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Old 12-31-2011, 05:13 PM   #81
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To some folks, you've described Mobile, Alabama! (aka The Redneck Riviera)
That's interesting. Mobile is where I first got into salt water, when I was 5. We went on to Biloxi, which I remember better for its nice white sand beaches. This was right after the war. I also remember sailing from Mobile to Dauphine Island. Very nice.

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Old 12-31-2011, 07:16 PM   #82
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Yes, you need to do your research. I have now lived in 4 foreign countries.

For instance, I spent a fair amount of time in Colombia because I had a nice GF there. But you can only stay 180 days a year in Colombia on a tourist visa, no exceptions -- and you can't fix this with border runs. The investor visa options are $200K in real estate, or $100K to start some kind of business with a plan approved by the immigration authorities. The pension requirements were about $1000/month as of about 2 years ago. As an early retiree, you probably won't have a pension -- I don't plan to take Social Security until I am 70.

Ecuador changed their tourist visa to 90 days per year, maximum, due to soaring crime and becoming a haven for international criminals (can't be fixed with border runs). Their permanent resident requirements are not so bad, though. Like Venezuela, crime is out of control there and I would not consider it.

Thailand is nice, but you must be over 50 to qualify for the retirement visa, but otherwise reasonable (around 800K baht in a Thai bank account for a retirement visa, topped up well before renewal time). When I was there I was under 50 (and still am! lol), so I couldn't really stay full-time, they have gotten strict about tourist visa runs.

Mexico and Philippines both have ways of staying full-time that are pretty easy for expats, including those under 50 like myself. I just got back from living in Mazatlan, Mexico, also visited Billy and Akaisha in Chapala, and am headed back to the Philippines in a couple of weeks. I will be in Cebu starting February 1, so hit me up if you are there. I am in the USA visiting family for Christmas, my first Christmas with family in 5 years, although I have come back to the USA to visit family twice each year since I retired almost 5 years ago.

It all depends on what you are looking for, where your friends are, how close you want to be to family, etc. There are a lot of tradeoffs. I tend to spend less money in the USA than any country that I travel to . . . I also find the USA to be a very cold weather country but many people don't feel that way. I even goggled studies on this to try to find out why Americans seem to like cold weather so much, lol.
Kramer, I read here ( The Most Tax-Friendly Places to Retire Abroad - Yahoo! Finance ) that Colombia and Mexico tax foreigners' retirement income. What do you know about this?

Many thanks.
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:48 PM   #83
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Kramer, I read here ( The Most Tax-Friendly Places to Retire Abroad - Yahoo! Finance ) that Colombia and Mexico tax foreigners' retirement income. What do you know about this?
Ed, I had heard that about Colombia, a tax on worldwide income of permanent residents (which is a 5 year process, I believe). I had not heard that about Mexico. On the Colombia forums, people just said they would supposedly never declare their foreign income. I have definitely never heard of any Filipino expats paying taxes on worldwide income, and it is not clear from the article if they are referring to worldwide earned income or worldwide passive income.

There are many facets to this complex issue. Are they talking about permanent residents, residents on a retirement visa that is updated yearly, or only expats that choose to become citizens. Are they talking about worldwide earned income or passive income, etc.

Then there are issues of reporting. As the world stands now, it is difficult for countries to get this information from each other. However, as an example, Canada and the USA started sharing complete criminal record databases a few years ago. Now, a USA citizen will be denied entry to Canada for most felonies and many misdemeanors, no statute of limitations, no exceptions, and it is checked with a swipe of your passport at entry into Canada. There have been many surprised Americans sent back on the next flight.

Now, one could posit that that is the future, with more sharing going on among countries. And why not financial information. Look at UBS, and the FATCA law where the USA is making outrageous requirements of worldwide financial institutions. It would be hard for the USA to say no to foreign requests for financial information of citizens given what the USA is requiring of other countries.

In one other USA tax-related issue, you are exempt from ObamaCare fines for not having health insurance if you qualify as a non-USA-resident under the IRS code (the 30 days in country rule, etc).
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:02 PM   #84
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Thanks, Kramer.

Good points.

In the simplest case, I am assuming that one qualifies for a jubilado visa based on evidence of retirement income, typically deposited in a local bank over the course of a year. I am concerned that that declared and documented income would then be subject to local income tax.

This is interesting to me, though:
Quote:
In one other USA tax-related issue, you are exempt from ObamaCare fines for not having health insurance if you qualify as a non-USA-resident under the IRS code (the 30 days in country rule, etc).
Where can I read more on this?

Thanks again.

Ed
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:26 PM   #85
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Ed, on the ObamaCare exemption for non-USA-resident expats, you will just have to google that. I also posted on it before. There is a specific exemption in the law, as there must be. They use the same criteria as the IRS.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:01 AM   #86
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Thanks, k.
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Old 01-01-2012, 03:29 PM   #87
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House Hunters International on HGTV shows Americans buying homes in Central and South America, which are popular because of the lower costs and the warm weather.

But a lot of the homes have bars on windows and some are in gated communities with guard and relatively high monthly fees.

May not always be the best idea to be a gringo with money down there.
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:17 PM   #88
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House Hunters International on HGTV shows Americans buying homes in Central and South America, which are popular because of the lower costs and the warm weather.

But a lot of the homes have bars on windows and some are in gated communities with guard and relatively high monthly fees.

May not always be the best idea to be a gringo with money down there.
The only time we lived in flats without bars was when they were high up. More than 7 or 8 stories, if I remember. This is just about everywhere in Latin America. It is really only an issue when there is an earthquake. Also, doors with security bars that slide into the frame, and a second door with just bars. Always, lots of keys.
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:41 PM   #89
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The only time we lived in flats without bars was when they were high up. More than 7 or 8 stories, if I remember. This is just about everywhere in Latin America. It is really only an issue when there is an earthquake. Also, doors with security bars that slide into the frame, and a second door with just bars. Always, lots of keys.
Wow! Now that's security.

New Orleans is known for ornate wrought iron burglar bars covering doors and sometimes windows. I have a door like that, though I seldom lock anything but the inner (normal, wooden) door.

Because of the fire hazard, many people here put the key to such a wrought iron door (or window protection) on a large piece of wood (big enough to be found if blinded by smoke), and hang it on a hook substantially beyond a burglar's reach should he break the window behind the burglar bars.

But security bars that slide into the frame? That's a whole new level of security, to me. Who knows, maybe someday we will have to have bars that slide into indentations in the foundation of the house.
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:17 PM   #90
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Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. July, 2013.
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:43 PM   #91
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Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. July, 2013.
Good thinking! What's the chance a huge meteor will hit the same place twice? Other than that, what is your thinking? Is that particular part of Mexico less expensive? More safe? More Gringo friendly? More to do? Retiree friendly? Etc.?
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:16 AM   #92
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Good thinking! What's the chance a huge meteor will hit the same place twice? Other than that, what is your thinking? Is that particular part of Mexico less expensive? More safe? More Gringo friendly? More to do? Retiree friendly? Etc.?
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:54 AM   #93
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:22 AM   #94
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Update on taxation in Colombia:
It appears that only high-income retirees are taxed. But if I had the $10,000/month income, I wouldn't stay in Colombia anyway.

From the archives of the Poor but Happy Colombia forum:
"Definitions:

Residency: For tax purpose, an individual is considered a resident of Colombia when has been living in Colombia for at least six months, which can be continuous or discontinuous.

Income Tax: Foreign citizens are obligated to pay income tax on income derived from a national source. Example: They work for a company here in Colombia and receive a salary.

Question 1: When is a foreign citizen required to pay taxes?

According to Colombian law foreign residents are required to pay tax on worldwide income after five years of residency in Colombia be it continuous or discontinuous residency. Certain types of income whose source is in Colombia, are however excluded and they must be pay since the first day the foreign citizen has the residence ( see tax definition).

Exclusions:

A Social security benefit from a foreign government would be exempt from Colombian tax.

All non-national pensions of less than $10,000 dollars per month are exempt.


In conclusion, you must pay income tax on all foreign income after five years of residency in Colombia, but not all that income will be taxable. You should consult your accountant for specific information.

Again, foreign pensions are not considered taxable income in Colombia unless they exceed $10,000 per month. I have asked DIAN to provide written documentation to cover the above questions and DIAN’s legal opinion in the matter."

By the way, the owner of that forum once said that he would not want to spend many years in Colombia. I believe that was in 2000 and things have improved substantially since.
http://www.escapeartist.com/efam16/Colombian_Expat.html
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:17 AM   #95
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Good thinking! What's the chance a huge meteor will hit the same place twice? Other than that, what is your thinking? Is that particular part of Mexico less expensive? More safe? More Gringo friendly? More to do? Retiree friendly? Etc.?
I am unsure about less expensive in relation to the rest of Mexico. The state of Yucatan, one of three states on the peninsula is very safe. Merida is a major city of about a million people. There are cultural events every day, many of the free to the viewers. there is a symphony orchestra, theater, dance, performances in public parks and much more. Merida is a major medical center, and has universities, colleges, and other post secondary educational institutions.

It is friendly to expatriates, and attracts them ( and tourists) for around the globe.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:31 AM   #96
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I am unsure about less expensive in relation to the rest of Mexico. The state of Yucatan, one of three states on the peninsula is very safe. Merida is a major city of about a million people. There are cultural events every day, many of the free to the viewers. there is a symphony orchestra, theater, dance, performances in public parks and much more. Merida is a major medical center, and has universities, colleges, and other post secondary educational institutions.

It is friendly to expatriates, and attracts them ( and tourists) for around the globe.
You wouldn't happen to be employed by the Merida chamber of commerce, would you?
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:40 AM   #97
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I am unsure about less expensive in relation to the rest of Mexico. The state of Yucatan, one of three states on the peninsula is very safe. Merida is a major city of about a million people. There are cultural events every day, many of the free to the viewers. there is a symphony orchestra, theater, dance, performances in public parks and much more. Merida is a major medical center, and has universities, colleges, and other post secondary educational institutions.

It is friendly to expatriates, and attracts them ( and tourists) for around the globe.
Hi Roni, and welcome to the forum. Please stop by here to tell us a little about yourself, and share with us your interest in Merida Mexico.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:57 AM   #98
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Maybe the Yucatan is far off the narco trail, or wherever the path the drugs from South America take to get to the US through Mexico?

House Hunters International on HGTV featured Merida a couple of times. Nice homes built of concrete to keep rooms cool, very high ceilings, about $300k IIRC.

There may not be violent crime but you have to wonder about burglary and also corruption by local police and govt.

Also, what is the water supply situation? Mexico City may have water supply issues.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:31 AM   #99
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I'm not personally interested in being an expat, but one issue that would concern me about Merida as a potential retirement spot would be the hurricanes that often seem to pass across this part of the Yucatan on their way into the Gulf of Mexico. The concrete homes that explanade mentions sound more practical than wooden homes for such a hurricane prone area.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:56 AM   #100
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We've been to Merida several years ago when a cruise stopped at Progresso and we took a trip to a Mayan city under restoration (not Chichen Itza--can't remember the name) and then spent several hours in Merida. I don't think the ships stop there anymore, but we really loved Merida. It did not seem to be a tourist town at all (I love those too, being a tourist myself ), lots of history, pretty plaza downtown, mostly Spanish-speaking, etc.

I wouldn't relocate there or anywhere else outside the US, but I could see spending a couple of months there in the winter.
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