Your Vote, Your Voice!

2024 is a significant year in history with the most ever recorded countries going to Vote! This includes South Africa, Europe, and our very own Malta, are all holding important elections. 🌍🇿🇦🇪🇺🇲🇹

Voting isn’t just a right—it’s our chance to shape the future.

When voting we get to contribute to choosing leaders and making decisions that help everyone. It’s a way to share our opinions and make sure everyone has a say in what happens in our community.

Every vote counts, helping to ensure our voices are heard and our values are represented. Whether it’s for local, national, or international leaders, your vote makes a difference. Let’s cherish our democratic privilege and make informed choices for a brighter tomorrow.

Democracy thrives when we all take part, every single vote matters in shaping our community and our future.

South Africans Abroad – fondly known as SAFFAS (South African Family and Friends Abroad) have been to the polls. Many of them travelling far and wide to get to the polls in the relevant jurisdictions.

📢 South African Election Day is this Wednesday 29th May! Find your polling place at https://www.elections.org.za/pw/

Be sure to gather all the necessary documents.

Malta BUCKS Global Trends with Strong Economic Growth

According to a fresh report by PwC Malta, Malta is bucking global trends with strong economic growth. The report forecasts a GDP growth of 4.4% for fiscal year 2024, slightly down from the previous year’s 5.6%. This growth stands out against major economies like the US, Japan, Italy, and France, which are expected to see declines.

Although Malta’s growth is projected to align more closely with the euro area average soon, domestic consumption remains the primary driver of its GDP, echoing the Central Bank of Malta’s findings. Despite this, when adjusted for inflation and population growth, real consumption per capita hasn’t changed much since 2019.

Inflation continues to be a global concern, and Malta is no exception. Despite a decline, the island’s inflation rate is anticipated to surpass the EU average due to rising prices in food and services. To address this issue, the Maltese Government has implemented the “Stabbiltà fil-Prezzijiet” scheme, aiming to reduce prices on essential goods. If sustained throughout the year, this initiative could potentially alleviate inflation by 0.31 percentage points.

Preliminary data for 2024 suggests a slowdown in economic sentiment and while inflation is moderating, it remains higher than the euro area average, indicating a need for further stabilization.

Find out how you can invest in this resilient economy and contact Merle Whale merle@maltalifestyle.co.za

Mastering Thinking Skills for a Successful Relocation!

Embarking on a journey whether semigrating or especially emigrating to a new country is like a rollercoaster ride – exciting (and can be scary too!), filled with twists and turns, whether in personal, family, or business contexts.
Let’s break down the relocation adventure into its basic parts: facts, feelings, smart thinking, positivity, creativity, and planning. Following the lead of Dr Edward de Bono, renowned for “Lateral Thinking” and the “Six Thinking Hats” technique, we can simplify this transition. It’s like a worldwide brain workout used by big companies and even taught in schools around the globe. Get ready to make your move with these cool thinking tools; they certainly helped me!
This is the fun part: Picture yourself putting on six different coloured “thinking hats,” each shining a light on a special aspect of the move: facts, feelings, critical thoughts, positivity, creativity, and planning. It’s like having a magic wand for making decisions! These metaphorical hats help you create a well-rounded plan, making your adventure to a new place super smooth and full of enriching experiences.
These colourful hats helped me explore my situation from different angles until I got a clearer picture of what I needed to know and do! Each hat is a different colour and represents a cool way to think: White for facts, Red for feelings, Black for caution, Yellow for positivity, Green for creativity, and Blue for planning. Imagine wearing these hats one by one—like a wizard changing hats. It’s a fun, easy, and effective way to make decisions or solve problems—try it and step into your future with confidence!
Here is an example of how we applied the Six Thinking Hats to our process of relocating to Malta, from South Africa and comparing it to Mauritius.
White Hat (Facts and Information):
– Research the economic scene, job opportunities, and market conditions in the new country.
– Explore employment rates, industry sectors, and economic stability for informed career decisions.

Red Hat (Emotions and Intuition):
– Reflect on your feelings about the move.
– Trust your gut reactions and assess emotional alignment with personal goals.

Black Hat
(Critical Thinking):

– Analyze potential challenges, like cultural differences and legal requirements.
– Identify potential pitfalls for a realistic assessment of potential hurdles.

Yellow Hat
(Positive Thinking):

– Focus on the positives of personal and career development.
– Consider how the move aligns with goals for positive life changes.

Green Hat (Creativity):
– Engage in creative thinking for innovative adaptation.
– Explore novel applications of skills and brainstorm creative solutions.

Blue Hat (Planning and Organization):
– Put on your planning hat for a structured relocation plan.
– Set clear goals, establish a timeline, and outline steps for a smooth transition.

Having crossed paths with Dr De Bono during business training and events in South Africa, I’ve applied his thinking technique for over thirty years, influencing both my professional and personal life. Little did I know that I would eventually find myself living in Malta, his birthplace.
Nestled in the Mediterranean, Malta’s vibrant nation has a rich history and diverse culture with a legacy tied to the Knights of Malta. The country was collectively awarded the George Cross in World War II, earning titles like the Nurse of the Mediterranean.

  • Cultural Richness: Malta boasts a diverse and rich cultural heritage, offering expats a unique
    blend of history, traditions, and vibrant local festivities.
  • Language Advantage: English is one of the official languages, making it easy for expats to
    communicate and navigate daily life without language barriers.
  • Stable Economy: With a robust, stable economy, Malta provides expats with opportunities for career growth and financial stability.
  • Mediterranean Lifestyle: Enjoy an island lifestyle combined with EU & UK infrastructure, with great weather, stunning landscapes, and a secure, comfortable pace of life.
  • Healthcare and Education: Malta offers high-quality healthcare services and a reputable
    education system, making it an attractive destination for families as well as postgraduate studies.
  • Strategic Location: Positioned at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East,
    Malta’s strategic location facilitates easy travel and exploration of neighbouring regions. Well-connected with regular commercial providers.

With 12 years of residency, I’ve leveraged my relocation experiences in Gibraltar and Mauritius and, with a partner from the UK and Isle of Man, assisting individuals and families with their relocation journeys.  Likewise keeping a sustainable South African (SAFFAS) community is important.
For information on how I can assist you please contact merle@maltalifestyle.co.za whether you are looking at prime property investments, relocation options, or setting up a business and perhaps hosting an event in Malta.

Critical Thinking for Bold New Horizons

Are you looking for game changing opportunities for your life, be it finance, personal growth, education, quality of life, or safety – Whether you’re mapping out personal goals, family plans, or business strategies, this technique can guide to seizing new opportunities in various aspects of life.

Dive into the “Six Thinking Hats” technique by Dr. Edward de Bono, where each colored hat represents a distinct perspective. Picture yourself metaphorically wearing these hats—diving into facts, emotions, critical thinking, optimism, creativity, and managing the thinking process. This approach allows you to explore situations from different depths, promoting a comprehensive and effective decision-making process in personal, family, or business scenarios.

Imagine you have six different-colored hats, each representing a unique perspective: White for facts and information, Red for emotions and intuition, Black for caution and critical thinking, Yellow for optimism and positive ideas, Green for creativity and new possibilities, and Blue for managing the thinking process. By metaphorically wearing these hats, individuals can explore a situation from various angles, fostering well-rounded and effective decision-making in personal, family, or business contexts.

Believe it or not, I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with Dr. De Bono during some business interactions in training and events in South Africa. Little did I know back then that I would eventually find myself living in the beautiful Malta, his birthplace. Life has a way of surprising us, doesn’t it?

Nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta beckons expats with its rich history, welcoming community, and a diverse cultural tapestry. The island nation offers investment opportunities in a thriving economy, complemented by picturesque landscapes, a Mediterranean climate, and excellent healthcare and education facilities, creating an ideal haven for expatriates.

I have been living in Malta for 12 years and assisting people and family with relocating, having done it myself a couple of times including living in Gibraltar, Mauritius and partner from the UK and Isle of Man. Utilising the Thinking Caps here are some questions you could ask about relocating.

For information on how Merle can assist you contact merle@maltalifestyle.co.za whether you are looking at prime property investments, relocation options or setting up business and perhaps hosting an event in Malta.

Malta’s Property Market Booms Offering Prime Investment Opportunities!

Merle of MaltaLifestyle looks at 2023 performance and the outlook for 2024.

Let’s look at 2023 first.

In 2023, Malta’s property market witnessed sustained price growth. According to globalpropertyguide.com, the residential property price index soared by 10,51% year-on-year in Q1 and 8.3% up to Q2 2023 (Q4 in 2022 reported a slow 2,71% growth). This is the second-strongest growth since Q1 2019. An uptick in demand and an attractive investment market contributed to the growth.

On the back of a slight dip in residential property transactions in the first three quarters of 2023, residential construction continued. The government’s cost-saving measures in the 2023 budget, including stamp duty waivers for first-time buyers and VAT refunds on restoration works, stimulated the property market.

2024 outlook

The outlook remains positive. Local investors are robust. International buyers and renters continue to be attracted to the favourable tax jurisdiction, low running costs, safe environment – as well as 300 days of sunshine and English-speaking community.  PLUS+ you can own property in Malta irrespective of residency – attractive for the buy-to-let market.

Government measures are expected to sustain demand and influence prices due to a short supply. Key factors influencing the market include:

  1. Low Interest Rates: Attractive interest rates make homeownership dreams a reality.
  2. Economy: Malta produced one of the EU’s strongest economic growths at 4%, driving demand for investment in this Mediterranean gem.
  3. Investment: Malta is in the investment spotlight due to a stable economy, low taxes, and quality of life, which positively impacts the property market.
  4. Incentives: Tax incentives and grants introduced in 2021/22 boosting property investment opportunities have been extended for 2024.
  5. Construction Costs: Malta may not escape the pressure on material costs and this may apply upward pressure on property prices.
  6. Supply: Limited land for development may restrict the supply of new homes, potentially driving up prices.
  7. Sustainability Focus: The government’s emphasis on sustainability is fostering demand for energy-efficient homes.
  8. Luxury Property: Growing interest in luxury properties, especially from those seeking a safe and secure environment, may drive up prices.
  9. Rental Market: This market will continue to thrive and offer investors a great return.

Merle Whale summaries: Malta’s property market is set to be a dynamic one with a variety of options and benefits for South Africans in 2024. Investors who can adapt to an evolving landscape may find exciting opportunities.

Give us a call if you’re in search of properties that offer top returns. Contact MaltaLifestyle.com at email malta@maltalifestyle.co.za or WhatsApp Merle Whale on 082 574 4661.

Planning Your Unforgettable Malta Adventure: Here’s What You Can’t Miss!

As you plan your getaway to this enchanting island, here’s a curated guide on the absolute must-see attractions and experiences.

Valletta – A Stroll Through Time

Your journey begins in Valletta, the capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Steeped in history, Valletta invites you to explore its cobblestone streets, visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens for a panoramic view, and revel in the architectural marvel of Saint John’s Co-Cathedral. Don’t forget to witness the noon day gun salute at Fort St Elmo!

Three Cities – Fortresses Across the Harbor

Cross the Grand Harbour from Valletta to discover the Three Cities – Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua. Immerse yourself in the maritime history at the Malta Maritime Museum, explore Fort St. Angelo, and enjoy a ferry ride or bus journey.

Gozo Day Trip – Sister Island Serenity

Escape to Gozo for a day, reachable by ferry from Valletta or Ċirkewwa. Explore Victoria’s medieval Citadel, marvel at the megalithic temples, and relax on the sandy shores of Ramla. The azure waters and natural wonders await.

Blue Grotto and Megalithic Marvels

Discover the mysteries of Malta’s past at the UNESCO-recognized megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra. Experience the enchanting Blue Grotto with its magical play of light on the cave walls.

Mdina – The Silent City

Step back in time as you stroll through the narrow streets of Mdina, Malta’s former capital. Admire medieval and baroque architecture, visit St. Paul’s Cathedral, and explore the nearby Domus Romana. Don’t miss the Game of Thrones vibes at the main gate!

Golden Bay, Comino’s Blue Lagoon, and More

Indulge in the sun-soaked beaches of Golden Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha Bay, and Mellieha. For a truly mesmerizing aquatic experience, venture to Comino’s Blue Lagoon with its crystal-clear waters.

Popeye Village – Movie Magic

For a touch of cinematic charm, head to Anchor Bay and explore Popeye Village, the original film set for the 1980 blockbuster. Enjoy family-friendly activities, bask in the sun, and take in the Mediterranean vibes.

 

Property in Malta: A Successful Solution for South Africans

Malta at a Glance

Malta, a European archipelago nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, is renowned for its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Comprising three main islands—Malta, Gozo, and Comino—it boasts a blend of diverse influences, from Roman to British, reflecting its strategic location and historical significance.

Benefits of Living in Malta

  • EU Membership: As a member state of the European Union since 2004, residents of Malta enjoy the benefits of free movement, trade, and the security of being part of a larger political and economic entity.
  • English-Speaking Nation: For South Africans looking to move abroad, Malta’s official bilingual status, with English as a primary language, eases the transition. This not only facilitates day-to-day interactions but also makes business, education, and administrative processes straightforward.
  • Climate: Malta enjoys over 300 days of sunshine each year, with mild winters and warm summers— perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Rich Culture: From ancient Megalithic Temples to the Baroque architecture of Valletta (Malta’s capital), the country is a treasure trove of history
  • Lifestyle: With a thriving nightlife, excellent dining options, and regular festivals, there’s always something happening.
  • Safety: Malta consistently ranks among the safest countries in Europe, with a low crime rate and friendly locals.
  • Healthcare: Benefit from Malta’s world-class healthcare system, replete with state-of-the-art hospitals and clinics, ensuring quality care for all residents.

Why is Malta Attractive for Property Investment

Malta’s property market has consistently proven to be a lucrative venture for investors, both local and international. Here are some compelling reasons why Malta stands out as an attractive destination for property investment:

  • Proven Return on Investment: Over the years, Malta’s real estate market has demonstrated substantial and consistent growth. With the island’s strategic EU location and increasing demand for property there, investors can be assured of a strong return on their investments.
  • High Rental Yields: With an influx of tourists and expats, rental properties, especially in prime areas, have seen substantial returns.
  • Favourable Tax Regime: Malta boasts a tax system that’s advantageous for property investors. Notably:
  • No Ownership or Wealth Tax: Investors can hold property without incurring annual wealth taxes.
  • No Inheritance Tax: Property passed down through generations remains untaxed, allowing families to preserve their assets without additional financial burdens.
  • Simple Tax on Sale: Property sales are subject to a final withholding tax ranging between 5%-8%. There’s no additional Capital Gains Tax to worry about.
  • Reasonable Stamp Duty: A moderate stamp duty rate of 5% applies, making property transfers more cost-effective.
  • Beneficial Rental Income Tax: Rental predictability for property owners.
  • No VAT on Property Transfer: Adding to the list of financial incentives is the absence of VAT on the transfer of immovable property. This further reduces the costs associated with buying and selling real estate in Malta.
  • Strong Legal System: Malta’s legal system, rooted in British law, ensures the protection of property rights, giving investors peace of mind.

Given these attractive financial incentives, combined with Malta’s stable economy, thriving tourism sector, and the inherent charm of the island, it’s no wonder that property investment in Malta is seen as a promising and profitable endeavour.

Types of Properties in Malta

Malta offers a diverse range of properties to suit every investor’s needs:

  • Historical Townhouses: Located in the heart of Malta’s ancient cities, these properties are often adorned with traditional Maltese balconies and courtyards.
  • Luxury Apartments: Especially prevalent in areas like Sliema and St. Julian’s, these modern apartments offer sea views and top-notch amenities.
  • Farmhouses: Mainly found in Gozo, these rustic properties are perfect for those looking for a tranquil retreat.
  • Villas: Scattered around the island, villas in Malta often come with a pool and spacious gardens, perfect for families.
  • Maisonettes: These are single-story residences, often with their own entrance, similar to a small house.

Residency & Citizenship Schemes

For non-EU nationals, Malta presents an abundance of residency and citizenship options, providing a gateway to the European Union, the Schengen Zone, and a high standard of living.

Residency Options in Malta for Non-EU Nationals:

  • Global Residence Programme (GRP): Tailored for affluent individuals from outside the EU, Switzerland, or the European Economic Area, the GRP offers a special tax status. Beneficiaries are not taxed on income arising outside Malta unless it’s received in Malta, and a flat rate of 15% tax applies to income received in Malta.
  • Nomad Visa: This visa is perfect for remote workers and digital nomads. It allows individuals to live and work in Malta while being employed by companies located outside the country.
  • Retirement Programme: Malta’s Retirement Programme is designed for EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals who are not in an employment relationship and are in receipt of a pension as their regular source of income. Beneficiaries under this program are subject to a flat rate of 15% tax on foreign income received in Malta. The Retirement Programme (RP) has recently also been made available to individuals who want to relocate to Malta and are not citizens of an EU Member State, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland (e.g., South Africans).

Citizenship by Investment in Malta:

The Citizenship by Investment for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment program allows individuals and their dependents to acquire Maltese citizenship through a direct investment. Key requirements include a significant government contribution, a property investment or lease in Malta, and a donation to a registered NGO.

Benefits of obtaining Maltese Citizenship are manifold. They include visa-free travel to over 170 countries, the freedom to live and work in the EU, and access to the Schengen area, among others.

About MaltaLifestyle

MaltaLifestyle serves as your bridge to the enchanting Mediterranean oasis of Malta. Established by Merle Whale, a South African expatriate with over ten years of experience in Malta, our team is dedicated to offering in-depth guidance on every aspect of Maltese life. From relocating and property investment to enhancing your lifestyle, or growing your business. Trust in MaltaLifestyle for a hassle-free experience. Merle, with her rich corporate and hospitality background, has facilitated numerous families in their move to Malta. Her vast expertise and connections ensure unparalleled support during your transition. Additionally, as the founder of SAFFAS in Malta’s expat community, Merle guarantees a warm welcome and a robust support system upon your arrival in Malta. Dive into a new chapter filled with Malta’s allure and myriad of opportunities, with MaltaLifestyle by your side.

Join Our Webinar

On Wednesday, 22 November, at 12:00 OR 18:00 (GMT+2), join our webinar titled, “MALTA PROPERTY: A SMART INVESTMENT” Delve deep into the rewarding realm of property investment in Malta. Explore the multitude of financial benefits, such as impressive ROI, no inheritance tax, and more. Understand Malta’s enticing residency and citizenship schemes, which offer many advantages for potential investors. Whether you envision retirement or an investment in Malta, this session is tailored to equip you with the knowledge to turn those dreams into reality. Don’t miss out; register now!

For more details or queries, visit our website, drop us an email at relax@maltalifestyle.co.za, or connect via WhatsApp on +27 82 574 4661.

Discover Malta: The Mediterranean’s Best-Kept European Secret for South African Retirees

Are you dreaming of a sun-soaked retirement, surrounded by azure waters, rich history, and the charm of Europe right at your doorstep? Look no further than Malta, the Mediterranean’s hidden gem.

Don’t get left behind – For South Africans with an eye on retirement, the allure of the Mediterranean has always been undeniable. But what if we told you that this dream is not only attainable but also affordable? Malta, an EU country nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean, is conveniently located with easy connections to South Africa with leading airlines such as Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa to mention a few.

Why Malta? Here’s why:

✓ European Charm, well connect: Malta’s strategic location means you’re always just a short flight away from the rest of Europe whether it’s  a 2h 40 min flight away to the romantic streets of Paris, a mere 3h to the bustling heart of London, or a swift 1h 30 min to the historic wonders of Rome.

✓ Safety First: Enjoy a tranquil lifestyle amidst ample island views, knowing you’re in one of the safest spots in the Mediterranean.

✓ Your Money Goes Further: With a low-tax regime, an affordable cost of living, and a thriving economy, your retirement savings stretch further.

✓ Tailored Retirement Programme: Malta’s Retirement Programme has been extended to South Africans, making the transition smoother than ever.

✓ Health is Wealth: Benefit from Malta’s top-notch health system, ensuring peace of mind in your golden years.

✓ No Language Barrier: Engage with friendly locals in English, one of Malta’s official languages.

✓ Education for the family: Thinking of bringing the whole family over? Malta offers excellent educational opportunities at all levels of education.

✓ Get Around with Ease: Malta boasts a convenient public transport system, making exploration a breeze.

✓ Sun, Sand, and Sea: Dive into the island’s fabulous beaches whenever the mood strikes.

✓ Heritage to Uncover: Heritage Malta’s Senior Passport holders can enjoy free and unlimited visits to 27 sites which include prehistoric temples and caves, historic houses and prisons, fortresses and palaces, and a selection of museums relating to nature, archaeology, maritime, war, and art.

But don’t just take our word for it. Recently Merle Whale, a fellow South African and the brains behind MaltaLifestyle.com entertained visitors ranging from age 70+ to turning 89. She knows first-hand what is needed and is available to guide you every step of the way. As a relocation expert who has been living in Malta for over a decade, Merle can offer invaluable insights, connect you with the right professionals, and ensure you truly live the retirement of your dreams.

Ready to embark on your next adventure? Join our vibrant South African community in Malta, feel right at home and experience a Mediterranean retirement dream. Contact us on relax@maltalifestyle.co.za. WhatsApp on +27 82 574 4661 or visit www.maltalifestyle.co.za to join us.

Malta – a Beacon for the LGBTQ+ Community

Malta, a sun-kissed archipelago in the Mediterranean, is more than just a tourist destination. It’s a symbol of hope for the LGBTQ+ community. With its progressive laws and welcoming atmosphere, Malta has set a benchmark for LGBTQ+ rights in Europe.

Notable achievements

  • Legislation: Malta was the first European country to ban conversion therapy in 2016. This pioneering move was a significant step towards recognizing and protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Top Rankings: According to the ILGA-Europe’s annual Rainbow Europe Index, Malta has consistently ranked first for several years, scoring an impressive 90% in terms of LGBTQ+ rights and policies.
  • Transgender and Intersex Rights: Malta’s Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics Act, enacted in 2015, is considered one of the most progressive in the world. It allows individuals to change their legal gender without undergoing surgery or hormone therapy.

Beyond the stats, historical sites and natural beauty, the Maltese are known for their warm hospitality. This extends to their acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. From restaurants to bars and night clubs, you can let loose, relax whilst feeling safe and welcomed.

In September 2023, Malta proudly hosted EuroPride, a significant event that underscored its dedication to LGBTQ+ rights and its influential role in championing them within the region. More than just a parade, EuroPride celebrated the rich tapestry of diversity, acceptance, and the remarkable progress in LGBTQ+ rights. The vibrant festivities saw visitors immerse themselves in a myriad of cultural events, parties, and the iconic grand parade which was followed by a free Christina Aguilera concert in the nation’s capital. Malta’s streets came alive with hues, melodies, and dances, as throngs of people united in a celebration of love. Beyond the celebrations, the event facilitated crucial discussions, workshops, and seminars, addressing the LGBTQ+ community’s challenges, ensuring that the event leaves a lasting impact long after the celebrations have concluded.

While EuroPride shone a global spotlight on Malta, it also it symbolised an endorsement to what nations can achieve with dedication and a commitment to equality. However, the journey doesn’t end here. With continued efforts in education, public perception, and healthcare, Malta can not only maintain its top spot but also serve as an all-encompassing haven for the LGBTQ+ community.

Malta Leads Europe with Future-Ready High-Speed Internet Investment

Malta is set to further enhance its position as a European leader in internet speeds with a €50 million investment aimed at delivering speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second over the next seven years.

Currently, Malta is the only EU nation that offers country-wide internet speeds of up to 1Gbps, as per the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). This advancement is not just about speed; it’s about future-proofing the nation’s digital infrastructure for emerging technologies like AI.

The initiative also emphasizes sustainability, with a commitment to minimize environmental impact. Economy Minister Silvio Schembri highlighted the significance of high-speed internet for various local industries, including telemedicine, and described technologies like 5G as “game changers” for the nation.

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