When I got my bar tab the first night, I was reminded of one of the big reasons I had decided to move to Portugal. After an enjoyable drink at a South Florida hotel, the bill was placed before me and I got indigestion just looking at it. For three margaritas and two waters, the bill was surprisingly lengthy. The drinks were expensive, which is expected at a nice hotel, but the 2% public usage fee, the 6% sales tax, and the 20% mandatory service fee added up to U$84 dollars and, not looking at the bill, I added a tip. This was not including the 23% resort tax that was included on my bill when I checked out.

I had prepared my presentation for the seminars to focus on good quality, affordable health care, great climate, safety, diverse and inclusive population, and the overall quality of life that Portugal offers. The next morning, I did a bit more research and discovered that Florida housing prices and rental rates were at an all-time high. Home association costs could be more than the rental rate, and the astronomical home insurance rates did not include hurricane and black mold coverage. Really, in Florida???

Fast forward to this week and I am in Porto checking out real estate developments. Every time I come here, I am more and more impressed with the beauty of the city, the gracious hospitality of the population, the clean streets and quality of light and air.

Porto is the second largest metropolitan area in Portugal and is located where the Douro River and Atlantic ocean meet. It is home to less than 240,000 people in the city center, but it has a population of around 2.4 million in the greater metropolitan area. It's has a small city feel, with little traffic, but with an international airport and big city amenities. Besides history and culture, this is a city where food and wine are interwoven with a cool and easy lifestyle.

Just as important is the cost of living and real estate. An Expat´s savings will stretch farther in this city. The average property cost in Portugal is around $365,000, and for an average of €1,500,000 in Porto, you can buy a four-bedroom, sea-view apartment with a terrace and pool only 500 meters from the beach.

In a recent article entitled “Americans Who Can’t Afford Homes Are Moving to Europe,” Bloomberg writes that the traditional trends of retirees and the wealthy as the prime American buyers of real estate in Europe have changed: “Relatively cheap housing — particularly in smaller cities and towns — and the rise of remote work have made the continent alluring to a wider range of people, including those who are younger and find themselves priced out of the housing market at home.”

If this isn´t reason enough to consider moving or investing in this hidden paradise, take a vacation in Florida to get some perspective on what the price of Quality of Life can cost you in the U.S.

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