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Old 06-21-2018, 04:53 AM   #1
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Hi All! Just Found This Site!

Hi Everyone,

I just found this site a few hours ago while reading another site.

I am 55yo and have been ready to retire for a while. My wife is Taiwanese, and a bit older than me, at 59. We have lived the past three plus decades in Taiwan and we are both ready to relocate to the US to live out the rest of our days in what will hopefully be a blissful existence.

I suppose the wife and I are financially set, although we will be getting no social security and no pensions (because I have worked virtually my entire career over here, and foreign nationals do not receive pensions). Most of our money is back in the US making money for us. We have our residence here, which we will sell when we are ready to leave. The only thing keeping us here, now, is that I don't want to leave before my MIL departs. I want my wife to be able to care for her until the end.

I will probably read what you all have to say more than I will post, at least initially. Our (the wife and me) main concern is the type of house we will buy when we relocate to Pittsburgh, as that is home (still!) for me.

Hopefully we'll both continue getting older for a while. We are fairly healthy and ambulatory, now, and hope to stay that way as long as possible. Nonetheless, we know that getting older means slowing down and possible problems with mobility.

We've been looking at homes all around the Pittsburgh area for years, and still do not know whether we want to buy a big place out in the country a ways (because we've been cramped in a small place for so long with neighbors on top and below and next to us) or look for something smaller and more in town, as we've grown accustomed to the convenience of city-living.

Anyway, I suppose that's enough for now. I look forward to "meeting" all of yinz here and to reading and posting!
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:12 AM   #2
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all of yinz
Ah, yes. The mark of a real Pittsburgher. You won't find that expression anywhere else!

Welcome to the forum. Many helpful folks here, and you can ask just about anything and expect a variety of well thought out answers.
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:35 AM   #3
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Thanks for the welcome!

The Scots have shortened "You Ones" even more than we Pittsburghers have, to just "Yiz"!

But, personally, I prefer "Yinz"...
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Old 06-21-2018, 06:15 AM   #4
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We've been looking at homes all around the Pittsburgh area for years, and still do not know whether we want to buy a big place out in the country a ways (because we've been cramped in a small place for so long with neighbors on top and below and next to us) or look for something smaller and more in town, as we've grown accustomed to the convenience of city-living.
Consider renting for at least a few months before you make your decision. Things have changed a lot in the last 30 years or so.

Perhaps a few months "out in the country" and a few months "in town" can help you decide which would be best.
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Old 06-21-2018, 06:18 AM   #5
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That seems like excellent advice, joeea. Thank you.
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Old 06-21-2018, 06:59 AM   #6
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Welcome aboard!
What joeea said- consider renting before making that huge commitment. My DW is from the Seoul area (~28,000,000 folks) and being in the country can be uncomfortable for her. We travel to the mountains frequently, but that's just travel. Living there would be problematic.

Anyway, good luck and we hope to hear from you.
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:09 AM   #7
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Welcome aboard!
What joeea said- consider renting before making that huge commitment. My DW is from the Seoul area (~28,000,000 folks) and being in the country can be uncomfortable for her. We travel to the mountains frequently, but that's just travel. Living there would be problematic.

Anyway, good luck and we hope to hear from you.
Hi and thanks for the welcome.

I have considered the cultural difference/s that might affect my wife. She is from a small village originally, but, has lived in the city for many years, now.

Her spoken English is OK, but, reading and writing are not.

I think my wife too would prefer the city. But, she is extremely adaptive. We lived in Pittsburgh for several years before coming back here to Taiwan. She loved living in urban Pittsburgh. I think she'd love living out a ways, too, so long as I am still around.

Pittsburgh is geographically small... you can live on the edge of suburbia and get dahntahn (downtown) is 30 minutes.
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:25 AM   #8
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Welcome

Reading your few posts is seems you have a leaning towards the city, though perhaps a ‘fantasy’ of a ponderosa in the country. When I visited Denmark I was fascinated that though they lived fairly compact in the small villages they had little summer cottages that they went to for the summer and on weekends to tend to little garden plots. If finances allow, perhaps you could buy a small plot of ground to putter on as a hobby in retirement. Put a tiny house, trailer or prefab building on it and have the best of both worlds.

Good luck, welcome home!
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:15 AM   #9
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Thanks, Newventurer!

I dunno... my (our) minds seem to change each time we look at a new house!

There is a real strong pull back to the town where I grew up. I have lots of friends still there, who I visit each trip back.

Plus, I have a sibling there who needs assistance due to a health condition. I need to be close by to be able to efficiently help out.

I farmed as a kid, and do not want to do that, now. But, I'd love a small garden where I could grow some veggies.

The place where I grew up is on the edge of suburbia, and as we joke, Alabama! Pennsylvania is basically Pittsburgh in the west and Philly on the east, with Alabama in the middle!

I am happy living in either the city or the country.

Pittsburgh has really excellent healthcare, but, most of the hospitals are in the more urban areas (especially around the University of Pittsburgh). That is a factor that makes living closer to the city attractive.

But, oh, how I look forward to sitting out on my porch and listening to my music and enjoying a few drinks without the worry of annoying (or being annoyed by) neighbors!
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:36 AM   #10
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Welcome to the forum. Look forward to seeing your post and learning more about you and where you end up...in the city or the country.
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Old 06-23-2018, 12:08 AM   #11
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Welcome to the forum. Look forward to seeing your post and learning more about you and where you end up...in the city or the country.
Thank you.

I think of signing up here and reading about and learning from the insights of others as my due diligence!

My situation is different from that of many, if not most others, in that (a) I am looking to return to the US when I retire rather than looking to retire outside of the US, as some are, (b) I have no idea what my costs and expenses will be in retirement in the US, as I am unable to track the same while I live outside of the US, and (c) I have no pension and or SS to draw on when I retire.

As indicated in my first post, I think we have enough to retire already, in the Pittsburgh area, and the only thing keeping us from retirement is that my MIL is still alive here and I want my wife to be able to care for her Mom. My visa is tied to my employment, and thus, I need to remain employed to be able to stay here.

We have a bit over US$ 2.6 million in the US and when we sell our residence here, we should easily have US$ 1 million to send back to the US. Our money at home, in the meantime, continues to grow, as we currently have no need to touch it. Thus, I expect (hope) that we will have US$ 4 million or so when we return to the US, and that, I hope, generates sufficient income for us, given our lack or SS and any pension.

So, yeah, the main concerns we have is where we will live (city vs. country) and how much we will spend on a house and what size of a house we want.

I am already enjoying the forum. There are a lot of interesting ideas!
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Old 06-23-2018, 01:03 AM   #12
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Welcome. As someone who moved back to the US after many years in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China (and subsequently moved on to the UK and back to Hong Kong and then back to the UK!!) Iíd put very very high on the list the dislocation of returning ďhomeĒ, especially with a spouse for whom PA may actually have none of the charms and certainly none of the memories that still motivate you. Of all my many moves, moving to the US was by far the hardest. Thereís nothing so humbling as realizing that, for example, while I could easily rent an apartment in Taipei, I hadnít the foggiest idea how to do it in my own country. I personally also would put high on the list of potential problems the lack of great dumplings and noodles, but thatís just me. And all the cultural accommodations you managed in your 20s when you were young and eager and resilient your wife will now have to do in her 60s, when, letís be honest, none of us are what we were 30 years ago. Best of luck. Take it slow. Step by step - ie maybe donít sell the Taiwan place until youíve actually tried PA for a couple of years and are more sure.
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Old 06-23-2018, 01:36 AM   #13
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Welcome. As someone who moved back to the US after many years in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China (and subsequently moved on to the UK and back to Hong Kong and then back to the UK!!) I’d put very very high on the list the dislocation of returning “home”, especially with a spouse for whom PA may actually have none of the charms and certainly none of the memories that still motivate you. Of all my many moves, moving to the US was by far the hardest. There’s nothing so humbling as realizing that, for example, while I could easily rent an apartment in Taipei, I hadn’t the foggiest idea how to do it in my own country. I personally also would put high on the list of potential problems the lack of great dumplings and noodles, but that’s just me. And all the cultural accommodations you managed in your 20s when you were young and eager and resilient your wife will now have to do in her 60s, when, let’s be honest, none of us are what we were 30 years ago. Best of luck. Take it slow. Step by step - ie maybe don’t sell the Taiwan place until you’ve actually tried PA for a couple of years and are more sure.
Wow! Many thanks for your comments and suggestions! How long ago did you leave Taiwan? If you were in Taipei, we may well have know each other!

I know that life back in the US will be an adjustment, and I am well aware of the fact that reverse culture shock can be more severe than first culture shock. But, you mention some of the more nuts and bolts problems, too, and I think that this is where I will have some issues.

I am not worried about reverse culture shock or dislocation, however. I have been fortunate to have made multiple trips back home every year that I have been here in Taiwan. I just returned to Taiwan from a three week trip from mid May to early June, and will return again in early September, and again for Christmas or CNY. I have a large family in Pittsburgh and an extensive network of old friends, all of whom I miss dearly. Also, there is something about Pittsburgh... I know scads of foreign nationals living in Asia who have no desire to return to their place of origin. But, virtually everyone I have ever met who is currently dislocated from Pittsburgh yearns to return to there. Finally, as you are probably very much aware, one never really leaves Asia! My wife has a sister here and we will likely make multiple trips back here to visit.

I have loved living (and working) in Taiwan. I've loved traveling to and visiting Hong Kong, China, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Guam. I've been to Hong Kong twice in the past half year and never tire of visits, there.

I do worry, a bit, about my wife relocating to Pittsburgh. I should clarify, though, that we did live there for a spell while I was still in school, and she loved it. Also, she is quite the introvert and does essentially no socializing here in Taiwan. She is an artist and spends most of her time doing artsy stuff. She can paint, do pottery, and blow glass in Pittsburgh. Actually, she will have more time to do that stuff there than she has here, given that here she spends most of her time caring for her aged mother.

We will miss the wonderful food. No question about that! But, we currently miss American food and hope to travel more to Europe. That's a bit easier (the travel) to do from Pittsburgh.

But, yeah, we're taking it slow...

I should also add that one other reason for the move back to Pittsburgh is to be near my sister, who requires assistance.
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Old 06-23-2018, 06:57 AM   #14
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Wow! Many thanks for your comments and suggestions! How long ago did you leave Taiwan? If you were in Taipei, we may well have know each other!


I was a student there 1980-81 and then worked there 1989-91 before taking back the mainland, so to speak. Iíve gone back many times, of course - I have a real soft spot for Taipei and its people. And food.

As for practical matters - if you havenít paid into social security your Medicare situation becomes complicated https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare...edicare_9.html

And of course without Medicare health insurance will be a big part of your budget. Actually it will be no matter what. Can you still keep your eligibility for Taiwan NHI? Despite the distance that could be a really useful safety net.

Donít forget making sure you have a us credit rating - if youíve had a us-based credit card, great. If you havenít, youíll return as almost a newborn babe. Your record of having paid off student loans, for example, is now ancient history! Try to establish a US-based credit history before returning or else everything from renting a place, buying a place, leasing a car will be a hassle. Try to get and use a US-based card from the correspondent branch of your Taiwan bank if you donít have it already. American Express is really good about giving you a card in your new country if you have had one in your current one.
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Old 06-23-2018, 07:57 PM   #15
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I was a student there 1980-81 and then worked there 1989-91 before taking back the mainland, so to speak. Iíve gone back many times, of course - I have a real soft spot for Taipei and its people. And food.

You were here before me. I didn't arrive until 1985.

As for practical matters - if you havenít paid into social security your Medicare situation becomes complicated https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare...edicare_9.html

Because of my long-term health issues, I have maintained insurance in the US. We will need to get my wife covered when we get back to Pittsburgh.

And of course without Medicare health insurance will be a big part of your budget. Actually it will be no matter what. Can you still keep your eligibility for Taiwan NHI? Despite the distance that could be a really useful safety net.

My ARC here is tied to my employment. I could, however, see about getting an APRC. I certainly qualify. I should look into that!

Donít forget making sure you have a us credit rating - if youíve had a us-based credit card, great. If you havenít, youíll return as almost a newborn babe. Your record of having paid off student loans, for example, is now ancient history! Try to establish a US-based credit history before returning or else everything from renting a place, buying a place, leasing a car will be a hassle. Try to get and use a US-based card from the correspondent branch of your Taiwan bank if you donít have it already. American Express is really good about giving you a card in your new country if you have had one in your current one.
I have a card with Citibank, but, it is issued here in Taiwan. I certainly have used it frequently in the US, though. Hotels and rental cars and all sorts of sundry items one purchases when on trips back home. That may not be helpful, though, as it is a Taiwan issued card.

I have a PNC bank account back home in which I keep just about US$ 10K, just so that when we return I don't need to go through the hassle of opening an account.

We also have just over US$ 2.6 million at Schwab back home. We purchased our residence here in Taipei in Da'an 20 years ago and it has appreciated tremendously. We should clear US$ 1 million easily when we sell. So, we should have about US$ 4 million back home by the time we get there.

Pittsburgh homes are inexpensive, compared to prices here in Taipei! I'm hoping that we will not have too much credit trouble when we get back.
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:00 PM   #16
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With 4 mil you are good to go.
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Old 06-24-2018, 12:37 AM   #17
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Talk to Citibank early and see if they can help you get a US-based card now. I canít even begin to express how useful it is to have some kind of Us credit rating before landing. The Taiwan credit rating they maintain on you will not carry over. Just one example - I hadnít taken care of that properly and the first three landlords we spoke to in New York wanted a years rent in cash in advance! Finally got my company to guarantee me and I was ok but having a credit rating would have made life a lot easier.
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:11 PM   #18
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With 4 mil you are good to go.
Thanks! That's encouraging!
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:12 PM   #19
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Talk to Citibank early and see if they can help you get a US-based card now. I canít even begin to express how useful it is to have some kind of Us credit rating before landing. The Taiwan credit rating they maintain on you will not carry over. Just one example - I hadnít taken care of that properly and the first three landlords we spoke to in New York wanted a years rent in cash in advance! Finally got my company to guarantee me and I was ok but having a credit rating would have made life a lot easier.
Thanks for the tip. I will check this out. I will be back in Pittsburgh in September for a visit and will speak with my finance people to see whether I can get a credit card with them, too.
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Old 06-25-2018, 08:07 PM   #20
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Welcome to the Forum. DW and I live 20 minutes south of the 'Burgh, in Washington County. Property taxes are cheaper here than Allegheny County despite the recent reassessment. Allegheny County also has an extra 1% sales tax added to the 6% state sales tax. I would recommend renting to get a feel of whatever community you would like to eventually move to. I was raised in the South Hills, but worked out of state for a while after college.

One major point in moving to this area is the current Marcellus Shale Gas boom going on. Depending what kind of rural property you're searching for, prices are cheaper than most parts of the US, but greatly varied. Many farmers have hit the motherlode with gas rights and royalties, and are willing to sell and move up, keeping their gas ownership. Some are selling before any drilling is in the area, and are asking a pretty penny.
(Oh, and keep this a secret between us, PA doesn't tax 401k's, pension, or SS) Don't know if
your nest egg is in a 401k, I know you said you don't have a pension or SS coming.

PM me if you have any other questions, I'll get back to you asap if not
traveling or crushing grapes!
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