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Old 03-06-2013, 05:07 PM   #21
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I do not agree with you there, but anyways your plan sounds good to me. $50k USD annually is more than enough in SE Asia
I suppose it is technically livable once the house is paid but; 8000 a year to the county for services that I will not need like school districts and public transportation is a quarter million dollars of properly taxes pissed in the garbage. Let's assume we want to explore by car even if we don't go internationally hopping. Gas is the highest anywhere in America here including Alaska and Hawaii. Crossing into the city and parking since we assume there's more time for cultural events ; 35 bucks a pop plus gas. Gym membership since we assume there's more time to stay in shape; 10 bucks a month in MY. Try finding that in America

And then there's the most important factor in our situation. Although we have done well, we are talking about exiting the workforce 3 years ahed of any available pensions and 6 years ahead of the ability to draw an income from tax sheltered plans. Most people have the bulk of their assets ties up in Iras and 491k's us included. Without selling the house there is really no way generate any income to live in the ER years. Yes I know there are many who would amply buy property flip it, rent it out etc. We do not like the risks involved with anything real estate related especially sine as a veteran financial services employee I have significant insight to how Wall street controls an dictates how the housing market functions, even after the bubble burst.

All the power to those that have enough risk tolerance to use real estate. Since my still alive parents have very little to leave me that rules out an inheritance. Short of illegal white collar crime I don't really see any viable way for us to retire at such a young age wand feel comfortable that we don't really need our investments for awhile besides selling the house and using the funds to live for a few years.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:53 PM   #22
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8000 a year to the county for services that I will not need like school districts and public transportation is a quarter million dollars of properly taxes pissed in the garbage.
Like you, the young wife and I have no children. We've never used the schools here in our town and never will. And we rarely use public transportation. Still, I have no problem paying the property taxes to support them both.

One reason is that strong schools and good public transportation make a nice, livable, community. If I wanted to to be totally self-centered about it, these are among the amenities in my town that keep my property value high.

But a more important reason is just the basic sense of obligation to my town, my state and my nation. When I was going through 12 years of public school, some childless couples were paying property tax to help fund my schooling, as were retired people whose children were long out of school. Their taxes also helped pay for the local bus system that I used before I had a car of my own, even though they probably never rode that bus. So now I pay my share. It's what we do as a people bound together in a common enterprise. We help and support each other. We don't just take what we can get for ourselves and then skip out without putting anything back into the pot.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:01 PM   #23
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50k might be livable in some places in the US but absolutely not in California where we live now. In addition the only practical way for us to retire in so early and ensure a good cushion is to take the house proceeds and not turn them into an annuity. Investing it would be way to risky. As a 30 year employee of the financial services industry I guarantee there will be another financial meltdown in my lifetime. And one should only invest in an a immediate annuity with funds that you don't ever new in case of an emergency since you can't get them back. In my mind that leaves a house sale, inheritance or some other large windfall apart from your retirement investments.

So in our case it's a win-win. We would only consider warm places and besides California that leaves Florida which we hate and maybe Arizona (too expensive for international travel). We loved SE Asia and my wife is Chinese. In Penang they have the largest concentration of Chinese and speak a simile dialect so that is excellent for us. Also being married to an Asan has a lurid little advantages in Asia - we always get locals prices at markets.

Renting in Asia is the exact opposite of the US. Almost every place is tastefully and fully furnished. Unlike in the US there is limited space ago renting does not carry the stigma that it can in the US as geared towards lower class people that can't afford to rent. If you buy in any foreign country there is always a geopolitical risk that comes with financial risk even if you are a PR. If we took house proceeds and paid cash for a house we could never afford 30 or 40 years in retirement if lost our investment. When you rent the worst that happens is you find another place to live. Watch house hunters international and you'll see what I mean about renting

Asia is an exciting place and represents everything upcoming and new. Every day I commute on America'a oldest commuter rail system with all the trains and equipment 46 years old and crumbling away. Once you see transportation and infrastructure in Asia it's hard to come back to the embarrassment that is America. This is an outdated nation being propped up by the Fed'a low interest rates. There is little if any hope for the next generation to enjoy the benefits of the great nation this once was thanks to government policy that has squandered and spent. We love a lot of thing here but are ready for a retirement adventure. Every day a an expat brings new and interesting things

50,000 may not be enough in california but how about wyoming. if your willing to move to asia there must be some cheap places in US
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:48 PM   #24
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Like you, the young wife and I have no children. We've never used the schools here in our town and never will. And we rarely use public transportation. Still, I have no problem paying the property taxes to support them both.

One reason is that strong schools and good public transportation make a nice, livable, community. If I wanted to to be totally self-centered about it, these are among the amenities in my town that keep my property value high.

But a more important reason is just the basic sense of obligation to my town, my state and my nation. When I was going through 12 years of public school, some childless couples were paying property tax to help fund my schooling, as were retired people whose children were long out of school. Their taxes also helped pay for the local bus system that I used before I had a car of my own, even though they probably never rode that bus. So now I pay my share. It's what we do as a people bound together in a common enterprise. We help and support each other. We don't just take what we can get for ourselves and then skip out without putting anything back into the pot.
Perhaps you misunderstood or maybe I misspoke. I agree with everything you said. Like you we live in an excellent school district which means my house is worth 200k more than the next town over. We love the neighborhood and that's why we bought here. I am not anti-American, anti-patriotic or anybody those things people love to call me because I happen to think the standard of life in America has sadly declined. I do think the tax system is ridiculously unfair yet I never give back my 10k tax refund. I fund my Roths with it. I am more than willing to pay my fair share to my community. Bi was smart enough to request a reduction in my $8500 tax in 2008 which is my right. The county has since lowered it to 6200 and it has not gone back up even though my house has appreciate back to only about 12% less than we paid. But I'm kit going to voluntarily paying taxes out of any obligation

Having said that please understand that it is only my opinion that paying property taxes after your house I paid is a waste of money. I am in favor of total tax reform and abolishment of property taxes as ate many in he financial circles but while it remains I have no problem paying it. This thread was simply to share our personal plans. Expatriating is not for everyone nor am I suggesting anyone should do it if you have no interest in the culture of your chosen country. It was also to get an idea of what this community thanks from a financial point of view and I have appreciate everyone's insight
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:14 PM   #25
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Perhaps you misunderstood or maybe I misspoke.
Probably I misunderstood. I often do.

Sometimes I also despair when I compare the America of my youth to the America of today. Yet, in many ways, we have improved so much that it really makes me proud. The air and water are cleaner now than when I was young. More people are graduating from college (although student loan debt is now a problem). Infant mortality is down. Malnutrition is lower (in fact, we now eat too much). Racial relations are better. Women are more in control of their own destinies.

I could go on. And for every advance and bright spot I identify there is probably a concomitant decline or concern. For example, I agree that our basic infrastructure and transportation systems are in abysmal condition in too many parts of the country. And yet, look at how common air travel is now. When I was young, only rich people flew anywhere.

Like everything else, there is an ebb and flow. To the extent I am able, I would like to use my remaining years to stay here and help make my community a better place. I have plenty of ideas. I'm sure you do too.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:45 PM   #26
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From Walnut Creek to Malaysia. Wow! What a change, and what an adventure. Good luck to you. I hope it all works out well for you.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:48 PM   #27
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And that is very noble. Nothing wrong with that. I would like to use our years on SE Asia volunteering to help orangutan conservation. I find them more appreciative than many humans

You can't take salaried employment on the MM2h but you can blog for profit or open an Internet business (too much work for me) but you can volunteer.

If you were interested in expatriating you'd probably know a bit about CAFTA which is basically an assault on all the millions of middle class expats around the world that is slowly being implemented by our US government pol
apologies on the typo. I was referring to FACTA - the Foreign Tax Compliance Act
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:53 PM   #28
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. I would like to use our years on SE Asia volunteering to help orangutan conservation. I find them more appreciative than many humans
Sound very rewarding. The men of the forest deserve all the help they can get. The Malaysia and Indonesian governments are allowing the rainforests to be cut down and replaced with oil palm. The wild life are running out of space.
Anyways "Selamat Datang". Hope all goes well.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:53 PM   #29
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apologies on the typo. I was referring to FACTA - the Foreign Tax Compliance Act
Is the FACTA assault the reporting requirements or the paying of taxes? I thought it was always the rule that an American citizen must pay taxes no matter where they live (although there are countries with which we have treaties to avoid double taxation).
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:55 PM   #30
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From Walnut Creek to Malaysia. Wow! What a change, and what an adventure. Good luck to you. I hope it all works out well for you.
Thank you very much. It is still about five years away but time goes by fast and this forum is an excellent resource to help with the planning advice. There are a lot of logistics to leaving the US when all your income will be uS source income. For one you have to keep a legal street address since they can't send annuity payments to foreign banks nor can you direct 401k withdrawals directly to a foreign bank. Money laundering rules designed to thwart terrorist funds from leaving the US make it enormously ridiculous for those just trying to get US source income And you have to deposit 50k into a local Malaysian bank account and keep it on deposit while on the visa program. Which in itself is hard because you can't travel with more that 10k without an IRS hassle
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:01 PM   #31
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Money laundering rules designed to thwart terrorist funds from leaving the US make it enormously ridiculous for those just trying to get US source income And you have to deposit 50k into a local Malaysian bank account and keep it on deposit while on the visa program. Which in itself is hard because you can't travel with more that 10k without an IRS hassle
Have you looked at a banks that allow you to hold USD accounts in Malaysia as well a the US. Not spruiking any banks, but I have an HSBC premier account and part of the premier service is that they will open accounts for you in another country without you having to leave the US. Being in business in the US mean that they will have to comply with the anti money laundering legals.
You should also be able to transfer and/or withdraw cash from your US or MYR account without incurring exorbitant fees
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:07 PM   #32
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Have you looked at a banks that allow you to hold USD accounts in Malaysia as well a the US. Not spruiking any banks, but I have an HSBC premier account and part of the premier service is that they will open accounts for you in another country without you having to leave the US. Being in business in the US mean that they will have to comply with the anti money laundering legals.
You should also be able to transfer and/or withdraw cash from your US or MYR account without incurring exorbitant fees
That was my thought as well. Barclays can probably do the same thing.
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:18 PM   #33
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Have you looked at a banks that allow you to hold USD accounts in Malaysia as well a the US. Not spruiking any banks, but I have an HSBC premier account and part of the premier service is that they will open accounts for you in another country without you having to leave the US. Being in business in the US mean that they will have to comply with the anti money laundering legals.
You should also be able to transfer and/or withdraw cash from your US or MYR account without incurring exorbitant fees
Got it covered. We will be opening our HSBC Premiere account a year before we go and doing exactly what you said. In fact it's the preferred bank for the amM2h. I just thought others would be interested in knowing about FACTA and all it's bad policies. Sadly it's not just being in business it's being American. Period. btw. If you've ever looked into the hilarity of renouncing your citizenship it's really finny. Sad funny. The IRS will tax you on their idea of your lifetime income at one time and then you are given dirty looks when trying to re-enter the country
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:26 PM   #34
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If you've ever looked into the hilarity of renouncing your citizenship it's really finny. Sad funny. The IRS will tax you on their idea of your lifetime income at one time and then you are given dirty looks when trying to re-enter the country
I know.It's hilarious. When I was an expat in Eurpoe I worked with quite a few Americans. A few gave up their citizenship so that they did not have to pay US taxes. Mind you if you are a non resident for US tax purposes, your tax free threshold was only around $90k at that time. Anything above that, and the taxman gets his share.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:27 PM   #35
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I stayed in Penang for a few days in 2007 -- after traveling by bus from Singapore to Melakka to KL to Penang and spending time in each place. An American co-worker was with me and we met the mom of one of his American friends in Penang. She was a Chinese immigrant and she had learned intermediate English but only beginning Malay. There is definitely some resentment against the Malay majority -- I heard that both from the Chinese and the Indians although it was not the nasty kind of resentment one might expect, more of a matter of fact and resigned resentment. But I can't be sure because I was just a tourist.

There were some real nice places on the island, and it seemed like one needed a car to get around. (or maybe a motorbike? I can't remember).

I loved the Indian-inspired food there and there was good Chinese food on tap, also. And I actually became addicted to Teh Tarik, so much that my companion was laughing at me.

If I were married instead of single, I would definitely consider Malaysia. The place is definitely much wealthier than Thailand. When I was in KL and attended a couchsurfing meeting, one of the friends I met there worked for the MM2H program. She said it was mostly Singaporeans and Japanese, if I recall.

After living in several countries, I will have to say that you really have to spend awhile in a place before you know if you will really like it. For me, that amount of time is (sadly) at least a year. You figure out if the locals are really accepting of you, what kind of expats you will be interacting with, whether your web of daily activities is fulfilling, how much your long term costs will be, etc.

Actually, just recounting this has gotten me interested in visiting Malaysia again.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:14 PM   #36
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I loved the Indian-inspired food there and there was good Chinese food on tap, also. And I actually became addicted to Teh Tarik, so much that my companion was laughing at me.
Teh Tarik, Nasi Lemak, Satay, Laksa.....
It's all delicious
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:06 AM   #37
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Teh Tarik, Nasi Lemak, Satay, Laksa.....
It's all delicious
You guys are killing me since we can't even visit for two more years. Yes the food is considered the best in SE Asia. Even in Singapore we enjoyed it but nothing like Penang. Lower we flew to Borneo on Dragon Air from HK we were in are when they served us this delicious meal with nasi lemak. Love the things you get on international airlines like food. For free. That tastes good. Hawker food is the best ever and that's hard for me to say a s a Brooklyn boy that few up with dirty water dogs and new York street vendors You can live on hawker food for about six bucks a day. Hypothetically 50k a year in Penang makes you wealthier than the average high tech worker in Penang who makes about 45k and that is considered high. But that is the beauty. A mostly developed nation that remains cheap because their wages are at US in 1955 levels
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:09 AM   #38
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Rodi,
Since you had shortlisted Malaysia (Penang) and Thailand as the top 2 choices, you will definitely need a trip to see them for yourself.

I have a few comments;
1. You are right about the food in Penang, they are great and cheap. You will need to watch the waist-line carefully when you live there.
2. Petrol in Malaysia is cheap as it is heavily subsidized by the govt. It is fixed-price of RM1.90 per litre for Ron95 petrol, regardless of crude prices. There have been several indications that this will cease as it is costing the govt quite a bit of money. However the political pressure, as expected is pushing this decision back.
3. Rental in Malaysia is cheap and IMHO it is better to rent than buying a place there. However in Penang island, it can get more expensive as there is limited space on the island. There are space on the mainland (Butterworth) and hence cheaper but I suspect that this is not where you will like to live.
4. Malaysians are generally peace loving and definitely not anti-American (a concern that you may have in other Muslim countries). However below the surface, certain crime rate in Malaysia are still very high. Break-in and snatch thief happen often. I know of many expat (and their family) being victims of such crimes. You will need to pay attention to this if you do not want to add on to the statistics.
5. Penang has a higher percentage of Chinese living there as compared to other states in Malaysia. It is now governed by the opposition party. From what I heard they are doing a great job. There is also a sizable Japanese expat community there due to investment in the electronics sector in previous years.
6. Personally I prefer KL to Penang. KL being the capital city has more things to do. KL city center can be very crowded but living on the fringe of KL city is fine. OTOH, Penang island is very crowded and it is hard to get away from the crowd/traffic. The local govt is now debating about adding onto the infrastructure but the downside is that it may destroy the charm of Penang if not properly done.

BTW, I had 2 postings to Malaysia and spent a total of 6 years there. My family and I loved our time there. Be it Penang or KL, I am sure you will have a nice time there too.

As for Chiang Mai, I been there twice and am now planning for another trip there in the near future. It is very nice for a few months of the year when it is cooler (Nov to Feb). It gets very hot just before the raining season which last till Oct. They also practised the slash-and-burn technique when clearing the land and it can lead to bad air pollution. I love to visit CM during the cooler months but unsure about living there during the hotter months.

I hope that this is not too much information and hopefully you will find them useful.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:36 AM   #39
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50,000 may not be enough in california but how about wyoming. if your willing to move to asia there must be some cheap places in US
We spent 2 weeks vacation in Wyoming last year. Absolutely gorgeous place but I would not want to live there. We never had dry skin so bad. Asia is our destination too - warmer, more humidity, and everything we need within a short walk or scooter drive. And the infrastructure is so much better - great public transportation, various choices of trains, very fast Internet everywhere (talking about Taiwan here).
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:42 AM   #40
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Rodi,

Read the entire thread and your thought process of places to live after ER is similar to mine. I too have lived in the Bay Area, Canada and Asia.

I'm considering Penang, Thailand (bk) and just scratched Bali off the list. There's no ideal place and it's all a matter of compromises.

On thing that you need to be careful of is the inflation figures of different currencies. Even the USD will run its' course if the national debt hits...maybe 21 trillion and the opec nations slowly unwind the petro dollar status into a basket of currencies. When the USD tanks (if it does) it will tank may other fiat currencies.

My difference is that I'm in my early 40's and have an infant child. My reasons for ER is more to spend time with my family and to do some more personal growth and exploration in Asia while I still have the energy to do so....and to do some volunteer work in a few select regions.

Financial resources are a bit of a concern as I would need to put my child thru a solid international school with the anticipation of them returning to North America to pursue College / University when they hit that stage in their life. I'm anticipating that the kid will run me 500-600k 2013 dollars until they are independent. In addition to the child cost, there are other cost and concerns as I will need to have enough funds for approx 40-50 years. Don't think 3M (not saying I have this) will suffice, due to any uncertainty that may occur over such a long period of time, but I think it's worth the risk as I will be get the 'best years of my life' to my own interest vs the rat race of urban north american culture. As a back up I plan to engage in a few small business ventures which I hope can net me 80-100k per year with 10-15 hours of work (long shot I know). However all new ventures typically have a 70-80 percent failure rate, so I have plans just in case things don't work out as planned . As a side note, I've started 7 businesses in the past, 4 failed, 1 was neutral and 2 were successful.

Worse case scenario is that I'll return to work full time when I'm about 60 for a few years while my child is in university to get that extra boost of $$$. My current field allows me to make a very good income, but this could always change with such a long time frame.

In my ER I anticipate that it will cost 50-60k 2013 dollars

I'm planning a financial rate of return of 5.5% over the long run as a conservative figure.

Do any members see any serious flaws. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

(pls note that I will also start another thread of my own to get more feedback)
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