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Old 06-12-2020, 07:24 AM   #21
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martyp, if you had to guesstimate overall cost of living reduction, what would you say? I have friends who retired to Nicaragua and think itís about 60% of the U.S.
For me I would say the same 60%. However, it really depends on a lot of factors. I am coming from the San Francisco Bay Area where the cost of living is very high. If you are coming from elsewhere in the US then the savings will probably not be that much. I am living in Bangkok. Other cities like Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Hua Hin are popular and less expensive. If you were to go further into the countryside it is ridiculously cheap.

It also depends on your lifestyle. Bangkok is very modern and you can get any western convenience but all those goods and services are imported and usually more expensive than the same at home. The big savings is housing. Rents are really cheap. Food is really cheap if you are willing to eat in Thai restaurants and street food. If you shop at gourmet markets, eat in foodie restaurants, and even eat at McDonalds you won't save that much. I eat about 80% Thai and I eat out about 50% of the time. I am retired and everyday I wear cargo shorts, T shirts, and flip-flops. My clothing expense is really cheap.
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Old 06-12-2020, 10:42 AM   #22
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Around 2002 I moved to Shanghai and first lived in back of Jingan Si (Temple) right in the heart of downtown. It was great. I was single, like 22 years old or something, played beer league softball and ice hockey with a bunch of expats from all over the world each weekend, and hit the bars at least three times a week. Things were really cheap back then in Shanghai as well. Rent for a two bedroom was like 500 USD per month. Now it's like 2500 to 3k usd haha.

....

Keep me posted on how your move goes.
Wow you must have moved to China straight outta college! My first time to Shanghai was as a teenager in 2000. Wish I had the foresight and courage to move there back then, when it was cheap and tons of opportunities.

We were by the Jingan Temple last summer. I didn't realize that was "downtown"...obviously Shanghai is just so sprawling with development it wasn't obvious. We met my uncle for dinner at the Kerry Centre.

Of course...will keep you posted. Still at least a year away though...

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I am a long term expat (over 30 years).

Have lived in Pacific and South East Asia.

I am still an expat but now do "fly in fly out" so spend a week every month in Australia.

Covid 19 has put a stop to that and I have been back in Australia since March - it has turned out to be the safest place to be in the world.

When the world return to normal, I will get back to my "normal".

Good luck with the move to Taipei.
Thanks and glad you are safe! Where do you typically fly out to? Is there a set rotation of cities? Same place? Always changing?

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Expat Corner - Good idea. Thanks.

I ER'd in 2011 and moved to Bangkok, Thailand in 2017. I love the culture, the climate, and the food and my Thai wife. Married last year. During Covid it has been much safer here than the US and just much more pleasant living here except for the 2 months the condo pool was closed.

I am happy to talk all things expat. Thailand - of course the cost of living is mostly lower than the US. It is hot all the time. I wouldn't want to be working here in this climate but as a retiree it is great. It is pretty easy to come as an expat but Immigration keeps an eye on you throughout the year so it is best to keep up on the Immigration rules.
Great thanks and welcome. Did you move because of your wife? Glad to hear y'all are managing well with Covid19.

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For me I would say the same 60%. However, it really depends on a lot of factors. I am coming from the San Francisco Bay Area where the cost of living is very high. If you are coming from elsewhere in the US then the savings will probably not be that much. I am living in Bangkok. Other cities like Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Hua Hin are popular and less expensive. If you were to go further into the countryside it is ridiculously cheap.

It also depends on your lifestyle. Bangkok is very modern and you can get any western convenience but all those goods and services are imported and usually more expensive than the same at home. The big savings is housing. Rents are really cheap. Food is really cheap if you are willing to eat in Thai restaurants and street food. If you shop at gourmet markets, eat in foodie restaurants, and even eat at McDonalds you won't save that much. I eat about 80% Thai and I eat out about 50% of the time. I am retired and everyday I wear cargo shorts, T shirts, and flip-flops. My clothing expense is really cheap.
Appreciate the insight. Sounds like about what I'd expect. Rough estimation for us as a young family of 4 is that moving to Penang, Malaysia from Miami, FL would yield 60% savings as well. That was one of our final options. If we stick with Taipei as planned it should be around 40-50% cheaper and Singapore (our third choice) would yield about 25% savings.

However, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison...in Miami we live in an average townhouse in a family-oriented suburb. Penang is assuming a modern, luxury high-rise condo on the sea. Taipei would be a basic, rehabbed condo in the city center. Singapore would be in an HDB (public housing) rental. And in every case we'd live sort of a mixed life of western amenities but mostly local restaurants/street food since the local food is actually a huge part of the draw for us.
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Old 06-12-2020, 01:27 PM   #23
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Our plan this year was to live in Oaxaca City, Mexico, however, the virus has us stuck here in the U.S. for now. Our apartment in Oaxaca City is waiting for us and we are anxious to get there!
We are snowbirds in PV MX from Canada. Normally we are in Mexico from early November to late April. But DW was awaiting hip replacement surgery in Vancouver June 10th. When Covid hit, and they cancelled all elective surgeries, we decided to have it done here. So she is recuperating and will likely be ready to travel in August. The risk is thrombosis.
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Old 06-12-2020, 02:57 PM   #24
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We are snowbirds in PV MX from Canada. Normally we are in Mexico from early November to late April. But DW was awaiting hip replacement surgery in Vancouver June 10th. When Covid hit, and they cancelled all elective surgeries, we decided to have it done here. So she is recuperating and will likely be ready to travel in August. The risk is thrombosis.


You live in two nice places that Iíve enjoyed visiting a number of times. I get the lifestyle benefits but, since you maintain two households, do you think you save money overall by being a snowbird in PVR? Obviously, your real estate outlay is higher but I wonder about everything else net of real estate.
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Old 06-14-2020, 03:47 AM   #25
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Hi projectmaximus. I'm interested in this thread because I've spent a lot of time in Asia (mostly "Greater China"), all on a short-term basis (not with residency of any kind). Now I'm considering the question of where I can establish residency as a retiree. I've learned some Mandarin and prefer places where that's useful, but there are other considerations that may take precedence.
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I am presently not an expat, but have plans to be one starting in fall of 2021 (most likely to Taipei, Taiwan).
I'm curious to know what kind of visa arrangement you might be looking at in Taiwan. As noted in another thread ("List of countries offering retirement visas?"), most countries don't make it easy for retirees to settle there. If you're looking at other countries as well, that would be interesting to know.
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Old 06-14-2020, 07:33 AM   #26
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You live in two nice places that Iíve enjoyed visiting a number of times. I get the lifestyle benefits but, since you maintain two households, do you think you save money overall by being a snowbird in PVR? Obviously, your real estate outlay is higher but I wonder about everything else net of real estate.
back in 2003, we started spending more than our 3 weeks provided by our timeshare (fixed time, fixed unit) because we had just retired. So we rented additional time in Old Town. First an extra month and finally an extra 10 weeks. We also had a former workmate who had retired to Mexico in 1997. He had moved to Ajijic, then Manzanillo, PV and finally Mazatlan.

We worked with him to establish COL Comparisons to Vancouver. Utilities were easy but we got a comparative on food by comparing the weekly sales fliers from Safeway and Soriana.

We concluded that the savings were 60%! Everything like property taxes and insurance was included. This was in 2004 when the C$ was 7.1 pesos. The main things that provided savings were food and beverage (as well as services like haircuts and house painting). Internet, gasoline and technology were equal or more.

So we purchased in 2007. Our yearly savings were about 40% which included more eating out and outsourcing in Mexico. Of course the current exchange rates help a lot!

Now all that is BAU. With Covid-19, all bets are off. Given the choice, we would likely choose Mexico as our home base and travel in the summer. Most expats here do that. Mexico away from the oceans is quite cool and dry in the summer. But that normal mode may take a year or two. We are prepared to drive because we would treat each trip as a different adventure since we are retired.

This is the latest we have ever stayed in Mexico and, so far, the weather has been fine. We were also lucky to sell our first condo for 6 million pesos last July just 4 months after listing it.

Carrying our Vancouver penthouse costs $60k/yr so it is not trivial!
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Old 06-14-2020, 09:36 AM   #27
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Hi projectmaximus. I'm interested in this thread because I've spent a lot of time in Asia (mostly "Greater China"), all on a short-term basis (not with residency of any kind). Now I'm considering the question of where I can establish residency as a retiree. I've learned some Mandarin and prefer places where that's useful, but there are other considerations that may take precedence.

I'm curious to know what kind of visa arrangement you might be looking at in Taiwan. As noted in another thread ("List of countries offering retirement visas?"), most countries don't make it easy for retirees to settle there. If you're looking at other countries as well, that would be interesting to know.
Hi Hans, countries where Mandarin might prove useful pretty much means "Greater China" and maybe Singapore, though English feels much more prevalent there...but still you'd have plenty of opportunities for Mandarin practice if that's the goal.

I don't think there are any simple retirement visa options for any of those places unfortunately. Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand are the places I believe offer some sort of option. And actually Mandarin is fairly useful throughout Malaysia, although again English will be more prevalent. But the MM2H program in Malaysia has some weaknesses...the application process is slow and murky, the required deposit is fairly substantial, and the rights it provides are not as robust as an actual residency (this has been made clear during the covid-19 crisis when Malaysia closed its borders to mm2h holders who happened to be outside the country).

Re: our Taiwan plans, I'm planning to apply for the Gold Card, which is their relatively new visa option for attracting "talent" without any ties to an employer. It may be an option for you, however it only comes with a 3-year term at best. And while it hasn't been around long enough for anyone to report on the renewal process, it is expected that they will be looking to see your contributions to the local economy/community during your first stint. My wife and I are in our mid-30s so we're still open to growing our businesses or starting new business there...but even if we just lounge around for 3 years and don't renew that would be ok too
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Old 06-14-2020, 10:28 AM   #28
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For Mainland China, the only long term visa options are thru your employer, or if your wife is a Mainland China citizen. There is no retirement visa option or anything even close to that.
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Old 06-14-2020, 04:46 PM   #29
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back in 2003, we started spending more than our 3 weeks provided by our timeshare (fixed time, fixed unit) because we had just retired. So we rented additional time in Old Town.


Thanks for the reply. 2003 was approximately the first time we visited Sayulita. Good memories there.
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Old 06-14-2020, 08:14 PM   #30
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I am retired in Thailand. It is fairly easy to come to Thailand for long term stay for anyone over 50 years old. There are a variety of visas to enter but the goal is to get 1 year extensions of whatever visa you arrived with. Every year you apply for another 1 year extension and you can do this indefinitely. There is a nonimmigrant O visa and a nonimmigrant O-A visa and you specify whether you are staying for reason of retirement or marriage to a Thai. There are different financial requirements and a slightly different process depending on how you do this. The best thing is to join the Thai visa advice Facebook group for accurate information.

I recently viewed a YouTube video about retiring to various different inexpensive countries. The rules in Thailand seem to be similar to these other countries. One thing to note about Thailand, there is no option for me, as a retiree who has never worked here and paid taxes, to get permanent residency much less citizenship.
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Old 06-15-2020, 07:29 AM   #31
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I am retired in Thailand. It is fairly easy to come to Thailand for long term stay for anyone over 50 years old. There are a variety of visas to enter but the goal is to get 1 year extensions of whatever visa you arrived with. Every year you apply for another 1 year extension and you can do this indefinitely. There is a nonimmigrant O visa and a nonimmigrant O-A visa and you specify whether you are staying for reason of retirement or marriage to a Thai. There are different financial requirements and a slightly different process depending on how you do this. The best thing is to join the Thai visa advice Facebook group for accurate information.

I recently viewed a YouTube video about retiring to various different inexpensive countries. The rules in Thailand seem to be similar to these other countries. One thing to note about Thailand, there is no option for me, as a retiree who has never worked here and paid taxes, to get permanent residency much less citizenship.
I've heard from a lawyer friend of mine who is an expat and have lived in Thailand for about 15 years, he said the country is becoming very anti-foreigner. Part of this is the locals look on foreigners and Covid-19, but he also said even before the virus there was a big shift by the government on not being so welcoming to foreigners wanting to live in Thailand.

I did also hear the Thai economy is really suffering since so much of it is based on tourism. I wonder how this effects the everyday life of expats now in Thailand.
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Old 06-15-2020, 09:42 AM   #32
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I've heard from a lawyer friend of mine who is an expat and have lived in Thailand for about 15 years, he said the country is becoming very anti-foreigner. Part of this is the locals look on foreigners and Covid-19, but he also said even before the virus there was a big shift by the government on not being so welcoming to foreigners wanting to live in Thailand.

I did also hear the Thai economy is really suffering since so much of it is based on tourism. I wonder how this effects the everyday life of expats now in Thailand.
For many old timers like your friend my understanding is that Thailand has indeed changed over the years. I get the impression that 15 years ago that anyone could come, anything goes, and everything was cheap. I've only been visiting and living here for the past 4 years. My perspective is that Thailand isn't so much anti-foreigner but that they are becoming more like the rest of the world. Many of the changes people don't like were existing immigration laws that were not enforced before and are now being enforced. If you are an American concerned about immigration then you certainly can't fault Thailand from enforcing their laws. My experience starts in 2016 so that is my baseline for normal.

I heard a good comment from an Australian that said Thailand is easy to get into but once here Immigration keeps a close eye on you (at least now they do). Australia (and I would say the US) make if difficult for foreigners to come and live but once you get in Immigration doesn't follow up on you much.

Thailand is still relatively inexpensive to live in. I have personal experience with that. However, if you've been here for decades then you will have been hit with a punishing exchange rate change. Particularly for those from the UK who have lost 50% of their purchasing power over the years. You really have to have solid financial resources which is something those of us in the ER community are very familiar with.

My own personal experience, living in the big city (Bangkok) and married to a Thai from the countryside (Isaan) is that I feel completely welcome here. Are there some jarring cultural differences sometimes? Sure. Are there bad Thais? Sure. I can definitely see, looking back at the US today, that the political and cultural atmosphere there is something I want to stay as far away from as I can. I am so glad I am riding out Covid here.

Overall, the Thai economy is suffering as much as anyplace in the world that has shut down their economy due to Covid. Tourism here is down like everywhere in the world. Prior to Covid the Thai economy was stagnant. People tell me about the good times 10 years ago. My wife's family are mostly farmers and the local Isaan economy is still slow but everyone seems to be getting along relatively OK. I am retired on an pension income and Social Security so I am little influenced by economic conditions other than the usual faced by retirees.
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Old 06-17-2020, 12:00 AM   #33
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But the MM2H program in Malaysia has some weaknesses...the application process is slow and murky, the required deposit is fairly substantial, and the rights it provides are not as robust as an actual residency (this has been made clear during the covid-19 crisis when Malaysia closed its borders to mm2h holders who happened to be outside the country).
I can concur on the Malaysia MM2H murkiness. I inquired via an immigration consultancy in KL. Many bizarre "gotchas". One is that they require you to show a fairly high current income (even if over 50), meaning it's better if you're still working when you apply, or have a fat pension (which few Americans do). I tried to see if they'd count IRA distributions as income (since the IRS does), but they didn't seem to know what I was talking about, then gave me the opinion that it should work, although I'm not sure they understood that it's not a pension (and therefore it could get rejected after going through enormous effort to apply). They also require that bank statements show the currency, which is something American banks don't do. And they require certain bank letters with specific content and wording that US banks won't write because they have their own standard letter formats which don't meet Malaysian immigration requirements. So then the only option is to go through enormous effort to collect all the forms, statements, letters, etc., and hope they let the non-conformant stuff slide. Not exactly promising.

I got the impression that Americans are an unfamiliar animal to them.

The thing about never getting actual residency puts another cloud over the whole thing. If they don't allow MM2H holders to go "home" during Covid, then they should take the "H" out of "MM2H".
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Re: our Taiwan plans, I'm planning to apply for the Gold Card, which is their relatively new visa option for attracting "talent" without any ties to an employer. It may be an option for you,
I hope it works for you. Please post if you get it. The chances for me are probably zero. I applied for the HK equivalent (QMAS visa) several years ago and was turned down, probably because my professional experience was already stale by over a decade. Now, I'm even more stale. Also, I don't want to come out of retirement, so I probably don't have a path to 5-year residency leading to permanent status in Taiwan.

It seems the options for an already-retired person to retire permanently in Asia are pretty slim (something not revealed in the click-bait "great places to retire" articles).
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I've heard from a lawyer friend of mine who is an expat and have lived in Thailand for about 15 years, he said the country is becoming very anti-foreigner.
I don't know about government policies, but my sense of Thailand was that day-to-day life is not as foreigner-friendly as what I found in Mainland China (pre-Olympic) and Taiwan (later). I got a sense that most foreigners in Thailand don't have local friends, whereas not having local friends would be strange in China/Taiwan (when I was there). And then there's the tipping double-standard (foreigners seem to be expected to tip even when it's not the custom among locals). I had a vague sense that foreigners in Thailand were seen as "wallets to be drained"... or maybe I hung out in the wrong neighborhoods!
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Old 06-17-2020, 12:28 AM   #34
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It seems the options for an already-retired person to retire permanently in Asia are pretty slim (something not revealed in the click-bait "great places to retire" articles).

I don't know about government policies, but my sense of Thailand was that day-to-day life is not as foreigner-friendly as what I found in Mainland China (pre-Olympic) and Taiwan (later). I got a sense that most foreigners in Thailand don't have local friends, whereas not having local friends would be strange in China/Taiwan (when I was there). And then there's the tipping double-standard (foreigners seem to be expected to tip even when it's not the custom among locals). I had a vague sense that foreigners in Thailand were seen as "wallets to be drained"... or maybe I hung out in the wrong neighborhoods!
I am an already retired person that moved to Thailand in 2017. Every country has immigration hurdles. Thailand is no exception. I found it pretty easy to get here and stay. You do have to have and show some financial resources.

I have found Thais to be very friendly and there is no cultural issues with making friends. There may be language barriers. It, of course, depends on who you hang out with. Until Covid I went out salsa dancing every week. It is a crowd I am familiar with in the US and there is no problem making friends anywhere where you would normally make friends.

I've never encountered any tipping standard. You tip 20-100 baht depending on the circumstances and often nothing. It is not much expected. Nothing as draconian as in the US.

Are westerners looked at as "wallets"? Well, again, that depends on who you hang out with. Westerners and Thais know that the exchange rates are favorable to westerners. It is, in most cases, cheaper to live here. So act accordingly.
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Old 06-17-2020, 01:20 AM   #35
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I am an already retired person that moved to Thailand in 2017. Every country has immigration hurdles. Thailand is no exception. I found it pretty easy to get here and stay.
Understood. I get that it's easier to stay long-term in Thailand than some other places. However, I'm concerned about your earlier comment, that permanent residency is not an option for you. If I retire somewhere, I'd want it to be permanent. So I need to make sure that when I'm old and disabled, I don't get kicked out and have to move someplace that isn't home anymore. That could be difficult for me to do at 88, or 92, when I might not be able to walk anymore, or tolerate outings of more than a few hours at a time.

If that's not the deal, then I'm really just a tourist.
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You do have to have and show some financial resources.
I hope it means only assets, and not substantial income (unlike Malaysia, which requires both).
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I have found Thais to be very friendly and there is no cultural issues with making friends. There may be language barriers. It, of course, depends on who you hang out with. Until Covid I went out salsa dancing every week. It is a crowd I am familiar with in the US and there is no problem making friends anywhere where you would normally make friends.
I went to some social functions (Meetup groups, a local theater interest group, an improv practice group, etc.) in Chiang Mai and noticed that there were only foreigners and no Thais. In China and Taiwan, those kinds of functions were always attended by some mix of foreigners and locals. So I wasn't seeing a way to make local friends through my usual activities (or through foreign friends, as the foreigners I knew didn't seem to have local friends).

In Pattaya, I noticed that at dinnertime, I'd see foreigners by themselves or with other foreigners, and no local/foreigner mixed groups (other than a foreign guy with a local lady, as that's a thing there).

I don't have experience with Bangkok.
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I've never encountered any tipping standard. You tip 20-100 baht depending on the circumstances and often nothing. It is not much expected. Nothing as draconian as in the US.
The fact that you'd tip at all is interesting, because all the info I've found says tipping is not customary among locals in Thailand. In China/Taiwan, I found that neither locals nor foreigners tip anywhere nor are expected to (other than parts of Shenzhen where they try to trick people).

In Pattaya, there are foot massage places where the staff gets pushy about tips (this is why I speculated "wrong neighborhood"...).
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It is, in most cases, cheaper to live here. So act accordingly.
"Act accordingly" is kind of subjective. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" worked just fine for me in most places (e.g., China/Taiwan, as I mentioned), but in Thailand, it turned out to be an issue sometimes if a foreigner acts different from locals (which is why I said "double standard"). It's only in Thailand where I experienced that.

I can accept that Thailand is different from some other places (or so I have found). It is what it is. I just want to report accurately on my experiences.

Cheers.
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Old 06-17-2020, 06:47 AM   #36
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Hello from Malta. Retired here two years ago from the SF Bay area. We are already EU citizens so that helps. Advantages are Mediterranean Climate, British culture, legal system and English is an official language. European quality healthcare. Italy is so close as to be visible across the sea on a clear day. There is really no crime to speak of and though people dont have much there is no poverty like in California. People often dont bother locking their cars or houses. The police are unarmed and mostly there isn't much law enforcement of anything - you are more governed by respectability and what the consensus is of what you the right thing to do is rather than any law. The people are super friendly. On the downside the Islands are really small, property is quite expensive and the local politics kind of suck, but it isnt hard to get off the island and go to Sicily which is a great place to visit. That said it takes a certain kind of attitude to deal with the small frustrations of life and I think very few of my US friends would be able to take it.
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Old 06-17-2020, 08:21 AM   #37
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Hello from Malta. Retired here two years ago from the SF Bay area. We are already EU citizens so that helps. Advantages are Mediterranean Climate, British culture, legal system and English is an official language. European quality healthcare. Italy is so close as to be visible across the sea on a clear day. There is really no crime to speak of and though people dont have much there is no poverty like in California. People often dont bother locking their cars or houses. The police are unarmed and mostly there isn't much law enforcement of anything - you are more governed by respectability and what the consensus is of what you the right thing to do is rather than any law. The people are super friendly. On the downside the Islands are really small, property is quite expensive and the local politics kind of suck, but it isnt hard to get off the island and go to Sicily which is a great place to visit. That said it takes a certain kind of attitude to deal with the small frustrations of life and I think very few of my US friends would be able to take it.
I became a Maltese citizen last year based on my Maternal history. My wife is not but it would be easy based on my Citizenship. I had No problems at all becoming a Citizen. Currently live in the US and would consider moving from here if things get worse. I have lots of family there. But I may be too old to adjust to the change.

My Father went to school in Gozo. That may be too remote for me.
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Old 06-17-2020, 08:46 AM   #38
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I can concur on the Malaysia MM2H murkiness. I inquired via an immigration consultancy in KL. Many bizarre "gotchas". One is that they require you to show a fairly high current income (even if over 50), meaning it's better if you're still working when you apply, or have a fat pension (which few Americans do). I tried to see if they'd count IRA distributions as income (since the IRS does), but they didn't seem to know what I was talking about, then gave me the opinion that it should work, although I'm not sure they understood that it's not a pension (and therefore it could get rejected after going through enormous effort to apply). They also require that bank statements show the currency, which is something American banks don't do. And they require certain bank letters with specific content and wording that US banks won't write because they have their own standard letter formats which don't meet Malaysian immigration requirements. So then the only option is to go through enormous effort to collect all the forms, statements, letters, etc., and hope they let the non-conformant stuff slide. Not exactly promising.

I got the impression that Americans are an unfamiliar animal to them.

The thing about never getting actual residency puts another cloud over the whole thing. If they don't allow MM2H holders to go "home" during Covid, then they should take the "H" out of "MM2H".
I feel like Malaysia may be the best option you have. Which company/agent did you contact? I'd suggest reaching out to Alter Domus, they seem to have the most experience and come extremely highly recommended in the facebook groups I am in. Also suggest you join those groups if you are not already. There's an MM2H specific group, and then various expat groups for each geographic region in Malaysia. Lots of folks with tons of experience to share.

The income requirement in Malaysia is quite reasonable imo. It is approx 2500 USD per month for a single person. Perhaps an even better option for you is the mm2h for the Eastern Malaysia state of Sarawak. They operate their own separate mm2h program specifically for 50+ age group and their requirements are lower. About 1750 USD/month income and the fixed deposit is only $25k for a single person as opposed to $75k.

https://www.sarawak.gov.my/web/home/..._view/221/279/

Basic pros and cons with the Sarawak program:

Pros - you have lower requirements and it still allows you to live anywhere in Malaysia.
Cons - application process is a little bit more tedious (no authorized agents for hire) so you actually have to secure someone local to sponsor you. Again, there's a fellow in the facebook group who has shared extensively on how he did this.

The program is expected to introduce some changes in the future which would affect both of those items...their may be requirements that encourage/force you to have more actual presence in Sarawak and they may allow for licensed agents to sponsor. If you have to settle in Sarawak, Kuching and Miri would be places to consider with large Chinese populations. (Note I've never been to Sarawak)

And fyi when I said the mm2h application process was slow and murky, my emphasis was on slow. The murkiness mainly refers to the timeline and lack of clarity with it. In the fb groups people have been reporting waiting over a year now for their approvals, although the govt states waiting times around 4 months. It seems most people are eventually getting their approvals, and it just suddenly pops up out of nowhere. So just an uncertainty with when exactly to expect access, especially since it is recommended to NOT be in the country while awaiting approval.

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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
I hope it works for you. Please post if you get it. The chances for me are probably zero. I applied for the HK equivalent (QMAS visa) several years ago and was turned down, probably because my professional experience was already stale by over a decade. Now, I'm even more stale. Also, I don't want to come out of retirement, so I probably don't have a path to 5-year residency leading to permanent status in Taiwan.
Sure I will. Not planning to move to Taiwan until Q4 of 2021 so won't apply until mid-2021 or so. I did research on the QMAS cause a year ago we were still considering HK as an option. I believe the Taiwan Gold Card is much easier to obtain. There is no cap on the number issued so it's not really "competitive" the way QMAS is. Taiwan is trying to get as many Gold Card holders as possible.

That said, I agree it is probably not your best option. There's an extensive gold card thread on forumosa and included a retired person trying to apply based on his work salary from over a decade prior. So it might be possible for you as well...however it would really only serve for 3 years and I'd assume you would have no chance to renew after that.

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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
It seems the options for an already-retired person to retire permanently in Asia are pretty slim (something not revealed in the click-bait "great places to retire" articles).
Yeah for the most part they seem to apply to folks who are just in a phase (1-3 years) rather than someone seeking a permanent place to settle for good.

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Originally Posted by Puravida1 View Post
Hello from Malta. Retired here two years ago from the SF Bay area. We are already EU citizens so that helps. Advantages are Mediterranean Climate, British culture, legal system and English is an official language. European quality healthcare. Italy is so close as to be visible across the sea on a clear day. There is really no crime to speak of and though people dont have much there is no poverty like in California. People often dont bother locking their cars or houses. The police are unarmed and mostly there isn't much law enforcement of anything - you are more governed by respectability and what the consensus is of what you the right thing to do is rather than any law. The people are super friendly. On the downside the Islands are really small, property is quite expensive and the local politics kind of suck, but it isnt hard to get off the island and go to Sicily which is a great place to visit. That said it takes a certain kind of attitude to deal with the small frustrations of life and I think very few of my US friends would be able to take it.
Thanks for reporting in from Malta! It does seem like a great place for westerners if they want to settle in a warm climate in the EU. Is it expensive to buy property or to rent property...or both?
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:53 AM   #39
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That Maltese passport is useful to have and gives you a good option in the future if you decide to move to Europe. Its definitely not for everyone. I am also living in Gozo.

Property is really expensive in Malta especially for what you get. The quality of construction is quite poor and you have to have a kind of laid back attitude to getting any work done. Relatively simple projects take years to complete and you have to have endless patience. A Kitchen remodel might take a couple of years. This is because the workers are so busy. They all work really hard unlike many other Mediterranean places.
The houses have no insulation but its not that cold in winter and you can always put on a sweater. You cannot let anything bother you like it does in the US. Rent is also expensive since there is a lot of work in Malta and the unemployment is really low for young people in tourism and IT. It costs as much as most places in the US and more than many places. You will get a much better deal in Italy, France or Spain but will have to learn a language there. It is an advantage to know Maltese but its really difficult to learn and even a lot of Maltese are bad at it. Nearly everyone speaks good English though and all legal and business stuff is through English. They even have blue lights outside police stations and red pillarboxes like in England. Its too hot for a few months in the summer but Europe is at your doorstep and summers there are wonderful.
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Old 06-17-2020, 01:28 PM   #40
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Thanks for the reply. 2003 was approximately the first time we visited Sayulita. Good memories there.
I notice the thread is veering towards discussions on permanent residency. We had of 4-year visas run out when Mexico introduced new laws so we went permanent. It required a letter in Spanish indicating that we each had $3300/mo in income. And a copy of a investments showing earnings. We carefully tailored what we provided to show just above the minimum income. It was on bank letterhead because we are all electronic.
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