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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 11-02-2006, 02:07 PM   #121
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

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Originally Posted by Robert the Red
When I was in Chiang Mai in Feb, I talked to an American who retired there on just his SS. He looked like he'd had a rough life (missing teeth, generally beat-up by circumstances). He said that in the US he'd be poor, but in Thailand he could "live like a bank president". He had a rental motorbike ($1/day plus gas) and a small apartment and loved it there. I got the impression he lived alone.
Gee, I don't remember being there in February.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 11-02-2006, 02:41 PM   #122
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

I think that for those retirees on a very limited income (social security) it can be a "no brainer". The biggest obstacle in my mind is learning the language enough to get by.

There are countries that have very reasonable medical insurance plans avail for expats. Secondly, many people retire in other countries that offer very low medical expences, and if need be they can always fly back to US and use their medicare (if it's still around) (Mexico or Panama are better destinations for this)

And last even for those who can afford to retire in the US, it satisfies a need for adventure and opening our horizons. Americans do far less globe trotting than do our European friends. The obvious reason of course is the proximity to other countries that we do not have that other countries do have. I think it healthy to leave our country, and see it from another perspective which I think sometime can change your perspective of America. (good or bad)

And when you stop to think about it. What do you do all day home, that you couldn't do in another country, and for a lot less money.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 11-02-2006, 07:08 PM   #123
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter
Americans do far less globe trotting than do our European friends. The obvious reason of course is the proximity to other countries that we do not have that other countries do have.
The other reason is that Europeans have a more humane vacation policy of 4-6 mandatory weeks off every year. My cousins husband is from Sweden and is a software engineer in the Silicon Valley. He says in Sweden you get at least 4 weeks off every year and everyone takes it without question. In the US, you get 2 weeks and are made to feel guilty if you actually dare to take the time off.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 11-03-2006, 08:00 AM   #124
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Excellent point. Your absolutly right. And on top of that the average work week for many other countries is 35 hrs. a week and some are pushing for a 30 hour work week now. (at least in Europe)
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 11-06-2006, 03:50 AM   #125
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

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Originally Posted by ladelfina
bpp, you've "gone native"?
Heh, don't know that I'd say that (sounds so British Empire), but this:
Quote:
It is interesting how a different environment can start working on your perceptions, your thought patterns, your reflexes.. only after a few short years.
is probably a factor.

Quote:
I used to sometimes feel like I was dying for a cheeseburger, a taco, an egg roll... anything but more Italian food. But when I visited recently and had had a bit of Thai take-out or whatever.. I just found myself kind of put off by ALL the food and found myself trying to stifle an impulse to go to the grocery store and get the fixings for some cannellini beans or linguini in tuna sauce, chicken marsala, or braised fennel.
I still enjoy picking up some Vietnamese, Ethiopian or whatever food when I visit the US, though I have to remind myself that those options exist instead of unthinkingly wandering into the first ramen shop I see.

Quote:
In the US, one usually talks until done, and then the other person responds, except around NY & Boston where it's commonly accepted that to speed things up it's OK to step on the end of people's sentences or finish them for them, then the other person does the same thing and you ratchet ahead in that way--once you know where the other person is going you snatch the ball and run with it.. Here in Italy, it can be normal for everyone to talk simultaneously in a kind of crazy embroidery; everyone more or less gets the general sense and freewheels along but it is hard for me to get the sense of whether facts and concepts are actually "sticking."
Sounds like Italian opera, with three people all singing different lyrics simultaneously.

Quote:
I imagine in Japan there is a whole other conversational dynamic to adapt to.
Sure. For example, for sensitive or weighty subjects, people sometimes use the classical Chinese dialectic of: Thesis; Expand on thesis; Suddenly introduce exception or reversal; Wind up with completely different conclusion from original thesis. In this case you really have to wait until you are sure the other person is done in order to learn what they are saying -- can't fill in the blanks for them or overlap them. Then again, drunken bloviating at the bar can call for friendly out-shouting and interruptions.

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Point is, these ways of speaking, I think, can actually modify your mental processes, making it feel awkward to go back "home."
Yup.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 11-06-2006, 03:58 AM   #126
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

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Originally Posted by Nords
Boy, you really struck a chord there. I'm afraid you're going to have to start shopping for your Big Island real estate now and deciding whether to build a vacation home or an ohana compound.
I've had the thought on occasion... Don't quite have the spare cash to contemplate it seriously, though.

Quote:
We actually feel more at home in Guam, Japan, and Thailand than we did vacationing this summer in Virginia & Maryland.
I think living in Hawaii for a while eased the transition to living in Japan -- and also eased the separation from the Mainland. In fact, I remember a couple of people who seemed to undergo fairly severe culture shock upon moving to Hawaii from the Mainland, as bad as I've seen in other countries.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 11-06-2006, 09:15 AM   #127
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

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Originally Posted by bpp
In fact, I remember a couple of people who seemed to undergo fairly severe culture shock upon moving to Hawaii from the Mainland, as bad as I've seen in other countries.
We see that all the time in the military... and in my parents-in-law.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 11-06-2006, 09:27 AM   #128
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

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Originally Posted by Hydroman
Would any of you really be considering retiring to a 3rd world country if it were not for the apparent lower cost of living? Don't forget there is a reason more people are trying to get into the US then leave.
Many of those coming here are coming for economic opportunties...if you are already FI, the economic opportunities are easily accessible no matter where you live (i.e. just leave you investments here). My plan is to eventually move to the bahamas - at least for 7-8 months of the year...not quite a 3rd world country, but almost, but the cost of living is actually a lot higher (food, gas and just about everything else costs a lot more).
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 11-06-2006, 02:22 PM   #129
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

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Originally Posted by OldMcDonald
... My plan is to eventually move to the bahamas - at least for 7-8 months of the year...not quite a 3rd world country, but almost, but the cost of living is actually a lot higher (food, gas and just about everything else costs a lot more).
Why not try St. Lucia? Same British heritage but cheaper. Better climate too.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 11-12-2006, 09:24 AM   #130
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

I base in Arizona, which is reasonably cost effective, but spend at least half the time as a "structured traveler' and will base for an extended stay in Russia, Africa or South America, with plenty of side trips in the EU while in transit.

I like the hybrid approach of a home base in the US but satelite locales where I am fairly dialed in from previous visits as to where to stay and have a local network to draw upon. There is probably a whole theme to this apprach, that is having a US base and several alternate foreign destinations and rotation iteneraries depending on the time of year, travel deals, and the personal desire to explore somplace new. There are unique, off the beaten path places in Russia, eastern Europe, Africa and South America that are cost effective and could more than offset the travel costs to travel there for a few months of delightful discovery. I would get bored if I had to stay anywhere, US or off shore, all the time. 8)
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 12-20-2006, 08:27 PM   #131
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Retiring overseas makes sense for me. I wanted to retire young (35) and living in Eastern Europe (Estonia) allows me to do that (still working on the ol' residence permit). I paid cash for a nice renovated one bedroom apartment and my bills are nothing compared to the States. I love to travel in my free time and Europe makes a great home base to get to many other countries cheap and quickly. I enjoy photography and making small art films using digital video.

I also enjoy the outdoors (hiking, snowboarding, etc) and Europe has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world where I can enjoy those activities.

I also plan to marry and have children in the next few years. Where I live the schools are free and the government gives you a small monthly payment for each child. The educational system is better (IMO) and student math and science scores are higher than the U.S. I like that I will be able to be home and spend as much time with my kids as possible while they grow up. I'm kind of working my life backwards, retiring before marriage and children. :P

Healthcare is up to Western standards (in the city) and free (not for me until I reach citizenship status, although emergency medical care is free for everyone). Taxes are a flat 23% if you make your money in country. No double taxation otherwise. Transparent government.

Excellent efficient public transportation makes getting around a breeze. Good infastructure (power, water, roads, internet.)

I also know the language and culture well enough as my family emigrated to the U.S. from here after WWII. So it's a place that makes sense for me.

I also like there are few Americans that live here. I am treated as something of a novelty and since they don't have lots of "ugly Americans" running around, they don't resent me at all. The are always very inquisitive wondering why I am here. I like it.

Negatives?

Sure, there are some but most don't apply to me personally.

Most people can't deal with winter here. Long dark winters that get brutally cold and lots of snow. (I don't mind the temp or the snow but a strong wind in February blowing off the Baltic sea will make you so cold you think your bones will shatter. )

If you have a car, petrol is quite expensive. (I don't have a car, rent when needed.)

VAT taxes make some items more expensive. Designer clothes and some electronics are more expensive. (I don't wear designer clothes and buy my electronics in the U.S)

People can be a little "cold" at first but once a friend is made they will do anything for you and be a friend for life.

It's definitely not a place I would recommend most people to retire unless you have a good grasp of the language and can deal with long cold winters (something most retired folks are looking to escape.) But it works for me
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 12-21-2006, 04:04 AM   #132
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Trek, thanks for your interesting post about Estonia. A lot of Eastern Europe has been looking appetizing to Western European retirees and ex-pats as well.. already Croatia is getting 'overpriced'. I was reading your other post about income, and I think any checking account statement showing steady transfers in from whatever source should suffice.

One can acquire Italian citizenship through a process called "jure sanguinis"; if one can document that one's emigrating Italian grandfather did not give up his Italian citizenship upon immigration to the US (along with certain other conditions), one has the right to claim Italian citizenship. A tortuous route involving many 'timbri' and 'bolli' and dredging up ancient birth certificates, but worth it for someone who can qualify and who really wants an EU citizenship/passport (which would include Estonia, for anyone of Italian descent tempted by Trek's post!).

Do you know whether Estonia has a set-up like this? Maybe not, if they were not an independent country at the time of your relatives' emigration...

Best of luck, tho'.. Sounds interesting!
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 12-21-2006, 08:38 AM   #133
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

As I understand it, in the years shortly after independence (1991) from the Soviet Union, you could re-claim citizenship if you were born in Estonia and fled during the war or during the occupation thereafter or if you were a direct decendant of someone who met those conditions (which would have included me). However that policy ended some time ago for decendants but you can still regain citizenship if you were born there.

I'd love to get citizenship and an EU passport but it will take some time.

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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 12-21-2006, 09:23 PM   #134
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

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Originally Posted by modlair
Look, folks, the reality is there are a handful of countries in which you can live like a King for $12,000 a year.

The reason it's hard to get a handle on this is because the life lived is not like what you live now. If you're in Bangkok (not recommended) you won't own a car. The traffic is jam packed and there's nowhere to park. That's $3000/yr in your pocket, plus gas, plus insurance. Transport in general will cost you over that year what gas would have -- but the car depreciation and the insurance stays in your pocket. Don't think of it as some loss of lifestyle. This is how most in NYC live, too. Subway and taxis.

Housing, air conditioned housing with equivalent furniture and internet and utilities in general will be 1/4 of what you're used to -- or rather, for what you need. You may be used to 3500 square feet for 4 bedrooms for the kids, but you won't need that or even want that. Let's phrase it with one more difference -- it will be 1/4 the price of the equivalent square footage in the US.

Food costs less. Services cost less. Medical costs less.

In general, the bulk of pre retirement costs are housing, medical and car. Those get slashed overseas.

Yep, you'll get used to things. Having spent the past 5 years in the suburbs and the previous 4 in a the boonies, I now live an urban lifestyle. I still have my one car that I rarely drive, and for trip of any length, I hop on the Metro which is literally 100 ft from the back of my building. I walk everywhere for the other times. Yeah, living in a one bedroom apartment took a few weeks to get used to, and not having a dishwasher took a month to get used to, but guess what, I still use just one toilet at a time and one sink at a time, despite having downsized from a house that had 3 bathrooms. The cost of the apartment is about 1/3 of what my house cost me.

I think rodmail's right. You'll find that certain things are better and certain other things are worse at your new location, but if the in the balance, the good outweight the bad (and I would call being able to afford a good lifestyle at 1/3 the cost a great good), then hopefully you'll be happy.
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Got retiree health care through your company? What if the company goes bankrupt? Retire and go RVing full time? RVs are not structurally sound. You'll die in a fiery crash. Retire and live overseas? What if you die? Aren't you worried about your body? No, I don't think I will be able to seeing how I am dead.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 12-21-2006, 10:28 PM   #135
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

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Originally Posted by HaHa
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
I don't understand on what basis you're making this statement. I'm assuming that you have done this sort of thing yourself and found it lacking. I can see that it's not for everyone.

BTW, I get the sense that being called an Ugly American seems to be a big concern for people considering retiring overseas. The way I see it, dealing with xenophobic sentiment overseas or in the U.S. is really not that different. When I lived in California, I had to hear Californians talk trash about New Yorkers, and when I moved to Colorado, I had to hear Coloradoans complain about them damn Californians who are driving up the real estate all along the front range. Strangely for the purpose of Coloradoans' complaining about Californians, I was a Californian after having only spent 1 year in California, where I was, of course, a New Yorker. Now that I'm in Canada, I'm a dumb ass American. What you can't get away from is human nature.
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Got retiree health care through your company? What if the company goes bankrupt? Retire and go RVing full time? RVs are not structurally sound. You'll die in a fiery crash. Retire and live overseas? What if you die? Aren't you worried about your body? No, I don't think I will be able to seeing how I am dead.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 12-22-2006, 12:32 AM   #136
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

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Originally Posted by BunsGettingFirm
I don't understand on what basis you're making this statement. I'm assuming that you have done this sort of thing yourself and found it lacking.
I lived and worked abroad on and off. I for the most part enjoyed it, but I had the connections both to the locals and to other working Americans that come from work.

I think with connections, or single marital status so you can go find a woman and get connections, living some places would be fine, even for older people. It seemed mostly bad for the expats that I would meet who were retired. Two major pastimes seemed to be alcohol and adultery.

This obviously would not apply to anyone like the guy going to Estonia is who ethnically connected, has a local girlfriend and knows the language.

As an older man, I like to be on my turf. Travel is fine, but if I couldn't afford to come home I would feel like and in fact literally be an exile. Obviously others feel differently, and some have the experience to base it on. My earlier post was mainly directed to those who are planning a bare bones retirement depending on foreign residence, without much experience in the area.

Also note that it is just one man's opinion.

Ha
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 12-26-2006, 03:55 PM   #137
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Hi, wheel9,

Quote:
Has anyone considered the possibility of 3-4 month stays in different countries as part of a retirement strategy, and still keeping a paid off home as a base for when things get boring. I have found that when traveling it is best to stay in a neighborhood and meet the people, rather than a tourist hotel.

Since your home is paid for, the cost of a furnished apartment for 3-4 months should not be too out of reach. Rotating countries/regions on an annual basis would allow you to experience a great deal of the world over time.
I only saw your old post just now. Sorry to be so slow.

I have this very thing in mind! My stays out of the country for business have often been for relatively extended periods. It is a wonderful way to experience a different country.

There are complications. The house is not paid for. If we keep the house, it should be rented out for this period. We live in a great place and it would be hard to pull up stakes for good. Still, the kids are out of the house now and as a practical thing we should be looking at downsizing. If I had my way, we would sell and go from there, but I am sure you all understand that there are two people on the oars in this boat. Negotiations have been started.
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 12-26-2006, 04:25 PM   #138
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Hi again, Buns,

Quote:
BTW, I get the sense that being called an Ugly American seems to be a big concern for people considering retiring overseas.
It should be.

Good sense suggests that there are some places we should not go.

However, the best way to avoid the problem is to fit in. Learn the language, make local friends, don't hang out with the American ex-pats (but hanging out with non-American ex-pats may be a plus), participate in the local culture. Also, stay away from US politics and never say anything about being an American. Let'em guess.

There will always be soreheads where ever we go. Avoid them and avoid confrontation.

As you know, I am also a dumb-a$$ American living and working in Canada. About once a month, some jerk says something abusive. I do not react. Of course, if it is some shopkeeper, I never go back there (has happened three times).

By hanging out with non-American ex-pats, one gains the benefit of their experiences in the same situation without the stigma. It also confuses the natives. This is easy in Canada as it is a nation of immigrants (something which I find very appealing in itself).

How is your schooling going?

Ed
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 12-26-2006, 04:33 PM   #139
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Trek,

You have just partially answered some questions I asked in another thread.

Please continue elaborating the finer points of life in Estonia.

Is "transparent government" equal to "honest government"? I have been reading that some places, Montenegro for example, are totally corrupt. Bulgaria seems the same.

Thanks!

Ed
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?
Old 12-27-2006, 11:02 AM   #140
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Re: Who is thinking of retiring in another country?

Reading something totally unrelated, I came across a link today to an article about Estonia:
http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20070115&s=bissell011507
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