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Old 01-22-2013, 09:14 PM   #81
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We have been staying in a condo complex in Costa Rica for the past three weeks. We were surprised at the number of expats living here.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:15 PM   #82
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I think you will find that in every destination. People just go. They don't make a fuss about it. And they don't try to convince anyone else that they made the right decision because that would be futile.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:37 PM   #83
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I'd love to see detailed blogs about real life expat experiences. Things like how to get the right visa, what are the tax implications, can you buy real estate, health care, US tax issues, FBAR etc. How are your pensions, IRAs taxed etc. along with cultural issues and adjustments. the stuff I find online is totally superficial and IMHO glosses over the issues to sell stuff to the inexperienced.

Early on in the thread people asked how somewhere like France or the UK would know about your US income, well it's just like in the USA, you have to tell them and there are consequences if you don't.

In some countries you can get a "retirement visa" which might give you some immunity form local income tax on foreign income (ie from the US), but many countries will tax that income if you are a resident and then you get into US tax treaties.......and you really don't want to do that on your own.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:27 AM   #84
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Then rent for months at a time, don't bother gaining status if it just means another hand out.

Of course, that means maintaining a residence in the US and going back and forth.

So someone probably could compare the costs of visiting vs. having some residency status and paying taxes in another country, in addition to the US.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:46 AM   #85
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Then rent for months at a time, don't bother gaining status if it just means another hand out.

Of course, that means maintaining a residence in the US and going back and forth.

So someone probably could compare the costs of visiting vs. having some residency status and paying taxes in another country, in addition to the US.
If you are a usual US expat with only one passport your retirement options will be limited to those countries with "retirement visas" or with very relaxed immigration rules. Those countries also tend to be ones where foreign income is exempt from local tax. Hence the pushing of places like Costa Rica.

Retiring to most European countries, Canada, Australia etc might not be possible because of immigration rules and it will be complicated from a tax stand point, though not necessarily more expensive than going the South American route because of the way the US taxes its citizens.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:26 PM   #86
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Supposedly Italy has retirement visas. You go to a consulate and show that you have sufficient means.

But maybe they see what you have and they try to wet their beaks a little, to use a Sopranos term.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:06 PM   #87
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Speaking of bars on the windows and doors, has anyone mentioned every single house/apartment has that in Bangkok, Thailand?
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:23 PM   #88
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My wife is Chilean and for the past 10 years we have been visiting at least annually. Back in the 80s I also spent 3 years working in Guatemala (Peace Corps) and we have traveled throughout Central and South America.

First about Chile. Because half our family is in Chile that is probably the only place we would ever consider retiring outside of the US. It is a great country, clean, very middle class, and without any of the corruption one experiences elsewhere. Police, government agencies, and businesses are efficient and non-corrupt. The infrastructure is also very modern. My mother-in-law is here in Texas visiting this week and she is busy emailing her gardener about something to do with the sprinkler system at their weekend home on the coast.

If you imagine taking a 100 mile wide slice of the west coast of North America from Juneau AK to Cabo San Lucas and flip it upside down you basically have Chile except the mountains in Chile are bigger. Northern Chile is deserts and beach towns. The landscape resembles Baja. Central Chile is the wine and fruit region with a similar climate and coastline to Central and Southern California. Southern Chile is cool/cold and rainy and breaks apart into many islands, fjords, and temperate rainforests. Much like the inside passage from Seattle to Juneau. Chile is not tropical. You do get winters and the mountains get huge amounts of snow. Central California is probably the closest parallel in terms of climate.

One sees very few Americans in Chile and I'm not sure why. Lots of Argentinians though, especially in the beach resorts in summer. The downside of Chile from the point of view of an American is that it is not cheap. Expect to pay US prices for food and lodging for the most part. The difference is that one can pay Texas prices for what is more equivalent to coastal California property. So one can buy a house near the beach at suburban Texas prices and get a location that looks more like say...Carmel.

As for some of the other countries mentioned. Argentina has appeal. Buenos Aires is absolutely enormous if someone wants a completely urban lifestyle comparable to living in say Paris or Barcelona. But there are many appealing areas such as Mendoza in the wine country. Bariloche is popular with Europeans (especially Germans) and was a famous Nazi hideout in the 50s. It's a lake resort in the Andes. Argentina has a long coastline but not a lot in the way of beach resorts. Argentinians seem to prefer to take the ferry across to Uruguay or go on up to Brazil for their beach time.

Uruguay is much sleepier than Argentina or Chile. Full of little rural towns and slower paced beach towns. Punta del Este is the jet set resort on the Uruguay coast that seems mostly to be full of Argentinians during the high season with jet set prices to match. Argentinians all seem to want to crowd into the same few chic places where they can all see and be seen so places like Punta del Este Uruguay and Renaca Chile get packed to the gills with Argentinians during December and January but they don't really spread out to other places.

I love Guatemala but the place has taken a scary turn in the past decade. Crime has gotten more serious and more random. Back in the 80s when I was there one saw a lot of political violence (death squads etc.) but it wasn't random and Americans could pretty much live in a bubble and be left alone. Those days are long over. Narco trafficking has brought huge amounts of drugs and crime to Guatemala and tourists have become much more of a target than in the past for petty violent crime from gangs and druggies looking for a quick fix. I'm not sure I'd pick Guatemala as a retirement destination these days until they get a grip on the crime problem.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:42 PM   #89
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First about Chile. Because half our family is in Chile that is probably the only place we would ever consider retiring outside of the US. It is a great country, clean, very middle class, and without any of the corruption one experiences elsewhere. Police, government agencies, and businesses are efficient and non-corrupt. The infrastructure is also very modern. My mother-in-law is here in Texas visiting this week and she is busy emailing her gardener about something to do with the sprinkler system at their weekend home on the coast.
Love Chile! It's a great place, I've spent a lot of time in La Serena.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:20 PM   #90
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Love Chile! It's a great place, I've spent a lot of time in La Serena.
La Serena is nice. My wife has a cousin who is a lawyer in Coquimbo next door to La Serena. So we have visited from time to time. I especially like taking side trips up into the Elqui Valley for pisco and star watching. Unbelievably gorgeous up there.

But my wife's family mostly has places along the central coast closer to Santiago. Her parents have a house in Renaca. An aunt and uncle have a house in Santo Domingo. Brother has a place in Maitencillo. Another uncle has a house in Zapillar. Of all the coastal towns in central Chile I think my favorite is Maitencillo. Low key. Endless beaches. And not so crowded as the towns closer to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:05 AM   #91
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Chile does look interesting. It appears to be the safest Latin American country and the most middle-class. Be aware that it is not cheap. Everything is not always perfect, either. Here is a link to the most useful web site I have found on Chile: Chile Forum: Chile Forum It is populated by many expats who give a realistic picture of living there for short and long times.

From a distance, La Serena looks very interesting and I hope to visit at length one day. nun, can you tell us more about La Serena?

Arica, in the north, also looks interesting. It is a beach town, not the big city. It is said to be the cheapest city to live in Chile. It is next door to Peru as well, which has its attraction. These are good introductions to Arica: Arica: The Alternative Guide and Arica, Chile, in a nutshell – aricachile Another place I want to visit.

texasdiver, I will read up on Maitencillo. Thanks for your input.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:14 AM   #92
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Chile does look interesting. It appears to be the safest Latin American country and the most middle-class. Be aware that it is not cheap. Everything is not always perfect, either. Here is a link to the most useful web site I have found on Chile: Chile Forum: Chile Forum It is populated by many expats who give a realistic picture of living there for short and long times.

From a distance, La Serena looks very interesting and I hope to visit at length one day. nun, can you tell us more about La Serena?

Arica, in the north, also looks interesting. It is a beach town, not the big city. It is said to be the cheapest city to live in Chile. It is next door to Peru as well, which has its attraction. These are good introductions to Arica: Arica: The Alternative Guide and Arica, Chile, in a nutshell – aricachile Another place I want to visit.

texasdiver, I will read up on Maitencillo. Thanks for your input.
La Serena is a pretty big city and bordered by Coquimbo which is another pretty big city. I'm guessing the whole area is approaching 500,000 in population so you get all the big city stuff...malls, mega grocery stores, traffic congestion, crime, etc. The beaches in La Serena are all public and urban. The beachfront highway runs along the beach and all development is pretty much restricted to the opposite side of the highway so there is nothing in the way of private beaches. Here's a photo:

https://www.southvoyage.com/images/a...a_Nocturna.jpg


Because the get such a crush of people during the high season and it is pretty urban the beach doesn't exactly stay clean and pristine. I was there with my family once during New Years (high summer season in Chile) and was depressed to see lots of trash (cigarette butts, bottles, etc.). The city dragged the beaches with tractors and sand sifters every morning to clean them but it wasn't exactly a secluded beach. If you want an urban feel La Serena would be fine but it's not secluded.

Maitencillo is something completely different. It is a small beach town on a LONG stretch of beach in Central Chile. Unlike La Serena, which is mostly desert, Maitencillo is heavily wooded and surrounded by mountains. Looks more like Big Sur California. There isn't much in Maitencillo except some small hotels, lots vacation cabins, and one or two large hotel complexes.

http://balnearios10.com/wp-content/u...8_7882_570.jpg

Just 5-10 minutes down the road from Maitencillo is Cachagua which is an even more exclusive location. Beautiful beach surrounded by upscale houses. The sort of place where Chilean elite have their weekend beach house so there are no hotels or condos, just big houses. Another 5-10 minutes down the road brings you to Zapallar which is the old version of Cachagua. Beautiful crescent beach surrounded by the huge old weekend homes of the elite.

http://imagesus.homeaway.com/mda01/0...3bb0ee181.1.12

Personally I like the central coastline better than that further north. I just like the trees and vegetation. And because all my wife's friends and family live in central Chile that is where we'd most likely end up.

But Chile isn't all about beaches. I'd probably rather have a piece of land in the foothills of the Andes somewhere south of Santiago. Up in the mountain air where we can mess around with a little farming and just live the country life.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:29 AM   #93
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I was in La Serena almost 25 years ago so my knowledge isn't exactly up to date. But it's a college town with a great beach and city square where I drank many pisco sours. The first time I went Pinochet was still in power and it was amazing how much things changed in just a couple of years after he was gone. The atmosphere of fear and tight lips completely disappeared.

The sea food is spectacular as is the scenery to the east in the Andes and if you want a truly amazing trip drive north into the Atacama. Is the loneliest road I've ever been on.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:36 PM   #94
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My wife is Chilean and for the past 10 years we have been visiting at least annually. Back in the 80s I also spent 3 years working in Guatemala (Peace Corps) and we have traveled throughout Central and South America.
texasdiver, have you ever been to Colombia? What do you think expat life would be like in some of the Colombian cities (most notably Medelin, Baranquila, Cartagena)? I know they have different climates, with Medelin being the most pleasant (city of eternal spring).

Also, what about Paraguay? Have you ever been there and if so, what were the main differences between Paraguay and some of the other south american countries?
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:38 PM   #95
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texasdiver, have you ever been to Colombia? What do you think expat life would be like in some of the Colombian cities (most notably Medelin, Baranquila, Cartagena)? I know they have different climates, with Medelin being the most pleasant (city of eternal spring).

Also, what about Paraguay? Have you ever been there and if so, what were the main differences between Paraguay and some of the other south american countries?
Never been to either. Colombia intrigues me much more than Paraguay. Much deeper in culture and much more modern. Would like to visit some day now that they seem to have gotten the drug violence under control and the country seems set on a more promising path.
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:14 PM   #96
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One of our members, Kramer, has spend a fair amount of time in Colombia, knows it quite well from an expat perspective and has posted here. His views are well informed and enlightening, and his advice excellent. Try searching past threads using the advanced search function.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:04 PM   #97
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Arica, in the north, also looks interesting. It is a beach town, not the big city. It is said to be the cheapest city to live in Chile. It is next door to Peru as well, which has its attraction. These are good introductions to Arica: Arica: The Alternative Guide and Arica, Chile, in a nutshell – aricachile Another place I want to visit.
Arica is the most famous town (easiest) for expats in Peru to "borderhop" and before I got residency, I did it many times. One of the advantages is you do not have to pay the "reciprocity fee" as you would at "airport borders". It is certainly a cute little town,but not much else and in the middle of nowhere like its Peruvian neighbor Tacna (a real dump). If you ever make it down there you must ride the railway that runs between the two towns. Tacna is best known as a duty free spot and the place to buy a used Japanese import (which I have done). Sadly, the laws just changed and they no longer import cars. Do to Peru having better cuisine the border is filled with Chileans coming to Peru for lunch on the weekends.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:40 AM   #98
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One of our members, Kramer, has spend a fair amount of time in Colombia....
Yes, Travis has since moved on and lives in The Phippines NW of Manila, but his accounts were very representative of living there. I think he may have had a blog about it too...
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