Do you wish to spend your golden years in a country where everyone is happy and healthy? Or are you simply looking for a place where healthcare is of the highest quality? Maybe Finland is for you! In this article, we’ll go through some of the pros and cons of retiring to Finland.
Here are the Pros and Cons of retiring to Finland:
- Generous & Honest People
- Stunning Natural Beauty
- Vibrant Lifestyle
- Very Safe And Secure
- Good Public and Private Health Care
- English Is Widely Spoken
- Clean Air and Water
- Excellent Public Transportation
- Long Winter
- Expensive Cost of Living
Now that you know the pros and cons of retiring to Finland let’s take a deeper look at them to know exactly why.
Introduction To Finland
Finland is a northern European nation bordered on the west by Sweden, the northwest by Norway, and the east by Russia. It is located on the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia with Estonia to the south across the Gulf of Finland.
The 18th-century coastal fortification Suomenlinna, the famous Design District, and a variety of museums may all be found in Helsinki, Finland’s capital. The Northern Lights can be viewed in the Arctic Lapland in the north of Finland. This Arctic Lapland is a large wilderness that includes state parks and ski resorts.
Finland is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries with a population of only 5.5 million people. It is the eighth-largest country in Europe making it ideal for expats seeking peace and quiet for those that like a good log fire and the colder weather.
Finland ranked first in Gallup’s World Happiness Report for the third year in a row in 2020 and for good reason. This country is also referred to as the Land of a Thousand Lakes and is known for its natural beauty.
What are the Pros of Living in Finland
Generous & Honest People
Finns are cultured and sociable and yet they do so in a playful way. Finns aren’t big on small talk and silent pauses in conversations aren’t frowned upon. Silence simply indicates that the person does not have anything important to say or they are thinking about what you have just said. There’s no need to use chatter to fill in the holes in a conversation.
Finns are sincere and they mean what they say. “Let’s get a beer sometime” truly suggests that they will contact the other person for a drink and is not just a pleasantry. Finns are also very humble people and don’t self promote too much.
When you’re welcomed to a Finnish house, you know you’re going to meet true Finns. They don’t expect people to dress up when visiting them at home and being comfortable and casual is how they prefer it to be. Finnish friendliness will be demonstrated through an abundance of food and beverages, and the more relaxed you are, then the more hosts will truly appreciate it.
Stunning Natural Beauty
Finland’s population is quite dispersed which leaves plenty of room for wildlife and plenty of beautiful natural landscape to explore. The thousands of lakes across the country gave it the nickname we mentioned above. Lake Saimaa is the largest of these lakes and is 4400 square kilometres which makes it the fifth largest in Europe. There are also endless forests which are green and vibrant in the summer and covered in snow in the winter.
The magnificent Northern Lights are a very well-known natural phenomenon that you can see if you live in Finland. The country is far enough north and the weather is ideal for seeing them from numerous spots. They attract travelers from all over the world to see them, which can be done at least a few times a week in the evenings.
Finnish saunas are very popular and if you live in Finland you’ll immediately understand why. Saunas give the feeling of warmth while also giving plenty of health benefits for you. The number of saunas in Finland has more than tripled in the last 50 years. It’s almost hard to imagine that there are over 1.5 million saunas in the country, especially given the country’s population of only 5.5 million people. It is not unusual to have a small sauna in most homes as well.
Not only will you be pampered with beautiful snow and ideal skiing conditions but the Finnish ski season can continue up to 6 months, from late October to early May. During the long days in March through to April in Finland, you can ski for 12-16 hours each day in the sun.
There are approximately 75 ski facilities to select from which is a large amount for a country without mountains. Instead, there are numerous hills that are covered in snow for approximately 200 days per year.
Here are a few places you can visit on your day off in Finland:
- Old Town Of Porvoo
- Pihlajasaari recreational area
- Helsinki Cathedral
- Nuuksio National Park
- Kaisaniemi botanic garden
- Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
Very Safe and Secure
If you’re looking for a safe spot to settle down, this welcoming country checks all the criteria. Even if you’re considering relocating to Finland’s capital Helsinki you can expect a laid-back atmosphere. People often feel safe going by themselves in city parks or taking public transportation at any hour of the day.
But how does this country rank so highly in terms of safety? Finland for example has extraordinarily low crime rates and has been dubbed the world’s most stable country. It also has a great efficient working government, the most independent legal process, and some of the world’s safest banks.
Good Public and Private Health Care
Year after year, the Nordic countries generally rank high globally for healthcare but Finland is one of the best of those countries. In Finland medical treatment is free for all residents and citizens so you won’t have to pay anything to be treated.
The Finland healthcare system places a strong emphasis on disease prevention through good health and nutrition education. However, before an expat can use Finnish healthcare benefits they must first register with the National Health Insurance (NHI). Only after 4 months of living or studying in Finland is it possible to do so. After you register, you’ll receive a Kela card, which you may use to claim immediate refund for any payments made at pharmacies and clinics. The amount repaid, on the other hand, is determined on a specific instance basis, emphasizing the need of private health insurance for some.
The healthcare of people who live within a municipality’s limits is the responsibility of the municipality. As a result, doctors are in charge of a set amount of patients and develop long-term medical interactions. Patients’ needs are met more swiftly and typically work with a familiar practitioner. However, because public hospitals often have long wait periods, some people complement their healthcare with private care.
Here are some private healthcare provider you might want to look into:
English Is Widely Spoken
In Finland, you will have no trouble communicating in English with anyone under the age of 60, whether it’s in the capital Helsinki or elsewhere in the country. Expats that live there frequently report that they do not need to learn Finnish because English is widely spoken. Official statistics from a 2012 poll show that English speakers account for 70% of the Finnish population. The actual percentage will be higher now as all students are taught it in schools.
Clean Air and Water
If you are sick and tired of the level of pollution in your home country and are looking forward to retiring in a cleaner, greener country, then you might want to consider Finland as your future home.
Finland has the cleanest air in the world according to the World Health Organization. This country, like many others in the Nordic region, has given its A-game whenever it refers to eco-friendly living. Finland’s clean air is due to the country’s strict environmental legislation which includes investments in renewable energy, the preservation of forests and lakes, and the promotion of electric vehicle usage. It’s also well on its way to meeting the Paris Climate Agreement’s objectives.
Over 80% of Finland’s lakes have good or exceptional water quality, and as one of Europe’s wealthiest countries, Finland has made significant investments in a cleaner and greener world. The government has invested a significant amount of money cleaning up previous industrial regions, which has resulted in significant reductions in industrial emissions.
Excellent Public Transportation
Finland’s public transportation system is well-organized which makes cross-country travel simple, easy and convenient. Commuter trains are the preferred mode of transportation within cities. Taking the rail from Helsinki to Turku, Tampere, and Lahti is much more comfortable and definitely faster than taking the bus. The Finnrail Pass entitles you to unlimited travel for three to ten days per month. In Finland, multi-country railway passes are also allowed.
There are busses for inside the cities as well as for long distance travel. Buses are the only mode of public transit in Lapland as the rail system does not reach the far north. In places like Tampere, Turku, and Greater Helsinki, the local bus networks are highly dependable. If you wish to save money, there are multi-trip tickets and various types of passes available.
Here is the link to download the bus app to plan and purchase tickets in Finland:
Here is the official government tourist information for getting around Finland:
What are the Cons of Living in Finland?
Finland’s winters can be very harsh. Helsinki’s temperature rarely falls below a pleasant -30°C (-22°F). Well pleasant for a polar bear. Don’t worry as all houses have internal heating and the older ones or regional ones have fireplaces as well.
Snowfall can be fairly heavy and blizzards are not uncommon. Inland snow usually covers everything from November to April. While snow also covers Helsinki it is slightly milder being near the coast.
Another characteristic that requires some getting accustomed to if you’re a foreigner living in Finland is that the long summer days are followed by lengthy winter evenings. The sun doesn’t set for 73 days in a row at Finland’s northernmost point, and it doesn’t shine at all for 51 days in the winter.
Staying in Finland does not mean living in pitch-black darkness all winter in cities like the capital due to being a lot closer to the equator. If you plan to live and work in Finland you might want to consider purchasing sunlight-imitating lamps like some people do. Remember in low light countries it is common to take vitamin D tablets to help you absorb calcium.
Expensive Cost of Living
Finland’s cost of living is about 15% lower than in the USA with rental prices roughly 35% lower. A 900-square-foot apartment in a good location will set you back US$1,200 per month or £963. Even a 480-square-foot studio apartment in a good neighborhood will set you back US$842 per month or £642. A typical meal for two in a local pub will set you back about $53 (£40) and while a pint of beer it will set you back about another $7 (£5.30).