Retiring to Sweden: 6 Must Know Common Questions

Grey and Blue Palace Under Blue Sky during Day Time

Have you ever considered retiring to a lovely Scandinavian country with great healthcare and beautiful scenery? What about Sweden? This article will cover the common questions most people ask.

Here’s the common questions about retiring in Sweden:

  • Is Sweden a good place to retire?
  • Is Sweden a safe country?
  • How much do you need to retire in Sweden?
  • Can US citizens retire in Sweden?
  • Can American citizens buy property in Sweden?
  • Does Sweden have free healthcare?

So no you know the common questions let’s look at each of them in detail

Is Sweden a good place to retire?

Sweden has some of the world’s most gorgeous landscapes, strong social security and the happiest population. Retirees who desire to spend their retirement years in Sweden might have something to look forward to. The retired represent a high percentage of the population in Sweden which is filled with expatriates looking for a peaceful and healthy lifestyle.

Sweden is an ideal retirement destination for those who enjoy being outside and spending time in nature. You can access any area excluding private properties and move around freely in the country under the country’s Right of Public Access as long as you don’t destroy or damage trees, shrubs, or wildlife.

This means you can pitch a tent wherever you like and you can forage or fish in the country’s five major lakes all without permits. This will provide you with hobbies and access to fresh and seasonal ingredients for cooking great meals with local produce you caught or foraged yourself.

With its friendly people, outstanding public services, and a culture that promotes individuals to have a healthy work-life balance, Sweden is a beautiful location to live. It’s no wonder that many people choose to relocate to Scandinavia’s largest country in order to take advantage of everything the country has to offer in their retirement.

Is Sweden a safe country?

If you’re looking for a safe spot to settle down, this welcoming country checks all the boxes. Sweden is considered to be one of the safest places in the world. No matter where you are in the world you need to follow the basic rules of personal safety but most visitors say they feel extremely safe in Sweden.

Sweden has some of the world’s lowest crime rates. Serious crime is one fifth of the USA and there are fewer guns. You will feel very safe regardless of where you are and what time of day it is.

If there’s one thing you should be concerned about in Sweden it is petty crime. Pickpockets are common in touristy places like the rest of the world. Also you should be wary of taxi drivers that run up the meter by driving around tourists.  Uber is also available in the three biggest cities as well if you want to know the fare before riding. 

How much money do you need to retire in Sweden?

If you would like to live comfortably in Sweden you’ll need to have a small savings cushion. However keep in mind that what you pay for in certain areas is compensated for in others such as good health care and excellent affordable public transportation.

You can live comfortably on an 8,000kr monthly budget  (1,000 USD). You’ll be able to enjoy recreational hobbies and take the occasional vacation on this budget. You can expect to live a lot more comfortably in Sweden if your pension permits you to spend more than 8,000kr per month as well.

Grocery prices are expected to be high in remote non-tropical countries such as Sweden. Swedes overall like to cook at home and eating together is considered a social activity. On the other hand eating out is meant to be a bit of a treat even though Swedes eat out at least once or twice a week. 

If you really want to eat out expect to pay roughly 100 SEK (11 USD) for an inexpensive dinner and 200 SEK (23 USD) on average for a meal at a mid level restaurant. An expensive dinner for two with drinks would set you back around 800 SEK (91 USD).

Here is the overview of the average monthly groceries:

Milk1 Liter / 1 quart$1.5 USD
Bread1 Loaf$2.3 USD
Eggs1 Dozen$3.9 USD
Beef1 kg/ 2.2 pounds$19.3 USD
Chicken Breasts1 kg/ 2.2 pounds$15.5 USD
Beer12$6.9 USD
Red Wine1 Liter / 1 quart$8.5 USD

Here is a common local supermarket you can look at for current prices:


NOTE: these prices were only valid at the making of this article and check the grocery websites below for current pricing.

PRO TIP: Countries like Sweden eat a lot more seafood hence the more expensive price of beef there. You will spend a lot less if you eat local dishes as there are plenty to explore and you are bound to find some you like.

Can US citizens retire in Sweden?

A tourist visa is not required for Americans to visit Sweden. If you want to retire in Sweden though you’ll need to have a Schengen visa which is something that you have to apply for beforehand. You can apply for one at a Swedish consulate general in the United States. A legal passport, financial declarations, proof of international healthcare insurance, fingerprints and a passport photo are required. 

The minimum amount of proof of yearly funds required is EUR 30,000 (about USD 34,000) per year so a normal social security and super or 401k drawdown is normally enough. Your resident permit interview will be held in Washington D.C. in the USA or your capital city in other countries normally.

LINK: Swedish Visa Regulations

Can American citizens buy property in Sweden?

Foreigners are not prohibited from purchasing real estate in Sweden. Expats residing in Sweden have the option of purchasing a home rather than renting as the process is simple and straightforward. Despite the fact that Sweden’s cost of living is equivalent to that of the United States, expats are often astonished to discover that almost all property prices are less expensive than in neighbouring nations. 

The difference in housing prices in Sweden is mainly due to most Swedes preferring to rent or lease instead of buying their homes. While many residents and expats choose to rent the reality is that buying a home is far easier than finding a place to rent there.

Property listings are typically available on the internet and from real estate agents email broadcasts. Property showings are held on Sunday afternoons and run typically between 30 to 60 minutes. Expats can request a private tour during the bidding process if there are 10 to 20 other people inspecting the property. 

Remember that the Swedish real estate market is based on a bidding mechanism. Bidding takes place in front of an audience and interested purchasers can watch the auction live on the internet. There are no rules governing the bidding process and prices might skyrocket in an instant so you have to set a spending limit. Once the auction is complete the buyer and the seller will sign a contract which is the sole legally binding document for the rental.

Here are a real estate website you can check for prices:

NOTE: Some of these websites are in Swedish. Use your built in auto translation feature in the browsers to get results in English

Does Sweden have free healthcare?

Sweden boasts one of the world’s greatest healthcare systems. The World Health Assembly ranks it 23rd out of 192 domestic healthcare systems in terms of efficiency. As a result Sweden’s treatment outcomes are regarded as being among the greatest in the world. 

Expats and foreigners are drawn to Sweden for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the country’s superb healthcare. Sweden’s laws are intended to promote equality and the country’s government services are one of the finest in the world. Healthy living is also highly valued in Swedish society with such a pleasant work and life balance with significant investments in recreation. It’s no wonder that so many foreigners want to call Sweden home in their retirement.

Private insurance is not very common in Sweden. Only about 10% of Swedes have access to private healthcare but this figure is rising.They prefer it because it allows them to see specific specialists quickly and avoid wait times for elective treatments. Patients benefit from a higher degree of satisfaction and privacy when they undergo care at private hospitals or clinics.

People from the European Union can use public healthcare in Sweden in the same way that locals can if they have an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). An EHIC is free but it must be obtained before travelling from your home country.

All expats who are permanent residents in Sweden are eligible for healthcare. Tourists as well as other visitors to Sweden on the other hand need to have their own private international medical insurance.

Here are some of the Best Private Health Insurance for new retirees in Sweden:

TIP: Check the most common pros and cons that many retirees find living in this country. Click in this article to know them: Living In Sweden: 10 Pros And Cons You Must See.

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