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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-11-2006, 05:17 PM   #81
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Hi Sam,
My family came to the US (Florida).

Hi Bdk,
Has your friend 'Hoi Huong' or is he merely living in the country? Does he have a family in VN? What are his plans regarding visa renewals? How does he handle the monetary issues? Does he use an ATM card, have money wired transfered from abroad or use a money tranfer service? Has he a handle on how much it costs him per month to live?

WRBT,
Nice picture of Mae Hong Son. I have been thru Thailand several years back and find it very enjoyable. I am under the impression that the Thais are more polite than the Vietnamese. Don't know if anyone agree. How do you compare the two locations and what are the reasons for your preferences on Hoi An/central VN?
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-11-2006, 05:53 PM   #82
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdk
He's not planning to buy a scooter yet... Probably a wise decision, considering how people drive over there.
That's funny.  I first went back in 1995.  For I first few days in Saigon, I watched the traffic in awe, wondering how one could possibly drive in that jungle so confidently, so relaxed.

Then I consciously tried to purge the USA traffic image that has been ingrained on my mind for the past 17 or so years.  Once that task was accomplished, what I saw then was normal traffic, just like it was before I left.  So I hopped on the first Honda Cub I could find, and worked my way into the traffic.  It was scary for about 15 minutes, then everything just snapped in place.  After a few days in Saigon, I backpacked all the way to Hanoi, using public transportation, bus and train.  The first thing I did after arriving in a new city was to rent a Honda (a generic term for any motorcycle of 50 to 100cc that looked like a Honda Cub), then a room.  I had the time of my life.  The freedom to go anywhere I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I did get pulled over once for an infraction I did not commit, but $3 later, I was back on the road.

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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-11-2006, 07:54 PM   #83
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Hi Van,

No, my friend has not chosen the "hoi huong" option yet. For now, he plans to just stay as a long-term tourist and ask for as many local visa renewals as he can. By his own admission, he thinks he needs about a year living in the country before he can really make up his mind. He does have a younger brother in Sg, so that helps quite a bit. My friend is single (never married, no kids) so he is pretty free to do what he wants. He also has other siblings in the US.

As for money, I think he brought back enough with him to last about 5-6 months. He told me CitiBank has offices in Sg, so it may be possible to access one's account from VN.

How much per month to live on: about $500, currently.
$170 for rent, another $20-$30 for utilities (no A/C), $30 for internet, $50-$100 for groceries and incidentals, and the rest for discretionary expenses (trips, eating out, etc). One can certainly spend a lot more on eating out and/or going to bars. In fact, that was one of the things that bothered me when I went back: I would see families on the edge of starvation (one of my high school friends who stayed behind was in this situation) and others who had no qualms in blowing $200-$400 a night in girlie bars (and this was in 1992).

Sam - re riding motorbikes in VN... Ah yes this brings back a lot of fond memories, but I'd hate to have an accident over there! On a related note: I lived for some time in a pretty remote country in West Africa. When I first got there, my colleagues took me around town and showed me many things, including the "best" local hospital. After seeing the inside of the building, I told them that if I were hurt in an accident, they should just let me die at home and not bother to take me to the hospital...
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-11-2006, 09:19 PM   #84
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

sam, van and bdk

hi this is enuff2eat (nick name DDu~ A(n ). i am glad to hear others vnese are out there looking to re and go back to vn. i happen to be have the same dream and can't wait for my turn eventhough i have not had a chane to go back yet. please let me know how things r working out. i heard that doesn't matter how hard u try the local will never accepted u and always expect u to spend "big bucks" all of the time. i guess it's still cheaper than where i am at now.

enuff

keep in touch
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-11-2006, 10:02 PM   #85
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

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Originally Posted by Enuff2Eat
i heard that doesn't matter how hard u try the local will never accepted u and always expect u to spend "big bucks" all of the time. i guess it's still cheaper than where i am at now.
Interesting nickname, "Ddu~ a(n" (literal translation of Enuff2Eat) 

I don't if the above is true or not.  The first time I came back (1995), I played backpacking tourist, staying just a few days in each city.  The second time (1997), I stayed for a month in Saigon, taking care of my father who had a stroke.  My Vietnamese relatives, my Vietnamese friends treated me about the same.  I did help some of them financially, but that was purely my initiative.  Honestly, I don't know whether they expected it or not.

They did, however treat me differently when it came to comfort and sanitary.  They always brought me bottle water to drink, let me sleep on the most comfortable bed, took me to the better restaurants.  Being the simple, stubborn, tough guy that I always try to be (I'm not), I refused them all.  After numerous attempts, they gave up, and I more or less became one of the local.  Great feeling.  My 2 kids, age 10 and 9 at that time, were completely spoiled by the attention, the services.  They were treated like royalty and loved every minutes of it, despite my protests.

I listened to an interview of Vietnamese people a couple weeks ago on BBC (may be VOA).  People living in Saigon claimed that a family (of 4) can live on $125/month.  Those in the Mekong Delta said $100/month.  Take those numbers and multiply by 4 (the comfort multiplier), and you have $400 to $500/month.  Double those numbers again to arrive at $800 to $1,000/month.  For me, that would in the super comfortable level.

Everything was confirmed by my father, relatives, and friends currently living there.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-11-2006, 10:32 PM   #86
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

i am not sure if $125/mon. is an accurate number for a family of 4 to live in vietnam. it's almost like saying $8000/yr for a family of 4 in america (welfare recipients). u certainly can live on almost nothing if u just eat macaroni and cheese everynite. didn't bdk said that u can sink $200/nite on dinner in saigon??

with our standards on living in america, i would be very nervous with $1000/mon. in vietnam even if your number is right. what if someone is really sick and needed medical attention? (not you but might be your relatives, r u just stand aside and see them suffer??) how about if u want to rent a car for a trip to Vun~g Tau` (easily $200/wk) or a emergeny trip to Saigon for a meeting or business trip.... just like in the America, unexpected expenses is a "normal" thing. last month we got hit with $760 on car repairs, and then we need 4 tires for my car, last summer we bought a brand new heating and cooling unit for the house ($6.5k).

i would love to hear more stories about people going back to vn. please share

enuff

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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-11-2006, 10:41 PM   #87
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Quote:
I have been thru Thailand several years back and find it very enjoyable. I am under the impression that the Thais are more polite than the Vietnamese. Don't know if anyone agree. How do you compare the two locations and what are the reasons for your preferences on Hoi An/central VN?
I think it's same same. We've met many nice people in both places, although it seems younger Vietnamese are far more anxious to practice English.

Both have people that will try to take advantage of Westerners... the temple in Bangkok is closed so come see the factory tour instead, your hotel in Hanoi is closed/sucks/full so you must go to another I take you there etc.

Both have people that will go out of their way to help Westerners too... the barber in Vietnam who sent his sent chasing after us on a bike with the newspaper we left, the lady in Thailand who stood with us to put us on the right bus.

It seems no matter where you go there's the good and bad eh?

As for Hoi An + Mae Hong Son I think the appeal of both to us is similar attributes they share: cities that are small enough to have some charm and not be gridlocked traffic hell, have beautiful countryside surrounding, big enough to have some modern services, have an airport nearby, have a tourism industry so good place in town to get Western things like pizza etc.

Remember we're not Vietnamese so we function a little more comfortable in an area that gets Western tourists. Maybe someday won't be that way but starting out surely a better plan.

Funny = since I'm half Hawaiin (tan, small frame, soft facial features) I get many there assuming I'm half Vietnamese with a American Army Dad who knocked up a local during the war.

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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-12-2006, 03:58 AM   #88
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Hi Enuff,

Having lived and worked as well as visited recently in the end of 2005, I concur with the numbers posted by Sam. These numbers are very realistic and doable. There are backpackers who spends significantly less than 1000 per month. This is with hotels, meals and transportation. With an already paid for residence (not a small proposition considering how out of sync land and house prices are relative to the average income), 1000 per month will allow for a lifestyle (not only in terms of materials but also emotional and a sense of freedom 'from the corporate silliness') that 5000 simply can not buy in the US. Afterall, isn't that what FIRE is all about?
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-12-2006, 04:26 AM   #89
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Hi Bdk,

Thanks for the infos on your friend. Your comments on the haves and have nots touched me deeply as I too am bothered by the easy monies garnered thru corruptions at the expense of those truly in need. That said, there are now many wealthy businessmen in Vietnam who got there on their talents and hard work. It is nice to see that the country is indeed moving forward. I am sure those who visit once every few years can readily see the transformation.

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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-12-2006, 06:52 AM   #90
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Van
Hi Enuff,

Having lived and worked as well as visited recently in the end of 2005, I concur with the numbers posted by Sam. These numbers are very realistic and doable. There are backpackers who spends significantly less than 1000 per month. This is with hotels, meals and transportation. With an already paid for residence (not a small proposition considering how out of sync land and house prices are relative to the average income), 1000 per month will allow for a lifestyle (not only in terms of materials but also emotional and a sense of freedom 'from the corporate silliness') that 5000 simply can not buy in the US. Afterall, isn't that what FIRE is all about?
Van, thanks for the info. i believe you and sam, i guess i have been "brain washed" by too many Vietnamese-American went back to vn to visit and dropped $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 in a month so easily. Even my relative said they spent that kind of money too (i don't mean to brag or anything, just what i heard).

btw, sam's figure is for a family of 4 not 1, is that still true since you mentioned about backpackers whom can live for much less and tend to be male and single which makes their expenses much less than normal.

BLK,

thanks for your friend stories, i like to hear more about it.


Enuff
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-12-2006, 07:28 AM   #91
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enuff2Eat

i heard that doesn't matter how hard u try the local will never accepted u and always expect u to spend "big bucks" all of the time. i guess it's still cheaper than where i am at now.
I suspect it may take a long time to truly feel like you fit in but if you are fluent in the language you should be able to get by. My nephew (white, American) lived in China for 5 years. He taught English and sang in a Chinese hip-hop band of all things. He lived on next to nothing and when family members visited they were astounded at the quality and price of food and lodging he got them compared to what they got by themselves. But he was fluent - in fact his Mandarin was better than that of the average Chinese.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-14-2006, 05:55 PM   #92
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

donheff is absolutely correct. There are always two prices, one for the locals and one for the strangers/newcomers/tourists.

To live abroad (as opposed to visit) is to blend oneself into the local community, more or less becoming a part of it.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-27-2006, 03:16 PM   #93
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Some of the places my wife and I are discussing:

Panama
Belize
Costa Rica
Fiji
and possibly Australia or NZ
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-28-2006, 10:17 AM   #94
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

glock,

My opinions:

Belize is pretty basic (primitive) and lots of crime. ("How do you have a milliion dollars in Belize? Come in with two million.")

Costa Rica isn't what it used to be. It has turned unfriendly to retired gringos, who are moving to Panama. It has also become expensive.

From some reading, I don't think the antipodeans want us to come in late in life to enjoy their public health systems.

Fiji, I dunno anything about.

Of your list, Panama gets the highest marks from me.

Good luck. Do your homework.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-28-2006, 07:00 PM   #95
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

I have been doing extensive research on the perfect place. Considering all of these factors:

Cost of living
Climate
Infastructure (DSL etc.)
Crime
Acceptance of Americans
Medical Insurance
Taxes

I have come up with the following list.

1. Uruguay
Reasonable cost of living (cheaper than Panama)
(Very low cost and good beef) (Maid for $2 an hour)
Climate: Similar to southern california only not quite as dry.
Beautiful beaches.
Good infastructure and DSL, stores, services
(Can have anything delivered to your home including your groceries)
One of the lower crime rates of all of South America
Very friendly and accepting people
Affordable medical insurance available
Does not tax US income.
More educated population

Second choice would be:
2. Ecuador
Even lower cost of living, but less developed infastructure, with frequent power outages.
BEST weather (eternal 75 degree spring weather)
Diverse topogrophy
More crime than Uruguay
Ecuador will make a fine choice as soon as they catch up a little in their infastructure. Probably make a good future investment as when it does, prices should really escalate. Right now would appeal more to people who are nature lovers and want a quiet simple and very affordable life.

3. Nicaragua
This if for the real budget minded. Very, very cheap.
However, very poor infastructure and almost daily power outages.

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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-28-2006, 09:55 PM   #96
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

modhatter, I must admit that I never felt drawn to South America, but you make Uruguay and Ecuador sound quite appealing (uh-oh, more countries to add to my travel list... too bad Italy didn't conquer the Americas--I'd prefer to learn Italian )
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-29-2006, 01:31 AM   #97
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Nicaragua? Say hi to Presidente Daniel Ortega for me. Real friendly guy towards Americans.

Ecuador? Have you read anything besides the International Living literature?
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-29-2006, 07:46 AM   #98
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
antipodeans
New word! Cool. Never heard that one before.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-29-2006, 12:09 PM   #99
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Quote:
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Nicaragua? Say hi to Presidente Daniel Ortega for me. Real friendly guy towards Americans.

Ecuador? Have you read anything besides the International Living literature?
Most interest for retirement aged people going to third world counties would quickly be squelched by getting on the ground in the country for a month or so.

Even if a place is not horrible today, that is likely as not just around the corner.

Ha
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 10-29-2006, 03:08 PM   #100
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
Even if a place is not horrible today, that is likely as not just around the corner.

Ha
I think it's analogous to taking on more risk in order to obtain a higher investment return...sure, you can live cheap, until the locals decide to tar and feather all the Yankee imperialists

It's worth considering if you understand the risks.
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