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perspectives on (and the choice of) the best 1st world countries to retire to?
Old 05-30-2018, 01:34 AM   #1
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perspectives on (and the choice of) the best 1st world countries to retire to?

I am in an industry where the skills are applicable internationally (tech, and one of the sectors that is presently over-hyped); I naturally spend very little money, so I'm currently saving a lot and pondering early retirement.

However, I don't really like the USA as the retirement destination. In my opinion (I don't really want to argue about this, so just treat this as an immutable part of the question ) the cities here excepting parts of New York are too poorly organized (car-dependent and spread out), small or remote (or all three), compared to those in other developed countries like Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Korea, or even the UK. That's just based on my preferences. Most of these other countries also have socialized medicine, which is a bonus. As a tradeoff, the pay in tech (and other industries to a lesser extent) is much lower than in the USA, but that shouldn't matter in retirement.

The problem is, the path to any sort of permanent status in these countries is difficult or very expensive (via investment visas).

So, I came up with a tentative cunning plan where (provided that there isn't another dotcom bust), when I'm almost ready to ER, and prepared to take the pay cut, I first get a job in one of these countries... Hopefully all the tech people I meet in CA/WA who have moved from there to here for the higher pay that they can spend on multiple luxury cars and other such important things will make this part a little easier
In most places, the work visa provides a path to permanent resident status; so, I keep working for 3-5-.. years until I get it, maybe a few years more if I feel like it, and ER.

What do you think?
Also, is there a good overview somewhere of ER in OECD countries, both in general and with regard to legal status, visas, and such?
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Old 05-30-2018, 04:42 AM   #2
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We lived in France for many years. Met a lot of nice doctors, lawyers and well educated professional people from other countries when they'd pick us up in their taxi. At least in France there is a tangible "hire French first" leaning; I suspect the recent wave of immigrants may have only exacerbated that thinking. IIRC, a company has to prove that there are no French candidates available.

Getting into the social structure (banking, HC, buying a car, renting an apartment) can be challenging but possible if you hang in there. I gave up trying to get a checking account and had my office handle my France bills.

Caveat: Taxes can be high. You're still paying for that health care, just indirectly.

Good luck
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Old 05-30-2018, 06:26 AM   #3
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However, I don't really like the USA as the retirement destination. In my opinion (I don't really want to argue about this, so just treat this as an immutable part of the question ) the cities here excepting parts of New York are too poorly organized (car-dependent and spread out), small or remote (or all three), compared to those in other developed countries like Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Korea, or even the UK. That's just based on my preferences. Most of these other countries also have socialized medicine, which is a bonus. As a tradeoff, the pay in tech (and other industries to a lesser extent) is much lower than in the USA, but that shouldn't matter in retirement.
Lurker84, you' re not giving us much to work with here. Why don't you list the 5 top attributes you want for a retirement location? That would be very helpful. You might also consider stopping by here to tell us a little about yourself.

Here's a thread on visas you may find interesting. http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...sas-23742.html
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Old 05-30-2018, 07:43 AM   #4
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...So, I came up with a tentative cunning plan where (provided that there isn't another dotcom bust), when I'm almost ready to ER, and prepared to take the pay cut, I first get a job in one of these countries... Hopefully all the tech people I meet in CA/WA who have moved from there to here for the higher pay that they can spend on multiple luxury cars and other such important things will make this part a little easier
In most places, the work visa provides a path to permanent resident status; so, I keep working for 3-5-.. years until I get it, maybe a few years more if I feel like it, and ER.

What do you think?
Making friends with people who come here to do the same type of work you do is not likely to help you get a work visa in their countries. Firstly, your friends don't have the type of contacts that would help with that; and secondly, most developed countries are not looking for Americans to come and work in ordinary tech jobs there. The U.S. is rather unique in this respect.

In order to get hired overseas, you have to have some rare skill that the employer needs and can't find anywhere else, so figure out what that might be. You can also find a job in the U.S. with a large employer who will send you on an overseas assignment, but again, you have to have a skill that they need in your target country.
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:39 AM   #5
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I am in an industry where the skills are applicable internationally (tech, and one of the sectors that is presently over-hyped); I naturally spend very little money, so I'm currently saving a lot and pondering early retirement.

However, I don't really like the USA as the retirement destination. In my opinion (I don't really want to argue about this, so just treat this as an immutable part of the question ) the cities here excepting parts of New York are too poorly organized (car-dependent and spread out), small or remote (or all three), compared to those in other developed countries like Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Korea, or even the UK. That's just based on my preferences. Most of these other countries also have socialized medicine, which is a bonus. As a tradeoff, the pay in tech (and other industries to a lesser extent) is much lower than in the USA, but that shouldn't matter in retirement.

The problem is, the path to any sort of permanent status in these countries is difficult or very expensive (via investment visas).

So, I came up with a tentative cunning plan where (provided that there isn't another dotcom bust), when I'm almost ready to ER, and prepared to take the pay cut, I first get a job in one of these countries... Hopefully all the tech people I meet in CA/WA who have moved from there to here for the higher pay that they can spend on multiple luxury cars and other such important things will make this part a little easier
In most places, the work visa provides a path to permanent resident status; so, I keep working for 3-5-.. years until I get it, maybe a few years more if I feel like it, and ER.

What do you think?
Also, is there a good overview somewhere of ER in OECD countries, both in general and with regard to legal status, visas, and such?

I know a few people from University that worked for Microsoft after graduation in Redmond. They retired in their early 40s and settled in Vancouver, BC. It's a nice city but I don't care for the weather there. As for living in Europe, you can probably find work in Software Engineering fairly easily in Germany and Switzerland. Google and others have set up in Switzerland. However the cost of living is high in those countries. If you have money, a university degree in the applicable field, and skills that are in demand, there are very few developed countries that will refuse you some form of permanent status.
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:50 AM   #6
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IMO there are plenty of walkable cities in the US, supplemented by public transportation and Uber, and using Amazon or other mail order instead of having to drive to big box stores. Find the right place in the right city, or even town. Certainly most places do not work, but you only have to find one for you.

Not sure if that's your primary issue or if there are others you haven't told us about. Maybe you just want out of the US for whatever reason. Consider that it might be a "grass is greener over there" kind of thing.

Sorry, I know you said you didn't want to argue about this, but if nothing else it tells us why you really want to leave. it's hard to make a suggestion when we really don't know your issues, since they seem to be fairly easily overcome here.
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:53 AM   #7
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Get a posting from your US company to whatever European country you are interested in. I know several US citizens who got sent to European locations by their US tech companies, and while they are not yet retired, they seem to have every intention of staying put in the countries where they are working-usually Germany, Netherlands or Switzerland.

But a cheaper solution and possibly better too would be to realize that driving isn't so bad compared to having sick people cough all their germs onto you in public trans, buy a nice car and retire in West LA. Believe me, I am personally an anti-driver, but the cold and flu season can be long and hellish on public trans.

Ha
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:57 AM   #8
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However, I don't really like the USA as the retirement destination.
Sorry, can't help you. I can't possibly imagine wanting to live in any other country than the US, unless I had family and roots in that other country.

IMO, if one does not have family/roots/heritage in another country, they are likely to come back with tail between legs in less than a decade. I have seen that happen to others so many times. Of course that does not always happen, but when it does it can be pretty financially devastating.
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IMO there are plenty of walkable cities in the US, supplemented by public transportation and Uber, and using Amazon or other mail order instead of having to drive to big box stores. Find the right place in the right city, or even town. Certainly most places do not work, but you only have to find one for you.
Exactly. I live in a place like that. The country is littered with walkable places if you make the slightest effort to find them.
https://www.walkscore.com/cities-and-neighborhoods/
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Old 05-30-2018, 09:12 AM   #9
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IMO there are plenty of walkable cities in the US, supplemented by public transportation and Uber, and using Amazon or other mail order instead of having to drive to big box stores. Find the right place in the right city, or even town. Certainly most places do not work, but you only have to find one for you.

Not sure if that's your primary issue or if there are others you haven't told us about. Maybe you just want out of the US for whatever reason. Consider that it might be a "grass is greener over there" kind of thing.

Sorry, I know you said you didn't want to argue about this, but if nothing else it tells us why you really want to leave. it's hard to make a suggestion when we really don't know your issues, since they seem to be fairly easily overcome here.
I agree. I think Downtown West Palm Beach is a good example. We bought a condo there back in 2011 for a flip, but liked the lifestyle so much that we decided to keep it. You don't need a car. There is a high speed train linking you to downtown Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. The weather is great (except July and August). The beaches are fantastic. The water is warm. It's a short hop by plane to the Caribbean or you can take the shuttle boat to the Bahamas. We also like living in the Los Angeles area. Yes you need a car here, but there is a lot to do around here.
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurker84 View Post

However, I don't really like the USA as the retirement destination. In my opinion (I don't really want to argue about this, so just treat this as an immutable part of the question ) the cities here excepting parts of New York are too poorly organized (car-dependent and spread out), small or remote (or all three), compared to those in other developed countries like Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Korea, or even the UK. That's just based on my preferences...

The problem is, the path to any sort of permanent status in these countries is difficult or very expensive (via investment visas)...

What do you think?


I believe that it eases your path to UK citizenship if you marry a British citizen.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...inDh75SUj-D0Kb


You could live in York (UK, not PA) your entire life and never need a car.
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:20 AM   #11
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We lived in France for many years. Met a lot of nice doctors, lawyers and well educated professional people from other countries when they'd pick us up in their taxi. At least in France there is a tangible "hire French first" leaning; I suspect the recent wave of immigrants may have only exacerbated that thinking. IIRC, a company has to prove that there are no French candidates available.

Getting into the social structure (banking, HC, buying a car, renting an apartment) can be challenging but possible if you hang in there. I gave up trying to get a checking account and had my office handle my France bills.

Caveat: Taxes can be high. You're still paying for that health care, just indirectly.

Good luck
People here know that I am a Francophile, but France and many other countries are not open to immigration like the US. I used to entertain the idea of having a retirement home in Provence (result of reading all the books by Peter Mayle), but gave up that idea a few years ago.

I am an immigrant, but the US is and will always be my home. I feel very comfortable here. It is nowhere near perfect, but is still pretty darn good. Other places will remain my travel destinations. The US is huge, and if I do not like where I am, I can pick another place to move to, with no red tape, bureaucracy to deal with. My SS and Medicare cards will work everywhere. And I will still send my taxes to the same IRS. No headache involved.

By the way, just saw that Peter Mayle died in Jan 2018 at the age of 78.
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:40 AM   #12
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This is a US board so you will not find many expats actually living elsewhere. I think that is what you want. Why not try Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Expats Living Abroad | ExpatForum.com to get feedback from people who are living your dream in other countries.
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:01 AM   #13
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Lurker84
This is a US board so you will not find many expats actually living elsewhere. I think that is what you want. Why not try Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Expats Living Abroad | ExpatForum.com to get feedback from people who are living your dream in other countries.
This is a good start. I know a couple of other US-UK expat sites and they all give good advice and have wikis on the types of visa, visa processing times etc for those interested.

I think the OP has the right idea to try out a country by working there first, much easier to get a visa than after retirement, and with a work environment there will be an immediate circle of friends and colleagues to socialise with and get to learn the local culture.
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:09 AM   #14
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Well, Canada is another country, and has socialized medicine. That's 2 boxes checked, and maybe would be an easier decision to reverse should OP have a change of heart. I have no idea if it meets any other criteria that OP needs.
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Old 05-31-2018, 01:44 PM   #15
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Seeing all the comments about the high cost of living across the pond makes me wonder if the evolution of self-driving cars, along with Lyft and Uber might help make living in a US city a little more palatable? I have family in Chicago & NYC, and neither own a vehicle and do just fine. Bicycles and recumbent trikes are a nice supplement. Just my .02. Good luck - sounds like an adventure!
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:25 AM   #16
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I know a few people from University that worked for Microsoft after graduation in Redmond. They retired in their early 40s and settled in Vancouver, BC. It's a nice city but I don't care for the weather there.
Living in Vancouver, I've got to say the summers are great. The goal is to save up enough to travel when the weather gets yucky in late October until the spring. Housing costs are ridiculous though if entering the market.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:08 AM   #17
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lurker84, I know some people who have done this, but most of them went to the country through their American employer first, got contacts and a job offer and then navigated through the government immigration system. The folks I know moved to Singapore and New Zealand, and none of them were planning for it initially.

Canada should be an easy "try-out" for you - Toronto/Montreal and Vancouver are both very public transportation friendly, as are most of the smaller cities, and you would avoid the language issues (and figure out if you are okay with higher taxes). Google Canadian TN visas - very easy to get for employment in Canada if you have a bachelors degree in a tech-related field. This might also apply to Mexico, but .... haven't heard anything about that.

As someone suggested, the other route you might try is to get into some of the bigger world-wide tech companies and try to find your way to a overseas project. They always have a hard time filling those project if they need a higher-level (Manager or above) in a specialized skill. Down side is you won't get to "choose" the location or duration, and you would not "move" there (you remain an American employee), but again, an easy "try out" . Not such a good option if you have family or other dependents (though I do know folks who go with their spouses if its a longer term project). A lot depends on timing and skill sets.

Good luck - its a nice plan if you can execute it.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:06 AM   #18
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As someone suggested, the other route you might try is to get into some of the bigger world-wide tech companies and try to find your way to a overseas project. They always have a hard time filling those project if they need a higher-level (Manager or above) in a specialized skill. Down side is you won't get to "choose" the location or duration, and you would not "move" there (you remain an American employee), but again, an easy "try out" .
Depends. Company I worked for had plenty of choice in both location and duration, and you could actually transfer offices fiscally/legally if you wanted.

Especially in economic boom times. It's how I transferred countries.
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Old 06-17-2018, 08:33 AM   #19
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OP has not logged in since posting 2.5 weeks ago. May be reading the thread without logging in, but the "lurker" handle seems accurate. But more information doesn't seem to be coming, and it's very questionable whether any advice or comments are even being read.
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Old 06-17-2018, 02:39 PM   #20
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Hopefully the thread can help future "lurkers".


I am always thinking about a better retirement destination, but US always seems to be a good choice. I am an immigrant, and it is much easier to mix in with local people here.


Sure, the other places I lived just as a tourist so far. Maybe I can find my dream place slow traveling the world after retirement.
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