Sydow’s in Portugal
This is a blog about my family’s decision to live abroad, while working remotely, helping my clients live amazing lives through efficient utilization of their resources and focusing on wellbeing.
We are on a quest to live our best life possible, and right now that quest has taken us to Paco de Arco, Oeiras, Cascais, Lisbon PORTUGAL.
Recently my family and I decided to live the next chapter of our lives overseas. We chose Portugal, as my wife is of Portuguese descent(I say this because when we ever we tell people she’s Portuguese, the first question is… Can you speak Portuguese, and the answer is No, not yet, but we are learning, and it is always met with doubt on the face of the person asking, and we don’t have time for negativity(This is our journey and we know we’ve got this). Coles’s mother was born in Portugal and moved to SA with her parents, Coles’s grandparents, her grandfather Manny is still alive today at the ripe old age of 93, Vovo as he is affectionately known to us. Importantly she kept up the admin of initially registering their births in Portugal and then consistently renewing their Portuguese citizenship and EU passports throughout their lives, it made international travel very easy and visa-free, but more importantly, it gave her and in turn myself and the kids the freedom to now move abroad.
When we got married, we followed suit and did the same for our children.
It’s one hell of a process and I can see why some people neglect it, documents need to be translated, apostilled, and physically registered in Portugal, and these documents need to be originals(have you tried to get an original of anything from home affairs 😉)but we persevered and our children now have their Portuguese citizenship and EU passports, and hopefully I will be granted my citizenship through marriage(another painstakingly long process). This is one of the greatest gifts we as South Africans can give our children, access to the rest of the world, and an opportunity to be a citizen of the world.
So with Cole and the kids being Portuguese citizens and holding EU passports, and my business having evolved into a 100% online business(thanks COVID 😉), we thought why not, well not exactly why not, but rather if there is a place where we can raise our children, that would offer them more from life, well yes, then, why not.
I remember the day clearly, we went for lunch at La Colomb, in Constantia, Cape Town(they had a great winter special 😉)it was just after the riots that the country experienced sparked by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, but fueled by the massive inequality experienced in the country, inequality that has been building for decades, so much so that South Africa is officially the most unequal country in the world, as per the Gini co-efficient rankings, the richest 10% of the population in SA hold 71% of the wealth, while the poorest 60% hold just 7% of the wealth. Additionally, more than half of South Africa’s population lives in poverty and bluntly put inequality =crime. We didn’t feel safe anymore.
Strangely so, as we were living in Cape Town, so far from the turmoil engulfing KZN and Gauteng, we started to play out multiple “what if “scenarios, scenarios that one should never have to think about, do we stockpile formula for our 9-month-old baby, what about nappies, what if the protestors/looters turn to “the republic of cape town” to flex their muscle and reach. Will we be next, where will we go, how will we protect ourselves. Will we be another statistic?
And so the process ensued, operation get the Sydows to Portugal began.
A quick scour of the internet and you’ll soon find out that Portugal is very attractive to young families, especially families that work “internationally/remotely”.
That being said, the local Portuguese economy is not exactly booming, jobs are hard to come by(but unemployment is very low at 6.1%) salaries are very low @ around $ 28 000pa bearly beating out Greece, Hungary, and Slovakia, much lower than the rest of Europe. Inflation although currently very high(thanks Putin) averages around 2% and the government is not without issues but well run, more so than the ANC.
Education is prioritised, and safety and security are a given, as is healthcare(you’ll wait for electives, but will be seen by a GP in no time, have a child with you, and your straight to the front).
So if you take a foreign income that when converted is significantly higher than the average wage, coupled with a lower cost of living(apart from housing) when compared to the rest of Europe, drastically reduced health care costs, low to no education costs, an environment which prides itself on family and quality of life, It becomes a very, very attractive alternative to life in South Africa, even life in Cape Town(which I thought couldn’t actually get better), basically, Portugal works for us, given our circumstances. We get to live in this amazing country and benefit from its luxuries(which are actually necessities to Portuguese) and benefit from the economic conditions; low income means low cost of living, low unemployment means, low to no inequality which means low to no crime = happy SYDOWS.
And thus our decision was made…
Next week ill share what moving to a new country practically meant for us, what we had to do, what we could do from SA, what we couldn’t do, the uncertainty and the certainty, and the true cost of accommodation in the middle of the Portuguese summer, Cascais is not called the Portugues Riviera for nothing…