Living Abroad - Who's done it?

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SrGrumpy
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by SrGrumpy »

IthinkICan wrote: Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:37 pm Spain would be the most expensive both for immigration and taxes. They tax world wide income.
Sure about that?
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IthinkICan
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by IthinkICan »

SrGrumpy wrote: Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:51 am
IthinkICan wrote: Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:37 pm Spain would be the most expensive both for immigration and taxes. They tax world wide income.
Sure about that?
Hmm, I'm pretty sure. Maybe something has changed? Residents used to have to pay tax on wolrd wide income, as well as a tax on total world wide wealth (savings, investemnts, realestate, ...). Have you seen something different? If so, I'd love to look into that more!
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CyclingDuo
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by CyclingDuo »

IthinkICan wrote: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am I don't know why, but I've always wanted to live in another country, at least for a few years. At the same time, I feel afraid to go for it. My husband is up for it, and I recently got the go-ahead from my company to work remotely (may require a pay adjustment).

Reasons for wanting to do it:
  • Becoming truly fluent in another language. I've been studying Spanish off and on for years.
  • Learning how another culture works
  • Learning more about myself
  • Having access to outings (visits to ruins, other historical sites, outdoor activities) that would be a long trip from where I live today
  • Depending on where, enjoying a mild climate
Things holding me back:
  • Aging parents. I have two siblings who live in the same city. Both parents are healthy, but I feel a bit of guilt about going somewhere far away from them.
  • Figuring out what to do with our house. I love our house and neighborhood. We're in one of the only walkable neighborhoods in our city. Every time a house near us sells, a flipper adds tons of sqft and sells for a huge ncrease. If we sell, I doubt we could (or would want to afford) to buy back in. At the same time, I think it could be a headache to manage it as a rental from abroad.
  • I know I'll miss my friends, and it'll take time to make friends in a new place
Have any of you done this? I feel like I'm at an age where, if I don't do it now, I'll never do it. Moving could be a big mistake, but it could also be a big regret if I don't go for it.
Yes, we have done it. Lived and worked in Austria for a decade. Loved it for the cultural aspects : learned the language/culture, traveled throughout Europe as much as we could afford, raised our children there, made life long friends, etc... - what's not to love? We could hop in the car and be in Paris for supper. Hop on an early train and be in Rome for a late night cappuccino. Drive through 4 countries and languages on a Saturday car ride with the kids. Meet people from all over the world.

We had aging parents as well. The US is only a plane flight away. Have passport - can travel. Telephones and computers keep you in constant contact with family members back home. You just have to adjust for the time zone differences. For us, the plane flight from Europe back to the states was about the same time as the drive in a car we had to make while living in the US to visit family. And the family came to visit us as well. Who wouldn't want to do that?

You get one shot at life. If you have the opportunity to work and live overseas - we would suggest you jump at the chance. It will color your world.
"Save like a pessimist, invest like an optimist." - Morgan Housel
illmasterj
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by illmasterj »

Doing it right now. Everyone's parents are ageing, everyone has a great job or a child or two or a house or something holding them back. If you want to do it you have to turn those things from excuses into "things to process/sort out before leaving".

I live in Andorra with my wife and we just had a child there.

We had a property that we sold before making the move, and admittedly sorting out our finances before leaving was a huge task. It was a one-way move for us, we weren't dipping our toes in the water, we made a huge commitment.

The minimum lease there is 5 years, so we signed that, bought a house full of furniture and a car. The local language is Catalan, which isn't easy to learn but "poc a poc", mine is coming along. Spanish and French is spoken everywhere, English is more difficult to come by but we make do.

It's not been easy, but it's incredibly rewarding. Just about everywhere you live in Andorra, there's a hiking trail that starts within a short walk of your home. So much that, we spend most lunch breaks hiking with our child in the mountains. If you're interested in Andorra there's a good article about it here.

On more generally living overseas though, do it. It's so good for personal growth in my opinion. The challenge becomes where you may find you don't have a "home" in the traditional sense of the word. Where you grew up (home town) can turn into "where my parents live", the country you are from can become "where I was born" or "I have an XYZ passport", but similarly where you currently live doesn't always feel like home. Things become complex.

As you widen your worldview, you may outgrow your friends back home. But you may also have challenges making friends in your new "home" country.

It's all positive in the long run, at least from my experience, but can take a few moves to find "home", and a "2 year stint in ZYX" can quickly turn into a lifetime abroad.
traineeinvestor
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by traineeinvestor »

I came to Hong Kong in 1992, intending to stay for a year (maybe two if I was enjoying myself) before going on to the UK to do postgraduate studies.

26 years later, I'm still here with no plans to move back or move on. Even though I cannot get citizenship because I am not ethnically Chinese, I feel as comfortable here as I do back in New Zealand. I had a good career, meet my wife here, our children were born here and I'm enjoying my retirement here. It's a very easy city to live in ... if you have a decent income.
illmasterj
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by illmasterj »

traineeinvestor wrote: Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:42 am I came to Hong Kong in 1992, intending to stay for a year (maybe two if I was enjoying myself) before going on to the UK to do postgraduate studies.

26 years later, I'm still here with no plans to move back or move on. Even though I cannot get citizenship because I am not ethnically Chinese, I feel as comfortable here as I do back in New Zealand. I had a good career, meet my wife here, our children were born here and I'm enjoying my retirement here. It's a very easy city to live in ... if you have a decent income.
What sort of income is "decent" for HK?
MoonOrb
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by MoonOrb »

I've done it. Have since repatriated to the US. I have mixed feelings about it.

When we did this, we sold our house, our cars, lots of our stuff, quit our jobs, and moved abroad with the idea that we'd stay for a few years or for forever, depending on how we felt about it. We had a great time. It was interesting, I have good memories, and I'm still a permanent resident of that country in case I'd like to retire there.

There were some unexpected things, too. First, after the initial euphoria of moving wore off (about six months), I strangely found myself in the grips of what I can only understand as a significant period of depression--at the time I did not have a job and I suppose maybe I was mourning the loss of my career (did not anticipate this) and felt I wasn't contributing as much to the household. This sorted itself after I rejoined the ranks of the professional world a few months later, but it felt like it completely came out of nowhere. I never imagined I would find myself in the throes of depression, especially in those circumstances.

We did move back after a few years once we made the decision that home for us was in the US, so it made sense to move back sooner rather than later. We moved back at a terrible time--immediately before the onset of the Great Recession. Taking a break of several years from my career was devastating to my job prospects when so many people with comparable experience were being laid off and competing for very few jobs. I ended up going back to school to change my career and then unexpectedly got a call from a former employer asking if I'd return. Once that happened, everything got back on track. We bought a house. We began investing significantly again. I found a job I liked.

But I've reflected from time to time that I was very lucky. This could easily have worked out differently. I was fortunate to land jobs the two times that I did (and the opportunities came up so randomly, too, it totally could have been the case that there weren't job opportunities for me). Had I not pulled a job rabbit out of a hat that looked to be empty, I think things could have gone down in a way that I wouldn't have liked a bit.

In short, my experience has been colored substantially by the role of luck in my life and by the fact that the outcome was a good one. There were definitely days in 2008 when I was attempting to find jobs to apply to and was just kicking myself for doing something so unnecessary as moving abroad. We had a good, enjoyable life in the US before we moved; at the time the damage to my career was catastrophic and really made me question the decision. But then when the clouds parted and the sunshine came out and some miracle delivered a great job to me, it was easy to look back on the experience and remember only the good parts.

So the simplest answer for me is: yes, I did this, and yes, I'm glad I did. I had mostly a wonderful time and I think my life is richer for it. But a truly honest answer also compels me to acknowledge that had a few things happened a bit differently, I might have considered it the greatest mistake of my life.

If someone was looking for advice, I'd ask them to consider whether they have the type of career that can allow them to reenter the marketplace after being out of circulation for a lengthy period of time, or whether the move will have no effect on the career or could possibly enhance it. For folks in those enviable position, I would heartily endorse the decision. For people in my shoes, whose careers wouldn't let them reintegrate easily into the workforce, I'd give much more careful consideration.

As far as being far from family, my personal opinion is that I'm glad we did not let this stop us. It was hard sometimes. My father in law was very ill with cancer at the time we left and passed away within six months of our move. We were able to fly home on short notice and see him before he passed, which was meaningful. It was a very very very VERY long flight, but we were, as people have said, just a flight away from being home.

There are certainly parts about it that were hard--adjusting to a new place and a new culture and new norms and everything that comes with it is a challenge. But the hardest part for me was the unexpected and devastating effect that functionally losing my career had on me.
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MossySF
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by MossySF »

illmasterj wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:41 am What sort of income is "decent" for HK?
If "decent" means an expat lifestyle, San Francisco/Manhattan white collar incomes would be decent for Hong Kong also.

A decent Konger lifestyle -- small apartments, taking the metro, eating out where the staff only speaks Chinese, etc. -- $5000 USD/mo more or less would be fine.

There's lots of foreign manual labor/service/household workers who live on $1000-$1500 USD/mo and it's pretty harsh.
Limoncello402
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Limoncello402 »

I taught in Europe several times, for about 5 months each time. Total time living abroad was about 2.5 years.
I would recommend shorter stints. At least make sure you are familiar with the place and comfortable there before committing to a longer period.
As a homeowner, I rented out my house and each time despite my huge fears it worked out well. If you have colleges or universities near you, scout around for visiting profs or new profs who want to rent.
Stick5vw
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Stick5vw »

I posted on my experience abroad for >10 years here - recommend looking at the whole thread...

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=252542&p=3995723#p3995723

Adding to this, would absolutely echo some of the prior points about the re-patriation. Don’t know if you plan to come back, but do not underestimate the difficulties to find a job “back home” after your stint abroad. Not everyone will “get” your time overseas and see the value it may bring, either personally or professionally (and I work for a multi national which encourages this type of mobility!) Returning to HQ is not always formalized and very much depends on timing and your skill set. So my move back has taken longer than hoped particulalry when the macro environment is so shaky.

Unless you are upper management you may really need to hustle to find a new role so make sure you are networking constantly, keeping in touch with decision makers, and keep your skills relevant to the next role(s) you want to take on.
Starfish
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Starfish »

I live abroad. Like many immigrants I was born somewhere else and live in US right now.
First thing I learned in orientation week in grad school was that at the beginning everything looks good and interesting, then 3-6 months in things get rough. People get depressed. After a while (months or years for some) you come back. It happened to me and it is normal when you move abroad first time.
So you have to be prepared for this. However it should be different deepening on circumstances, personality etc.
I assume it would be much easier for me nowadays to do it again, and I actually plan to do it again when I will retire.
michaeljc70
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by michaeljc70 »

I've considered it (spouse is foreign born), but haven't done it yet. I'd give it a try. I wouldn't give up all my belonging and house if I wasn't sure I was going to like it for a considerable period of time. I'd want some safety net so I wasn't starting over in a year or two if I moved back. But some people are more tied to their home/belongings than others. On the family/friends front, of course you won't see them as much, but if you move to an interesting/reasonably accessible place, many will probably come visit.
akhilsam
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by akhilsam »

Freefun wrote: Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:48 pm If I decide I don't like it I can always move back. I'd rather try something and not like it, than regret not giving it a go.
Best quote ever!!
SurferLife
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by SurferLife »

I'm military and have spent the majority of my 20 years overseas. Though, my situation is slightly different because I have a community when I get there. I have also always lived on the economy. Living overseas is very different and for myself, had quite an impact on my worldview, for the better. I know for many people, they have a deep desire to "travel", but few rarely follow-through with it, other than maybe a week here and there. You don't really get to know a place as a tourist, and living somewhere really enables you to learn more about yourself and another culture. Living in America is EASY, and rather boring if I may say. I think what I appreciate most about my overseas experiences is that I no longer have a need to get away and I desire to settle someplace where they have stronger family values. After having spent so much time overseas and then going back to America, I now feel like I don't fit back home. I think that's a blessing, but I won't get into the specifics. It's hard to make local friends, so that'll likely be the biggest thing, loneliness in a way, but if you get involved in the community, it'll eventually happen, but you'll have to make the effort. Some places are harder than others. Asia can be a very difficult transition, while Europe is probably the easiest. Best of luck. I understand about aging parents, that is a difficult decision. Good luck in your decision.
Starfish
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Starfish »

I can't make my mind what is better:
1. To have no option of return, and have to make it and battle the downsides
2. Or to have the safety of the return option

I can tell that, for most immigrants, 1 is much better than 2. Having return options often results in picking the path of least resistance and return. However living abroad is pretty different than immigrating.
Moving to another country is not easy, it comes at a (intense) cost and effort... it's nothing similar with tourism.
SurferLife
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by SurferLife »

IthinkICan wrote: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:38 pm we've started to notice things we like here that would be different or hard to get in South America or Spain. I'm sure there are loads of things that we'd never think of until we get there.
LOL. Oh yes, this is a big deal, at least for my wife. Thankfully, as military we can order most things from Amazon, and that is a lifesaver. This really depends though on the person. We buy a lot of supplements and organic foods from Amazon for our morning shakes, stuff that we can't find here in Asia (my wife has celiac disease and finding gluten-free stuff in Asia is impossible, and we can't read the labels.) Heck, even trying to find out where to go to find stuff you like is an incredible challenge, and once you find it, it's twice the price! It takes a good 6 months to find out where all the stores are that you want to use where you can get "your stuff". As you know, you can get ANYTHING in America, but you can forget that lifestyle overseas. You will have to make compromises, find alternatives, and delay purchases. Just last week I finally found organic ketchup in the most random store; it only took 6 months to find, and I found it when I wasn't looking. In the end, I usually just end up buying less. Also, remember that Amazon exists in Spain, though I'm not sure about South America. If you haven't already noticed, there are usually ex-pat communities that have websites, so you can connect with folks in trying to find out where to buy certain things. Things on my list to find currently: non-gmo chicken feed and organic compost. LOL, yeah, I'm not holding my breath. Just trying to communicate to someone what that these items are has proven the greater challenge. For some things, we bought enough for 2 years and shipped it over before we left, stuff we knew we couldn't get here and they wouldn't ship.
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mrspock
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by mrspock »

CyclingDuo wrote: Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:36 am You get one shot at life.
I think this says it all. Later in life, I just don't know that many people who say things like:

1. I wish I traveled less
2. I wish I took less risks in my career
3. I wish I didn't study abroad
4. I wish I didn't work abroad

... you can always move back, so I say do it if you can. I did (my "abroad" just happens to be the USA) and I've learned a lot about myself, and met other fellow "ex-pats" from around the world (France, India, UK, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Russia, China, Japan ... and those are just who sit near me :D ) who in turn have taught me a ton about their cultures and life back home.

Traveling and meeting people from around the world is truly eye/mind opening...you really realize how much more we have in common than we differ. At least that's been my experience. I plan to do it as much as possible for as long as possible.
Starfish
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Starfish »

One of the biggest mistake one could make in different country is to try to replicate the American way of life there.
First of all is expensive.
Second of all... God, WHY???

Eat what the locals eat, most of the times is better quality and better tasting anyway (look at the obesity rates around the world). It is also way cheaper. In less developed countries with a western income you can afford the superior version of the local food anyway.
likegarden
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by likegarden »

Watch out, you might stay there.
I did that, coming from Germany to work 2 years in the US, but found my (US) wife here and stayed. That was 50 years ago. My family loved it to visit us every few years, and we visited them every few years.
dcop
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by dcop »

IthinkICan wrote: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am Have any of you done this? I feel like I'm at an age where, if I don't do it now, I'll never do it. Moving could be a big mistake, but it could also be a big regret if I don't go for it.
I moved to Mazatlan, MX this past May. No regrets whatsoever.
Be aware of the 'know your customer' law (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_your_customer). Basically it means most of your financial institutions require you have a US real address (not a mailbox service, they know ALL of them). Some FI's, like Schwab have accounts for Ex-Pats. Wells Fargo Brokerage does not nor does Capital One, which means they will dump you if you dont use an address in the US. It comes down to if the the FI is willing to do the paperwork to allow you live abroad and bank with them. This includes your credit cards.

I use a friend's address in Texas (no state income tax) to get around it.
ge1
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by ge1 »

I have done this several times and for me the experience depends a lot on where you are in your life.

My wife and I did two different stints when we had no kids and the experience was amazing. Lived in big European cities, easy access to travel, interacted with many local and international people and all the other benefits. We were also well paid, so housing was not an issue.

Fast forward to our last experience, with 2 kids now. I felt a bit „stale“ in my old job and was offered a very lucrative, good job and we decided to do it. We had similar concerns to what you mentioned: we love our current house and neighborhood and also our circle of friends. And to be honest, we soon realized that we didn‘t enjoy the experience at all (to be fair, this time we relocated to a Caribeean Island, so we had other challenges) and missed the house, neighborhood and friends. For various reasons I was offered the opportunity to do the same job in my old location (thankfully we kept the house!) and we immediately took it. I think we are at a place in our lives where we value the stability and comfort of our home more than the „excitement“ of learning something different.

Good luck with your decision
DrGoogle2017
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

Starfish wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:14 am One of the biggest mistake one could make in different country is to try to replicate the American way of life there.
First of all is expensive.
Second of all... God, WHY???

Eat what the locals eat, most of the times is better quality and better tasting anyway (look at the obesity rates around the world). It is also way cheaper. In less developed countries with a western income you can afford the superior version of the local food anyway.
I like the choices of food we have in the supermarket when I stayed long term in Europe, 4 months max. I think they are superior to USA supermarket. When I go to high end supermarket here, I get stuff that’s made from Europe, basically try to duplicate my experience there. However, in USA, they are considered import stuff, that’s why they are expensive.
DrGoogle2017
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

likegarden wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:41 am Watch out, you might stay there.
I did that, coming from Germany to work 2 years in the US, but found my (US) wife here and stayed. That was 50 years ago. My family loved it to visit us every few years, and we visited them every few years.
My daughter’s friend from high school is still living in Germany. She graduated from a university in the south, but has not come back to California or USA even.
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mindgap
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by mindgap »

I came 4 years ago from Germany to the US and love it so far. Of course, it is a big adjustment in the beginning and it takes a lot of time to find people you are close with but in the end it was so worth it. If I stay here forever? Idk. Maybe, I retire in Europe but we will see. Life is short. Take advantage of your chances. They might not come twice.
carol-brennan
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by carol-brennan »

I've lived abroad (Europe) extensively and plan to return in 2 years once I get the current gig behind me.

I actually never wanted to return to the United States, but my partner of the time got a job that brought us back. I wish I had stayed.

I dislike living in the United States, bordering on hate living in the United States, especially now. Can't wait to get out. Ain't coming back this time.
btenny
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by btenny »

I am not sure your plan works as described. I have not lived overseas but my daughter just came back from 3 years in England. In her case she was given the OK to move with her military husband to England and keep working remotely. But her plan to work remotely failed after 4 months or so. Things just got too complicated for the employer. And getting a job "on the economy" in England or Spain or other parts of the EU when you are not a EU citizen is very hard and complicated... The employers know you are expat and are allowed to treat you poorly and pay you poorly and other issues. In my daughters case she liked England but hated the employment situation.

She got a long stay work visa via the military. She was moved on government dime so no moving costs for her. Who will cover your moving costs? She then she started working remotely. She was sending data about her company back and forth across international lines. There were lots of slow internet issues due to the long data transit times. So she had to redo software to make things work. That was an issue and started to involve other groups. Then she had encrypted link issues. Then there were expat pay issues. Should they pay her in pounds or euros or dollars. What banks accept US pay checks. Does the right bank have US office. What tax laws should the company follow and what country do they pay taxes to. Her company did not have an office in England. She was not assigned to Europe office so no help there. So after about 4 months her company just said sorry this is not working. You need to find a local job on the English economy.....

Have you talked through all these issues with your company and gotten written agreements to insure you will still have a job if some of these issues come up? And who handles and pays for the periodic visits and reboots back in the US at the home office?

Good Luck.
DrGoogle2017
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

SurferLife wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:59 am
IthinkICan wrote: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:38 pm we've started to notice things we like here that would be different or hard to get in South America or Spain. I'm sure there are loads of things that we'd never think of until we get there.
LOL. Oh yes, this is a big deal, at least for my wife. Thankfully, as military we can order most things from Amazon, and that is a lifesaver. This really depends though on the person. We buy a lot of supplements and organic foods from Amazon for our morning shakes, stuff that we can't find here in Asia (my wife has celiac disease and finding gluten-free stuff in Asia is impossible, and we can't read the labels.) Heck, even trying to find out where to go to find stuff you like is an incredible challenge, and once you find it, it's twice the price! It takes a good 6 months to find out where all the stores are that you want to use where you can get "your stuff". As you know, you can get ANYTHING in America, but you can forget that lifestyle overseas. You will have to make compromises, find alternatives, and delay purchases. Just last week I finally found organic ketchup in the most random store; it only took 6 months to find, and I found it when I wasn't looking. In the end, I usually just end up buying less. Also, remember that Amazon exists in Spain, though I'm not sure about South America. If you haven't already noticed, there are usually ex-pat communities that have websites, so you can connect with folks in trying to find out where to buy certain things. Things on my list to find currently: non-gmo chicken feed and organic compost. LOL, yeah, I'm not holding my breath. Just trying to communicate to someone what that these items are has proven the greater challenge. For some things, we bought enough for 2 years and shipped it over before we left, stuff we knew we couldn't get here and they wouldn't ship.
I thought most people in Asia eat rice, or at least they have rice, and that’s not gluten free?
My husband is gluten free and that’s how I know. We go to Asian restaurants here, there always guarantee to have gluten free options.
DrGoogle2017
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

btenny wrote: Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:03 pm I am not sure your plan works as described. I have not lived overseas but my daughter just came back from 3 years in England. In her case she was given the OK to move with her military husband to England and keep working remotely. But her plan to work remotely failed after 4 months or so. Things just got too complicated for the employer. And getting a job "on the economy" in England or Spain or other parts of the EU when you are not a EU citizen is very hard and complicated... The employers know you are expat and are allowed to treat you poorly and pay you poorly and other issues. In my daughters case she liked England but hated the employment situation.

She got a long stay work visa via the military. She was moved on government dime so no moving costs for her. Who will cover your moving costs? She then she started working remotely. She was sending data about her company back and forth across international lines. There were lots of slow internet issues due to the long data transit times. So she had to redo software to make things work. That was an issue and started to involve other groups. Then she had encrypted link issues. Then there were expat pay issues. Should they pay her in pounds or euros or dollars. What banks accept US pay checks. Does the right bank have US office. What tax laws should the company follow and what country do they pay taxes to. Her company did not have an office in England. She was not assigned to Europe office so no help there. So after about 4 months her company just said sorry this is not working. You need to find a local job on the English economy.....

Have you talked through all these issues with your company and gotten written agreements to insure you will still have a job if some of these issues come up? And who handles and pays for the periodic visits and reboots back in the US at the home office?

Good Luck.
One of my daughter’s ex-roommates moved to UK without having a UK passport( unlike my kids). How she did it is she went for graduate degree there, and got a job there afterwards. She has been there for at least 5-6 years now.
GmanJeff
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by GmanJeff »

I grew up abroad and am glad of it, but am less certain how adults would find the experience. In many places, Americans are not particularly welcomed, and if you are unable to speak the local language with sufficient fluency you may find everyday interactions challenging and integrating into the area less smooth than you might have hoped. Standards of living are typically lower elsewhere in the world, and some Americans can find it difficult to adapt to what are often smaller homes equipped with fewer and/or smaller appliances. Familiar brands of foods and other products may be unavailable, and costs can be higher for things like motor vehicles, housing, and taxes, depending on the location you're speaking of. Medical care may be harder to navigate due to language issues and availability and quality may differ from what you're used to. Children may grow up unrooted, belonging to a so-called 3rd culture, neither fully American any more but not natives of the new country, either (there is a fairly well-known book on this subject, titled "Third Culture Kids"). Schools may not prepare kids for U.S. universities as well as you might like, and private schools which provide instruction in English can be very expensive and of varying quality.

The benefits can be many and substantial, but proceed with eyes open.
SurferLife
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by SurferLife »

DrGoogle2017 wrote: Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:27 pm
SurferLife wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:59 am
IthinkICan wrote: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:38 pm we've started to notice things we like here that would be different or hard to get in South America or Spain. I'm sure there are loads of things that we'd never think of until we get there.
LOL. Oh yes, this is a big deal, at least for my wife. Thankfully, as military we can order most things from Amazon, and that is a lifesaver. This really depends though on the person. We buy a lot of supplements and organic foods from Amazon for our morning shakes, stuff that we can't find here in Asia (my wife has celiac disease and finding gluten-free stuff in Asia is impossible, and we can't read the labels.) Heck, even trying to find out where to go to find stuff you like is an incredible challenge, and once you find it, it's twice the price! It takes a good 6 months to find out where all the stores are that you want to use where you can get "your stuff". As you know, you can get ANYTHING in America, but you can forget that lifestyle overseas. You will have to make compromises, find alternatives, and delay purchases. Just last week I finally found organic ketchup in the most random store; it only took 6 months to find, and I found it when I wasn't looking. In the end, I usually just end up buying less. Also, remember that Amazon exists in Spain, though I'm not sure about South America. If you haven't already noticed, there are usually ex-pat communities that have websites, so you can connect with folks in trying to find out where to buy certain things. Things on my list to find currently: non-gmo chicken feed and organic compost. LOL, yeah, I'm not holding my breath. Just trying to communicate to someone what that these items are has proven the greater challenge. For some things, we bought enough for 2 years and shipped it over before we left, stuff we knew we couldn't get here and they wouldn't ship.
I thought most people in Asia eat rice, or at least they have rice, and that’s not gluten free?
My husband is gluten free and that’s how I know. We go to Asian restaurants here, there always guarantee to have gluten free options.
lol. They eat more than just rice, though rice is available at most meals. Of course rice is GF, but we've been some places where they'll mix in noodles with the rice, and you don't know what kind of noodle it is, and can't ask. Even if you could ask, I don't think they ever get that question as we've stumped even English-speaking servers. Gluten? Bebimbap is almost always a safe bet, but if you want to venture into other parts of the menu, you are limited. Buying any kind of processed food is almost always out of the question since you can't read labels, and they don't advertise GF on products. They may also put soy sauce on items without your asking, or sauté in it, and you know that's not GF either.
Elena
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Elena »

OP, did you finally make the move?
I live in the US, but go back to Spain for three mo. every year. I lived in Germany twice, and once in Ireland. Living is different from traveling, for sure. My dream is to live in Japan for a year and to retire in Italy (not Spain or the US).
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tc101
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by tc101 »

I wondered around India for about a year, then taught English in Taiwan for a year. That was almost 40 years ago. It was one of the best things I ever did. It changed me. I saw life differently. Understood things I could not have other wise understood.

Do it.
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.
pasadena
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by pasadena »

I am European and I live in the US. I say go for it. You can always come back, especially since you have a job, and it will always be an extremely valuable experience. I know for sure that if I hadn't jumped, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life (what if....?).

Yes, I get homesick. Yes, I miss my friends. Yes, I wish I could see my parents more often (they come visit us a couple of months every year - I"m lucky that my sister also lives in the US, on the same coast).

And yes, I know that I will probably have to go back at some point, when my parents age enough to need one of us nearby. I will also most probably retire back home.

But all of that is ... life. Do it. Stay a year, stay 10 years, it doesn't matter. Do it, and do it now while those things holding you back are more fear than obligations.
texasdiver
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by texasdiver »

The world is infinitely smaller than it used to be.

I was in the Peace Corps in Guatemala in the late 80s and then did several more shorter term development jobs in Honduras, Costa Rica, and northern Brazil before winding back up in grad school and on into a US career. Back then pre-internet and pre-cell phone, to find out anything going on in the US you had to search out a day-old Miami Herald at an expat newstand or find someplace showing CNN International. Phone calls home required going to the GUATEL office, filling out a form, waiting in a waiting room until your number was called, then sitting in a little booth after your call was manually placed. I had a Newsweek subscription that came in the mail about 2-weeks late.

The internet has changed everything. My wife is from Chile. She is on Whatsapp chat threads with her HS/college friends and constant Whatsapp with her brother and mother. We haven't lived long-term in Chile in the past decade but go for a month or two here and there. With a Chilean SIM in my iPad and phone I'm as in-touch with everything back here it is like I've never left. We currently have a college kid staying with us from Chile this month who here studying English on his college break (they are on summer break). He's the son of a family friend. Anyway he is basically texting and facetiming his family and girlfriend as much as he wants and doing multi-user video games with his friends back home so it's almost like he never left home. Compared to travel in the 20th Century that is ridiculous.

The only thing that really hasn't spread to south America is online ordering like amazon.com. Well, they have it but it isn't as cheap or reliable as amazon.com here so few people use or trust it. But I expect that to rapidly change as labor costs of delivery services have to be cheaper down there than here.

As for food? My experiences are primarily with Latin America. I have found that if you cook then you can pretty much find good fresh ingredients anywhere. What is often lacking is the American selection of packaged convenience foods like all the pre-made frozen stuff you can find at Costco and grocery stores. I think that is for 2 reasons: (1) people tend not to have large freezers, and (2) the middle and upper classes frequently have domestic help to do cooking and so there is less demand for pre-packaged convenience foods. So the big grocery stores in Chile have every bit as good of produce and dry ingredient sections and great deli sections with meats and cheeses. They just tend to lack the big frozen convenience food sections.

Our current plan is to split time between Chile and Washington when we retire. Basically maintain two residences. Won't be the cheapest option but really the only thing that makes sense as we have friends and family in both locations and will have our 3 daughters here in the US so moving overseas permanently is not really an option. But it will be nice to have a winter destination for at least several months per year.
theplayer11
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by theplayer11 »

carol-brennan wrote: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:23 am I've lived abroad (Europe) extensively and plan to return in 2 years once I get the current gig behind me.

I actually never wanted to return to the United States, but my partner of the time got a job that brought us back. I wish I had stayed.

I dislike living in the United States, bordering on hate living in the United States, especially now. Can't wait to get out. Ain't coming back this time.
sorry you dislike the US, but glad you are leaving if you don't like it here. I wish everyone who hated this country would leave as well, would make for a better country for the rest of us. :D
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CyclingDuo
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by CyclingDuo »

theplayer11 wrote: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:35 pm
carol-brennan wrote: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:23 am I've lived abroad (Europe) extensively and plan to return in 2 years once I get the current gig behind me.

I actually never wanted to return to the United States, but my partner of the time got a job that brought us back. I wish I had stayed.

I dislike living in the United States, bordering on hate living in the United States, especially now. Can't wait to get out. Ain't coming back this time.
sorry you dislike the US, but glad you are leaving if you don't like it here. I wish everyone who hated this country would leave as well, would make for a better country for the rest of us. :D

Carol is on to something. There's an entire world out there with wonderful cultures, foods, languages, sites to see, things to do, people to meet - all of which are very eye opening. It can either make you appreciate your home country more, or develop your desire for other places.

We like it all. Living here. Living there. No need to chastise those who may have been exposed to other cultures, lands, people, ideas.
"Save like a pessimist, invest like an optimist." - Morgan Housel
sabhen
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by sabhen »

Lived and worked in UK and Germany. It was a wonderful experience for the family.
Starfish
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Starfish »

theplayer11 wrote: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:35 pm
carol-brennan wrote: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:23 am I've lived abroad (Europe) extensively and plan to return in 2 years once I get the current gig behind me.

I actually never wanted to return to the United States, but my partner of the time got a job that brought us back. I wish I had stayed.

I dislike living in the United States, bordering on hate living in the United States, especially now. Can't wait to get out. Ain't coming back this time.
sorry you dislike the US, but glad you are leaving if you don't like it here. I wish everyone who hated this country would leave as well, would make for a better country for the rest of us. :D
No, it wouldn't. Only the people who dislike a place for it's real shortcomings change it for the better.
For example for me a big problem with US is the number of "patriots". I lived in communism and I never thought I will have to use this word again.
Starfish
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by Starfish »

texasdiver wrote: Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:12 pm The internet has changed everything. My wife is from Chile. She is on Whatsapp chat threads with her HS/college friends and constant Whatsapp with her brother and mother. We haven't lived long-term in Chile in the past decade but go for a month or two here and there. With a Chilean SIM in my iPad and phone I'm as in-touch with everything back here it is like I've never left. We currently have a college kid staying with us from Chile this month who here studying English on his college break (they are on summer break). He's the son of a family friend. Anyway he is basically texting and facetiming his family and girlfriend as much as he wants and doing multi-user video games with his friends back home so it's almost like he never left home. Compared to travel in the 20th Century that is ridiculous.
This definitely detracts from the experience of travelling but I wonder what is the ration between good and bad effects.
If you are linked to your home, doesn't decrease any motivation for integration and making new friends?
Conversely, maybe this link attenuates the shock of being far away in a foreign country.

I visit Eastern Europe often and my kid realized with amazement that even the music on the radio is the same, even sing sung by kids are the same, even the last fad (like the floss dance) is the same.. so far and yet so close.
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IthinkICan
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by IthinkICan »

Elena wrote: Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:42 pm OP, did you finally make the move?
I live in the US, but go back to Spain for three mo. every year. I lived in Germany twice, and once in Ireland. Living is different from traveling, for sure. My dream is to live in Japan for a year and to retire in Italy (not Spain or the US).
Earlier this year, I arranged with my boss to work remotely for 2 months at a time each year. I wanted to experience a couple of places for longer durations before taking the leap. Unfortunately, this year has turned out to be a rough one. My mom developed an aggressive disease and passed a few months ago. Since then, that boss has left the company. I really don't know what we're going to do at this point. I think need a little time before another big change.
Last edited by IthinkICan on Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
bgreat
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Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

Post by bgreat »

carol-brennan wrote: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:23 am I dislike living in the United States, bordering on hate living in the United States, especially now. Can't wait to get out. Ain't coming back this time.
Heh. I lived in the US for 2 years. It was quite miserable compared to what I've had elsewhere
IthinkICan wrote: Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:26 am
SrGrumpy wrote: Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:51 am
IthinkICan wrote: Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:37 pm Spain would be the most expensive both for immigration and taxes. They tax world wide income.
Sure about that?
Hmm, I'm pretty sure. Maybe something has changed? Residents used to have to pay tax on wolrd wide income, as well as a tax on total world wide wealth (savings, investemnts, realestate, ...). Have you seen something different? If so, I'd love to look into that more!
Wait what - how is this a big deal? US residents (and citizens ofc) have to pay tax on worldwide income, and capital gains on wealth worldwide. (And wealth tax is effectively the equivalent of capital gains for some countries).That's just the way it works in the entire world - your worldwide income is taxed in place of residence (modulo tax credits).
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