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Retiring in Europe
Old 11-01-2010, 10:12 AM   #21
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Retiring in Europe

How's everybody? I've been spending some time in Europe.


So far I’ve stayed with friends & relatives, and financially I do exactly the same thing as when I’m in the US: I spend with credit cards and at the end of the month I pay my bill through online banking. The only difference is that the credit card bill shows purchases in Euros and conversion to USD. I have some neighbors check on my house, fetch my mail and open it when necessary. My house and car are wasted while I’m gone, and traveling is expensive so it pays to stay in one place. But after 3 months in Europe you risk becoming a tax resident (or be fined if not carrying an EU passport). When you go through airports they swipe your passport through a computer so they know when & where you are. It feels like an international police state. It makes me want to go live on a remote island, maybe I’m just dreaming...
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:51 AM   #22
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. But after 3 months in Europe you risk becoming a tax resident (or be fined if not carrying an EU passport). When you go through airports they swipe your passport through a computer so they know when & where you are. It feels like an international police state.
That's because you have the wrong passport With an EU passport you avoid all that immigration stuff.
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:02 PM   #23
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But after 3 months in Europe you risk becoming a tax resident (or be fined if not carrying an EU passport).
I wonder what you imagine happens to Europeans who stay more than 3 months in the United States?

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When you go through airports they swipe your passport through a computer so they know when & where you are. It feels like an international police state.
Swiping your passport in a European airport typically doesn't check up on whether you've overstayed your 3 months anyway, because there are so many subsets of "Europe" and I don't think that the Schengen zone, which is the main common-entry area, has a 90-day counting system. Many Schengen land borders (such as the tunnel or ferry from the UK to France) have rather haphazard controls; I regularly enter/leave France via the tunnel and they don't check my passport (because there's nobody at the desk) about half the time.

The passport swipe is typically to check that you're not on a list of known criminals. Of course, the US has a system like this: they check your first and last name. If they match, prepare to wait. Some joker at the DHS put "Edward Kennedy" on the no-fly list; I think there are around a thousand Edward Kennedys in the US. I'll take the passport swipe, thanks.
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:24 PM   #24
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That's because you have the wrong passport With an EU passport you avoid all that immigration stuff.
Thank you, immigration is not a problem, I can get an EU passport if I want. I have Canadian citizenship and have always used a Canadian passport. My late wife was American, so I also acquired US citizenship, it made her happy but US citizenship is probably working against me now. As I understand it, US citizens are taxed for life even if they no longer live in the US!
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:03 PM   #25
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Thank you, immigration is not a problem, I can get an EU passport if I want. I have Canadian citizenship and have always used a Canadian passport. My late wife was American, so I also acquired US citizenship, it made her happy but US citizenship is probably working against me now. As I understand it, US citizens are taxed for life even if they no longer live in the US!
Yes, be prepared to file 2 sets of taxes each year if you move to EU. The US is weird in that it taxes on citizenship rather than residency like most countries. I'm a UK/US dual citizen and I've lived in the US for 25 years and in all that time I've had no tax liability in the UK. If I move back to the UK the IRS will still want me to pay tax on my worldwide income. Just another way the US makes life difficult.

But don't worry, while it's a pain, there are tax treaties that stop you from being taxed twice and you can exclude a lot of foreign income from US taxes.

The upside of moving to Europe as a retiree is the lower cost of medical care, the better public services and public transportation.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:48 PM   #26
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The upside of moving to Europe as a retiree is the lower cost of medical care, the better public services and public transportation.
Very true. And havenīt you heard that Spain is said to be one of the coumtries in the world where people are happier and lead a more laidback lifestyle, despite the ubiquitous economic crisis?

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Old 11-08-2010, 07:06 PM   #27
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Very true. And havenīt you heard that Spain is said to be one of the coumtries in the world where people are happier and lead a more laidback lifestyle, despite the ubiquitous economic crisis?
Might that not at least in part depend on being Spanish, and having the family and other connections that a Spaniard would have but an expat would not?

Ha
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:16 PM   #28
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Very true. And havenīt you heard that Spain is said to be one of the coumtries in the world where people are happier and lead a more laidback lifestyle, despite the ubiquitous economic crisis?

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Scoot over Vicente and make some room....I want to be your new houseguest....
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Old 11-09-2010, 02:53 AM   #29
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[QUOTE=bbbamI;998143]Scoot over Vicente and make some room....I want to be your new houseguest....[/QUOTE

You are wellcome. Itīll be a pleasure. Just make sure you bring along a choice selection of your notorious boots!
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Old 11-09-2010, 03:00 AM   #30
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Might that not at least in part depend on being Spanish, and having the family and other connections that a Spaniard would have but an expat would not?

Ha
Ha: I partially agree, but, if you- US people- when here, try to mix and socialize with us in a friendly and open way in no time at all youīll be considered one of us. You have the advantage of already having us culturally colonized in a subtle way
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:46 AM   #31
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You are wellcome. Itīll be a pleasure. Just make sure you bring along a choice selection of your notorious boots!
Thank you Vicente....

mmmm...well, I will bring my boots, but I don't think they would fit you..
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:00 AM   #32
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Thank you Vicente....

mmmm...well, I will bring my boots, but I don't think they would fit you..
Hey! you are talking to a very manly Spaniard! On second thoughts.... whatīs your boot/shoe size?
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:49 AM   #33
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I lived in the UK in a wonderful little village in the Midlands for 5 years. I strongly advise anybody considering retiring in Europe to try it fo 6-12 months before making any major financial commitments. I learned more about living there in the first month than I had in 10 years of business trips. You won't know if you can afford it and/or be happy until you've figured out what your prefered lifestyle costs and after you find out how to deal with the local shops, handymen, etc. Its all different and can be stressful.

We found;
*The cost of living in the UK was higher than the U.S. by about the exchange rate. The rule of thumb was that anything in rural Britain (not London which is higher) would cost the same in pounds that a a similar item would cost in $ in the U.S.
* The differences between the U.S. and the UK that we loved are an irritant now that we are back here. I am trying but still haven't found anything like the British local pub to go to on a weeknight. The differences that irritated us when we arrived in the UK still irritated us 5 years later. The biggest ones were: Zero work ethic in the service industry and some missing foods. For example, you can't get peanut butter (American), pancake syrup (French) or good sausage (German). Despite its reputation, there are many good UK foods but they don't have the global melting pot that you can find in the U.S. (Except for Indian which is to die for).

I loved my 5 years in Britain but I wouldn't consider retiring there because it's too far from my family. If I was going that far, I'd consider Australia or New Zealand. (same culture but better climate and much more room).

Lorne
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:07 PM   #34
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For example, you can't get peanut butter (American)
That's hilarious because, when I lived in France, I could only find peanut butter at British retailer Marks & Spencer.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:24 PM   #35
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We will be selling our house in the spring summer. It is a downsize issue and a chance for us to consider a condo or townhouse...something that we can lock up and walk away from for a few months.

Once the house is sold, we are hoping to go to Southern Spain for 6-8 months. We plan to rent a furnished apartment and use it as a base for travel. We have no plans to move to Europe at this time but it seems to us that doing this in between selling and buying an new place makes sense. Has anyone elso done something similar or considered it
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:59 PM   #36
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That's hilarious because, when I lived in France, I could only find peanut butter at British retailer Marks & Spencer.
WAY late to this thread.... but I found a lot of penut butter when I was there... what I could not find (except at one store and they cost a LOT) was Reeces peanut butter cups... every time I came home I would bring back maybe 10 to 15 pounds of it...

Loved my time in London, but I could not afford to live there with the livestyle that I would want... did not live in any of the smaller towns, but some looked pretty nice... and you could take the train to London...
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:46 PM   #37
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We just returned from a month long visit to England visiting my BIL and SIL and their two kids. He's military and doing a rotation with Nato. They live near a small town in the somerset area and we stayed with them for about 2 and a half weeks of the month. It was nice, the old buildings, culture, food was good, etc...

Prices for groceries seemed pretty reasonable at Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, plus the selection of food was far greater than what you see at home here in Texas. I also noticed that fruit and veges were cheaper, perhaps because they were closer to where they are grown.

Prices at pubs, rest's were more than at home. About $12 to $15 per person, plus drink. Some of that is VAT, and you don't generally tip.

Anyway, I did notice the lack of customer service, my SIL also said that they had many problems with retailers and no one seemed to care much. I guess they haven't got as much competition there and it's an island and they have a captive audience, compared to here in the US.

I saw a two bdrm apt in a beach town for 550 pounds a month. So, like $825 to $850 month. Homes we visited were smaller. But, it looks like everything was set up to be very energy efficient, which would save you some money.

Cars are much smaller. Almost no SUV's. Lots of Sprinter type vans. Public transportation was readily avaliable, and we did see lots of people just walking down the road if there were no sidewalks.

Overall, I would think that someone interested in a simple lifestyle could make it there for what it might cost in a large to medium sized city here if they tried.

It was an interesting experience, and you do realize that you have things pretty good back here in the US despite all the bad news you hear about.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:31 PM   #38
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Please nun could you elaborate a bit on this sentence :

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you can exclude a lot of foreign income from US taxes.
I am curious since I also get some interest income from Europe. Thank you.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:47 PM   #39
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Please nun could you elaborate a bit on this sentence :

I am curious since I also get some interest income from Europe. Thank you.
You can exclude Foreign Earned Income up to some amount, it was around $80k a few years ago. If you have interest or gains on foreign accounts you can't get a credit or deduction for that. Also if the account is over $10k you have to report it under FBAR
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:44 PM   #40
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I am curious since I also get some interest income from Europe. Thank you.
I have a private pension and interest income from the UK. I am unaware that you can avoid paying taxes on it. Once I started drawing my pension the UK IRS immediately initiated withholdings and contacted me here in the USA. I had to apply for a certificate from the US IRS stating that I was a US taxpayer, and then file a form with the UK IRS with the certificate to stop the withholding. I pay US taxes on all my UK income - pension and interest.

I don't know about earned income in the UK for US citizens.
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