After a lifetime of long Swedish winters and hefty tax bills, Dan Wikstrom’s dream of a comfortable retirement in the sun has come true. Not in a Caribbean tax haven, but in Portugal, a far more convenient four-hour flight away.
The 63-year-old former executive is among a growing number of northern Europeans lured south by a flat income tax rate of 20 percent and 10 years of tax-free pension payments. For Wikstrom that means doubling his retirement income, to around $12,000 per month.
“Do I feel guilty? Of course not,” Wikstrom, who used to work for a Swedish energy company, said in a telephone interview from Cascais, a coastal resort about 18 miles west of Lisbon, where he now resides.
Portugal introduced the incentives nine years ago in an attempt to bring back expatiates and attract highly skilled foreign workers. But their appeal to wealthy pensioners has caused tension within the European Union.