News Details

Retiring To Europe From The Gulf

Date: Thu, 02 May, 2019

Retiring To Europe From The Gulf



By BBG Member Jason Porter, Blevins Franks Financial Management

Ian Yarwood, in his fifties, worked for an oil company in the Middle East for ten years before moving near Lisbon in Portugal. He was advised by Blevins Franks Financial Management. 

Why Portugal?

I first lived here in 1988 when I moved with Castrol to set up operations. I have worked in the corporate world most of my life having spent periods in South America, the US and the Middle East. I’m now taking what my son calls a ‘senior gap year’, doing up our Portuguese property, which we bought years ago, before I get back into work, probably consulting in the Middle East. For me, the area near Sintra, north west of Lisbon, is a little paradise.

Is there a big expat community?

I’ve met a lot of people who lived here years ago then left, and now they have come back again. That’s how good it is here. There are many international people here and enough social clubs to keep you busy all the time. I am chairman of the Royal British Club, which has lots of social events. There’s the Royal British Legion, British Historical Society, Women’s Royal Voluntary Service, Swedish Society, French Society etc and lots of sporting clubs. Unlike in the Middle East – or even on the Algarve – expats in this area are dotted all over rather than living in expat communities. It makes a big difference socially if you speak Portuguese, but you don’t need to as people speak good English.

What are the major elements to consider when making a move to Europe?

Lifestyle is the key thing. If you are used to living abroad and travelled often, as I did, it can be difficult to put roots down in one place. Weather is an important consideration as you get older. So is the cost of living, safety and accessibility – my children live in the UK, so it’s important for us to be close by so they can fly out here easily and we can fly back. Portugal is also a very child-friendly place, so it’s wonderful when our baby granddaughter visits. The financial benefits are a bonus, but they aren’t what I would base my decision on.

What are the financial benefits to living in Portugal?

After consulting with expat financial advisers Blevins Franks, who have offices here, I’ve applied for the Non-Habitual Residents Scheme, which is another big positive to living here. It means that when my pension comes through at 60, it will be tax-free for ten years and if I do consultancy work overseas, that will be tax-free too. I’ve been learning about domicile and principally IHT. I wouldn’t want to take a job in the UK again, knowing what I now do about inheritance tax. I also recently sold my property in the UK and managed to avoid capital gains tax as I hadn’t lived there for so long. These were all benefits of living in Portugal.

 Jason Porter


Ian Yarwood