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Old 07-15-2014, 11:09 AM   #21
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Please try to remember that what is "here" for you is not the same "here" for many others on this board. I imagine that it must get annoying for non-Americans to have some folks on this and other forums assume that everyone else on the forum is American.
I find nationals on boards from other countries do the same thing knowing that some members/readers are from the USA. I'd like them to wring their hands more about offending people, even tho the few non-natives (mostly Americans) on the board know full-well what they are referring to and have, and ought to have, no problem with it. Just an observation about Americans and Non-Americans. It's a small world after all. Quando a Roma fate come i Romani. Communication is 2-way street.
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:41 AM   #22
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I've wondered what the appeal was of moving to a foreign country for retirement. Inevitably, physical and mental skills deminish and we can certainly be at a significant disadvantage not being a local even if nobody is trying to scam you. Even in the US, I had a grandmother scammed by some home health care workers and DW and I deflected what started to smell very quickly like a scam with my FIL.

The prior comments about understanding street talk where it isn't in your native language is so true. The only way to minimize this is to go to English speaking retirement areas. This isn't just true for the US. Brits retire in large numbers to Spain and have overwhelmed certain areas.

Cost is always the big issue I hear about to retire in a foreign location. That may be true but if money is the driving factor I suspect parts of the US can have living costs approaching some of the more popular foreign locations. This would be especially true when travel cost are included.

I've always liked the concept of being a migrant between interesting locations. Pick an area of interest and spend several months exploring in depth. You can move between locations as so inclined and have a "nest" back in the old home country. As we age, we will lose mobility and the ability to care for ourselves. I can't imagine wanting to end my days amongst strangers when I have friends and family here. This is similar to Billy and Akesha (spelling?) who have posted here in the past.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:32 PM   #23
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As we age, we will lose mobility and the ability to care for ourselves. I can't imagine wanting to end my days amongst strangers when I have friends and family here. This is similar to Billy and Akesha (spelling?) who have posted here in the past.
If you have lived in some place like Rockford IL your whole life and your kids and parents are there, it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to retire to Portugal at age 50 or 60.

But I think at least some here already left home years ago, perhaps married someone from another state or country, and are hundreds or thousands of miles away from family, and the kids may be attending school or have jobs in other cities / states / countries, so there is no reason to necessarily retire in the location they are now.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:46 PM   #24
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If this site represents the community of English-speaking retirees worldwide, then it should start acting like it. Otherwise change the name to US early retirees and be done with it.

But then stop claiming eyeballs that you are not properly serving. The OP on this thread was the one who derailed the other thread.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:16 PM   #25
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Discussions about places to live should rightly focus on their advantages and shortcomings. The most useful threads stick to the actual experiences of our members around the world and avoid stereotypical discussions or contrasting social and economic policy.

Our ER Forum does not represent any specific geography, we are an international community. Reminding everyone of our community rules, we are also courteous and welcoming, and we must keep those values in the forefront when we discuss and contrast culture and lifestyles across different societies.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:29 PM   #26
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As recently as 5 years ago, I seriously entertained the idea of spending a few years in Southern France (Provence), or Tuscany, or Malta where they speak English. Now that I am free, I am not thinking about it anymore. I was still gung ho then. I am tired now. There's a lot of logistics involved, the red tape, etc... My goal is to go back to Provence to spend 2 or 3 weeks, and I have not done so for health reasons. Perhaps next year.

I find the cable show House Hunter International very interesting, because you see the home interior in foreign countries that you do not get to see otherwise. And watching this show, I notice that most of the time, either the wife or the husband came from that country, and now wants to go back for retirement. It is indeed hard to go plant yourself down in a foreign country where you know nobody, and do not quite understand the culture even though you know a bit of the language. I am getting old, and playing tourist for a few weeks is now fine with me.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:37 PM   #27
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The OP on this thread was the one who derailed the other thread.
Hopefully I do not irritate too many with this thread...

Every place has its advantages and disadvantages. I personally like the US. But keep in mind you get what you pay for.

And if you are leaving to go to a country outside the USA, you follow their laws, their customs and their rules. If you cannot do that, you should think about whether you should go there.

Many things that are taken for granted of here in the USA, and not available in a different country. The same is true in reverse. You just need to understand before you take a leap to go to a different country, or even state, what the implications are. Just because you may be used to modern building codes in the US, doesn’t mean they exist elsewhere.

As someone who works at a bank, I would have never thought that my mother would be on the hook for a bank employee stealing a check, from the middle of a check book, before she even picked them up from the bank. Luckily she had several accounts or it would have been a disaster.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:38 PM   #28
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My friends in Lima who have a little B and B were featured on that House Hunters show. Pretty cool.

We have a longtime friend who moved to Belize for retirement a few years ago. He has VA healthcare, so still come up for treatment every now and again. I think our buddy did a good job of preparing himself for the differences between SC and Belize, mostly by spending extended vacations there when possible and getting to know locals enough to build a good network.

He loves it there, and one key reason is that he is a very charity minded person, and in a small community like where he is, he can make a large impact with little money. That is way in contrast to his experiences here in the USA.

I'd say there are at least two dozen Maya kiddos from the neighboring village whose school fees he pays--and every one of them brings him their report card each month. He's promised to pay for college for any that want to go, as they are all little guys and girls at this point.

He's a happy expatriate, because he's built the kind of life he wanted down there.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:46 PM   #29
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It is always difficult to live in a place to which you are unaccustomed, just ask any "3rd world" immigrant who has come to live in the U.S. Everyday things that are easy to do in your home country are difficult to do, where do you go to buy hardware, find the food you like, get medical care, meet friends, everything. I think the OP does not do justice to the real issues regarding relocation, which go way beyond silly things like dead horses or not falling into potholes.
The article does have a U.S. perspective and nothing wrong with that. It is about why people from the U.S. might want to think first before falling in love with the perceived charm and low expenses of a low cost foreign land. I know some, some seem to be doing very well, others seem incredibly lonely.
On the other hand life is indeed short, and if you love adventure, and have experience handling living in remote places, why not.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:49 PM   #30
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Discussions about places to live should rightly focus on their advantages and shortcomings. The most useful threads stick to the actual experiences of our members around the world and avoid stereotypical discussions or contrasting social and economic policy.

Our ER Forum does not represent any specific geography, we are an international community. Reminding everyone of our community rules, we are also courteous and welcoming, and we must keep those values in the forefront when we discuss and contrast culture and lifestyles across different societies.
I am trying not to say anything to get this thread closed, but I do think it is hard to separate out where to retire and social and economic policies when those policies impact factors such as the cost of health care, long term care, odds of going bankrupt, general poverty levels or personal safety issues and the differences are based on quantifiable, well published statistics, not simply matters of personal opinion.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:58 PM   #31
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As someone who works at a bank, I would have never thought that my mother would be on the hook for a bank employee stealing a check, from the middle of a check book, before she even picked them up from the bank. Luckily she had several accounts or it would have been a disaster.
I am truly sorry for your mother's bad experience. I am amazed that no one advised you to go to PROFECO because they look after consumers that are wronged by companies.

I am not saying they would solve the problem. Crooked bankers are a real problem wherever they pop up. (Remember sub-prime loans?)

But expecting another country to be like yours is a bit naive. Every country has its warts, including yours (and mine).
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Old 07-15-2014, 04:11 PM   #32
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I am trying not to say anything to get this thread closed, but I do think it is hard to separate out where to retire and social and economic policies when those policies impact factors such as the cost of health care, long term care, odds of going bankrupt, general poverty levels or personal safety issues and the differences are based on quantifiable, well published statistics, not simply matters of personal opinion.
That what bothered me so much about OP. I got a check for my extended health coverage and it was to my first and last name. I tried to deposit it in my Mexican account (BBVA Bancomer) and they refused. Why? Because my passport had 3 names on it! So I asked the insurance company to reissue the checks in 3 names.

The banks in Mexico are very inflexible. That does not prevent fraud by bank employees. In fact. there is such an earnings disparity, that there is an amazing variety of small scams at work. Like selling trinkets on the beach as real silver. There is also petty crime. B&E or pickpockets. Much like among the druggies in East Vancouver.

But once you understand the environment, you make adjustments, and enjoy life.
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Old 07-15-2014, 04:19 PM   #33
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I am trying not to say anything to get this thread closed, but I do think it is hard to separate out where to retire and social and economic policies when those policies impact factors such as the cost of health care, long term care, odds of going bankrupt, general poverty levels or personal safety issues.
As a frustrated non-expat I understand your point, especially as our retirement plans abroad were interrupted by some of the things you refer to. If someone feels a location is not suitable because the cost of health care is high, fine. That does not mean we should have a discussion on healthcare policy.

I lived as an expat for more than 25 years and intended to remain permanently in our home abroad. That plan changed because stuff happens. We can acknowledge the existence of social and security issues without any need to discuss why they exist or how to change them.
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Old 07-15-2014, 04:20 PM   #34
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In my experience, the hardest thing about emigrating is the loss of your rights and privileges as a full fledged citizen. As an immigrant, you become vulnerable. You are a second-rate denizen in a foreign land.
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Old 07-15-2014, 04:26 PM   #35
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That what bothered me so much about OP. I got a check for my extended health coverage and it was to my first and last name. I tried to deposit it in my Mexican account (BBVA Bancomer) and they refused. Why? Because my passport had 3 names on it! So I asked the insurance company to reissue the checks in 3 names.

The banks in Mexico are very inflexible. That does not prevent fraud by bank employees. In fact. there is such an earnings disparity, that there is an amazing variety of small scams at work. Like selling trinkets on the beach as real silver. There is also petty crime. B&E or pickpockets. Much like among the druggies in East Vancouver.

But once you understand the environment, you make adjustments, and enjoy life.
When I was in Mexico years ago, I was walking alone along a busy street and an old van pulled up and 5 guys jumped out. So I thought this is it. I guess this is how it ends.

Then they tried to sell me a time share. So I guess I understand the culture a little better after that! I also got a lot of marriage proposals from guys at the hotel since I was there with a friend and not my husband. I can see where the income disparity would take some getting used to. But of course there are going to be pros and cons everywhere you go.

I used to work on projects with a lot of American employees assigned to locations in Asia and some were pretty bummed out about getting reassigned back to the U.S. It meant giving up their maids, drivers, gardeners, cooks and nannies. At least back then the income differential really worked in their favor.
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Old 07-15-2014, 04:41 PM   #36
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Don't look for what you have in your home country in other countries. This way you won't be disappointed.

When we visit a new place, we always think of what it would be like to live there. In Mexico, there are certain places we could be for longer periods of time, but if we needed to visit a hospital for something major, we'd be on the first plane back to the US. Mexico is easy in that regard, since it's close to the US.

But if I was in Thailand, my flight would go straight to Bangkok and I'd probably get better and definitely cheaper care than the US.

Each place has it's pluses and minuses.

I think the key is to know what you are looking for. If you're looking for a US retirement in a cheaper locale, then you are bound to be disappointed.
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Old 07-15-2014, 04:42 PM   #37
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Experience and thread topic.

I've had extensive experience in 4 countries outside the US. In only 1 was the native language English. I've lived long term in 2 of those countries. My w**k provided an opportunity to travel to many areas of the globe, although I've never been to Central or South America.

As regards the article mentioned in the OP; IMHO, in respect to some of the areas I've traveled in (always in the company of natives of those countries) I think the article is spot on. In fact, there are a few more warnings I'd add. In respect to the 4 countries I've spent extensive time in, (and I hope this comment is acceptable under forum rules) I find the article to contain a degree of scare mongering.

IMHO, if one has the required levels of tolerance and seeks to live abroad for whatever reason, having economics as the sole driving consideration in selecting a country will result in tears.
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Old 07-15-2014, 04:46 PM   #38
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There is nothing worse than a whining expat.......
I can name many, many things that are worse than a whining expat but I don't think that starting that long, long list would be appropriate to this thread.
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:08 PM   #39
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On the flip side a record number of Americans are giving up their citizenship -
Record number of Americans give up citizenship

.
Wow. So few giving up citizenship compared to the millions clamoring to get in. Something must be OK about living here for at least a few of us.

daylatedollarshort - if you had added your name to the list of folks giving up their citizenship, then it would have been an even 3,000. By neglecting this, it remained at 2,999, about 1 person out of every 100,000.
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:14 PM   #40
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DW and I have seriously looked at a few Latin American countries, but mainly Costa Rica. We've been there 3 times, twice for an extended period. Costa Rica is absolutely beautiful. We especially enjoy the central mountains, where the year-round temperature ranges from 65 to 80, with spectacular views. Stable, progressive government, very low cost of living, excellent healthcare system, expat-friendly policies, high quality of living, near-zero pollution, easy travel access to the US, robust economy with government surplus, reasonably safe with low crime rate... just a few of the reasons we are seriously looking at emigrating to Costa Rica.

We also lived in Asia for 3 years in our 40s for work reasons, so we are more-or-less familiar with the complications of being an expat, including language barriers (although our Spanish is notably better than our Mandarin). But that experience opened our eyes and our minds to all the beautiful and interesting places where US retirees can live. And live quite well, compared to what those same dollars will buy in the US.

We love the US and enjoy living here very much. We definitely are not trying to escape a negative situation. But if you consider our reasons stated above, that should provide a flavor of the main areas where we would like to improve our station. As others have noted, after having lived abroad, you see the US through a clearer lens, less fettered by decades of well-intentioned political socialization.

At this point, the only thing holding us back is family. In-laws are in poor health and our kids are just out of college and still getting themselves established. We'll probably continue traveling there for extended stays until we're sure it's going to work.
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