Whenever I tell anyone that I plan to retire to Finland within the coming year I always get “the look” in response. You know that surprised look, the raised eyebrows, the furrowed brow. It’s not what anyone in America expects to hear as a retirement plan. If you do an online search for retirement destinations abroad you can read about warm, exotic places like Panama, Belize, Costa Rica, France, Italy and Mexico. Finland is never on the list. Yet, I think that Finland is an entirely reasonable choice for me and my husband. I hope to explain the decision and to log our progress over these pages for the next several months.
First, a little about us: I am an adult educator in an addiction treatment center outside of Boston, Massachusetts. My husband is a public defender in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Although he is an attorney, he is a salaried state employee. We are not wealthy and have had our share of financial issues over the last several years and have not been able to save a lot of money for retirement. The work we do is hard and we both commute long distances to our jobs and would like to stop working so hard and retire soon, but we don’t see any possible way to do so unless we go someplace much less expensive than where we live right now.
It also happens that I am a dual citizen of Finland and the USA. I learned a few years ago that I was a Finnish citizen at birth although I never knew it. I had to register in the Finnish Population Registry after proving my claim with several documents. I now have both a blue US passport and a reddish EU/ Finnish passport. This is definitely going to make our move easier as it is difficult to move to Finland as a non-EU citizen without a job. It also helps that I speak Finnish– sort of. I am by no means fluent, but I can manage a normal conversation and have some ability to read the language. This is actually huge because it is a really difficult language to learn from scratch and while there are many people in the south of Finland who speak English, I won’t be able to count on everyone speaking English just to make me comfortable.
Our plan is to move sometime after the beginning of 2017. I don’t really want to talk about our specific moving date more right now because it is so unclear. I just want to put it out there that this is something that we expect to accomplish quite soon.
So if you’re interested, you’re welcome to follow along on this adventure. Over the next months I want to explore more about our expectations for Finland and our reasons for leaving the USA. I also plan to document our progress through the paperwork and the mechanics of such a big move. Tervetuloa blogiin!