Sunkissed Shores and Rich History: A Guide to Retiring in Malta

Couple On Beach Enjoying Retirement In Malta

Imagine retiring where you can bask in the sun all year round, where rich history surrounds you, and the standard of living is nothing short of exceptional. Welcome to Malta – a Mediterranean gem where luxury meets tranquility. This guide will explore why this vibrant island nation has become a retirement haven. So read on, to find out why you should retire in Malta!

From its favorable tax regime to the top-notch healthcare system, you’ll see why retiring in Malta could be the best decision you’ve ever made. You’ll get a taste of the sunkissed lifestyle, cultural richness, and the thriving property market that awaits you. Let’s make your dream of an idyllic retirement a reality.

Introduction to Retirement in Malta

Retiring in Malta offers you a unique blend of sunkissed shores, a rich history, and a high standard of living with minimum tax due. This Mediterranean gem is a popular choice among wealthy retirees like you who are seeking a relaxed lifestyle, high-quality healthcare, and a favorable tax regime.

Top Reasons for Retiring in Malta

Why Choose Malta?

You might consider Malta as your retirement destination for several compelling reasons. First off, the island nation offers a range of immigrant visa programs, including the Malta Retirement Visa and the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP). These programs allow non-EU citizens, including Americans, to reside indefinitely in Malta. They offer numerous benefits, like access to free healthcare and education systems and the ability to travel visa-free to a large portion of the world.

Secondly, Malta is known for its excellent healthcare system, which is both high-quality and affordable, especially when compared to the cost of private health insurance in the US. Whether you choose to rely on the public healthcare system or opt for private health insurance, you’ll have access to top-notch medical care.

Thirdly, Malta’s residential property market is thriving, offering a variety of options from luxury apartments to traditional Maltese houses. Popular areas for retirees like you include Sliema, St. Julian’s, Mellieha, Gozo, and Valletta. The cost of living in Malta is generally affordable, with property rental prices varying depending on the location.

Lastly, Malta’s favorable tax regime is another significant draw for retirees. The country has no inheritance tax, no wealth tax, and a flat rate of 15% on personal income. This, combined with the country’s high standard of living and safe environment, makes Malta an attractive option for retirees.

Malta Cityscape And Waterfront

Overview of Malta’s Climate

Malta boasts one of the most favorable climates in Europe, with mild winters and warm summers. The median yearly temperature is around 23°C during the day and 16°C at night. Even in January, which is the coldest month, temperatures range from 12 to 20°C during the daytime, cooling down to between 6 to 12°C at night. In the warmest month of August, temperatures range from 28 to 34°C during the day and 20 to 24°C at night.

The country enjoys around 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, with an average of above 5 hours per day in December and above 12 hours per day in July. This is about twice the amount of sunshine compared to cities in the northern half of Europe. The average sea temperature is 20°C, reaching up to 27°C in the middle of August.

Cultural Richness of Malta

Malta’s rich cultural heritage is another reason why it’s a popular retirement destination. The island’s history is a tapestry of various civilizations and influences, from prehistoric temples and medieval fortresses to Baroque architecture. This cultural richness is reflected in the island’s vibrant cultural scene, which includes numerous museums, art galleries, theaters, and music festivals.

As a retiree in Malta, you can also enjoy a huge variety of leisure activities, from golfing and sailing to exploring the island’s natural beauty. The island’s strategic location also provides easy access to other European countries, offering you the opportunity to explore different cultures and destinations.

Understanding Malta’s Retirement Laws

Eligibility to Retire in Malta

The Malta Retirement Programme (MRP) is a scheme designed to attract retirees from the EU, non-EU countries, EEA, and Switzerland. To qualify, you should not be in an employment relationship. You must have a pension as your regular source of income. However, holding a non-executive post on the board of a company resident in Malta is permissible, as is engaging in philanthropic, educational, or research and development work.

Visa Requirements for Expats Retiring in Malta

To qualify for the MRP, you must be at least 55 years old and meet certain financial requirements. The Global Residence Program (GRP) is another residency scheme for non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who wish to relocate to Malta. It requires a regular, stable source of income, adequate health insurance, and proof of accommodation in Malta.

To successfully apply for various other residence permit options, you must meet certain criteria, such as having a net worth of at least USD 526,000 and a clear criminal record. You’ll also need to purchase a house worth at least USD 300,000 or rent a property with a minimum annual rent of USD 16,837.

Tax Implications of Retiring in Malta

The MRP offers foreign tax credit and a flat tax rate of 15% on foreign income remitted to Malta. If you become a tax resident in Malta, you’re only subject to taxes on your income and capital gains from Malta. You won’t be taxed on your worldwide income and are exempt from gift tax. The MRP offers special tax status to all nationals, providing a 15% flat tax rate on foreign pension income received in Malta.

Evaluating the Cost of Living in Malta

For those contemplating retirement in Malta, understanding the financial implications is crucial. The cost of living in Malta is one of the benefits of retiring in this paradise. The island’s appeal among foreign retirees is growing, largely due to its relative affordability when compared to the rising living expenses in regions like North America.

Accommodation Costs in Malta

The housing market in Malta offers a diverse range of options. Apartment buildings are preferred in bustling cities such as Valletta, Sliema, St. Julian’s, and St. Paul’s Bay. Rental costs can differ depending on the location and property type. For instance, a furnished two-bedroom apartment in Mellieħa, northern Malta, could cost approximately USD 700 per month, while a penthouse with sea views in Sliema might exceed USD 2000.

The market is continually refreshed with new listings for those interested in purchasing a home. Brand-new apartments can be found for as low as USD 199,000. However, these new properties may require additional kitchen fittings, appliances, and furniture investments. Conversely, pre-owned homes and condos often include kitchen appliances, lighting, and furniture. Still, verifying what’s included in the sales contract is essential.

Food and Daily Living Expenses

Grocery prices in Malta are comparable to those in other Mediterranean nations. Locally produced EU goods are economical, with reasonably priced essentials like eggs, milk, and bread. Imported non-EU goods might be more expensive due to import duties. Shopping at local markets and fish markets can help save on grocery bills. Dining out is also more affordable than in North America, with typical Maltese lunches costing around USD 12 and bottles of wine priced between USD 4 and USD 12.

Transportation in Malta is convenient with public buses, ferries, water taxis, and car rentals. Buses are reliable and cover almost all areas, with fares ranging from USD 2 during the day to USD 3 at night. Car rentals start from as little as USD 16 per day, and ride-sharing services like Bolt and eCabs are also available.

Health Care Costs in Malta

The healthcare system in Malta is recognized globally for its quality and affordability. Public hospitals and clinics are accessible for EU nationals with the EHIC. Non-EU nationals must secure health insurance as per the Maltese residency rules. Private medical care is also an option, often resulting in shorter wait times for non-emergency procedures.

Healthcare expenses in Malta are lower than in countries like France and Germany. Non-EU residents in Malta must secure private healthcare insurance, with the cost of policies varying based on factors such as age, health, and deductibles. The cost of a private insurance policy is significantly lower than in the US.

Reflective Waterfront And Buildings In Malta

Healthcare and Social Services for Retirees in Malta

Overview of Malta’s Healthcare System

The healthcare system in Malta, with its roots dating back to 1372, is globally recognized. In 2023, the World Health Organization ranked it 26th and other indexes placed it in the top 10. The average Maltese citizen enjoys 90% of their lifespan in good health, a higher percentage than any other EU country.

The system is bifurcated into public and private sectors. The public sector provides free medical services to all Maltese citizens and EU residents with an EHIC. The Mater Dei Hospital (MDH) is the primary public hospital, serving as a specialty facility and a training institute.

Private healthcare is also prevalent, with many residents opting for private insurance coverage for a wider range of doctors and services and typically shorter wait times. Non-EU citizens residing in Malta are required to secure private healthcare insurance, the cost of which is influenced by factors such as age, health, and deductibles.

Accessibility of Social Services for Retirees

A variety of social services are available for the elderly in Malta. These include the Community Geriatrician Service, Continence Service, Dementia Activity Centers, Dementia Intervention Team, and Domiciliary Dietitian Service. These services aim to provide comprehensive care and support to older persons, whether they’re homebound due to physical or mental health problems or living independently.

The Senior Citizen Grant is a one-time payment given to elderly persons living in their homes or with relatives. This grant and other services ensure that retirees in Malta have the necessary support and care they need.

Retirement Homes and Elderly Care in Malta

Retirement homes and elderly care in Malta are well-established, providing a safe and secure environment for senior citizens who can no longer manage living in their own homes. The Active Aging and Community Care Directorate provides a number of services, including Active Aging Centers, Home Help Services, Respite at Home, Handyman Service, Meals on Wheels, and more.

The Dementia Activity Centers (DACs) are located in different localities in Malta and Gozo and provide day and night care specifically designed to cater to the needs of persons living with dementia. DACs provide respite and support and relieve caregiver burden while providing therapeutic activities to persons with dementia.

Cityscape And Waterfront With Boats In Malta

Embracing the Lifestyle in Malta as a Retiree

Leisure and Recreational Activities in Malta

Despite its compact size, Malta offers a plethora of activities to keep you engaged. From exploring the islands via various modes of transport to engaging in water sports, there’s something for everyone. You can also indulge in a private food and wine tour at a local farm or have a round of golf at the Royal Golf Club.

Gozo, less commercialized than Malta, provides a tranquil environment. Here, you can visit the expansive Xwejni Bay salt pans, Ramla Bay with its rust-colored sand, Roman ruins, and Calypso Cave.

In Sliema and St. Julian’s fashionable residential areas, you can enjoy leisurely walks along the waterfront promenades, indulge in retail therapy, and savor meals at some of Malta’s trendiest sea-facing restaurants.

Malta’s Expat Community and Social Network

The island’s allure, from its turquoise waters to its captivating historic cities, has made it a favored retirement destination among expats. The widespread use of English, a remnant of British influence, facilitates easy integration for English-speaking retirees.

The thriving expat community here in Malta is dynamic and friendly, fostering a sense of unity and support. There are ample opportunities to socialize and forge new friendships through local clubs, social gatherings, or casual chats at a neighborhood café.

Essential Maltese Customs and Traditions

Malta is steeped in customs and traditions. Most of the population are devout Roman Catholics, and the calendar is punctuated with significant religious events. Each locality is associated with patron saints whose feasts are celebrated with grandeur, including processions and fireworks.

Maltese cuisine is a delightful amalgamation of various Mediterranean culinary influences. The food is robust and wholesome, made with the freshest seasonal ingredients.

Maltese people appreciate etiquette and polite behavior, and respecting these cultural norms is crucial. For instance, wearing revealing clothing away from the beaches or inside churches is frowned upon.

By embracing the lifestyle in Malta, you’ll be immersing yourself in a rich tapestry of history, culture, and community. Whether you’re exploring the island’s stunning landscapes, sampling its delicious cuisine, or participating in its vibrant social scene, retiring in Malta offers a unique and fulfilling experience.

Final Thoughts on Malta Retirement

Malta’s unique blend of sunkissed shores, rich cultural heritage, and high standard of living offers you an unparalleled retirement experience. The combination of affordable, high-quality healthcare and a favorable tax regime makes Malta an attractive choice for retirees like you. You’ll find a thriving property market with an array of housing options. At the same time, the mild climate and wide range of leisure activities offer endless enjoyable opportunities.

Add to this the generous retirement programs and Maltese hospitality, and you’ll see why Malta is a top choice for retirees. So why not embrace Malta’s lifestyle, immerse yourself in its cultural richness, and let this Mediterranean gem be your ultimate retirement destination?


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Rihab Saad

Managing Director
Next Generation Equity

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