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Old 04-06-2021, 04:35 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Hi all-
I received a private message from a contributor to this forum asking whether I had stayed in Singapore or returned the States. As a background, I lived in Singapore for 25 years, but only worked there for 19 years. The rest of the time I kept my residence in Singapore, but experienced Egypt, Jordan and Vietnam, working in those countries, also. In 2013, I decided at the age of 67 to return to the States and retire. I live 1 minute from the Canadian border in a little town in Washington state, which up until the beginning of the pandemic was almost like a part of greater Vancouver. Things will certainly get back to where they were before. Vancouver captures that Singapore vibe.

I guess you could say that my life has been quite the opposite of most retirees here, especially if you retire early. I've spent most of my life overseas, and the novelty of living and retiring in the States is still with me. If you retire at the age of 60, I totally understand your desire to retire overseas, especially if you want to check some things off your bucket list and you're still healthy. However, health care and the feeling of "home" really can only be achieved by being in your own country, but that's only my opinion.

In Singapore, I was a PR (permanent resident), which is similar to a US green card. It allowed me to stay there and live. However, I got my PR through my work (science teacher) rather than through family connections, and so even if you have PR, it's only permanent if you continue to work. The cost of living in Singapore is the highest in the world, and getting health care insurance in your 70's is near impossible.

I actually applied for and got the Malaysian retirement visa (MM2H), and I planned on living in southern Malaysia and travel back and forth to Singapore. What deterred me was the lack of good health insurance and the fact that I was determined to have a dog in retirement, which is a very unpopular idea in Malaysia. Also, the requirement of keeping a deposit of $150,000 in a Malaysian bank was something that did not appeal to me. I decided to give the US a chance for retirement, and so here I am. As a side note about MM2H, for the past year the program has been frozen. It will open soon, but the Malaysian government will up the requirements to keep only "high quality" retirees. Read into that as you will.

Do I have any regrets about being "home"? None! I DO get very annoyed and really frustrated about the awful politics and gridlock, but I also was annoyed at same thing overseas. It's my country after all. Also, I can't think of anything better than Medicare, and that's a feeling of security. Just my opinion.

What I miss, however, is the cultural stimulation I received living overseas for 40 years (other countries, also). I need to travel more, but my Labrador makes it difficult. I am looking into the possibility of living part of the year in a US city that captures the Mexican culture, is very safe, and the cost of living is perhaps the lowest in the US for a big city. That place is El Paso. I want to experience that. Like I said, it's extremely safe there, and being able to walk across the border reminds me of living in Singapore and taking walks across the Causeway to Malaysia. I also am intrigued with Panama, and so that is a place I want to visit.

Just wanted to share with you my thoughts on leaving the US to retire. When I reads the news everyday, I get visibly upset, but I'd still be upset if I were overseas. The US influence is everywhere.

Thanks for allowing me to share

Rob

Why don’t you consider the lower RGV? I live here. Hispanic/ Mexican culture is stronger than El Paso. The area is much nicer and newer especially Hidalgo county (Mission, McAllen, Edinburg metro). It has South Padre Island, good size towns with all the amenities, nice, relaxing rural towns like Bayview. It is very subtropical, usually winters don’t hit freezing. We had our worst winter since the 1980s and hit our citrus crop, temps went into the 20s for a couple of nights but that was a big anomaly. There are tourist towns that are safe right across border like Progreso. There are a lot of ‘winter Texans’ here mostly from the Midwest so you won’t feel ‘alone’. Only downside are scorching summers but El Paso is worse and closer to beach here it gets more tolerable
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Old 04-06-2021, 04:35 PM   #42
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Don't think I know anyone that is US citizen and permanently moved/retired overseas.
Actually, we have a number of them right here. So now you do.
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Old 04-06-2021, 06:37 PM   #43
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I'm 57 now and just took early retirement. I'm a UK citizen but haven't lived there for 35 years. I spent 22 years in the US until I got sick of it then moved to China, Mongolia and Vietnam with a short stay in the Philippines. We're stuck in Nha Trang, Vietnam right now as covid refugees but we can't stay indefinitely.

The wife and I will probably move to Turkey for cost reasons and it's a cheap and easy residence if you have a bit of money in the bank. The US is not an option (I'm not a citizen and my green card expired) and I can't stand the weather in the UK. I prefer warm countries so the Aegean coast of Turkey looks promising. My sister has lived in Turkey for 16 years and she loves it. I doubt we could afford to buy a house in the UK but we probably can in Turkey and probably will if we like it after a 1 year trial. Another possibility I considered is Portugal but it looks too expensive for property (rentals and buying) because of high demand from foreigners moving there.

I've lived abroad for so long that the concept of "home" is a strange one. I feel at home wherever I live. I don't miss England in the slightest, I feel foreign there, I've only got one major relative left there - most have moved abroad. Having said that, as I age and if my health fails, we might have to move there just to be able to afford the high costs (in other countries) of insurance or cash treatments. I've been self-insured most of my time in Asia. Luckily, I haven't had any serious issues. I can't count on that luck continuing.
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Old 04-07-2021, 01:25 AM   #44
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We have been retired for 12 years now in Hungary with no regrets. No plans to ever return to the US. We live very well on our pensions and pay cash for excellent health care which comes to less than the aggregate Part B payments so we don't contribute to Medicare at all. It is required to keep my military medical and we refused it. We saved up a large cash reserve which has not only never been touched but has doubled since retirement. We cannot even spend our pensions so we over-planned for retirement which was a nice surprise. Is Hungary perfect? No, but no country is. No one cares where we come from or what we are doing. There is no property or death taxes and the cost of living is average and now apparently less expensive than in the US by a large margin despite 5 times higher utility costs. Once you adapt it is no big deal. The plus is we are in the exact center of Europe and many places are short (5 hours or less) drives away. I have a yacht on the largest lake in Europe and an e-mountain bike for the vast amounts of forests and parks nearby. So, no complaints at all. Language sucks but slowly they are learning English.
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Old 04-07-2021, 01:51 AM   #45
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I currently live on the border between France and Switzerland. With the border being wide open (especially for border residents), I get the best of both countries. The cost of living in France is quite low. I know that France has a bad reputation for high taxes but i think that it’s overblown. Even with a 20% VAT, prices are still way lower than in the US or Switzerland.
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:00 AM   #46
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We spent our first seven months of retirement travelling internationally.

Since then it has been two trips per year, 8-10 weeks each to various overseas locations. Would we move from Canada for a few years. I would, DW no. SO this is our compromise.

During our winters head to warm places on our bucket list. It has been five winters in Thailand/Vietnam/Malaysia, two in Central and South America, one in the US, and the last one in Mexico. In the spring or the fall our preference is for Southern Europe. At the top of our current list is Morocco in spring or fall and winter in Africa.

We have a SIL who has lived and worked all over the world since leaving Canada. Europe, Russia, SE Asia. BIL the same. They decided on Valencia as a retirement location a few years ago and love it. They have integrated...speak Spanish fluently etc. They still keep ties to Canada via an investment property.

No matter where we travel or for how long it is always good to come home. For many reasons. Despite our politics, it makes us very appreciative of where we live and what our life is like. I sometimes think that those who have not had the opportunity to travel to other parts of the world do not truly understand what we have and how fortunate we are.
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:32 AM   #47
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I really enjoy reading the comments of those of you now living overseas, whether it be in Hungary,France, Mexico, or Thailand. It does seem to be the trend that you did this after you retired in the States, or Canada.

I don't see any participants here that spent their whole adult life overseas and then returned to the States when they are in their upper 60's. That sort of describes me. I guess my time since 2013, when I returned here, is still kind of new to me. I'll always look at the US as a place I really don't quite understand, because I have all these other experiences in my mind.

As mentioned, I live on the border with Canada. I can literally walk there if the border were open now. That convenience allows me to mix with an international population in Vancouver. Before the border closed, I regularly took takeout dinners from one of the best Korean restaurants in greater Vancouver. From my house to the restaurant and back was about 30 minutes. That simple activity satisfied my desire to live an international lifestyle. However, the last 14 months have been terrible for obvious reasons.

My desire to live overseas now in my mid-70's is still there, but it's a risky thing to do. You tend to be more cautious when you are in your 70's or 80's. Also, I was so removed from my siblings all these years, that the ability to be in the US and see them whenever I want is something I treasure more as a senior citizen. There is no question that if I had retired much earlier, I would have gone the overseas retirement route.

I still might retire overseas, but the only time I have ever had a dog is now. The idea of flying with him in cargo just makes me quite anxious. For the time being, I'll continue to enjoy being in the US and make escapes to places like El Paso and Vancouver to expose myself to other cultures within the US. I will also continue my 7th year of voting, which after not voting in the US for 35-40 years is a real change for me.

It is nice to get these thoughts out like this. Thank you.

Rob
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