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Possible move to Tokyo.
Old 04-11-2014, 05:34 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1
Possible move to Tokyo.

It may be coming up in the near future that I could get a job in Tokyo under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that would put me there for 3-5 years. I'm already working hard on ER and have reached my early 20's and hold almost $300K in managed assets (no I'm not pro enough to try being a bogglehead ).

In Tokyo I would make less than I would like to make but would be getting a housing allowance of ~90K that MUST be spent and can not be pocketed. I can use this allowance to rent or to buy (stipulation being that I can only receive 1/10th the purchase price or the ~90K whichever is lower).

With this being the case I would think that it would be best to try to purchase a property at the lowest price I could that would max out my allowance and hope for the 5 years instead of 3 so I could pay off half of it with money that is not my own.

I've done the research and it seems best to buy land with a home on it that is ~5 years old so that the value of the home has properly depreciated but it still has value left in it for renting/selling after I've finished my 3-5 years (living quarters value [not the land though] in Tokyo plummets immediately after being built almost like a car off the lot in the US).

Does anyone here have info on buying property in Tokyo especially if you know about doing it while under SOFA? I don't know where to get started and could really use the help.

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Old 04-12-2014, 10:04 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,081
Lived there off and on for 24 years. Our last stint ended in Dec 2012 with my retirement. One thing to note (and I am not aware how SOFA affects this) is that if you buy a home in Japan, you are immediately considered a permanent resident, and must pay taxes on your worldwide income. Otherwise, if you stay more than 5years, the same applies. Under 5 years, you pay Japan tax on your JP income, and also declare that income to the US. We did not expect to be there that long on our last stint, but it stretched out to nearly 14 years.

I suggest requesting your employer to give you tax accounting advice BEFORE accepting the assignment.

Good luck


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Old 04-12-2014, 12:38 PM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Dec 2013
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Congrats, an enjoyable experience awaits you. I've had fun on each and every stay over the years.

The realtors are well aware of what your Overseas housing allowance is, that is what you will pay. E5 = XXXX, O3= XXXX, same house different amount. Areas around installations will tend to have some housing built more to US preferences. Your selection will not be from all the available dwellings.

If you will be at a com site the above may not be as prevalent.
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