“Where should I put geezer, where should I put him I do not know. There is no place, there is no place for Heaven’s sake….!” So Domenico Modugno used to sing many years ago. Today this song is extremely actual, especially in our society where old people once in retirement are considered useless and they have to survive with a miserable pension of € 600 per month.
That is: to add insult to injury.
But there are people like Carlo, who never gave in and as a 78 – year old man followed his motto: “It is better to live as a rich man in a Third World Country than as a poor man in a rich country.”
So he moved to Paraguay, a country that allows him to be useful to society as an English and Italian teacher and as a tour guide in French, English and Italian language.
Carlo, tell us your story of a “part time” pensioner.
I am a 78 year old pensioner and my pension is € 620 per month. In Italy I am considered an end-of -life man, but abroad I am still active. Paraguay allows me to be useful to society as an English and Italian teacher (mind you: no stratospheric remunerations, but a contribution that allows me to pay my rent) and as a tour guide in French, English and Italian language. In my life I worked in the travel industry/market and in Airline Companies in Italy, Africa and Far East (Indo-China).
How did you meet Paraguay?
I did an Internet search on Spanish-speaking countries, because of their relationship with Italian language and finally I choose Paraguay. This country has a low cost of living but modern infrastructure and it is a developing country. In addition, Paraguay has a fast bureaucracy as far as immigration paperwork. Paraguay has a sub-tropical climate and it is a 95% catholic country.
(As a result: no Isis, Al Quaeda, mosques, stowaways – hoops! – I meant political refugees from Africa and Middle East…). Paraguay is bigger than Italy and has only six millions inhabitants.
Did you have problems to begin your work? But above all, did you get it easily, since in Italy would be it impossible at your age?
I had absolutely no difficult to find a work. In Paraguay you have go to an office with your CV and if they need, they hire you. Big companies register you by Employment Office and they deduct 10% of your wage; in this way you are entitled to Social Security for free and even to medications, it they have them.
But if you want to set up your own business, you need only to register by the Chamber of Commerce (VAT rate of 10%) and at the end of financial year you will pay 10% on your income.
At what kind of pensioner would you recommend Paraguay?
It is difficult to say, because there are different personalities. However, I would recommend Paraguay to people who still want to do or create something basing on their skills.
What would be a pensioner’s main difficulty, if he/she moved to Paraguay?
No difficulty. Pensioners who decide to move here are not slouch and little logistical difficulties should not be a problem
What can you tell us about residence permit?
To explain it better, I divide pensioners into two categories.
First category: pensioners on seasonal run. No visas, 90 days of stay on arrival and at the end you need only to cross St. Roque Bridge, to have an expresso in Argentine and come back. This little walk will allow you to stay 90 more days in Paraguay.
Second category: pensioners on permanent run. In this case, you need to apply for residence. This is a very simple process and within three months you will obtain it. In Italy you have to issue birth certificate, marriage certificate, criminal record, and retirement certificate. All these certificate have to be stamped by Paraguayan Consulate. And these are many documents you have to issue in Paraguay but LivingInParaguay.com will take care of all the documents you need. All Italian documents need to be translated and legalised by a notary and by the Paraguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When everything is ready, you have to wait about three/four months to get the “cedula” (Identity Card), valid in all Mercosur Countries.
About commercial activities, VAT rate is of 10%. If there was a baker among pensioners, he could make a fortune! Paraguayan bread named St. Felipe is a very ugly imitation of our “rosetta”.
Our “sfilatini”, “rosette”, homemade bread, white pizza, rustic loaves of bread, “baguettes” would be a real revolution!! And, however, for any information I would be there (on site).
In Italy a pensioner with € 600 per month can hardly make a living, especially if he/she has to pay the rent, but how do you live in Paraguay with the same amount?
Well, let’s consider that a rent of a furnished apartment is about € 150. But if you wish to live in a furnished residence with breakfast and Rai International, 300 meter away from the beach, you would spend about € 450 per person. Buying an house with a garden and two bedrooms (400 square foot land) or an apartment would cost about € 25.000).
Currently, there is the devaluation of argentine peso and so you can easily cross the bridge and go shopping (including gasoline) on the other side of the river.
How Paraguay is different from Italy?
Apart from our Mediterranean cuisine, nothing at all. We have a common latin culture.
Let’s go back to your transfer: how did you handle it? To talk in practical terms: surely you had to take some things with you. Did you rely on a particular agency?
Apart from educational books and some personal effects that I sent by post (20 kg of used personal effects delivered in ten days) I had nothing else. I left in Italy everything else and I sent it at a later stage. I considered my first journey as an exploration. Do you like Paraguay? In this case you come back and send your things by sea (delivered in about two months) with any Italian shipper, but you find everything on the spot
Are there some agencies or patronages you can rely on?
Yes of course: LivingInParaguat.com! In any case in Encarnacion there is an Italian consulate and even an Italian School for Paraguayan people. Among members there are professionals, doctors, lawyers, notaries, manufacturers, hoteliers and they are all willing to help newcomers.
To move when you are young is not the same as to move after a lifetime in a country. What emotions did it bring up for you?
It is true. The first step could be difficult if you have never moved. But you must think and value if you prefer to live as a rich man in a so called Third World Country or if you prefer to live as a poor man at home in a “developed” country.
How did my life changed? My life has improved a great deal. Physical and cultural activity contribute to “Mens sana in corpore sano”. It means no more stress from big Italian cities, no more stomach-turning policy, no more sky-high taxes, no more corruption.
Even if, all considered, it is a great pity, because Italy is the most beautiful country in the world.