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Old 12-02-2009, 08:28 AM   #141
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Are you confusing ultimo with Brogan007?
Not all that hard to do...
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:24 AM   #142
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DOH, my bad, appologies ultimo.
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:10 PM   #143
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OP the problem with the never afford to retire theory is you are looking at too low of savings and too high of lifestyle.

Saving 10% doesn't normally happen at first, people want to get an education, buy a home, have babies and don't save that much until sometimes 30. Most don't earn 100K and the lower you earn the less it takes to retire at the same living standard.

Personally I didn't start until 35 then only 2K a year for a few years. But the last 7 years I have been saving almost half my income and I am pretty low income. If I earn 60K and save 25K when I retire I only need about 35K to achieve the same standard of living. I also won't pay into SS so save 7.65% there too. But need to pay for medical insurance and have perhaps other higher cost. Social security will pay me about 15-18K a year so only need about 20K from investments. I have over 400K now, not a fortune but better than nothing. If I continue to delay retirement, save 25K a year and let SS increase 8% a year I can have over 25K a year in retirement investment income but only need 15K so my nest egg can still grow and I can continue to live the same lifestyle I have now.

I won't retire young like some people because I started saving to late and too slow but I won't be a burden on you either. Many people retire as a couple so two SS checks and even 300K each invested gives them a decent life.

If you earn 100K and save 10K you aren't saving enough save 25K and you can live a much better lifestyle because you will be used to living on 75K instead of 90K and have 2.5 times as much invested.
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:19 PM   #144
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If you earn 100K and save 10K you aren't saving enough
You do what you can, depending on your time of life. In our 30's my DW/me saved nothing. Why? Simply the fact that we were "covered" under our respective companies retirement plans ....

As we aged, we started at 2% of our salary (early 80's), and increasing to 33% of our gross salary, ten years before we retired (actually I'm retired; my DW is still thinking about it ).

Not to say that anybody should do (e.g. make a "rule"), but just to reflect on what we actually did....
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:35 PM   #145
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Canada geese were responsible for downing Sully's plane.....

But of course they are nomads. I wonder which country they pay tax in?

Birds have feelings too: Starlings give twitchers the bird | Metro.co.uk

These are Dusky geese from Ankeny reservoir a few miles from here.

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Old 12-02-2009, 03:13 PM   #146
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I consider myself to be an average Joe - never had one of those really high paying jobs or stock options, slowly progressed up the ladder to a mid-level position and saved when I could. In a year or two I'll retire and I'm pretty sure we will be able to live much the same as we have been for the past 40 years - decently, solidly middle class, not extravagently yet not in need of anything. All this on a middle of the road income, very little house trading (lived in same house for 27 years) and no keeping up with the neighbors.

Our kids went to public schools and colleges (for both bachelors and masters degrees). My DW and I went to "free" public colleges - meaning they were free to us, but someone else (the taxpayer) was footing the bill. I also earned graduate degrees through the munificence of the GI bill program (before they made soldiers put in their own money).

I've seen countless arguments in many places by people who don't want to pay for other's school, health, etc. The problem with that logic is that we all take advantage (or have the ability to) of taxpayer funded programs unless we are so rich we can fund everything ourselves. Taxes are the consequence of living in a free society. Right now our federal tax burden is the lowest it has been in a very long time. I certainly don't want to pay more for things I don't use, but fully understand the necessity of spreading the pain around. At one point or another, I believe most people have used some or many of the benefits available. I've been unemployed and received unemployment insurance. Our kids received federal college loans. And it goes on.

FWIW, we have lived in Europe (courtesy of the US Army) and there is nothing more that Europeans like to complain about than the high taxes. The VAT runs from 15% to 30% in most European countries - think about it - clothes that would cost 100 Euros cost 130 Euros with the VAT. Plus income taxes are pretty high in all those countries and downright confiscatory in some (Great Britain). If I am not mistaken, I believe the highest US tax bracket at one time in our not so distant past was as high as 90%. And now the highest marginal rate is something like 35% (?) - I don't know exactly as I've never hit that level.

Personally, the only reason I can imagine for becoming an expat would be if our country went down some insane road of internal (then external) genocide like Germany did in the 1930s. Nor can I picture events which would turn me so violently against our government that I would go "off the grid" and risk everything just to protest high taxes.

I don't know if brogan is a citizen, if he votes or what his income is. But I have not missed an election in 40 years (though some were done absentee) and I have no qualms at all about expressing my views to our elected representatives. That's the way our society works - I really do believe in the addage "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
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Old 12-02-2009, 03:25 PM   #147
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I have no qualms at all about expressing my views to our elected representatives. That's the way our society works - I really do believe in the addage "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
Don't think I'd want to defend to the death anything Barney Frank says.
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Old 12-02-2009, 03:26 PM   #148
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Taxes aren't everything. The cost of health care, old age pensions, education, etc., also figures in. Taxes in the U.S. buy us the world's largest military. What do high taxes buy you in France or Australia?
In France, you get awesome wine, great art, and nuclear power plants everywhere......and of course socialiazed medicine. Oops, I almost forgot, you also get a military that's so bad you need to ask the US for help in every conflict..........
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:44 PM   #149
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Don't think I'd want to defend to the death anything Barney Frank says.
Once you start deciding whose free speech has merit you want to defend, we all lose the right to speak freely. Think about it.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:58 PM   #150
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Don't think I'd want to defend to the death anything Barney Frank says.
Beowulf didn't say you should or that he would.
He said we would defend anyone's right to say anything they wanted.
If you don't believe in the freedom of speech you can bring those concerns to your elected representatives or even start a petition
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:44 PM   #151
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Personally, the only reason I can imagine for becoming an expat would be if our country went down some insane road of internal (then external) genocide like Germany did in the 1930s.
There are lots of good reasons to become an expat: to see something of the world, for immigrants and their descendants to get to know their/their family's country of origin, to earn a better income. Some people do it temporarily, some long term and some forever. In my own case I set off to spend a year in Hong Kong before going on to the UK to do postgrad studies. I was enjoying myself and kept postponing the postgrad studies - 17 years, a wife and two children later I'm still in Hong Kong and can't see myself living anywhere else.
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:28 PM   #152
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I consider myself to be an average Joe - never had one of those really high paying jobs or stock options, slowly progressed up the ladder to a mid-level position and saved when I could. In a year or two I'll retire and I'm pretty sure we will be able to live much the same as we have been for the past 40 years - decently, solidly middle class, not extravagently yet not in need of anything. All this on a middle of the road income, very little house trading (lived in same house for 27 years) and no keeping up with the neighbors.

Our kids went to public schools and colleges (for both bachelors and masters degrees). My DW and I went to "free" public colleges - meaning they were free to us, but someone else (the taxpayer) was footing the bill. I also earned graduate degrees through the munificence of the GI bill program (before they made soldiers put in their own money).

I've seen countless arguments in many places by people who don't want to pay for other's school, health, etc. The problem with that logic is that we all take advantage (or have the ability to) of taxpayer funded programs unless we are so rich we can fund everything ourselves. Taxes are the consequence of living in a free society. Right now our federal tax burden is the lowest it has been in a very long time. I certainly don't want to pay more for things I don't use, but fully understand the necessity of spreading the pain around. At one point or another, I believe most people have used some or many of the benefits available. I've been unemployed and received unemployment insurance. Our kids received federal college loans. And it goes on.

FWIW, we have lived in Europe (courtesy of the US Army) and there is nothing more that Europeans like to complain about than the high taxes. The VAT runs from 15% to 30% in most European countries - think about it - clothes that would cost 100 Euros cost 130 Euros with the VAT. Plus income taxes are pretty high in all those countries and downright confiscatory in some (Great Britain). If I am not mistaken, I believe the highest US tax bracket at one time in our not so distant past was as high as 90%. And now the highest marginal rate is something like 35% (?) - I don't know exactly as I've never hit that level.

Personally, the only reason I can imagine for becoming an expat would be if our country went down some insane road of internal (then external) genocide like Germany did in the 1930s. Nor can I picture events which would turn me so violently against our government that I would go "off the grid" and risk everything just to protest high taxes.

I don't know if brogan is a citizen, if he votes or what his income is. But I have not missed an election in 40 years (though some were done absentee) and I have no qualms at all about expressing my views to our elected representatives. That's the way our society works - I really do believe in the addage "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
Great post. You stated it much better than I could have.
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:45 PM   #153
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Regarding HK's apparently low tax rates, this has been brought up in the past in a thread by Dex, I think. The discussion was not about relocating there, but rather as an example that a country may not need a highly progressive tax to prosper. And by the way, I have not seen Dex for a while.

Note that I used the word "apparent" because I have not even visited HK, leave alone live there or know someone who does, in order to understand if there aren't other hidden taxes, or how HK's social services compare to those of other places.

From another member, Trek, I also learned that Estonia also has a flatter tax rate than the US. Yet, it appears to have a decent public health care system as Trek described. Does it have less waste than the US? Better and more efficient "gummint"?

Again, I do not see myself leaving the US. Just mentioning the other territories or nations as something for us to study. They could be doing something right that we can emulate. Just sayin'...
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:28 PM   #154
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Regarding HK's apparently low tax rates, this has been brought up in the past in a thread by Dex, I think. The discussion was not about relocating there, but rather as an example that a country may not need a highly progressive tax to prosper. And by the way, I have not seen Dex for a while.

Note that I used the word "apparent" because I have not even visited HK, leave alone live there or know someone who does, in order to understand if there aren't other hidden taxes, or how HK's social services compare to those of other places.
The tax rates in HK are low - the highest effective tax rate for salaries is 15%. Business taxes and taxes on rental income are at similar levels. There is no tax on income earned outside of Hong Kong, no tax on interest, no tax on dividends, no capital gains tax and no estate duty.

There are very high import duties on cars - but the public transport is excellent and cheap so a car is unnecessary here - and certain other goods like tobacco and petrol. We did have 80% duty on wine but that was abolished to the detriment of my liver.

There is stamp duty on property transactions (up to 3.75% paid by buyer only) and shares (0.1% paid by buyer and seller).

The public health system is very good and very low cost to users. Subsidised accomodation for low income families and individuals is available. Unemployment benefits and old age pensions exist but are limited compared to the US model.

The two major negatives with living in Hong Kong are housing - which is very expensive - and the air quality which is deterorating rapidly as the economic recovery gathers pace.

The Hong Kong government has substantial fiscal reserves and uses a conservative Keynsian approach to managing its finances (i.e. it runs a surplus during good years and a deficit during bad years to stimulate the economy).

I could go on, but this is starting to read like an advertisement for the city.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:49 PM   #155
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Not sure if I am missing something, but isn't Hong Kong a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China?? Since about 1997? That means the ChiComs can do whatever they want whenever they want to Hong Kong and no one anywhere else has any say in it whatsoever. Right now it's strictly hands off, but that could easily change if the US gets into some major dispute with China. Not sure I would want to risk my future for anything they have to offer.

BTW, spending a few years overseas, whether for education, or to see the world is not being an ex-pat to me. Moving overeas permanently is. Funny thing is that I can't find much evidence of too many countries other than the US where people risk death and imprisonment to get in.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:02 PM   #156
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In France, you get awesome wine, great art, and nuclear power plants everywhere......and of course socialiazed medicine. Oops, I almost forgot, you also get a military that's so bad you need to ask the US for help in every conflict..........
A couple of years ago I was browsing through a pawn shop, and the owner was trying to sell me a pistol. His description of it's condition was that it was as if it had been owned by a Frenchman, never been fired and only dropped once.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:38 PM   #157
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I just recall finding this joke on the Internet.
A Dutch tour guide explains to a group of American tourists about his national flag. "The colors of our flag symbolize our taxation system. We turn red when talking about it. We turn white when we receive the tax bill, and turn blue after we pay it".

An American nodded. "I know. It is the same in the US, except that we see stars too."
I did a search on the Web, and found this joke in multiple places. It always involves the Dutch, so the joke's originator must be Dutch because several other nations also have flags with the three colors mentioned above.
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Old 12-02-2009, 11:57 PM   #158
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Oops, I almost forgot, you also get a military that's so bad you need to ask the US for help in every conflict..........
That is why they created the French Foreign Legion. Pretty tough bastards by all accounts.

Don't forget, the US very likely owes its existence to the French, whose navy appeared on the scene at the right time and changed the British military minds about continuing the war of 1776. Historically, we owe them Big Time.

We are also very similar in national character--enthocentric, arrogant, imaginative, independent, brass cojones. No wonder we peck at each others livers.

I also credit them with helping win the Cold War. The Russians wanted to negotiate with the West as a bloc. The French "Force Frappe" (French nuclear force) was a spanner in the works and drove the Reds crazy, since they insisted upon being dealt with independently of the US/Britain/NATO. It is harder to win in a poker game with more than two players. There was even a time when the French Communist Party was against nuclear disarmament. They did not trust the Russians. Unlike my government, I appreciate true independence.

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Old 12-03-2009, 01:27 AM   #159
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Not sure if I am missing something, but isn't Hong Kong a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China?? Since about 1997? That means the ChiComs can do whatever they want whenever they want to Hong Kong and no one anywhere else has any say in it whatsoever. Right now it's strictly hands off, but that could easily change if the US gets into some major dispute with China. Not sure I would want to risk my future for anything they have to offer.
Technically no. HK has a constiution which guarantees (among other things) all the usual personal freedoms which was negotiated between the British and the PRC before the 1997 hand over. So far the PRC has respected the decisions of the HK courts even when those decisions have gone against the wishes of the PRC government and there have been no instances of the PRC attempting to erode personal freedoms in Hong Kong. Sure, the future can always change but that is true of all countries. This is not something I lose sleep over.

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Funny thing is that I can't find much evidence of too many countries other than the US where people risk death and imprisonment to get in.
The US is certainly a popular place for migrants (and deservedly so). There are other places which people will take considerable risks to enter. Indonesian boat people attempting to enter Australia is one of several examples I can think of. In most case, the push factor from the country of origin is what drives these people.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:53 AM   #160
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Funny thing is that I can't find much evidence of too many countries other than the US where people risk death and imprisonment to get in.
People in North Korea risk death and the imprisonment of their families when the try to escape to the PRC. You know just how bad a country has to be if China is where their people hope to escape to.
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