That old story. You move to Luxembourg for a couple of years, just long enough to save up some money, pick up a new language, and travel around Europe. And then one day you realize two years have turned into 20. How did this happen? Here are the stages, according to one long-term expat.
Ah, Luxembourg is great. Both old and modern. So many cultures and languages, but you can get by with English and not even feel guilty. The roads are clean. The air is fresh. Getting settled and registered is a piece of cake, as least compared to some places you’ve lived. You could imagine staying here, buying a little house and … whoa, property is expensive.
Stage Two (1-3 years)
Sure, life is pleasant here, and you’ve developed a very cozy relationship with crémant, but shouldn’t you being feeling at home by now? Your neighborhood is fine, but why is everyone so reserved? And will the weather always be like this? Oh well, time to visit another fabulous European city this weekend.
Stage Three (4-6 years)
It’s been a good run, and admittedly you’ve grown fond of hearing 15 different languages every time you go shopping, and after all this time, your neighbors have started noticing you. You’re feeling relaxed here, maybe too relaxed: a sign it’s time to move back home. But wait, winter is coming and you don’t want to miss eating a hot Gromperekichelcher at the Christmas market.
Stage Three (7-10 years)
Your feet are planted and you feel like a real local when old friends visit. But you’d like to buy a home one day soon, and you recognize property is much less expensive elsewhere. But your neighbors have begun to wave at you. And you’re up to six weeks of paid vacation per year. And as ever: crémant. Still, it’s probably time to go back.
Stage Four (11-20 years)
You still consider yourself a newcomer, even if you can get by in two official languages and you eat Mettwurst twice a week. You gave in and bought a home, not as big or as close to the city as you wanted, but when the traffic is light, it only takes you 15 minutes to go to work. And behind your home is a forest. Oh, and you have kids and their school is more diverse than the UN General Assembly. And your neighbors finally talk to you. You still don’t know their names, but that will come with time.
Stage Five (20+ years)
You can now switch languages three times in a single conversation and not even break a sweat. Over the years you’ve learned to cherish all that Luxembourg has to offer: nature, culture, security, an excellent social security net, and an airport in the city, just to name a few. You’re well into paying off your home loan, your multilingual kids have countless job prospects, and there are trails in Luxembourg’s many forests that you still haven’t explored. Didn’t you have some vague plan to leave or something? No. Time to retire and enjoy life, your state pension supplemented by your private pension.
Private pension, what private pension? It’s never too early to start planning for your retirement. Create a private pension plan with ING, take advantage of Luxembourg tax benefits, and ensure that your retirement will be a walk in the forest.