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Old 10-02-2008, 03:24 PM   #61
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AB, do you work for the Panamanian Chamber of Commerce...or have a RE Agency in Panama? Just curious...

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Old 10-02-2008, 05:02 PM   #62
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AB, do you work for the Panamanian Chamber of Commerce...or have a RE Agency in Panama? Just curious...

I'm waiting for Arif to provide the "fair & balanced" parts.

I like how the URL doesn't show up in your post because of the spaces, but shows up just fine when I quote it.
Panama Pensionado Visa question???
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Old 10-02-2008, 05:54 PM   #63
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I also have been living in Panama for the past 4 years. Many retired couples do live on $1500 per month or less....especially in the interior (outside of Panama city). The cost of living can be very low do the fact that all new construction homes, condos, apts..... get a 20 year tax exoneration. Many mountain areas never need AC or heating, and the cost of groceries and restaurants is lower...especially if you eat allot of whole foods...fruit, veggies, fresh fish.
So budget wise...... if you take out all your property taxes, heating/cooling costs, and have a much lower food bill you can begin to see the savings. Also movie tickets are $3 and a case of 24 bottled beers is $8....its like stepping back in time 25 years. Plus all the other benefits listed above for Retirement Visas. Lots of cinnamon skinned beauties too. Great surf in Panama and Costa Rica. Challenging and fun learning Spanish.

There are some warts though as you might imagine...potholed roads, mad max style driving, not allot of cultural activities, trash and poverty in some areas...

For me the positives outweigh the negatives.

Surf
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:25 AM   #64
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Why do we have to choose?

Can't we have both?
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:29 AM   #65
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Going to PI soon to spend time with GF. Owned house in Thailand and sold recently
when I got tired of the increasing crime and attitude of locals and bottom of the barrel foreigners the place attracts. Have Condo in Costa Rica as a HIDE AWAY,
ready to sell it also. Every third foreigner that lives in many of these places are
real estate salesmen with western price in mind and plenty are conmen right out. Being that I have not lived in USA for but 5 of last 30 some years I can adapt ok to most to include muslim life styles.
There is pot holes in about everthing and place jsy some more unsafe or annoying as others. I can live and play golf, go boating just as cheap here on east coast of Florida if not cheaper than in most of these
places mentioned in this forum. It all comes down to what standards you percieve as important enough to expect as common living qualities. If your biggest concern is cost of living you may have a rude awakening soon enough. Don't work your whole life so you can try to just get by in a 2nd or 3rd world country with the riff raft that barely worked at all and now on some scam of a pension. You most likely would not want to live around them here but there your stuck with them.
Not sure if proper to place this here but if anyone is interested in Jaco Beach Costa Rica where they will hold world surfing championships next year I'll let my place go
for much less than what the guy is selling for now and a bit less than what I have in it. Condominums Suenos del Paraiso - Jaco, Costa Rica
Enjoy life and be safe!
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:57 AM   #66
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You definitely must want a life style change first - and then consider living overseas. Second, if you decide to go to an area, try living there for a while first... life looks a lot different as a tourist and as an expat. Also, if the place is popular with Americans, it probably is paradise lost.

Having said that, if you want to live with a lot less hassles from taxes to government b.s. to keeping up with the Jones, then overseas living has a lot going for it. If I do not want to do something, I don't do it - social obligations are zero.

Plus, you certainly cannot get a maid or a young wife in East Florida - or a house for $25,000 - mine has a view of the ocean. I live in a third world country (Indonesia) and love every minute, but it fits my style - the people are happy and always friendly.

I don't need broadband internet, and I survive the potholes. I don't consider that living in the slums, nor do I thing the people I know riff raff. I have more than enough money to retire anywhere I want, but I choose to live in Indonesia. Not because it is much cheaper (which it is), but because I like it here.
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Old 10-05-2008, 11:30 AM   #67
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Hobo
Hope your not the same guy ( american that use to own MJE Co. in Thailand
( James W. C.).
Seems he ran off to Indonesia owing alot of people and has warrants for his and his
wives arrest in Thailand. He sounds similar to your situation and ran off to Indonesia
also. Indonesia may be fine to you but the fact that many have had quite well sheltered western style living since born ( not rich style either) can be very hard to adapt. GOVERNMENT JOBS IN MANY OF THESE PLACES are treated like private businesses to steal/bribe anyone and everyone. Euro trash to include Australians
are no better than U.S riff raft and much of the time have the same problems, which most hate where they come from. Sure wish the would of had some time growing up on a rice field for a few decades like many of the countries they seem to think is paradise now with no chance of education or careers.
As I have had a long term foundation here I find it hard to spend $1K a month and
Chasing women around for enjoyment is long past my present situation and can be
done quite easily here or a couple hundred $ plane ticket. Well have to go now golf
with friends today about 10 minute drive 10 miles away, try that in third world traffic.
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:50 AM   #68
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No, I'm not running from anybody - but this is a great place to hide if you don't want to be found.

You are right, some expats from foreign countries can be irritating, just like some of the locals. In a way, living in a country which allows in so many people from so many other countries makes life much more interesting. It makes me feel like I am part of the whole world.

Its all a matter of preference. You can live to play golf, I live to be surrounded by beautiful girls. Your hobby probably costs the same as mine. As you said, its all what standards you perceive as important enough for a suitable quality of life. I wouldn't live in shack in any country. But, for me, I'll gladly trade the golf course, the taxes, the cost of owning and operating a car, and a lot of government intrusion that I are common in the US for the freedom and cheap cost of living I can find in Indonesia.

Now please excuse me while I drink my fruit smoothie that my maid just served me at my computer.
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Old 10-06-2008, 09:32 AM   #69
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I wouldn't live in shack in any country. But, for me, I'll gladly trade the golf course, the taxes, the cost of owning and operating a car, and a lot of government intrusion that I are common in the US for the freedom and cheap cost of living I can find in Indonesia.

Now please excuse me while I drink my fruit smoothie that my maid just served me at my computer.
You do make it sound very appealing.

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Old 10-06-2008, 10:54 AM   #70
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for $10 you can be found and for a bit more you can be locked up, deported or worse.
Life as an ATM is interesting either way I guess, yeah that is paradise.
Having someone clean-up after myself or making me drinks is more of an intrusion
to me. We all have our quirks in life and the $18 I paid for having the pleasure of
my friends 73 yo mother kick my butt on the pristine golf course yesterday was a part of it.
Sorry no caddy but I did finish the game with the same ball I started with.
Lifes grand pleasure are much appreciated and thank whomever for affording me
the paradise I was born into. I'll cherish the paradise I have before I condem it and look to be the ATM in another. I am sure these paradises are handing out benefits like we have so we can prance off to another when we don't agree with gov policy.
Enjoy and be thankful for the paradise that affords you such things in life, do it graciously in fact. Have a nice day in the land of the most population of muslims
in the world. I think it has been a few months since the last christian beheading
but then what did we expect for paradise.. You gotta love it and let the good times roll....
http://www.harrythehorse.com/
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Old 10-06-2008, 11:38 AM   #71
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yea, sometimes it hard to take. I think she loves me for my fancy kitchen

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Old 10-06-2008, 11:58 AM   #72
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yea, sometimes it hard to take. I think she loves me for my fancy kitchen

Whoa! You have 2 of those beauties!

Ha
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Old 10-06-2008, 12:18 PM   #73
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Hobo...please continue to add info about you experience...I have never done anything remotely like you have done...but am interested in learning about it.
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Old 10-07-2008, 06:59 AM   #74
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Maybe a bit hard on Indonesia and I have ran into a few people that swear by it, alot
of oil workers in the region make it there home base. As Hobo has mentioned I
was also it is told it is very cheap for many things and reasons.
Most of these places can be very trying at times if not down right irratating
to the core.
Ecuador was on my list of places also to look into temp living. No pension and
95% invested in different assets but mostly stock market. One of my hedge funds
is 85% cash and was actually up on 6 Oct 08 and only down 2% for 08.

Here is a site I use to read for info on South America, think they request donations and do a monthly letter. They have club houses ran by volunteers and some cheap hostels or hotel information from what I remember. I never joined their membership but did for some reason get the monthly goings on, maybe it was free. Where ever a person decides to reside can vary for many reasons, doing it because of budget limits can be very rough and total distraught. Have a great day and enjoy all worlds
South American Explorers Destinations

For the single males (mainly) has info on several asian destinations Thai360 - Thailand Nightlife - Thai360 - Powered by FusionBB

Of course thaivisa.com is a great site for info on Thailand and near by countries Cambodia, Malaysia and maybe a few others .
There was also a message board on Indonesia maybe under Batam, Indonesia.

Be careful as many of these places do not follow current laws and we are looked at as nothing more than walking ATM's. Local law enforcement will try to get money from you for no reason, just a common shake down specially if you drive.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:32 AM   #75
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Maybe a bit hard on Indonesia and I have ran into a few people that swear by it, alot
of oil workers in the region make it there home base. As Hobo has mentioned I
was also it is told it is very cheap for many things and reasons.
Most of these places can be very trying at times if not down right irratating
to the core.

There was also a message board on Indonesia maybe under Batam, Indonesia.

Be careful as many of these places do not follow current laws and we are looked at as nothing more than walking ATM's. Local law enforcement will try to get money from you for no reason, just a common shake down specially if you drive.
I think every foreign country has its problems - everything is a trade-off. I think one of the big problems is a lack of understanding about money. Many people, including the girl in the picture, is accustomed to living on less than $2 per day. Meanwhile everything is a cash economy, so most foreigners walk around with $50 in their wallet - just walking around money. Some people are very honest; but you can understand the temptation other people have to steal or over-charge you.

It takes a little time and some painful experiences until you learn how to be more careful. The police will stop you at a routine road block just to check everyone's papers. And yes, if you drive without a driver's license, there is a good chance the police will give you a lecture. The only difference is in Indonesia you can pay the cop $20 and be on your way. If you drive without a license in the US, you are in really big trouble.

I have never played Russian roulette with the police - and have never been stopped just for a random shake down. But just today, my internet was not working - so I went to the internet provider to find out the problem. It turns out I paid $30 for my monthly service to a guy and he just pocketed the money. No receipt (stupid me), and the service was turned off. The guy I paid money to recently quit so I had no choice but to pay again.

Those are the kind of irritations that crop up. Fortunately it is not often, and most of the time it involves small amounts of money. On the way home, I stopped at a local street vendor and bought some mixed rice dish with vegetables and a local variation of all-beef shish kebob. I bought enough food to feed 4 adults for less than $5.

In the end, the cheap prices far outweigh the scams. But some foreigners just cannot handle the random cases of dishonesty... So you hear stories all the time about problems.

I think, as a rule, the further away you live from large pockets of expats, such as parts of Costa Rica and Bali, the cheaper things become and the more local benefits that you can find - but at the same time you will bump into cultural problems more often.

I pay the girls in the photo $20 per month each to be a live-in maid. She will stay a virgin until she marries. I must go to one of the tourist hotels if I want to get a "wife for the night". Anyway, she cooks, cleans, and helps take care of my 3 year-old-son (who was born when I was age 59 ) from a previous marriage to another local girl. The divorce cost me $300 to settle - and if I wanted to get married again that would cost me $300. My son has a US passport and will get my future social security payments until he is age 18 (21 if he is in college) - so will a future wife

It may not be perfect but, as Randy Newman sings, "My life is good."
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Old 10-07-2008, 06:17 PM   #76
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Hobo sounds as if you are very happy and that is what counts.
I can assure most living like the locals or on a rigid budget can be very
trying if not down right painful. The locals do not really want you to be
a local and more appreciate your wealth as a foreigner, I am sure many
may disagree. I have heard many comments from locals that cannot wait to
voice their opinion about the foreign guy that lives like a local.
Best thing to do would be to remember your foreign status no matter who
or how much you have helped them out and keep the ability to be mobile.
There is really no great paradise from what I've encounterd through the years
and home will always be the country where I grew up. Keep it all in perspective
and maybe understand why we cannot purchase land in our own names in most
of these places even if it is just a house to live. The cards are stacked against
you on most instances and you may not be afforded the same laws the locals
enjoy without giving up some cash.
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Old 10-08-2008, 10:10 AM   #77
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wcv56 - It sounds like you have had some recent problems living overseas. You are right, there is no such thing as a true paradise - including living in the US. Perhaps your experiences and mine are fundamentally different. Many very specific places in the world are just overflowing with expats. I think the population of Bali, Indonesia is 25% foreigners. That, in itself, tells me it is ripe for problems. When you get a heavy mixture of rich foreigners and poor locals, conditions are ripe for all sorts of scams and rip-offs. I hear the same thing has happened in parts of Costa Rica and in Baja California, Mexico.

I chose to live in a place which is popular only because of the good surfing. I'm not sure what you mean by "living like a local", but no foreigner here wants to in a grass and bamboo shack. Yet, no one lives in opulent luxury either. My house is roughly equivalent to the houses of some of the successful businessmen in town. Nothing ostentatious, but I do have satellite TV, room air conditioning and hot water.

I always remember that I am a guest in a foreign country and try avoid any situations which would cause trouble. I am not setting up any businesses that are in competition with the locals, nor do I speak badly of anyone. I have paid for some very sick children to go the hospital and also for some smart kids to go to high school or college. But on the whole, I keep my distance from most locals. I keep all of my financial and charitable affairs as closely guarded secrets.

Finally, if I do run into any conflicts (of which there have been several), I alway settle up quickly with a little extra cash - and never allow matters to escalate to the point were the local police, courts or immigration get involved. In my mind, I am glad to give up some extra cash to prevent a situation from turning ugly.

Sometimes I wish the same system were in place in the US. I have been to court civil court four times in the US and the cost is outrageous - and nobody is ever happy.
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:34 AM   #78
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I've been pretty busy lately and was surprised at all the interesting posts. Concerning Filipinas using whitening cream...besides the European influence, Chinese Filipinos, who also are of lighter complexion than the majority who are of Malay stock, have dominated the economy for generations. The Chinese minorities in every Southeast Asian country tend to do well financially and in the Philippines contribute to the belief that lighter complexions are associated with wealth.

I once read of an expat in the Philippines who said when he visited family in Houston he was treated like a nobody. But in his neighborhood in the Philippines he's treated with great respect. He's "Tio Henry", or Uncle Henry there. Everyone says hi, asks how he's doing, asks for his opinion on many subjects. It's easy to be cynical about motives, but you may find that people who aren't wealthy in material things often are very happy anyways. In many countries, certainly in the Phils, family is everything. And once you're in the family, you have alot of people looking out for you. I guess it's why tens of thousands of white men are very happily living in the Philippines.

Concerning Social Security and dependants...when you start taking Social Security and have underage dependants, they are each entitled to a payment equal to half your full Social Security payment, even if you took the early retirement option at 62. They will receive this payment until they are 18, 19 if they are still in high school. The college extension has been discontinued. And one family can receive a maximum total amount equal to 180% of the retiree's maximum benefit. For example, you retire at 62, receive $1000 a month. For example's sake say your full payment at 66 would have been $1400 and you have 2 young kids. They get $700 each until 18, payable to you until they're 16, then directly to them until 18. So your $1000 plus their payments equals $2400 a month. 180% of $1400 equals $2520 so your family's total payment is under the threshold. If you have 3 kids the max in this example would be $2520 with each child getting a smaller payment. According to the Social Security website half a million minor dependants of retired and deceased parents, as well as guardians like grandparents, receive payments. And the child born overseas with at least one American citizen parent is an American citizen too and entitled to assistance. But, and I'm not 100% clear on this but pretty certain, if you marry a non-American she must live in the U.S. a certain amount of time as at least a legal resident, I believe it's 5 years, before she'd be eligible for benefits off of your Social Security.

In light of current economic realities dependant benefits may be reduced in the future, but it's good to know that assistance is available and in countries like Ecuador that much extra can make a big difference in a family's quality of life.

Regards,
Wade
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:04 AM   #79
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I think you will find it quite universal, at least in Asia, that white skin is associated with beauty. I live in Indonesia, and the slightest difference in skin color can in men and women can influence their ability to find a boyfriend/ girlfriend. Even young women that look very attractive to me with their "Polynesian sweet chocolate" skin color have openly admitted that their skin color significantly decreases their attractiveness in the eyes of local men. They are amazed to hear that American women lie out in the sun to get a sun tan. I recently read in the book " Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade" that whiter skin seems to be naturally more attractive to most humans. Over the years, genetics and natural selection seem to have favored light colored skin.

Most women have very little body hair (except pubic hair). Consequently, they never need to shave. If a woman does have some hair on her legs, local men find it very sexy!

Living in a foreign culture can really open a whole new world for any retiree who has grown tired of television, cocktail parties, and answering machines. Globalization is quickly causing the demise of local cultural traditions - which is sad. However, you can still travel to places where life is very different than it is in Western countries. Every day can be a new discovery. Personally, I find it delays the on-set of old age.

Just today, I had lunch with an attractive 18 year old young woman - a nursing student. She told me how here mother had been born into a high class family (ie, noble blood). But the mother chose to marry a man from the lower class. That was cause for her mother to be expelled from her native village. Consequently, the young woman had completely lost contact with the mother's side of her family. Loosing family links means loosing a lot of much needed support in times of trouble. All very strange, but interesting to me. I hear these kind of stories almost every day.

Thanks for your rundown on the Social Security laws - very helpful to me. I may just have another baby to collect an extra $800 per month!
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:48 AM   #80
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Just today, I had lunch with an attractive 18 year old young woman - a nursing student.!
That alone should tell us that life for single older men in Southeast Asia, and many other places, is very different from the U.S.!

I noticed today that the Dollar has gained considerably this week against many currencies. Mexican and Chilean Pesos especially. There may be a silver lining for those with American Dollars in this global downturn. I've seen reports lately of American couples living well in Ecuador on $600 a month and at the rate the Mexican Peso has dropped this week that may well be true there soon.

Regards,
Wade
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