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May 7, 2019 | Outta Here

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.

The moisters moan about the cost of a condo box in YVR. The wrinklies bitch at carbon taxes, the weather and the need for a seven-figure retirement fund. Voters seek a none-of-the-above solution (look at yesterday’s Green bomb in BC) and there’s always the threat Trump could buy Canada and turn it into a resort. We can’t even win hockey any more.

So, why not think outta the box?

Like Mussomeli. This week the town in southern Italy started selling abandoned homes for one euro ($1.50). Yes, you have to cough up fees and a security deposit (about fifteen grand) then renovate, but the end result will still be less than buying a garden shed in Vancouver – with better temps.

But, wait. Can furtive little Canadian beavers actually move to Italy and become permanent residents? If so, how? What’s it cost? Is having lots of chest hair and a Lambo enough?

This pathetic blog asked a regular visitor – Dolce Vita – to answer such questions as a Canadian living there. His treatise is below. But, first, here’s the view from near his doorway, taken earlier today…


So, you want to retire/escape to Il Bel Paese that hatched the likes of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, Marco Polo, Columbus, Dante, Macchiavelli, de’Medici, Pavarotti, Marconi, Armani, Ferrari (and Mussolini, Caligula, de Pacioli – not all good, the latter of double entry accounting fame) so that you can retire and live La Dolce Vita and Il Bel Far Niente like me.

If you are a dual Italian or an EU citizen, it’s a piece of cake (me and the discussion below). As a non-EU citizen you need an EU Residence Permit. BEFORE leaving get a SIN number (Codice Fiscale, CF) from your Italian Consulate. Next (from the Consulate again) get an Italian or EU passport so no issues when entering Italia. Taxation on Cdn. pensions: reciprocal agreement not to tax CPP or OAS. The rest, best to lay low (the Italian Gov. will know and are forgiving unless you are a 1%’er, then it’s on…again, go talk to the Italian Consulate, apparently a one-time 7% tax to transfer wealth to Italia from Canada).

Now (and in this order) find a place to live so you have an address (rent or buy, Garth’s advice applies). With your CF, passport and proof of address in hand go to your local municipal office and apply for a Resident Identity Card (Carta D’Identita). When you get that go to your local National Health Service office, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), and get a SSN card – free national healthcare for residents (you’ll need it to buy cigs from a vending machine when the Tabacchi are closed).

CAUTION: Italia will slow you down to her pace and will NOT speed up for you (newly arrived me gave up trying). Italian bureaucracy is glacial. Patience a virtue, the rewards high.

ASIDE: Let the Canadian Government and your bank know, after 6 months, of your residency in Italia (with address etc.) in case of an emergency and as an Italian resident you will no longer  be able to contribute to your TFSA, so top it off before leaving. Let your credit card holder know too, most will let you keep the card, sending a renewal to you in Italia (good to know: cash back cards like Visa Infinite credit Italian grocery, pharmacy and gas purchases).

FINANCIAL, LIVING: Age of the Internet, you can do all your banking by phone or PC. Canadian ATMs work at the Bancomat machines (no service fee) BUT you’ll need an Italian bank account to get services like electricity and gas. Find a local Fineco Bank branch, set up an account – they’re about the best online banking service in Italia, site in English as well and backed by UniCredit, their largest branch office bank (UniCredit online not so good). Record your IBAN number (like a SWIFT code, really long, you’ll need it to transfer money to yourself in Italia from Canada). They use the IBAN for a lot things in Italia like getting Italian phone service – privacy is lost on Italians (so save the SJW Canadian indignity, rage for Canada, when in Rome do as the…).

I bought a modest 75 sq. m. top floor condo (apartamento) with marble and real wood floors, tile everywhere else, small terrazzo for about €92 K in Pordenone, FVG, where I live. It’s near everything.

Here are my “basic” expenditures per month (I am single):

Condo Fees incl. Taxes, Water, Heating, €165
Electricity w/ENEL €70
Gas W/ENEL €15
Garbage, Recycling €8, paid as a yearly lump sum fee
Cellphone & Fast Internet w/TIM + Netflix (UHD) + PIA’s VPN €50
Food €125 to €200 (high during Christmas, Easter, includes excellent wines – I do not eat out, I can cook just fine..that’s another story)
Total €500 per month, max.

The farther South you go the less expensive it gets (especially for buying or renting). Heating, to conserve energy in my city, they TURN IT OFF mid-day and very late at night in Winter (a National conserve energy thing). Invest in a small space heater or live farther South (still, my city of Pordenone much warmer than YVR in Winter).

TRANSPORTATION: You really don’t need a car in Italia. Train or bus excellent and for the rest use sardine can RyanAir (cheap and fast, e.g., TSF to NAP < 1 hr 20 min., €47 return). Buy a bicycle instead and lower your Carbon Footprint (like Lefty me). Car rentals cheap if you are not in a tourist city.

LIFESTYLE (La Dolce Vita, Il Bel Far Niente): Italians are seasonal creatures by habit. In the Summer you will find us at the beach. Save Liguria’s rocky Cinque Terre, near 7,600 km of the coastline is beach (227 Blue Flag beaches and not like Spain’s windy sand blasting beaches or Greece’s near total rocky crag, shipped in sand beaches which you can find the carbon copy of in Puglia, all along the heal of Italy, minus all the rocks, shitty food, cramped quarters w/natural sand, etc.). In Winter you will find us in the Alps or Apennines.

As for the rest, Italia is an open air museum that you are all well acquainted with. From Roma, to Venezia, to Firenze, to Verona, to Milano, to Napoli and its Costiera Amalfitana (see Naples and die, understatement of a lifetime), Palermo, Cagliari, and on and on – there is something in Italia for everyone to suit their lifestyle. Come visit us and discover the natural beauty, history, culture, cuisine and the crazy food and drink obsessed Italiani of Italia. I have travelled all of Italia’s 20 Regions. You will not regret it. Better yet, come live in Italia.

Viva L’Italia e Viva Garth.

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May 7th, 2019

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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