Today, I have a special article for you: the reasons why you should consider making Romania your new home or at least home base when exploring Europe. Today’s article is written by our reader, JC, who accepted my proposal to write this piece, sharing with us his point of view on this situation. It’s a nice read!

C. the Romanian has created a wonderful blog here for anyone seeking more info about Romania, either as a wonderful alternate holiday/vacation spot or even as a great new place to settle down. For many expats/retirees from all over the world, and especially those where the cost of living is substantially higher, Romania can be an especially attractive option, even if based on a financial basis alone, with the caveat that you have a source of income, savings or retirement benefits from outside the country.

Unfortunately, decent paying jobs within Romania are far and few between, and that goes even for Romanians, much less for anyone from outside the country who’s not fluent in the language. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say you have a source of income from outside of Romania, be it from a mobile or online career, or through savings and/or retirement benefits.

Let’s also presume that you aren’t put off or discouraged by a hearty four season climate, including hot summers and cold winters. The good news is that you may even be one of those that find the seasonal changes appealing.

Now get ready, because if none of those things actually deter you, then Romania may be the ideal destination for you! Notice I didn’t say perfect, because perfect doesn’t exist, but ideal in that of those things most important to you, Romania checks off all the right boxes on your wish list.

Of all of the places in the world you could chose to visit (or decide to retire), Romania has some of the most beautiful countryside you’ll ever see, including the mountains of Transylvania, Black Sea Beaches, ski resorts, and with an amazing variety of hills and plains all across the country.

In addition, you’ll find some of the most spectacular castles in the world, along with amazing historical architecture, and a vast variety of authentic small towns and villages spread out across the country that feel almost frozen in time, and with friendly welcoming local folk.

It’s also important to note there are an abundance of excellent restaurants, great fresh fruits & vegetables, an abundance of amazing local wines for a song, along with the pedestrian friendly cities that are also part of the what awaits you. The larger cities have great local theater and musical concerts throughout the year that are very affordable as well.

The people are genuine & friendly, the internet speeds are among the fastest and cheapest in the world, and you are but a train ride away from some of the most exciting European cities that you’ve always wanted to visit.

Now, and more importantly, if you receive your salary or retirement benefits in pounds, Euros or U.S. dollars, you will find you can live quite comfortably in Romania for a fraction of what you could in your home country. For example, a U.S. retiree on a typical monthly S.S. income of $1,300, has roughly twice the buying power of the average Romanian worker.

The two other priorities that most expats are generally concerned with are your healthcare options and the general safety of the cities regarding all levels of crime. Healthcare is generally decent, but better when you can find a good private doctor for most of your medical needs, yet even these are still reasonable by most major Western city standards.

As far as your personal safety goes regarding overall crime & statistics, I predict you’ll be amazed when comparing your home city to most cities in Romania via numbeo.com. You will most likely find that the differences are astounding.

As an example I compared the overall crime stats of Sibiu Romania to Orlando Florida, my home town. Sibiu was so much safer across the board, it made Orlando look like a war-zone. This is a huge plus for many expats looking for a safe place to retire. Violent crime is almost non-existent in Romania compared to almost any large city across the U.S. today.

Ultimately, nothing else can compare with actually being there and experiencing the wonders of Romania firsthand. So you should really make plans to visit Romania and travel all around as much of the countryside as possible. While you’re there take advantage of the unique opportunity to gain a better appreciation the breathtaking scenery & the rich culture of it’s people.

Check out several of the larger cities to see & better understand the differences and variety of lifestyles Romania has to offer. From Bucharest, to Brasov and Sibiu and then over to Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara, they can give you an pretty good idea of the rich and interesting culture and variety of environments you have to choose from there, each with their own unique vibe.

Prior to your trip, you can check out some of the travelogs on YT or Google street views and live cam feeds to get a small idea and feel for what to expect, while also seeing some of the different cities activities before you visit.

Finally, if you hadn’t even thought about Romania before as a amazing alternative for a vacation getaway, or better yet, that ideal retirement destination, then you are doing yourself a great disservice if it’s not near the top of your short list of places too consider!

28 COMMENTS

  1. Really good and informative post JC! See, you’re halfway there with writing your own blog. Excellent reasons why one should consider Romania. Your money goes a long way, and if you don’t have to actually work in the country, then it’s all good. Do your research, check out the places thoroughly. Google is your friend as stated to get some sort of idea, but nothing beats boots on the ground.

    • Streetview, if available, is also great. But indeed, nothing beats being there. I just saw that most people or, better said, most articles you can find on a specific country or city tend to be overly positive and leave some of the bad things behind or put them in a better light. You can’t know for sure unless you are there and see for yourself.

    • Thanks Kemkem, and I agree, nothing beats actually being there, wherever “there” is! 😉 I read about Alaska for years before actually going, and found it better in some ways and less in others to what the brochures other promotional materials might have you believe. After doing some traveling, I would be surprised if most places now weren’t close to what I expected, because after a while you get a feel for what’s really what, and can read between the lines of all the articles and promotional stuff that you see. Also as Calin suggested, there is no better prep that checking street views along with speaking in length with people you actually know who’ve been or are there currently.

  2. Calin’s on a roll, and Kemkem has regained her #1 position. All is right in the world!
    JC brings up some excellent points. My main focus is the lack of crime in Romania. Heck, here in the States, I am afraid to venture into crowded, or popular venues for fear of being shot! I wouldn’t have that fear in Romania.
    Yes, the extreme heat and cold may be daunting (especially for one living in the Pac NW) but it seems the US weather (these days) is even more extreme. Plus, there isn’t the threat of hurricanes, tornadoes, and other extreme weather events in Romania.
    It helps that English is widely spoken and understood. (Calin probably speaks and writes English better than I do;-)
    I hope as time progresses, more and more people will invest in the country and bring jobs back, so that many of the young people won’t need to emigrate. It’s sad that so many of the educated and work-able men and women have been forced to seek a living elsewhere.
    So, the picture atop is from where? It’s lovely.
    ~Teil (USA)

    • I am happy to hear that JC managed to tick all the right boxes. Hopefully the young people will not have to leave anymore…

      The picture atop is of Valea Oltului. I don’t know the name of the village, though, but Valea Oltului (where the Olt River passes) is really nice!

      • Thanks again Calin for the opportunity to put together this article for your blog of all my reasons for believing Romania makes such an amazing destination and ideal retirement spot for a variety of people looking for just the right place. I have certainly romanticized & become passionate about the idea of ultimately retiring in Romania, and for all the wonderful reasons I tried to cover in the article.

  3. I am living here in Drobeta Turnu Severin at the moment. We love it here it is beautiful. But next week are forced to leave the country for 3 months because we can’t get a long term visa. I would be very much interested to know how you can retire here long term. We are in the process of getting a long term visa but not in time. We are Americans and will go to Ireland for 3 months and then return. Would love to have any insight you have on obtaining a long term visa.

    • Tami,
      What you are experiencing is my biggest fear in my plans to retire in Romania. It’s not a given that one can easily get everything approved and done timely enough they’ll need to do in order to stay past the standard 90 days. I wish that Calin or perhaps someone he knows with some expertise on the subject, could do an article specifically with advice for staying long term in Romania.

      This potential roadblock could be one of the reasons that Romania is not at the top of many retirees list, at a time when Mexico, South & Central America, along with Southeast Asia and India are making the path to retiring there easier and more streamlined.

      Also, regarding my limited understand of it all, because of all the red tape and bureaucracy that’s commonly involved here, even with an attorney, it’s not guaranteed you’ll get it done in time before your initial 90 days expires. Which is apparently what you’re dealing with now. Maybe Calin could find someone to write an article with more info about how to make the process a little easier. Tami, I’m Sorry you’re being forced to go to Ireland while this is being resolved.

    • Hello, Tami! I am really surprised to read the name of the city you’re located in as this is where I live as well. And I though that there were no foreigners interested in this little city! I really hope that you like it here though and if you have any questions or anything, let me know! I’m probably just a stone’s throw away 🙂

      Regarding the long stay visa, if you are about to get it, then you might still be able to just stay here until things are resolved. Maybe talk to the people that are handling this, I am 100% sure that if it’s just a few weeks away, there will be no problems with that.

    • Thanks so much Stuart! I really didn’t think it about it until I read your comment, but that is an interesting and unique way to frame it. Just as Calin mentioned “ticking the right boxes”, that what Romania did for me.

      While evaluating countries in my head based on the most significant priorities that most of us would have for a any country we were considering retirement in, Romania was consistently at or near the top. From an aesthetic perspective, Romania is one of the most diverse and beautiful countries in world. Regarding violent crime, it’s one of the safest, and not just in certain cities, but across the entire country. The people are genuinely friendly and welcoming, and from a cost of living perspective, your retirement income from U.S. or other Western countries goes further than most any country you might want to live. The one thing that keeps it from being almost perfect is that the healthcare options are not the best. Not awful, but adequate and getting better.

      Plus having real change of seasons is a good thing for most, as you can’t truly appreciate a warm summer as much without a cold winter, and vise-versa. I’ve known a number of folks that thought it’s be like heaven living in a tropical climate year round, but later decided it can get old where it’s hot and in the 80’s or above all year long. Anyway, thanks again, I like that , a love letter to Romania, how poetic!

  4. Hi everybody,
    I am interested in the tax rules. Coming from the States and moving to Romania are we going to be taxed under the Romanian tax laws. Is anyone there who is residing in Romania under this scenario? I will be interested to find out from one of you.

    Greatly appreciated,
    Mike

    • Hi Mike,
      Hopefully someone more knowledgeable about the subject will have some advice, but in the meantime, maybe this site linked below could offer some helpful tips. I am planning on retiring to Romania from the states early next year myself. My plan is live solely on my social security benefits while there, not touching any other retirement savings. My understanding as far as S.S. is this, as long as you’re not in one of 13 states that tax the benefits, then you’ll pay no taxes at home or in Romania.

      But then beyond that, everything starts to become more complicated once you have any kind of income from anywhere worldwide, or purchase real estate, etc. It’s probably best at that point to find a local tax attorney to be sure you’re covered. Good luck and you might at least get a start here:

      https://m.taxesforexpats.com/romania/us-tax-preparation-in-romania.html

    • Hi Mike,
      One other thing, I just saw an a couple of interesting articles in Romania-Insider.com that readers or potential expats here might find interesting. Here is a brief description:

      Dear Romania-Insider.com Reader,

      Two pieces of good news for expats this week: the Government has made it easier for non-EU residents to work in Romania and the tax agency has published its first tax return forms in English.

      Healthcare remains one of the hot topics in Romania. While the state announces big plans for new hospitals, and private operators continue to expand their coverage.

  5. Romania seems like a very nice place and I plan to visit it one day. I checked about Rosetta Stone and they do not have Romanian. Where is a good place to learn Romanian?

  6. Hi Mike,
    You are very welcome, and I don’t think it bothers Calin for the readers here to use the comment section as a forum of sorts to discuss among ourselves our perspectives about Romania and anything we find that could be useful or helpful info for others. If you have spent much time researching Romania online, you are already painfully aware that detailed info about a slew of important things including but limited to; arrangements to physically make the move, any kind of legal matters, establishing long term residency, buying real estate, opening bank accounts or lines of credit, buying a car, setting up payment methods for utilities, rent, smartphone, etc., etc. The list goes on.

    Granted, there is a bevy of questions and concerns for anyone thinking of moving/retiring to any foreign country, but many, like most Central or South American countries have a ton of expat community sites that discuss almost everything that you might encounter. A quick google search on expats/retiring to Romania, gets you this wonderful site, plus a couple of others that aren’t even updated. I certainly don’t blame Calin or others for not providing all of this support, as the kind of detailed customized info that each of us needs to complete our move/relocation is very specific to our particular needs, which varies greatly depending on our individual circumstances. Single, married with families, retired on S.S., drawing income from a mobile career or investments, planning to buy or build a property or just rent, etc etc.

    Anyway, there is huge difference between finding and reviewing all this wonderful info that we read about here and other places that can help entice us to Romania; like the beautiful mountains, beaches, countryside, friendly people, low cost of living for expats, low crime, fast & cheap internet, and but a train ride away from other exotic cities across Europe. All good stuff, but after we get past that, comes the real nuts and bolts of legal and financial concerns that have to be sorted through and worked out before actually taking the leap. Hopefully, we can continue to share & exchange ideas and information here with others in similar circumstances.

    Now, all that said…lol…..though subject to change, you ask where I decided to retire in Romania? I decided on Sibiu for a number of reasons. I knew I wanted to be in one of the cities located across the Transylvania area, close proximity to the beautiful majestic Carpathian mountains & surrounding countryside, it’s a beautiful city that is large enough to have everything you need, yet feels smaller and more intimate than it is, it’s a mix of beautiful timeless old world architecture, with modern shops and conveniences, and so much more. The beauty of my decision is that I plan to rent for the first year regardless, and once settled, explore the rest of Romania (and beyond), and may find another city I prefer after experiencing everything the country has to offer in person, but ultimately I’m leaving it open until I check out everything. By the way, let me know if you find out more about taxes and such, and I’ll do the same. We can all help each other here with important details like that. Thanks, JC

  7. JC you are a match for C’s writing abilities. Good to see you have found this way to impart you knowledge/experience as you have and will have so much to share. I am very curious how the financial management side of this works out for you. SS sounds easy enough but hope you draw other incomes or learn of ways to draw down a 401k/IRA without incurring to much tax penalty. Good to see Calin has developed this way for us to work together as his is the most advanced web site on Romania available and certainly appropriate for our needs of working out a smooth transition to actually living in Romania. His website offers great insight into what Romania would be like if a person was to choose to retire there. Thanks again to both of you for sharing your knowledge and experiences as it is a great resource to all of us.

    • Hi Otto,

      Thanks, but C. is the pro here, I’m still doing this for fun right now! 😉 It is interesting what you bring up about the best way to get your money and best way to make it accessible once living there. I read on other sites that it’s getting more difficult for foreigners to open up accounts in Romanian banks. Also, getting money or transferring in on a regular basis through ATM, etc, gets expensive. I haven’t started to focus on this aspect yet, but as I get closer to leaving for Romania, I will concentrate on finding out more details about all of this, and basically everything I can at that time.

      And Calin my friend, even if I get more involved in creating and trying to maintain a travel blog specific to Romania at some point, I don’t think I’d ever see us as competitors but more allies, part of the same community who are inspired to try and help educate people about Romania, the culture, everything it has to offer and all the different ways or perspectives in which to enjoy it. You will always be able to offer something that I or most others can not, the interesting and unique perspective of one who was born and raised in Romania, and who is also raising a family there.

      So few people are writing about Romania and all of her secrets, treasures, abundance of beauty, and rich culture, that there is plenty of room for more blogs about traveling there, expanding much needed expat forums, showcasing amazing tourist spots, or exploring the culture along with some of the many challenges and opportunities for those who may even choose to live there long term. As I’ve said before, there are a ton of writers and sites dedicated to many other exotic or more popular and well known vacation and/or retirement locations all over the world. Ultimately, Romania still remains one of the best kept secrets, that could be incredibly as either, or both, and the more people writing about it, the better! 🙂

  8. My husband and I sort of fit all 3 categories and are shortly moving to Brasov. And I understand broadband speeds are excellent. Much better than the UK where we have lived since meeting each other 26 years ago. Very excited and it’s great to find this site.

  9. Hi there,

    A question about the entertaining and relaxing subject about the costs of being self employment:

    We are dearling hoping to immigrate to Romania this spring but we’re still having trouble with finding some answers about the costs of self employment and healthcare insurance. At the moment we have a sort of expat/travel insurance but this has its limitations and eventually we have to find another way to get insured.

    As I read somewhere on the website the cost of a healthcare insurance is about 30 euro’s a month which you have to pay at the tax office together with your income taxes.
    Is there also a fee for the pension fund?
    If there is a fee for the pension fund would that cover all the costs together with the healthcare and income taxes for being self employed?

    As mentioned there are a lot of different kinds of taxes but am i right if i would say that it’s about 16 percent?

    It would be really nice and helpful if a rough example could be given if a person would earn 1000 euro’s in a month.

    Sorry for letting you think about this unattractive subject and maybe raking up some stressful memories but we would be much ablidged by any answer, ideas or suggestions.
    At the moment it’s our full time job to know as much as possible and we still have so many questions.

    Thanks!

    • Hello Matthias,

      The 30 Euros per month is private health insurance. The mandatory state insurance is calculated in two ways: you either have to pay based on the minimum wage in the country (which ends up to 70 Lei per month for the state insurance right now, but it will increase a bit as the minimum wage will raise in 2018). If you have a business as it is your case, you will have to pay 5.5% of your profits, or the 70 lei if your profits are lower than the minimum wage.

      The social security fee is an additional 10.5% of the profits, while the income tax on profits is 16%. All in all, you end up paying in tax 32% as a self employed after expenses are deducted. At least this is how it goes this year – there are some changes in place for the next year and taxes will apparently be lower. It’s just talks right now for the most part, so we can’t say for sure what will actually happen, but 32% for a self employed is a solid place to start and you wouldn’t mind if this gets lower 🙂

      Things would change if you’d want to open a business, though, with various other taxes coming into play and changing things around.

    • Just ignore what I wrote above 🙂 Here is how the new taxes will be calculated for self employed (PFA and such) in 2018:

      Social Security: 25% of the minimum wage, which means that the contribution is 475 RON. If you really trust the Romanian pension system, you can opt to pay 25% of your actual income.
      Health insurance: 10% of the minimum wage, which means 190 RON per month.

      The tax on profits now drops to 10% from 16% and you can deduct the above two taxes from your income too.

      In other words, for those who are making more than 1,500 Euros per month, the new tax system is a lot more advantageous.

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