While choosing a country to work and live in until the end, it’s vital to look at the local retirement program. How does it work, and is it worth retiring in Belgium?
The retirement age in Belgium is 65 for both men and women. However, this is not necessarily a typical age to retire. Most Belgian retire earlier if given a chance. Belgian workers can retire earlier if they have: 63 years old and 42 years of service, 61 years old and 43 years of service or 60 years old and 44 years of service. Elderly care is also very developed, being one of the best in Europe.
Foreigners are required to have a residence card for long-term stay and a set of specific documents to receive a pension in Belgium. EU/EEA residents don’t have to go through complicated procedures, as people from outside that area also require a type-D visa (long-term stay) and additional documents, such as a medical certificate and judicial record check.
Every person who has worked in Belgium is entitled to a pension relative to their earnings, with the average being around €1,100. Civil servants receive €2,600 and self-employed workers — €900. Those are all rounded-up numbers based on average Belgian earnings. As a foreigner, you also have the right to transfer an international pension to Belgium.
Depending on your needs, every city in Belgium offers something else in terms of retirement and senior life.
Brussels is the first and most popular choice for European seniors due to being the heart of Europe. The capital of Belgium offers very high living quality for seniors, but it goes hand in hand with high costs of living. Real estate prices have gone nothing but up, and the busy streets filled with tourists might now be for everyone.
The other cities are also good places to retire. Antwerp offers both the old-town charm and the modernity of the big city while being much cheaper than Brussels. If you’re looking for a mix of the old and the new, Ghent is a place to be. If you would prefer a developed foreign community, Leuven is home to people of over 170 nationalities and the largest English-speaking community in the entire country.