Retire In Finland

making the move of a lifetime

It’s Really Happening shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Until just a couple of weeks ago all my thinking and talking about moving to Finland did not have the sense of reality it suddenly does today.  Recently we’ve had a confluence of events that really got things moving. We sold one of my husbands properties that he inherited from his mom. After six years and lots of aggravation we suddenly had a cash buyer which was going to give us cash to put towards a property. On a suggestion, I started looking for homes in Tampere after long searching Etuovi and Vuokraovi for properties in the greater Helsinki area. I came across a 3 room apartment in the Härmälänranta area that just popped off the screen at me. I sent a message to Skanska, the developer and received a message back that it was not only available, but the financial details were very acceptable. We put our house on the market and we had a buyer the first day. Now we are on our way!

I asked may daughter- in-law who is studying in Helsinki to take a trip to Tampere to check out the apartment I had chosen online. She took a day trip to Tampere, met with Skanska and reported back that I probably wouldn’t be satisfied with the apartment because the area was being built very densely, but there was a much nicer apartment close to the lake that might be better suited to us. This second apartment is a bit more expensive and almost completed. If we were to take it we’d have to be ready to take it over on April 27th. Of course it was a great apartment with a good view of Pyhäjärvi so we reserved it. Now our timeline is super-compressed. We needed to put everything suddenly into high gear.

If something looks complicated, sometimes it’s really even more complicated when you actually get involved. That’s how the purchase of the apartment is going. In order to secure the apartment I need to make a deposit of around 20,000 euros paid to their bank in Tampere. That seems easy, I just gather the funds into my bank account and wire them to the other bank account, right? No… the money has to come from a Finnish bank account. I don’t have a Finnish bank account. I looked around in Finland looking for a bank that would open an online account for me. I thought it should be possible. I have online accounts here in the US at banks I have never been to. But not in Finland. I am required to appear in person at the bank with my passport and Finnish social security number. I booked a short trip to Finland and last week I opened a Finnish Bank account.

We are living in a house about twice the size of the new apartment and we have a basement full of stuff. it’s pretty clear that our things were not going to fit into this new place. We have a lot of things. My husband has been a fisherman for most of his life and has collected tackle. I have no idea how much he has. I like sewing and quilting and have an entire room devoted to my crafts in our present house. These things won’t fit into the new place even if we wanted to bring them along. I’m in a big hurry to get rid of them, along with furniture, books, CD’s old clothes, and the things that one collects just by living. We will ship some things by container to Finland sometime soon.  The space in the container is reserved for really precious things we don’t want to get rid of. Everything else be sold or tossed in the next 5 weeks.






Why Are We Leaving the US?


We Are In Tampere!


  1. Katrina

    I think of retiring in Finland too … I came upon your site and found it an interesting story ! My father was Finnish and I also have dual citizenship. I recently bought an apartment in western Finland so I go often … And look forward to more time there when i retire ?

  2. chaapa

    Thanks for your comment. I wonder what part of Western Finland you bought in and why? We have never spent any time in Tampere but heard that it is a great place. On our way there tonight. We will find out shortly!

  3. Katrina

    It was fate that I saw my grandmother’s apartment for sale ! I spent time there when young . It is a small town called VIRRAT. I currently work and live in Dublin Ireland… An opportunity I took because of my EU status!

    • mpre53

      Hi Katrina, I’m Chaap’s husband. Virrat is about an hour’s drive north of Tampere. We drive through it from time to time on our way to visit Chaapa’s cousins in Ostrobothnia.

      • Katrina

        Hello to both of you ! I just looked at your blog now and see the update! I was just in Virrat Jan 19-29 and will go again March 16 for maybe a month . Train from Helsinki airport to Tampere station , and then take a bus from Tampere to Virrat ! Glad you are enjoying your new home , and the Finnish lessons ( I am starting them too, on my own for now) … Getting myself ready for my own retirement in Finland!

    • Christine

      Great! We drive through Virrat when visiting relatives in Alajarvi. I always wonder how you’re doing. I’d love to meet you for coffee when you pass through Tampere. Will you have a phone in Finland? Is so, my Finnish phone number is +358 41 482 4804.

      • Katrina

        Hi Christine! I have a little more than an hour between train arrival and bus departure on Saturday March 17, from 3-4pm I think . … Let me know if you are available… you can email me if you’d like : I will have my Irish phone in Finland , but will get a SIM card there for internet and local calls.

  4. Jay Manning

    I’ m pleased to hear that you are safe and sound in Finland. Like you my maternal grandparents came over from Finland in the early 20th century. I’m really impressed that since you hate Trump so much that you fled the country. Impressive, unlike all of those Hollyweirds who claimed they were leaving – then didn’t!! It’s easy to be an ultra-lib-socialist when you have “F.U.” money I guess. I just wish more of you libs had left and taken all of the illegals residing in our nation with you. But Finland, unlike some other scandie countries doesn’t seem to be accepting those infidels from the the middle east!! The Fins do have a fine innate intelligence and want to preserve their society. Good for them.

    • chaapa

      Thank you for reading and leaving a comment! I may have given the impression that I was fleeing Trump, but that really isn’t the case. This move required a lot of planning and was well under way long before the election in November 2016. Your comment that I hate Trump was surprising because I don’t think I do. After all, I’ve never met him. I hope you follow along when I update my blog. Wishing you a very happy New Year!

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