Thinking about moving to Finland - doctors and retirement

Hi,
my name is Aggie, and I'm new to this forum. I'm Hungarian-American, currently living in the US, and my husband has a job opportunity in Espoo, and we're thinking about it. We've moved around a bit, now we kind of want our next move to be our last move (as much as anybody can decide that these days...). We wouldn't mind going back to Europe, and Finland seems like a really good place. I have so many questions, but for now I just ask about two. Anybody taking the time to answer those, I really thank you.

One is about the doctors there. How easy is it to find English-speaking doctors? If we'd move there, I'd want to learn Finnish, obviously, but I won't know much in the beginning and I have two kids who still need some shots, yearly check-ups, dentist, orthodontist, eye doctor, and so on. Besides the occasional sickness they can get.
And my other question is about retirement. Probably not many people ask about that. :) But what we'd want to know if there is a mandatory retirement age. And how does that correlate with the salary you earn and the years you worked before that? I heard (on forums) that it is nearly impossible to get a regular job there if you don't speak excellent Finnish. So obviously I won't work for a few years. So I won't have as much working years behind me as others. How will that affect my retirement in the future?

Thank you,
Aggie

Aggiee, you don't give your age. Do you have many years until retirement? Currently, you may retire between 63 and 68 years of age. Usually people want to. If you wish to continue working after that, it depends on your employer. If you are self-employed, you can of course die with your boots on.  There is no mandatory retirement age except for bus drivers, pharmacists and such.

It is estimated that you need to have worked for 35 years in order to have a full pension.

I assume all doctors speak some English, as they take English at school and later, in Med School, many of their textbooks are in English. There are foreign-born doctors in Finland as well. Your kids will get their shots at school.

By all means, take the job in Espoo. Espoo is a very suburban town, more country than city, if you like that sort of thing. People drive around in cars on freeways into malls. It has no center to speak of, although there is a nice art museum. And Espoo is right next door to the capital.

Citizen1, thank you for your answer. I'm 37, so it's unlikely that I'll have 35 years of employment. But that's fine, not much I can do about that.

We live in a small town now, I'm used to that. Although, one of the perks of Europe is that you don't have to use your car if you don't want to (most places). Here, unless it's NYC or Chicago (most big cities), you are sort of forced to drive all the time everywhere.

Now I'm wondering, would people live in Helsinki and travel to Espoo to work, or are the two places too far apart for that?

Citizen? do you know from which office a Finnish citizen could get an certificat of nationality in Finland, Please?

Aggiee, it is more common for people to live in Espoo and to work in Helsinki. There are lots of people commuting to and from every day. The two cities share a border. There is also public transport within and between.

It's not that Espoo would be tiny (it's population is around 250 thousand), it's that it is dispersed all over a large area. Still in the 1920's, Espoo had a population of about 9,000. Then it started to grow rapidly in the 40's and 50's, because it served as a dormitory town for Helsinki. But unlike most old cities, it did not grow organically from the center outward (what center, hah!). Espoo is mainly dense woods, and then, all of a sudden, there are high-risers teetering on a small patch of land and then woods again.

Along the years, also many wealthy people have moved to Espoo and there are pleasant areas of single family homes. Note that what is called the center of Espoo is only the administrative center. The cultural center would be the area of Tapiola.

Note also that in Finland, the words 'suburb' and 'inner city' have values attached to them that are the direct opposite to those in the US. When people hear you talk of suburbs here, they think of gloomy, faraway high-risers where poor people live, and when they talk about the inner city or center, they mean the beautiful Art Nouveau and Neo-Classical buildings the wealthy inhabit in the historic, walkable center of Helsinki.

Of course, there are also pleasant suburbs. You must think hard whether to live in Espoo near your husband's work and go on weekend outings to Helsinki or whether to live in Helsinki and make the commute. It's not much by international standards, but it is something.

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