How to Retire in Slovenia: Costs, Visas and More

Slovenia, a country known for its castles and caves as well as a high number of bee-keeping aficionados, shares borders with Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary. While it isn’t one of the most popular retirement destinations, this predominantly Roman Catholic … Continue reading →

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Slovenia, a country known for its castles and caves as well as a high number of bee-keeping aficionados, shares borders with Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary. While it isn’t one of the most popular retirement destinations, this predominantly Roman Catholic nation of some 2 million has a lot to offer expatriates looking for a quiet retirement, either along the shores of the Adriatic Sea, in the mountains or in one of its cities. If you’re wondering how to retire in this central European country, consider working with a financial advisor who understands your goals of retiring abroad.

Cost of Living and Housing in Slovenia

Slovenia is generally less expensive than the U.S. For example, according to Numbeo, a cost-of-living data base, consumer prices in the U.S. are about 20% higher than in Slovenia, and rent prices are on average 117% higher in the U.S. Therefore, your retirement budget may stretch a lot further in Slovenia than in the U.S.

Ljubljana is one of the most popular cities in Slovenia for retirees. If you choose to live in Ljubljana, you can expect a one-bedroom apartment in the city center to cost about $718 per month. If you want to live outside the center, the same apartment will cost about $557 per month. In contrast, a one-bedroom in New York City will cost between $2,000 and $3,500 per month, depending on where you choose to live in the city. A three-bedroom apartment in central Ljubljana costs about $1,321 per month, and outside of the city center, a three-bedroom costs $984 per month on average.

If you want to purchase an apartment in Slovenia, you can expect to pay about $413 per square foot in central Ljubljana and $314 outside of the city center. In comparison, apartments in central New York City sell for about $1,589 per square foot.

Retire in Slovenia – Visas and Residence Permits

Slovenia does not have a designated retirement visa for non-EU citizens. However, U.S. citizens can get a one-year temporary residence permit to Slovenia before leaving home. This permit is renewable annually, and after five years of living in Slovenia with the temporary residence permit, you can apply for permanent residency.

To apply for the temporary residence visa, you must prove that you have a monthly income equal to Slovenia’s basic monthly income. This amount changes but is currently around $1,000 per month. You will also be required to submit a copy of your bank statements among other financial documents. You can apply for your temporary residence visa via the Slovene embassy or the Slovene Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Retire in Slovenia – Healthcare

As part of the European Union, Slovenia has good healthcare. Numbeo ranks it No. 46 out of 93 countries, and Photius ranks it at No. 38. Slovenia has a public healthcare system and includes private healthcare and physician access as part of public health insurance. All residents of Slovenia who pay taxes are covered by the country’s compulsory health insurance scheme. The public health scheme also covers retirees. Many people choose to purchase private health insurance to cover visits to private physicians and pharmacies.

The cost of health insurance will vary but typically costs less than $300 per month. Visits to doctors are typically fully covered by insurance, and prescriptions are available at about 10% of the cost of prescriptions in the U.S., depending on the drug.

Retire in Slovenia – Taxes

Slovenian residents are taxed on their global income. Income taxes range from 16% to 50%, depending on a person’s income. Capital gains tax is 25% in Slovenia. Therefore, if you earn an income in Slovenia or buy and sell assets, you will be taxed.

To avoid being taxed in both Slovenia and the U.S., you should work with an accountant or financial professional that understands both countries’ tax codes. This will help you prevent being taxed by both governments on your retirement income.

Retire in Slovenia – Safety

Slovenia is among the safest countries in the world. The 2020 Gallup Law and Order report says there are only four other countries in which people feel safer walking alone. It also got the sixth highest score in Gallup’s 2020 Law and Order Index. According to the U.S. Department of State, the capital city of Ljubljana is a low-threat location for crime. Although many travelers don’t encounter crime, popular tourist locations can experience non-violent petty crime.

It’s important to note; crimes can take place anywhere. But, travel throughout Slovenia is safe, and there are no areas you should avoid when touring.

The superior healthcare system makes Slovenia a safe country to retire to as access to quality medical attention is readily available.

The Takeaway

Slovenia is a beautiful and safe country to spend your retirement. Although Slovenian is the main language spoken in this country, many people, especially younger people and urban residents, can speak English, too. The taxes in Slovenia are similar to those in the U.S., but the cost of living is significantly lower. Therefore, you can live a similar lifestyle as you would in the U.S. at a much lower cost.

Tips on Affording Retirement

  • It can be challenging to plan your retirement, especially if you would like to move abroad. A financial advisor can also help you understand the finer points of relocating, including the tax implications. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors to help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • The minimum monthly income required to retire in Slovenia is about $1,000 per month. For many people, this is equal to or less than their monthly Social Security benefit. You can estimate your benefit amount with this Social Security calculator.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Ababsolutum, ©iStock.com/Alenka Vujkovac, ©iStock.com/MikeMareen

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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