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Old 08-17-2011, 02:07 PM   #41
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Three key attributes of expatriate life

1. A sense of humor
2. A strong liver
3. The ability to say "NO"
4. And a current passport.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:52 PM   #42
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I'm trying to imagine a place with more rights and less influence than the U.S.

Switzerland? Canada? The Cayman Islands? Australia?

Even if you find a first-world country like that, I'm not sure how the rest of the "quality of life" factors would compare.
I agree. That's why I said one might not be able to live in an "advanced" (as Ha put it) country. Most, if not all, of the first world countries seem to be moving that way, and rapidly as technology progresses.

At some point it may be a tradeoff of living in a first world big brother society or living in a third world, government doesn't care society. I'm sure many will choose the former.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:55 PM   #43
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:44 PM   #44
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There are no safety nets. Or railings...
I'm more worried about the guys behind me who might accidentally jostle me as I'm leaning over the edge to admire the scenery...
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Old 08-20-2011, 03:21 PM   #45
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I'm more worried about the guys behind me who might accidentally jostle me as I'm leaning over the edge to admire the scenery...
That is more common in over-populated areas, especially where there are gypies
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:17 AM   #46
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I'm seen generic advice on what it takes to be an expat about how country's civil and criminal legal codes and their implementation vary widely. That one needs to understand things taken for granted like presumption of innocence and the power of contracts are far from universal. Good advice, but what does it mean in practice? In some countries it means the following.

Ask yourself if you could live in a country where you had two options after being cheated* out of the home you purchased: 1) accept it, 2) pour money into a black hole of legal fees in a hopeless and endless quest. *By cheated I mean all means illegal, quasi-legal or with the force of law behind them. Don't focus on the word 'cheat'.
... feels weird quoting myself ...

Anyway, here is a sad tale of a man from England who did not accept that he was cheated out of his home and business. He's now pouring good money after bad while his children are in England living on public assistance.

His initial problems last December Farmer Joe -Thailand?s Bernard Matthews

His current situation Farmer Joe loses water-tight 30-year lease in Thailand

The lesson here is know before moving to a country what it means to be a foreigner in their legal system. Then ask yourself if you can live with that. Farmer Joe thought he had a "water tight" lease. Doesn't exist for foreigners.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:43 PM   #47
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I think the problem often is people move to foreign countries and lose their common sense.

The issue of foreigners owning property in Thailand is well documented along with the issues in Spain. I would love to live in Thailand for a while as an expat, but you can guarantee I won't be buying a property.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:45 PM   #48
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I think the problem often is people move to foreign countries and lose their common sense.

The issue of foreigners owning property in Thailand is well documented along with the issues in Spain. I would love to live in Thailand for a while as an expat, but you can guarantee I won't be buying a property.
"the issues in Spain....."
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:51 PM   #49
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I have been following this post since the beginning and thought perhaps I could tell my story and it may just give some insight to those thinking about living abroad during retirement. Just some ideas from my own experience that may be helpful or maybe not, in which case I apologize for taking your time.


I have lived outside the US since 1974. I recently returned here to the US and am now an expat in my own country. I made this decision because I know, when I am older and may not be able to live on my own, I do not want to live with one of my sons and their families. I want to have the option of making a choice and that may have to be an assisted living type arrangement.


I am now healthy, probably more healthy than I have ever been, now that I have time to take care of myself and not worry about j*bs or children or a husband. I have purposely come here to try and get used to this country where I feel very much a foreigner. In 35 years you miss a lot. I don't know the TV shows or the “famous” people many talk about. I don't get the jokes sometimes. I do know that while I am still young enough to learn, I must re-adopt this country that I left so long ago and actually never really missed.


I will keep my home in Italy, it is paid for and upkeep is minimal. It is my paradise, my safe haven. Still, I will stay here part of the year and learn to live this other life also. I know I need to do this and I have always been one to plan ahead and not leave things to chance if I can help it. So here I am.


Those of you who are only now embarking on or wishing to embark on your expat experience, keep this in mind. You may have to or want to come back when you are no longer as self-sufficient as you are now. In which case, you better have thought it all out. How to return and the money and healthcare needs that may arise in the future. Retirement is not all about (only) now, but many of us will reach declining years when it may not be best suited to being on your own without the support network that the US is famous for (assisted living, hospice, etc). I am not talking about Medical, as I actually love my Doctors in Italy much more than the ones I have had occassion to meet with her. Find the whole system here so cold and impersonal... I am not only talking to the single people, couples will face, sooner or later, that one of the couple will die or get too sick to care for. Perhaps a third-world country can offer very inexpensive 24/7 in home care, but I am not sure that would be what I would want, personally. I would want to speak my first language. Although I am fluent in Italian, will I retain that if perhaps my mind starts going? I certainly hope I “go” in my sleep long before any of this is needed.


I consider myself very fortunate to be able to make this choice today. I will be popping back and forth as I like for now.


I am just planning for the future, so that I can live my life on a whim.

Queenie
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:35 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by vicente solano View Post
"the issues in Spain....."
Vicente

I am referring to the ongoing issues for foreigners losing their property to demolition due to dodgy planning approvals.
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:29 PM   #51
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I have been following this post since the beginning and thought perhaps I could tell my story and it may just give some insight to those thinking about living abroad during retirement. Just some ideas from my own experience that may be helpful or maybe not, in which case I apologize for taking your time.


I have lived outside the US since 1974. I recently returned here to the US and am now an expat in my own country. I made this decision because I know, when I am older and may not be able to live on my own, I do not want to live with one of my sons and their families. I want to have the option of making a choice and that may have to be an assisted living type arrangement.


I am now healthy, probably more healthy than I have ever been, now that I have time to take care of myself and not worry about j*bs or children or a husband. I have purposely come here to try and get used to this country where I feel very much a foreigner. In 35 years you miss a lot. I don't know the TV shows or the “famous” people many talk about. I don't get the jokes sometimes. I do know that while I am still young enough to learn, I must re-adopt this country that I left so long ago and actually never really missed.


I will keep my home in Italy, it is paid for and upkeep is minimal. It is my paradise, my safe haven. Still, I will stay here part of the year and learn to live this other life also. I know I need to do this and I have always been one to plan ahead and not leave things to chance if I can help it. So here I am.


Those of you who are only now embarking on or wishing to embark on your expat experience, keep this in mind. You may have to or want to come back when you are no longer as self-sufficient as you are now. In which case, you better have thought it all out. How to return and the money and healthcare needs that may arise in the future. Retirement is not all about (only) now, but many of us will reach declining years when it may not be best suited to being on your own without the support network that the US is famous for (assisted living, hospice, etc). I am not talking about Medical, as I actually love my Doctors in Italy much more than the ones I have had occassion to meet with her. Find the whole system here so cold and impersonal... I am not only talking to the single people, couples will face, sooner or later, that one of the couple will die or get too sick to care for. Perhaps a third-world country can offer very inexpensive 24/7 in home care, but I am not sure that would be what I would want, personally. I would want to speak my first language. Although I am fluent in Italian, will I retain that if perhaps my mind starts going? I certainly hope I “go” in my sleep long before any of this is needed.


I consider myself very fortunate to be able to make this choice today. I will be popping back and forth as I like for now.


I am just planning for the future, so that I can live my life on a whim.

Queenie
Welcome back to the US. I was only gone for 25 years and traveled back frequently during that period but still found myself needing culture and language adjustments. We've been back 10 years and there are still moments...

Having two countries and the option to live in either is a wonderful thing. We had that for many years and look forward to having a place abroad once again. You do make an important point, that people need to keep their options open.
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:33 PM   #52
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Another self test. Ever chose to live in a community because it had CCRs (codes, covenants and restrictions)? Been in any long running relationships with neighbors involving passive aggressive behavior, silent treatment and the like from your end? Taken a neighbor to small claims court? Better stick to living someplace where the laws mean something and the culture values peaceful co-existence that isn't based on everyone else silently accepting what the selfish individual wants.

Thailand may have zoning laws but not in practice. The owner of the end unit built a music studio on the lot next to these row houses. The owners of two closest units moved out. It's considered unlikely their units will sell or rent until the studio goes out of business.
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:52 PM   #53
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I think the problem often is people move to foreign countries and lose their common sense
Agreed, folks sometimes do leave their brains at the air port
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:56 PM   #54
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Thailand may have zoning laws but not in practice. The owner of the end unit built a music studio on the lot next to these row houses. The owners of two closest units moved out. It's considered unlikely their units will sell or rent until the studio goes out of business.
I learned early on to make a second visit to prospective new rooms at night. Oh those Karaoke joints
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:46 PM   #55
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Retired expat or working - it is different!

I think it is important to make a distinction between being an expat as part of your career, versus a retired expat. In retirement there are some different considerations and usually a lack of career anchor and important built-in support structure. There are places I have lived that I enjoyed but would never consider as a retirement location for this reason.

Although thus far I have only been an expat for seven years, I can tell you that it comes down to the type of person you are. If you are not very adaptable, even in Europe or the UK you will be frustrated. Most locations people consider for expat retirement locations will have many, many more reasons for frustration the first few years.

Interesting though, in my case as I adapted, I grew new frustrations that I noticed upon visiting back to the States. Nothing major, but things that were not noticed before I left. I consider it part of my education.

Good things to remember:

1. It is not like home, no matter where you go. In time it will be a home but family connections will continue to tug.
2. You do not have rights like what are taken for granted in the States, really.
3. You will be continually scrutinized as the outside person from the USA. As such you are always an ambassador. Behave and do not forget that.
4. There will be many, many small things that you took for granted in the States (i.e. Supermarkets, things that work) that are not the norm elsewhere.

Very few folk can work until they are 60 in the States and pick up and relocate overseas to retire successfully. Most are just not ready for the many changes (even though many changes are good for you).
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:16 PM   #56
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Good things to remember:
...
3. You will be continually scrutinized as the outside person from the USA. As such you are always an ambassador. Behave and do not forget that.
Or you will be treated as a second class citizen. As such you will always be a target, ignored, abused, or all three.

Or you will be treated as if you have to justify US foreign policy. The only benefit to you of this is learning several English speaking cultures ways to tell some (NounBleep) to go (VerbBleep) himself without starting a fight.


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4. There will be many, many small things that you took for granted in the States (i.e. Supermarkets, things that work) that are not the norm elsewhere.
If you think 'things that work' is a small thing then you stand a good chance of making it as an expat, IMHO.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:48 PM   #57
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Spencer's observations are very true.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:13 PM   #58
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I would add that the opposite is true in Spencer's observations - when I go back to the States, there are some things that I find archaic there as well. Also, I have gotten accustomed to certain things here in Germany that are not so in the USA. I still remember going to Chik-fil-A the first time on a work trip to the US - I was overwhelmed with the menu and I realized after 2 minutes I was slowing things down. Everyone around me was very quick - all the customers and employees - I felt like I was standing amongst a swarm of human bees - was bizarre. I finally re-adjusted by the end of the week, but that experience reminded me how adaptable we are.

Also, here in Europe, when you sit down in a restaurant, that table is yours - you have to ask for the check. It is expected you are dining, not just eating (kind of like the two words in German for eating - one for humans the other for animals, essen und fressen). It can be annoying if you are used to that and then go eat in the USA where it is all about volume and throughput for a restaurant.....
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:45 AM   #59
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Looking forward to getting out of the states for a while and slowing the pace. We've been paying our fair share of taxes & look forward to simplifying taxes, bills, transportation (going car-less for a while; biking only)...
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:05 PM   #60
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I would add that the opposite is true in Spencer's observations - when I go back to the States, there are some things that I find archaic there as well.

My point was that some things in the U.S. became irritating, whereas before I lived overseas they were not. As an example, constant mass consumption, 'super-sized meals', hysteria in the media about unimportant things...
So it is a trade off.

However, I enjoy overseas life but I am also more keenly aware than ever how fortunate we Americans are in general in everyday life. In this respect I am even more proud to be American.
Most Americans in the U.S. don't think twice about the assumption that everything is available, almost anytime/anywhere, and that you are in fact judged by what you make of yourself and how hard you work. That is not true in most places. Being faced with a corrupt official would be shocking to most Americans, but is actually quite common elsewhere.
Also, in spite of what some would have you believe, in most places of the world being recognized as American means most are predisposed to like you - all you need to do is not change that.

Enjoy overseas living, but be a good representative and give as much as you take away. Also though, sometime walk by the nearest U.S. Embassy and, seeing how many people are lined up there for a visa, think about what that means.
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