. I’m considering retirement in Transylvania. I really don’t like bigger cities, so small community is fine with me. Do you think I have enough to live off of. I’m pretty frugal and like easy life. Another thing is can a US citizen actually retire there without becoming a Rom citizen? Of course I would need to travel there to check things out, but I do have a Rom friend who lives there who may be able to help me as well.

  7. I too like living in smaller areas. So I gave two questions:
    1) Where would you suggest are the best places to live (intimate and safe)?
    2) I am a Romanian and American citizen but have left Romania 17 years ago and did not keep up with the new regulations. My husband is an Anerican citizen and I wonder if it is easy to apply for Romanian citizenship for him.

    Thank you very much.

    • 1. Romania is generally very safe. Except for some bad neighborhoods in the large cities and minor violence in the villages, pretty much everywhere is really safe. Probably the best cities to live would be in the western/north western part of the country as people there are considered to be more up to par with Western living standards. I wouldn’t suggest going for the smallest cities, though, as you will lack a lot of stuff, from cinemas/theater to supermarkets, restaurants and decent health care. So apart from the classic recommendations I make (Sibiu, Oradea, Arad, Deva) you might also consider Turda. It’s a small and nice city near Cluj Napoca (so you’re close to one of the biggest cities in the country if you need to go there). Or just go for a smaller city very close to a large one.

      2. If you are still a Romanian citizen, it would be very easy for your husband to get citizenship too.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Thank you very much for your suggestions. May I ask what city do you live in?
        I like the idea of having several market choices around and living in a safe area.
        Thank you again.

        • The city I live in is Drobeta Turnu Severin. It’s really nice and clean, in a great area (near the Danube, a 15 minutes drive away from Serbian cities, close by to the holiday places like Baile Herculane and Orsova), but unemployment rates are among the highest in the country and also good health care is a 1:30 hours drive away.

  8. What are the winters like there? Right now we are living in Costa Rica, we love it here, but still keeping options open. I used to live and work outside all winter in Colorado, but now if it gets down to 72, I start to get chilly. Looks like a beautiful country. A friend of mine was just there visiting. He got me interested. Also, I have been trying to find if there is a minimum requirement to retire there? Here it is only $1,000 a month, other countries we looked into they wanted $3,500 a month to grant residency. Thank you for your time.
    Cheri

    • Hello Cheri,

      Winters can get really cold here. Right now, in early November, it’s 46 degrees outside (around 8 Celsius) but during the winter, we can go all the way to 10 and even lower. Regarding the minimum requirement to retire, I don’t know if there’s anything like that (I also searched around and found nothing) but I am sure that $1,000 should be more than enough, having in mind that the median wage in Romania is a bit over $500.

        • Hi Brian,

          Sorry to chime in here, and Calin, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but yes, the equivalent of $500-$600 a month are the average wages in Romania. So if you are drawing $1K or more in USD from S.S., etc, or looking to live on that amount from retirement savings or investments from outside the country, then you should be in good shape for the typical costs of living in Romania, Bulgaria, or even Hungary.

          Now, regarding jobs, you need to consider that they are in short supply, and unless you speak Romanian, it would be difficult if not impossible for expats to find work.

          Finally, if you haven’t already checked it out, numbeo.com is an excellent site to get an idea of the most common expenses of any city or country you might be considering and it shows costs converted to Euros, pounds, USD, etc.

        • Ok, thanks all. I would very much like to check it out then. I am very much interested in the good quality food there. In the US most food is now GMO and unhealthy, at least that is how I look at it. I may keep my US citizenship and just get a place and stay for a few months and toggle back and forth though. I wish Rosetta Stone had a Romanian language CD though.

          Thanks

  9. I am curious about the everyday culture in the smaller cities and townships? What are the common hobbies, practices faiths and so forth?

    • Michael, this is really difficult to answer. Just like everywhere, there are tons of things that people do. Smaller cities have a slower paced life, while bigger ones are always in rush hour. Apart from that, since there are millions of people living here, the variations of what they do are great, from people who stay at home all day to those that spend their whole days in restaurants and pubs, from outdoorsy types that go to picnics every weekend to those that invite people over, from those who have a deep faith in God to those who are completely against the idea of a God.

  10. Thank you for the incite. I’ve been outside the U.S. a few times, but mostly to Latin America for more tropical trips with family. Those area’s are also slower paced, but heavily influenced by religious life and produce some problems for foreigners wanting to retire outside mainstream area’s.
    Any notion on what the climate is for starting a small business in the cities? Something Technology/Telecommunications based?

    • This is just a personal opinion, but I believe that despite the fact that starting your own business is the best choice (versus trying to get employed), things might not go too well. Because Romania is a pretty poor country, the purchase power and willingness is pretty low and when it comes to technology, people prefer to repair rather than replace and most go to the big chains to make their purchases.

      On the other hand, in the city I live in, which is a relatively small one (about 80,000 people), most stores come and go, but those who are always there are exactly the few tech/telecom that I know for years, so things might not be that bad. Sorry I don’t have a more clear answer for you.

  11. Hi,

    Many thanks for all the information.
    I’m thinking of spending 6 months there, to acclimatize myself, and decide if this is my retirement destination.
    Do you have any insight/information about Lasi? Rent/safety etc?
    Also, I’ve heard some horror stories relating to the driving in Romania lol thought?

    Thanks again,

    Paul

    • Hello Paul,

      I believe you are talking about Iasi – if so, the city is one of the largest in Romania, situated in the North-Eastern part of the country. You are close to a lot of our famous monasteries, so if you’re intro short trips, you can get a plenty of them there. The city is just as safe as all other cities in the country (so it’s safe), while rent prices are similar to what I wrote in my cost of living article here on Romania Experience.

      Drivers in Romania do sometimes tend to go crazy and ignore the rules, but it shouldn’t be too bad, no matter if you’re a pedestrian or car owner. I hope you will have a great time in Romania!

    • Hi Paul,
      My name si Florin and I was born and raised on Iasi. I left Iasi more than 10 years ago, but every 2-3 years I go back to visit family. I want to let you know that it is a very safe and very beautiful. All this years Iasi just got better and better, the roads and parks got better, more big stores where you can buy anything from high end luxury items to groceries. It is very clean and very beautiful. There are 5 big universities and is always a nice vibe. People are very polite and many of them speak some English. Cluj, Sibiu, Alba Iulia are very good cities too, but are a little bit more expensive regarding housing. Medical wise is very good town with very good hospitals and clinics, many private. To do a full blood tests will cost probably $30-$40. Dental work is incredible high quality and very low cost. An implant (zicornia, ceramic) can cost around $500-600. An x-ray will cost you $30. To rent a 1 bedroom apartment is around $200/month. Public transportation is great and food wise you can buy from 7 farmers marker or from over 10 very big stores similar to Walmart.
      Another thing is the outdoor life and cultural life. Iasi has many parks, the most beautiful and famous is Copou Park and Botanical Garden. As cultural life you can’t beat Iasi. It is The Cultural Capital of Romania and they where competing to become the Cultural Capital of Europe on 2016. There are many foreign institutes like (French cultural Institrute, British and German Institute) that offers lots of things on foreign languages. Also the architecture of Iasi is amaizing, lots of historical buildings, many 400-500 years old. The Spring, Summer and Fall are absolutely beautiful. On winter it gets a little bit cold.
      Another aspect that is not really know about Iasi is that it is surrounding by lots of wineries and forests. If you like hiking, there are many trails around Iasi and also you are only 1-2 hours from the most beautiful part of Romania – Bucovina.
      So if you are thinking to go and live in Iasi, you can try it for 3-6 months and you will fall on love with it. From Spring until early winter, almost every weekend is a festival (of beer, of wine, of traditions, of fashion, film, etc) or free concerts. Yes in Romania many concerts are outside and are free for the public.
      If you are somebody else is interested for more informations about Iasi can contact me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/florin.iftod

  12. Romania is such a special country. I started learning the language almost 2 years ago due to their house/club music (DJ Project) and wanted to understand the lyrics. I eventually met my future wife learning the language. She has a house in near Galaศ›i. I’ve traveled all over the country. I’m American and always lived in the US, but I am looking at retiring here. Starting to look at businesses and property something simple like a coffee shop or carwashes. I agree with all the Pros and Cons. Very well written. The raw beauty of Transylvania (especially driving the Transfargaศ™an) and the architecture of the cities is so beautiful. The people’s pride to hold on to tradition is so special. I’m going back in two weeks and I can’t wait to eat real natural food ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Hello,

    My mother has been thinking about retiring in Romania. She’s Brazilian. She has a salary that she gets every month. Now, the question is, can she get permanent residence by just stating that she has enough money to live in Romania?

    Thanks

      • As a non-EU person (single American 55 years old), I have found it exceedingly difficult to just “retire” in Romania. The government regulations do not allow for someone with ample income to obtain a residency permit (one year at a time) for retirement. They do allow people who work, start a business, marry, go to university, to stay in Romania.

        Do you know something that I am missing? Someone mentioned to me that American and Japanese nationals do not have to follow the same formalities in opening a company that can be used to obtain your residence permit, however, I haven’t found anybody to confirm this. (I am talking about opening a company without economic activity).

        Any advice or assistance is appreciated.

        • You can easily get the residency on a yearly basis if you prove you have enough money for yourself (which would probably be covered by your pension). I just checked and a single person needs a minimum of 135 Lei per month (which is about $35) to meet the criteria, so the required numbers are really low!

        • Under what section of the foreigner’s office guidelines allow people to retire in Romania?

      • Hello I’m an American wishing to retire in Romania you said the Brazilian woman with a pension will be allowed to stay indefinitely with her pension.
        How would I be able to do that ?
        I would like to Retire in Brasov but it seems obtaining a visa/permit is difficult. I have a $5400/month pension and health coverage how can I stay other than work, school, or marriage ?
        Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
        Ron

        • Hello Ron,
          I don’t see why you say that obtaining a visa is difficult… it’s actually easy and I never heard of one being refused. As for staying here for longer, you can apply for residency (so you can stay longer than 90 days) proving that you have sufficient funds. And your pension is more than enough for that. You can read my article here: https://www.romaniaexperience.com/how-to-get-a-residence-permit-in-romania/

          There is also a reader of our blog that’s moving to Romania this December and, in order to make sure that they have no problems with the whole process (although I really doubt that there will be any), they decided to start a small business.

  14. Hello. I always wanted to visit Romania, especially the castles. What landmarks do you suggest I should go visit?

  15. Buna ziuia! I lived in Romania for nearly all of 2013 and can’t deny a strong desire to go back and stay permanently. I can’t find definitive information on exactly how much monthly income is required to become a permanent resident, though I’ve combed the web. I will have only $700 or so in my monthly pension, but my needs are simple and I know that I can get by on that amount. Trouble is, will the authorities think so? The plan is to rent a small house or even a room or two in one of the villages in Transylvania, where I have Romanian friends willing to help. If rent is perhaps $200-250 per month, then surely I would be allowed to stay on? My profession as organic veg grower has already come in highly useful on farms there. Hope you can advise me, as I plan to return this September. And thanks for the great website! I LOVE Romania!

    • Hello Kate! I didn’t double check the numbers, but as far as I know $700 per month is enough for the authorities too. The sum you have is greater than the average wage in the country and should certainly be enough to live on, especially in a village. Good luck and hopefully your experience will continue to be as pleasant as it was the first time!

  16. Hi, I’m 48 yrs. old, divorced after 20 yrs of marriage, and am looking to expand my horizons. Although I have a substantial retirement already accumulated, I would still need to work, wherever I relocate. I’m a trained electrician/instrumentation tech and I have skills in other areas. You might say I’m a jack of all trades, master of none. What do you think my job prospects would be there.

  17. Hello, Jim. Unfortunately, I can’t help you much with advice in this area. I believe that you could find a job, but speaking the Romanian language is a must in your field. Also have in mind that salaries are really low.

  18. C , I am trying to convince my wife to move back to Romania. She is Romanian and I have only visited a few times. I fell in love with the country and people the first time I went. She does not want to go because she says that the government is more corrupt than it is here in the U.S. what is your opinion on the subject ? I know polititioan are going to be corrupt any where you go

    • Terry, things have changed a lot in the past and if you watch the news, you can easily find out that our anti-corruption bureau (called DNA) is doing a cleansing of the system. Tens of huge names are investigated, prosecuted and sent to jail and even more are under trial. Even Victor Ponta, the country’s Prime Minister is under investigation, as well as other big names in the Romanian government. So at least in this area, things are moving in the right direction. If you loved the country, then you will certainly love it even more now ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Good day! Can you provide the web site where to get information on how to retire in Romania. I’m from the Philippines and will soon retire with a monthly pension of USD 800.00. I need some inputs on the process of applying.

  20. I was in Bucharest as well as Brasov in May of this year. My first trip there even though my wife is Romanian. I am now in love with the country as well as my wife. I could live there and not miss the U.S. The people were friendly and honest.

  21. Greetings,
    I am considering Rumania or Bulgaria for retirement. My social security is $450 per month. I am used to living cheaply, though. I enjoy learning languages and I would want to find a flying model club for recreation. Does this sound feasible to you?

    Sincerely,
    John Beck

    • Hello John,

      It would certainly be a challenge to live on your budget, but doable. About half of your money would go on rent (and I would recommend a smaller city for the lower rent prices: you can still find a studio for about $100 per month, which would give you more money for your monthly expenses). There are families in Romania living with a budget similar to yours, so it’s certainly doable especially if you are used with a frugal life.

      I have no idea about the flying model club, though and I would tend to say that you might not find one easily, especially in the smaller cities. It’s just an opinion, though – I did no research on that matter.

      • Greetings,
        Thank you C. for your prompt answers. Here’s a topic that your readers might find interesting. What if potential expatriates have their savings in precious metals? The EU countries seem to conform to the same tax laws regarding gold and silver. Gold has no vat while silver, even bullion bars, are taxed 19 % when you buy them. My impression is that when someone moves to an EU country the sales tax must be paid and that each country will also have an import duty for any precious metals over a minimum amount. Here’s the point. If someone uses a gold or silver holding as a savings account and has it in the form of the physical metal, he will find it very hard to move to an EU country because of the vat and import duties. The question then becomes, is it possible to declare a silver holding in physical metal as a personal possession that can be moved without these costs into the person’s new country of residence?

        Sincerely,
        John Beck

  22. Thank you for this information, and for taking the time to help. I’m in the U.S. and retiring in about three years, and I’ll be fine financially, but I don’t speak the language. At all! If I decided to retire in Romania, of course I’d start to learn the language beforehand, but my question is this: how easy is it to live there without speaking (but while learning) Romanian? In other words, how widely is English spoken or understood? I’d be looking more at mid-size cities rather than large ones or smaller villages. Thanks.

    • English is widely spoken and you should have no problem living here without speaking any Romanian. People living in the villages in the countryside don’t really speak English, but since you won’t be moving there (and I wouldn’t recommend that either), you should have no problem!

  23. Hello and thanks for having this great site! I am very much considering retirement in Cluj in about 6 more years. I plan on my first visit there this coming summer, and then want to visit each year, but from all of the research and Cluj friends on FB that I have, I just feel that I will love it. My Great Grandfather was from there, and I feel like it is a big enough city to keep active and do lots of things, but clean, safe and certainly beautiful. My goal would be to rent a furnished 1 bedroom apartment near city center, and not buy a car. My social security income from USA will be about $2300 per month. from all the research I’ve done, this seems like it would allow me to live comfortably, in a beautiful , yet active city. Can I ask your thoughts on Cluj, expenses? are the furnished apartments modern and clean, well made? and the general feeling of Cluj? I know there is plenty of dining and nightlife of course, and that is fine with me, I am retiring. Not dying! *lol* Thanks again for this great site!
    Mark

    • Hello, Mark. Cluj is indeed a favorite spot for foreigners and I usually recommend it as well, together with Sibiu and Brasov. $2,300 would indeed allow you to live a good life here. You can certainly find a one bedroom apartment that is modern and in a good building/location, but it would be a bit more expensive than the average (probably closer to 400 Euros per month, but you would still have a lot left for a good life). You can check out the cost of living article here on this blog to see generic prices in Romania.

  24. I am looking at moving from the U.S. to Arad in a few months for retirement. I was wondering if you knew of any people that provide services to assist in obtaining a visa, finding a place to live, etc.

    Chris

  25. I am retiring from Florida and would like to move to Cluj next May. I do not plan to work there and have both Social Security an IRA and trust portfolio worth 500m approximately. Who should I contact to obtain a resident long term visa and how much lead time do I need?

    • Hello Ted. I donโ€™t know if you are still planning to move to Cluj or not. I am from the US and have lived in Bucharest for many years.

      Contact me on my e-mail and we can talk by phone and I can answer all the questions you may have. Send me an e-mail at dcguy@hotmail.com

  26. Thanks for the Pro’s and Con’s on retiring in Romania. I am thinking just that and thinking about maybe buying but really know nothing about Romania. I do know that I would want to live in an up beat area, i.e. where the city is still alive after 2200. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would appreciate an email from you so I can stay in touch and maybe get some pointers from you as well.

    Thanks,
    Cary

    • Hello Cary,

      Most cities are still alive – to a degree after 10 PM, with the bigger ones being more alive than others. I think, though, it would be best to come and spend at least a week first in the country to see if it seems like the one you’d like to retire to.

  27. I am romanian canadian citizen and I am looking to retire in romania. Unfortunately in Canada the accumulated pension does not cover the old age needs. I was reading somewhere that 30% of Canadians go bankrupt after retiring. It is required to save to RRSP, CCP to hope to an increase in your income. All together, after age of 65 you may retire with 1,600$ CAD per month (max). Right now we are looking to build a house in romania (Craiova- my home city) and to sale the house in Canada as soon as we retire. As you said if you retire in romania in a small city ( mounting side is best) is cheaper and healtier then to retire in a big city . Good luck to all and I am looking forward to read postings from users who actually started a living in romania.

    • Craiova can’t be considered a small city, but if you already have family/friends there, it definitely helps. 1,600 CAD is a bit difficult to make, especially if we’re talking about two people on this budget, even with housing included. Either way, I’ll soon update the website with stories from people who have already made the move, so stay tuned!

  28. I am 73 come March 2016, But Biologically like a Man 60… Good Gens..
    I want to Retire, but all I get a month is $650.00 from SS…
    Could I make it there on that??
    What are your thoughts on this??
    Tom

  29. It’s difficult to say, Tom. It depends on many factors. In a small city, you could find a studio for rent for about $150, but I’d personally go with $250 just to be safe. You would be left with $400 per month and that might be enough if you manage to adapt to the Romanian lifestyle and manage your funds properly. Remember that the average wage in Romania is about $385, so it is doable. However, this won’t allow you many extras and you would be living a simple life. So it is doable – but it really depends on your spending habits and the place you choose for living.

    • Tom, it is absolutely doable. You just have to watch your budget. You can definitelty rent a decent apartment between 150 – 250 in cities such as Severin, Orsova, Deva even Craiova.
      If you’re smart about it and made some local Romanian friends, you can get them to raise you 2 to 3 pigs every 6 months, a few chickens…. I means it is do-able….. you just have to go about it the smart way. You even have left over cash at the end of every month. As an American, I spent 14 months in Orsova, and I love it there. I will definitely retire there…

  30. Thank you for all this useful information. What cities or towns would you recommend to someone who intends to use a bicycle as main means of transport for the rest of his life?

    • Fernando,

      Romania is not really the most bike-friendly country in the world and most of the smaller cities don’t have lanes for bicycles, while the bigger ones have just a few and some are unusable.

      However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not doable or that there aren’t people who already use bikes as their main means of transportation. Any smaller city would do (since you’d be close to anything), as well as medium sized cities. Timisoara comes to mind, as they seem to be more bike friendly (there is also a bike-only road build between Timisoara and a Serbian city) and a nice biking community there. Other larger cities might be just as bike friendly, but I don’t know about them ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Hello C.
        My family and I are trying to follow the same path as the family that relocated to Brasov in December.
        I messaged him a couple of times on another site but have lost touch, would you please try and facilitate us getting back in touch, we are both military veterans wnd he was wuite a bit further along in the process than we were.
        Any help would be appreciated.

    • A city to consider for bike culture is Subotica, Serbia. Majority ethnic Hungarian near Hungarian border. Very pretty, very flat, more bikes than cars.

    • Yes Dumitra, I am turning 62 this year and planning to do the same thing you are talking about..I have already verified this, plus I also have friends that travel and live all over Mexico. You’ll just need a way to transfer from your account that the S.S. is going in to a bank in Romania or wherever. Paypal is a good way, as you can transfer online and use your Paypal visa debit card anywhere, or even set up an account in a bank in whatever city you’ll be in and you can make cash withdrawals, etc.

      • Pay Pal may charge a transfer fee. I plan to use my credit union account in United States and withdraw from atm as needed. As i currently do when we vacation in Romania. This is the best exchange rate i have found. Is it cheaper to do a large transfer of say 10k into a Romanian bank and pay the fee? Still researching all of this.

        • Hi Otto,
          I think that makes sense, especially if you are traveling from the U.S. to one location. There is so much to research to make sure you are getting the best deal, and least costly route to go to get to your money, as you travel or set up a permanent or semi-permanent retirement location, as i intend to do within the next year. Tim Leffel, who writes blogs and books on cheap places to travel and retire, suggested that a paypal acct. might be convenient when traveling for months to multiple locations, where access to your home bank through regular ATMs was more complicated. Lots of countries and remote locations would still allow access to funds through Paypal though, but I haven’t personally tested this yet. For example, until very recently, travel in Southern Argentina made it difficult to get to your money, but, having a case of U.S. cash almost doubled your buying power based on blue market exchange rate. I’m far from an expert on any of this stuff, and have a lot of research to do over the next year in preparing to retire in Brasov. That is tentative right now, subject to change, but it continues to look like my best fit. I am happy to learn from everyone and anyone who might help make everything I need to do between now and then, a little easier. I consider this site and Calin a great resource, but just one of many. Thanks for your input, as I think sharing information among all of us, can only be a good thing! Best Regards, JC

    • Yes, you can receive your full SS in Romania. The only “catch” is that every 3 months you have to go to the embassy in person – so they know you’re still kickin’. They will send you a SS check in the mail or direct deposit into your account. Then you go to a bank’s ATM and get the money out. Go to your SS office or call them to find out more, but Romania is on the list.

  31. Hello C , Thank you for youre info about Retire in Romania. am 53 years old Norwegian National of African origin who will like to retire in Cluj (early retirment ) , do you think being black will give me problem ? normaly i go well with most people .. and do you have any link or info about renting apartments? Thank you

  32. Hi Calin,
    I look forward to hearing about your familyโ€™s adventures in Budapest. I suspect you donโ€™t like to discuss politics too much, but this could be important for those of us relocating or thinking about relocating to Romania. Romania has been approved to join the Schengen Area, and if they join will be obligated to accept a number of refugees and also open up Romania to be a major crossing point for an anticipated possible three million refugees coming into Europe over the next year and half. Are you or your friends and family concerned about the impact to Romania or itโ€™s culture? Sorry, I have friends who have shared stories about concerning things happening in Germany, Sweden and UK. I apologize if this something youโ€™d rather not get into. Thanks. Best Regards, JC

    • Hello JC,

      Romania has not been approved to join the Schengen area yet – there have been ongoing talks since like forever and even though support for Romania joining Schengen has increased lately, I don’t think it will happen too soon.

      Regarding the refugees, I know that there’s just 15 of them that joined Romania until now and not even they wanted to come here. There was a funny story when the refugee crisis was happening with some refugees who mistakenly took a train to Bucharest instead of Budapest (foreigners apparently make this confusion easily). When they found out that the train is actually heading towards Romania, they jumped off the train! And this is no joke or urban legend, this really happened!

      So even in the unlikely possibility that Romania will soon join the Schengen area, the country won’t be capable of supporting the refugees, nor will the refugees really want to be here. Germany or Sweden are extremely rich countries which are targeted by most refugees because of their high living standards and impressive aid offered to the people and refugees want to get there, not Romania, Hungary, Greece or most of the other countries in Europe.

      In other words, I don’t think anybody is actually worried about refugees flocking to Romania (forced or not) so we can’t even talk about potential effects on the country. Plus, an agreement has been made with Turkey and the refugee crisis can be well considered over – the estimates of millions of people arriving in the coming years are already obsolete.

      • Hi Calin,

        I certainly hope you are right about all of these concerns. I was actually wrong though about Romania being approved. What did happen was that the EU said in a statement in April that both Romania and Bulgaria have now met the requirements to qualify, but still had to have a unanimous decision by the EU Member states to be approved. As for the tentative agreement with Turkey, they missed their deadline two days ago to meet the 72 conditions set by the EU that would also provide visa-free travel for it’s citizens.

        Also, I certainly agree that refugees have been flocking to the richer Western European countries like Germany, Sweden, and UK, since the social welfare benefits have provided them quality housing, food and healthcare for no cost and with no requirement to find work. But even in these countries, it’s taking a huge toll on their economy and resources. In addition, it will be interesting to see the affects of the UK voting to leave the EU on the 23rd (which seems almost certain by recent polls) will cause, and it should also have a big impact on UK’s likelihood to tighten it’s borders & immigration policies. You are absolutely right about Romania (and Bulgaria) not having appeal to the refugees, as the countries don’t have the resources available to provide any welfare benefits to the refugees. Still, so much is up in the air regarding the possible influx of more refugees over the next two years.

        I have talked to so many people in and out of Romania, who see a potentially bright future for this country, which has so many natural resources & great appeal for tourism and for business entrepreneurs alike, if only most of the political corruption and bureaucracy can be brought under control in the next few years, making it easier to start businesses and bring existing corporations, etc. here. I think Romania is an amazing place and I’ve never even been there! But I read everything I can about it, look at google earth street views, and watch videos, look at pictures, and talk to anyone I can that has been there or lived there. Anyway, thank you Calin so much for your thoughts and shared knowledge on what’s going on there! Best Regard, JC

        • That’s the best approach! And have in mind that in some cases, Google Street view is already outdated and some of the cities/streets look a lot better. That’s the case of my city, which improved its infrastructure greatly since Google Street view visited it, but I am sure many others are in the same situation.

          Romania indeed has potential, but unfortunately it will take a lot of time for it to get back on track. Young politicians are following the old ways, so not even the new generation won’t be clean, most of the good young people leave the country for the richer ones where the quality of life is better… so even without the refugees I don’t see Romania getting better too soon, unfortunately. But for somebody retiring here who doesn’t have to live off income generated in Romania and who has minimal interaction with the state, things won’t be so bad, on the contrary. Just like the family who moved to Romania said – Romania is great, but not for Romanians. I believe that’s the best way to put it!

        • Hi Calin!
          Oh yea, I know google earth street views are dated…even here in the U.S., the images are months old…but sorry, I meant live feeds of cities all over the world, including Romania, like here: http://www.rancaonline.ro/webcam/webcam_205.html

          …but you may not be able to get this there…I pull live streams in various cities, was watching live cam feed earlier today from the market in Sibiu. Pretty cool! Anyway, I digress, so many people I’ve talked to believe in the potential of Romania. I understand what you are saying and feel bad that you and other Romanians aren’t able to fully appreciate all the wonderful things about your country, because the wages are so low, the people can’t afford to live a decent life.

          Even though it may not be that bad yet, the U.S. is getting there. I just read where 31% of Americans are living week to week and barely surviving financially. So, we are becoming a nation of those at the very top living well, and most on the bottom struggling , working two or three jobs to live and take care of our families.

          And of course, part of the reason I want to retire in Romania is financial, but it may be a blessing in disguise, as a friend of a friend told me Romania reminds him of the way America used to be…meaning that too many here are caught up just trying to make money, have little time for their families and to enjoy life, where Romanians still enjoy the simple things and have a strong sense of family.

          Anyway, thanks for all the help, advice, and information you are providing people here about your country. By the way, I am leaning toward Sibiu now, I spoke with travel writer & blogger Miruna Corneanu, who was born and raised in Romania, who thinks I may be happier in Sibiu. Regardless, I plan to travel all over Romania (and maybe beyond a little), once I get settled. Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing about your family’s adventures in Budapest! Best Regards, JC

        • I like watching live feeds from different places too. But in term of getting to know a city, I still feel that Google Maps is better, even though the live images are completely different and help you feel that you really are there.

          Regarding Sibiu, that’s a good place too, it’s always a choice between Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj, Sibiu and even Timisoara that most people have to make.

        • Hi Calin,

          Since many readers and visitors to this site are at least thinking about, if not actually planning to relocate or retire to Romania in the near future, I hope at some point we can get some tips on staying long term, with more info on business visas, how to find lawyers or accountants to help with those details and more. I understand that it’s not an exact formula, as any advice is basically a way around the current system in order to be able to stay on a more permanent basis. Maybe some of this could be covered in you next interview with Kevin and his family about his experiences so far after moving to Romania? He has had to deal with these issues as part of his family’s process of staying in Romania permanently. This kind of info would be a very helpful extention beyond descriptions of the cities, culture, food, nightlife, etc. Thanks for your consideration Calin, and I hope you and your family are still enjoying your time in Budapest! Best Regards, JC

  33. I am currently undergoing treatment for cancer . I already know that when I retire I want to move to Romania . My wife is from Cluj -Napoca and we would more than likely settle in that arera. We have not been in Romania since 2012 and was wondering what you could tell me about cancer treatments there now. Is there innovative treatment options such as immunotherapy? are there clinical trials being conducted? what type of treatment options is there for someone fighting cancer?. Thank you for your time

  34. thank you C. I just got good news this week . I am still up in the air about moving there right now because of treatments that I will still need to have . we will see , maybe in a year we can move there

  35. I’m 61, semi-retired, British and speak reasonably fluent Romanian (not just social, but it was my working language during a diplomatic assignment in Moldova). I no longer want to live in the UK following the referendum because frankly it no longer feels like my country. My family is all here, though, so I’m stuck for the next 5-6 years. Pity I can’t get honorary Romanian citizenship! Asta e viata, din pacate! I’ve even composed a clarinet concerto that features a prominent part for the cimbalom – wonderful instrument ๐Ÿ˜€

    • I am sure it won’t be more difficult than today to get here in 5-6 years time and you can always visit for a week or three months until then ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy to hear that you like traditional Romanian instruments, there are indeed some very skilled musicians playing them here.

  36. Otto:
    My husband and I are retiring to Sibiu, Romania. What do we need to do to get a resident visa? We are also bringing our car and dog.
    Thanks,
    Jill

    • Hi Jill,
      Sorry to jump in here, but Calin did two interviews/articles here with a family that moved to Brasov from the U.S. over a year ago; one when they first arrived and a follow up later after they had settled. You may want to look those over, as there is very valuable information for anyone planning to relocate there, including about acquiring residency visas. I am also one of those tentatively planning to retire to Sibiu later this year or possibly early next year. So, I hope you keep us posted here on the site about your family’s experiences as you make that happen. Take care. Best regards!

  37. I would like to find out if anybody knows if Medicare is available or can be used in Romania.
    Greatly appreciated,
    Mike

  38. I speak moderately fluent Romanian (having worked there on and off since 1990), have experienced the health service first hand (“Sir, I always get the blood out, I am from Transilvania” … I’m not joking, haemochromatosis venesection at a hospital in Bucharest), the food and the transport. I love the place. I would willingly trade my UK passport for a Romanian one any day, but who in Romania is likely to sponsor a semi-retired development consultants who just happens to compose music for the cimbalom? ๐Ÿ˜€

  39. I’m a Romanian who’s lived in the US since the age of 11 (I’m almost 40 now), and this definitely seems like a really great option. Thanks for the insight! Salut din California, unde totul e scump!

    • Salut, George! Well, I think that every country out there could seem cheap if you compare the prices to those in California :)) But yes, you’d have an advantage here if you can still speak the language.

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