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Old 07-01-2010, 01:33 PM   #21
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Oops, just noticed that this thread has been more active than I realized. You don't give up Social Security if you're in a "prohibited" country. It just accumulates. The difficulty with having it deposited in the U.S. and accessing it electronically is that you can't access it electronically from any bank in Belarus that I'm aware of. However, I can have it sent via regular mail to the U.S. Embassy in Minsk and go pick it up every month. When my wife was there and I was here, getting her money was a real problem -- Western Union was the only reliable way, albeit with their somewhat high rates. I'll need to be creative to access both my Social Security and my State of Arizona pension.

As for health care, well ... I always say that my running shoes are my primary health insurance. Free health care in Belarus is primitive -- my wife had several root canals and a endoscopy with no anethesia whatsoever, and she was put on the bus home about an hour after a hysterectomy. I visted her sister in a hospital, where she was warehoused in a room with five other patients. But it's free. And there are much pleasanter private clinics at what we in the U.S. would consider very reasonable prices.

About the Belarusians in the U.S. who would never return to Belarus: Yes, we know several of those. That's pretty much going to be the mindset of those who are here, or you wouldn't find them here in the first place. They are very much into the whole capitalist thing. I had an interesting discussion with a woman from the State Department on my first visit to Minsk -- she found it depressing how quickly and completely some countries like Ukraine have bought into the "worst of capitalism" (her words) and was happy that Belarus was moving slowly and retaining some of its traditional values. My wife has plenty of horror stories from the Soviet era, but she says things are much better now (at least in terms of goods and services).

Anyway, I don't think I have any illusions about Belarus being the undiscovered Hawaii. I'm more motivated by family concerns and, frankly, the desire for Something Completely Different.

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Old 07-01-2010, 01:57 PM   #22
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I immigrated from Ukraine 20 some years ago and Belarus and Ukraine are different countries and can't be compared (although there are probably some similarities). But I have no plans to ER/R in any of them (should I add if FIRECalc does not go crazy on my plans!?)

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Old 07-05-2010, 01:33 AM   #23
Confused about dryer sheets
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all you have to do is get direct deposit into yuor usa accout and use atm card overseas. not really difficult.even banks will directly take out of account if you give them atm card but fees for keping virtual number ,ggod aidea if free,some are. but i wouldnt waste lots of money t otake care of "papers" like other poster said.if yuo on high expat salry yes but based on lower income you plan on living on not worth it. lots of money= lots of paperwork. have all your statements go green so no mail needed.problem you may run into is its usually illegal to get credit cards ,atm cards sent in mail in these countries. i lived in ukraine. but if you go to a bank with personal bank(norm today) yuo can make requests for them sen dhl or meest hich bypaasses all account in first republic bank if yiou can get to one. they rebate all atm fees overseas so you will never be hit with atm fees and maybe still even pay the visa fee conversion fee for you. this bank you get personal banker so yuo il lhave someone who handles your needs for health insurance medicaid will not be available,so maybe you have enough funds to join subscription healt care. they have it in ukraine. basically chain of clinics that more modern,western that will take care of you. i say this because one of the reasons i m avoiding retiring to ukraine(other than boredom) is health care and i know for fact ukraine has much better healthcare options then both belarus or russia. fact is ukraine is more advanced country and because of wester partnerships many dr.s have western training as oppose to belaurs that pises off europe and not as much technical trading going for weather when i lived in kiev weather for almost exactly like nyc except a little more snow(not as much as upstate though) and winter is like atleast one month longer. odessa actually same as nyc. i would think minsk would be like rochester temperatures but not as much snow.funny thing is evetyplace toasty as whell in winter so not a problem . i found summer t obe better than usea because not as humid as new york and night time temps not as hot.
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:31 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Runner View Post's hysterical to me that Belarus is one of the few countries on the U.S. hit list that prevents Social Security from sending your checks unless you go personally to the embassy in Minsk and pick them up each month. ...

The reason is fraud! Eastern Europe is a place where a fair amount of fraud criminal activity originates against the US (often organized crime rings)... electronically and sometimes otherwise.

Much stolen identity info is suspected to be in the hands of sophisticated rings of criminals. There is often little real help or willingness of local authorities to assist with these sort of problems.... at best, they are unsympathetic, at worst... paid off.
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:13 PM   #25
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Interesting, I thought I was the only one thinking of doing this. I won't be retiring for at least 15 years, but I'm very familiar with Belarus. I lived there in the 90's and got married there. We've lived in the US since then, but return every year or so, to see family. I figured that it's only fair since she moved here with me, I can move back there when we retire. We'll both only be in our early 50s then, and are looking forward to it.

It is a beautiful country, and the people are nice. It has changed so much since I first went there in 1996. You're correct in the politics of the country are different, but it depends on how you look at what happens. Belarus never experience all the troubles that Russia went through in the 90s, but on the other hand, you don't have a lot of room to disagree with the administration in Belarus, I suppose it all affects you by how close you are to the system. As for me, when i retire, all I want to do is find a house by a big lake, cook shashlik, and get a part time job working for a hunting or shooting club.

We are always looking for towns to live in, usually in between my looking for castles and churches, and trying local beers. I do hope that the pace of life will be the same there when I retire, and I can enjoy it.

Yes the winters can be long and cold, but I'm sure I can find some kid to shovel the walk for me. Plus, it's only a two hour direct flight to either Turkey or Cyprus from Minsk airport, so relief is close by.

Good luck with your plan, I hope it works out for you in Belarus.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:18 PM   #26
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Each to his own and best of luck. My grandparents came to the US in the very early 1900s to escape Eastern European dictatorships/monarchies and be free. They also were fleeing from open anti-semetism and pograms. From what I read about current goings on in those countries, not a lot has changed in that regard in the past 110 years. Voluntarily moving to a country with a dictator, a controlled press and a general atmosphere of anti-capitalism is not for me.

The motto "Live free or die" is strong part of US history and I heartily agree with it.
Mission accomplished - not necessarily ER, but certainly R.
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Old 10-10-2010, 03:58 PM   #27
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Regarding getting SS or doing any other US banking, I hear it helps to use City or other bank with branches all over the world. Either you will find them in Minsk or it should be easy to make transfer from City to your bank.
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:51 AM   #28
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BelarusBound mentioned 'shashlik' and, man, it made me dream of my next vacation to the Eastern Europe. I've been living in the US for 12 years but when we go back to visit my folks in Lithuania, "shashlik" is one of my main requests in addition to a few other food staples .
Of course, my homeland is nothing to compare to the rest of the ex-Soviet bloc countries, but every time I visit Lithuania I feel convinced that I won't retire back there. Of course, never say never and I don't know how our lives will turn out here, but I'd be happier retiring in Germany though.
If you tolerate heat, then you're in great shape because A/C is not an option there and it can get very hot in the summer (with this climate change or whatever it is).
You're right about health care there. The 'free' one is not free. You just bribe each person who takes care of you in the hospital. If you're against bribing, you better visit a private clinic instead. BTW, prices for the services are not that low at all.
Well, hopefully dentists numb your teeth these days there, but I do recall those nightmare visits when my cavities and root canals were treated w/out any anesthesia....grrrr
Fat's sad to say but when we visited Lithuania and German last month, I noticed a few overweight adults and kids.....thank you chips :-(.

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