Retiring Abroad

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
houseofnine
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Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:40 pm

Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

Hello,

We’re considering retiring abroad in a few years and I’m wondering what the impact of our current investment climate has had on any retirees living abroad currently. Have you made any changes? Worried about health care? Contemplated returning to the U.S.? I’m interested in where you retired to and how you are doing.

Thanks in advance!
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Watty
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by Watty »

You might mention what part of the world you are considering moving to. Retiring in Europe, South America or Southeast Asia would all be very different.

In prior threads about this one of the recurring points was that to have a good experience living in a different country you really need to learn the local language. If you are not planning on doing that I would reconsider planning to live overseas.

Another good point is that when you look at the cost of living overseas you have to remember that the cost to live like a local lives may be very low, but if you try to maintain the typical American standard of living then the costs could be much higher.

If you are mainly considering doing this because of a limited budget then some very low cost of living areas in the US can be very competitive with living overseas especially once you are over 65 and are able to get Medicare.
JohnFiscal
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Location: Florida

Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by JohnFiscal »

Personally, my wife and I have long considered moving back to her home of Canada from the US. She has Canadian citizen (as well as US), I do not. I've been retired for 2 years and there's nothing keeping us here in Florida, we moved here only for my job transfer. I would be very happy to move. Finding a suitable place in the US or Canada is the problem...but if we wait too long then there won't be any point in moving.

I think it surely must help to have familiarity with whatever ex-US country you want to move to. Fortunately, we have great familiarity with Canada and their systems. And there is the Canadian Bogleheads forum.

We're also familiar with the Philippines, my wife's country of birth. We have visited a number of times. I recognize that a lot of US people retire there...it seems mostly guys who retire at 45 or so with minimal assets and are looking to live cheaply and to marry some cute Filipina. These guys generally creep me out. There are many sites and forums about living in the Philippines. But, no thank you. We don't care to live there. Too much poverty, bad medical, corruption, etc. I have a fear that the US is headed this way too with stratification of income.

Check Social Security for retiring abroad. They won't pay benefits if you live in some countries (very few). There are reciprocal agreements with a number of other countries for benefits. On the other hand, if your benefit is deposited into a US bank and you can maintain a US mailing address then perhaps it's a moot point; still something to look into first.

I doubt that Medicare is generally available in other countries. So you won't have to pay but you have to make up your own health care. And should you return to the US you will be "dinged" for missing years of payments to Medicare and you will be charged a higher rate. I have heard that the US VA maintains a hospital in Manila, Philippines (okay, it's an outpatient clinic) and the VA has an office in Manila. Maybe similar facilities exist elsewhere.

I think some people retire to elsewhere, wherever, and enjoy. Then move back to the US after some years.

There are tons of forums and blogs on the internet. Check YouTube as well. Good luck
DavidHutton
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:15 am

Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by DavidHutton »

I am considering the same thing but I can’t see much advantage. I was thinking about the Philippines and some issues would be mail (or lack of), food cost are either the same or more (especially American food), housing cost would be way less but it is usually substandard, you would have no rights as a noncitizen, electricity and gas would be more expensive but you might use less. The beaches are beautiful but the pollution and traffic in places would be bad. Medicare does not extend there so you would have to get coverage. And the hospitals are substandard vs. American hospitals. They don’t treat anyone for free, you pay up front. The poverty is so great, it would be common to find people with dirt floor shacks. But the people are friendly and generally very happy.

Just my 2 cents, YMMV.
AlohaJoe
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by AlohaJoe »

houseofnine wrote: Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:19 pm Have you made any changes? Worried about health care? Contemplated returning to the U.S.?
No, I haven't made any changes. No, I'm not worried about health care but I'm an early retiree with no chronic conditions so your mileage may vary. No, I have no plans to ever live the US again.

I currently am living in Vietnam indefinitely but also have the ability to move to Australia and live there indefinitely.

If you're thinking about moving overseas just to save money....just move to rural Arkansas instead. You'll save nearly as much money.
Topic Author
houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

Thanks to everyone for the informative responses. Not really looking to save money, but more interested in the adventure and of the experience of immersion into another culture, etc. Moving to another country only to immediate start searching for the nearest McDonalds is not the experience we’re looking for.
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cinghiale
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by cinghiale »

OP, you didn’t reply to Watty’s key question about what region or countries you would be willing to consider. There’s no good way to offer usable perspective for you until you do. I would strongly encourage you to look at Europe. I have “skin in the game,” as I’m five years retired and have been living in Europe since. Note that asking at this point in time will deliver responses influenced by the Covid crisis. My responses will be as well. I live in a country that took its hits but is now showing great improvement as it slowly, carefully, and intelligently allows for greater freedom of movement. But past that, I find far more to like than dislike with the overall European social contract and have great affinity with the culture, quality of life, and social relations within my host country.

Fill in a few blanks, and if Europe makes the cut, I’ll be happy to provide further detail.
"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin | | "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell
quantAndHold
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by quantAndHold »

I think the COVID crisis if probably going to influence a lot of answers you get. Right now, if I were considering moving, I would be much more interested in countries with good governance and high quality healthcare, rather than countries where it’s cheap to live. I love Ecuador, for example. It’s a lovely country most of the time, and cost of living is low. But bodies, possibly mine, piling up in the streets doesn’t sound appealing.

You’ll probably need to start with a list of places where it’s possible for Americans in your financial situation emigrate to, then research it from there.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
MichDad
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by MichDad »

In “normal” (non-Covid-19) times, my wife and I split our years between our home in a HCOL area in the USA and a medium COL city in Europe. We own a home in the USA and rent an apartment in Europe. We use our European apartment as our hub for travel throughout Europe. I’d estimate that our non-travel-related expenses in Europe are about 25 percent less than our USA expenses.

We speak the local language. We have many friends in that country. We have my federal government retiree health plan with worldwide coverage. Medicare does not cover participants outside the USA. We purchase annual evacuation insurance policies which we’ve never had to use.

I’ve found that banking with Charles Schwab is the most convenient way to manage our finances while outside the USA. Our Schwab Visa debit card provides reimbursement of all ATM fees throughout the world. We also have an account with a bank in our European city. Don’t forget to file FBARs each year for those foreign bank accounts.

We use our Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa card for most purchases. It has no foreign transaction fee.

We’re retired so we have no earned income. I received a formal opinion from a highly-qualified local tax attorney in the European country we live in that we’re not obligated to file tax returns there or pay taxes there.

I successfully completed all the paperwork so I’m a permanent resident of the European country. This allows me to stay and travel within the European Union for as long as I want. Otherwise, the limit would be no more than 90 days out of each 180-day period.

We have local SIM cards for our mobile phones.

We rent out our home in the USA and have a property manager handle it for us. Because of our extensive travels, we’ve hired a CPA to handle our taxes.

As senior citizens, we enjoy reduced fares on public transit, discounted museum admissions, and other benefits in this European country.

One thing we do while in Europe is visit a local travel agency to see what last minute deals they have for travel in Europe and nearby regions. We’ve had some amazing and very inexpensive trips using that method. We once booked an all-inclusive ten-day trip to a five-star resort in Italy on a Friday afternoon that left the next morning. I had my wife finish that booking and pay for the trip with our credit card while I went to a nearby sporting goods store to purchase a swimsuit. The price and the trip were both terrific.

This year has shown a downside of this lifestyle. Due to Covid-19, our flight to Europe was canceled. We’ve pretty much decided to not make the trip this year, although we still could go. That country has been handling the Covid-19 pandemic far better than the USA. We’re paying for our apartment there. Even with this, we’re very happy with our decision and would do it all over again. We’re looking forward to restarting our adventure in 2021.

MichDad
Topic Author
houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

Watty wrote: Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:50 pm You might mention what part of the world you are considering moving to. Retiring in Europe, South America or Southeast Asia would all be very different.

In prior threads about this one of the recurring points was that to have a good experience living in a different country you really need to learn the local language. If you are not planning on doing that I would reconsider planning to live overseas.

Another good point is that when you look at the cost of living overseas you have to remember that the cost to live like a local lives may be very low, but if you try to maintain the typical American standard of living then the costs could be much higher.

If you are mainly considering doing this because of a limited budget then some very low cost of living areas in the US can be very competitive with living overseas especially once you are over 65 and are able to get Medicare.
Thanks. We are in the early stages, but I’m thinking Europe would be our first choice (Portugal, Spain, Italy), followed by South America (Columbia).
Topic Author
houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

cinghiale wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:12 am OP, you didn’t reply to Watty’s key question about what region or countries you would be willing to consider. There’s no good way to offer usable perspective for you until you do. I would strongly encourage you to look at Europe. I have “skin in the game,” as I’m five years retired and have been living in Europe since. Note that asking at this point in time will deliver responses influenced by the Covid crisis. My responses will be as well. I live in a country that took its hits but is now showing great improvement as it slowly, carefully, and intelligently allows for greater freedom of movement. But past that, I find far more to like than dislike with the overall European social contract and have great affinity with the culture, quality of life, and social relations within my host country.

Fill in a few blanks, and if Europe makes the cut, I’ll be happy to provide further detail.
Please see my reply to Watty. Europe is first choice, followed by South America. Any suggestions are much appreciated.
rich126
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by rich126 »

I'm always impressed with people who do this in their later years.
My big issues are:
1. Language - Sure some places you can get by with English but it certainly helps to know the local language to make friends and get things done more efficiently. Sadly I'm not a language person. My highlight was ordering a beer in German but anyone who knows German knows that one is pretty easy.

2. Health care - I think this is easier than the language issue. A lot of countries allow you to pay a fee that isn't anything terrible.

3. Friends/Family - If you are fairly close to people now, how will it feel to be much further away and not an easy flight away (especially with the recent virus restrictions). If you are loners or family have all moved away, etc. then maybe this isn't a big deal.

I've thought about going somewhere for 3-6 months and see how we feel about it. My GF has some language skills so that would help in certain areas. Maybe it is just me but as I get older (50s) I find myself missing friends/family a lot more than my younger days where I almost never gave it a thought and enjoyed being alone. Not sure what is going on but it is a huge difference for me between now and even 5 years ago.

In my imagination somewhere like Bavaria in Germany or parts of Austria, or northern Italy all seem like great places to enjoy. I'm not a beach person so those areas don't interest me. And getting older means have access to quality health care.

Good luck. I think some people would love doing this and others would dread it.
jstert
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by jstert »

i lived/worked overseas from 1983 to 2012, mostly in asia, mostly as a u.s. consul. i dealt with americans in distress, retirees, arrestees, terrorist bombings, riots, business disputes, visas, etc. so here are my random thoughts, some mentioned above:

medical coverage. you need insurance cover or a large portfolio to allow ready access to decent health care somewhere. e.g. if you live in indonesia you are going to singapore for anything serious. medevac cover too should be obligatory. always be prepared to pay all medical costs cash up front and claim reimbursement later. some expats don’t bother, usually due to low finances, don’t be one.

money. you need it. indeed some costs are lower abroad, but a life already on the ragged financial margins in the u.s. doesn’t magically improve when abroad. i saw americans living on the edge abroad, very unpretty without local sympathy or recourse.

language. with few exceptions, english won’t take you far. it’s necessary to have some fluency, or have a patient & fluent spouse. language learning can be fun and formal education can net you a student visa, see below. you need to know what is going on around you outside of an expat bubble, for both your safety and pleasure.

visa. subsisting on back to back tourist stays punctuated by quick border runs may work 1-2 times but is low end, ultimately foolish and likely illegal. asap get a long term visa that accords you rights as a lawful resident. kill two birds with one stone by academic language study.

law. know and abide by local laws, however inconvenient, “unjust,” strange or silly. e.g. if foreigners cannot own landed property don’t lean on a fixer who can set up a local firm with you as its head to buy. you don’t own that property but the fixer owns you. i’ve seen police and prisons all over the world, you don’t want to do so. every local citizen will offer you every unsolicited, ill informed opionion about america and our politics, don’t return the favor. i know well how a privately stated, yet casually overheard remark criticising the thai monarchy landed an american in jail. for me i missed even little-exercised american rights more the longer that they were unavailable while living abroad in various places, e.g. firearms, internet, religious worship, assembly, privacy, etc. recent flu restrictions might give a taste.

keep your u.s. ties, personally & financially. a life abroad should be pleasant, not a self imposed exile. as much as one might be frustrated with the u.s. and enchanted with life abroad, i saw matters play out for expats sadly or unexpectedly way too often. post 9/11 u.s. financial rules seriously disadvantage american expats, keep your u.s. accounts (i.e. pay the atm and wire transfer fees) and comply with everyone’s tax laws. know that you can always come home if need be. we returned from our regular, semiannual, several months long stay in my wife’s homeland in march just before the global lockdown. we would have been ok there, but are much better off here as this crisis plays out. the trick is to find that one small corner of the u.s. where you feel at home (i am open to suggestions).

as i reread the above thoughts i worry that i sound too pessimistic. i shouldn’t be read so. retiring in some measure abroad can be stimulating and challenging. in most places gray hair brings courtesy and respect. some costs can be lower. it is better to try something new now before infirmity sets in. cheers.
Ricecakes
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by Ricecakes »

jstert wrote: Sat Jun 13, 2020 2:51 pm i lived/worked overseas from 1983 to 2012, mostly in asia, mostly as a u.s. consul. i dealt with americans in distress, retirees, arrestees, terrorist bombings, riots, business disputes, visas, etc. so here are my random thoughts, some mentioned above:

medical coverage. you need insurance cover or a large portfolio to allow ready access to decent health care somewhere. e.g. if you live in indonesia you are going to singapore for anything serious. medevac cover too should be obligatory. always be prepared to pay all medical costs cash up front and claim reimbursement later. some expats don’t bother, usually due to low finances, don’t be one.

money. you need it. indeed some costs are lower abroad, but a life already on the ragged financial margins in the u.s. doesn’t magically improve when abroad. i saw americans living on the edge abroad, very unpretty without local sympathy or recourse.

language. with few exceptions, english won’t take you far. it’s necessary to have some fluency, or have a patient & fluent spouse. language learning can be fun and formal education can net you a student visa, see below. you need to know what is going on around you outside of an expat bubble, for both your safety and pleasure.

visa. subsisting on back to back tourist stays punctuated by quick border runs may work 1-2 times but is low end, ultimately foolish and likely illegal. asap get a long term visa that accords you rights as a lawful resident. kill two birds with one stone by academic language study.

law. know and abide by local laws, however inconvenient, “unjust,” strange or silly. e.g. if foreigners cannot own landed property don’t lean on a fixer who can set up a local firm with you as its head to buy. you don’t own that property but the fixer owns you. i’ve seen police and prisons all over the world, you don’t want to do so. every local citizen will offer you every unsolicited, ill informed opionion about america and our politics, don’t return the favor. i know well how a privately stated, yet casually overheard remark criticising the thai monarchy landed an american in jail. for me i missed even little-exercised american rights more the longer that they were unavailable while living abroad in various places, e.g. firearms, internet, religious worship, assembly, privacy, etc. recent flu restrictions might give a taste.

keep your u.s. ties, personally & financially. a life abroad should be pleasant, not a self imposed exile. as much as one might be frustrated with the u.s. and enchanted with life abroad, i saw matters play out for expats sadly or unexpectedly way too often. post 9/11 u.s. financial rules seriously disadvantage american expats, keep your u.s. accounts (i.e. pay the atm and wire transfer fees) and comply with everyone’s tax laws. know that you can always come home if need be. we returned from our regular, semiannual, several months long stay in my wife’s homeland in march just before the global lockdown. we would have been ok there, but are much better off here as this crisis plays out. the trick is to find that one small corner of the u.s. where you feel at home (i am open to suggestions).

as i reread the above thoughts i worry that i sound too pessimistic. i shouldn’t be read so. retiring in some measure abroad can be stimulating and challenging. in most places gray hair brings courtesy and respect. some costs can be lower. it is better to try something new now before infirmity sets in. cheers.

I would agree with some of what is commented above. For us the investment climate has not affected our living abroad (SE Asia) but rather the Covid crisis has. As much as we enjoy the food, culture, language, making new friends etc, there’s no place like home.
One unexpected thing has been living in a country with no right to remain as citizen or permanent resident. Yes we have proper visa, etc just laws are different. Being treated as an outcast or looked at as a “Covid carrier” made us feel unwelcome. This crisis has made it very clear to me that I should not plan to make this home forever. I am a guest in this country, that invitation can be revoked.
So my two cents is to retire, move, and enjoy life abroad; but don’t completely cut ties with USA. Leave yourself a way out just in case.
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cinghiale
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by cinghiale »

Not that much to add to the excellent responses on this thread. I live in one of the countries identified by the OP as a country under consideration.

Note well the language issue. In none of the four countries you identified will you be able to manage without at bare minimum an intermediate to high-intermediate level of the language coupled with large doses of courage and patience. Colombian Spanish will be the easiest to learn, followed by Castilian Spanish. I realize that different people have different skills, but by and large Portuguese and Italian will be harder. Also note that much depends on where you choose to live in Italy. In many provinces, most people speak dialect first (Siciliano, Napolitano, Pugliese, etc.) and Italian second. That adds a layer of challenge. You could live in one of the English speaking enclaves (populated almost entirely by British pensioners) in the south areas of Spain or Portugal, but then what’s the point? It’s all imported and transported activities, culture, and social relations, with some local food tossed in. Why retire to cultural purgatory? The British pensioners have an excellent reason for their decisions, as their home country simply doesn’t feature the abundant sunshine of the Iberian coast. Americans have Florida, California, South Carolina if the weather is a big motivator. I would suggest a language course for all who are making this move while still Stateside. Get a feel for the rhythm and music of the target language. Spanish shares nearly 2000 cognate or near-cognate words with English. Make them your friends (if you go with Spanish).

In terms of geography, I would avoid the big expensive cities. In Spain that means Madrid and Barcelona. In Portugal, Lisbon. In Italy, Rome and Milan. In Colombia, Bogota. (Medellin and Cali are smaller by comparison, but you are still talking about cities with over 3 million inhabitants.). Look for smaller cities that offer lots of cultural amenities, but where you can become comfortable with the size and the particular sub-culture of the region. And where you can make friends among both American expats and locals. I would contend that both groups are important ones with which to become involved and cultivate friendships.

Agree with what one poster mentioned about money. The cost of living in smaller European cities can be quite favorable, but you do not want to be living in a foreign country and having money worries. The last few years have been good for Americans exchanging USD for Euros. That could change rapidly. Fifteen years ago the exchange was close to 1.60 USD to the Euro. Now swinging back and forth around 1.10 USD to the Euro, its been much easier to manage. When it comes to foreign exchange, “never assume the permanence of the present arrangement.” Ask, “would we still be OK with all our expenses jumping by 50%?”

Good luck to you with your investigations and with whatever decisions you make.
"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin | | "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell
james22
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by james22 »

jstert wrote: Sat Jun 13, 2020 2:51 pmfor me i missed even little-exercised american rights more the longer that they were unavailable while living abroad in various places, e.g. firearms, internet, religious worship, assembly, privacy, etc. recent flu restrictions might give a taste.
Yep.
houseofnine wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 9:30 amNot really looking to save money, but more interested in the adventure and of the experience of immersion into another culture, etc.
Have you lived elsewhere in the US, OP? You'll find adventure and other cultures.
truenorth418
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by truenorth418 »

houseofnine wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 1:49 pm

Thanks. We are in the early stages, but I’m thinking Europe would be our first choice (Portugal, Spain, Italy), followed by South America (Columbia).
ColOmbia.
retired recently
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by retired recently »

While I am certainly not disagreeing with other posters, I lived in the Former Soviet Union from about 1995 til 2009. Also, I was able to visit about 35 other countries during that time. I speak a bit of poor Russian and English is my first language.

I never had any major problems in any of these countries. Typically you can find someone that speaks English. Sure, it will not be like home and you may not be able to get something you need/want sometimes but it is not that bad. Learn to slow down when you speak and reduce unnecessary words.
psy1
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by psy1 »

Of course, the COVID issue is the primary hurdle so you have to be comfortable with that situation so I assume that you will be comfortable by the time you move. You say that you are not so much interested in living cheaply as you are in adventure and new experience.

Subscribe to International Living magazine. It is both print and digital with lots of good advice and vignettes of people in various life circumstances who retire all over the world.

My advice though is to slow travel rather than move. Why have goals of adventure and new experience and move to just a dot on the map? Better to move to a LCOL are in the US with zero state income taxes and is close to an international airport (FL or TX) and adjust your housing costs to meet your budget. Then use a mix of AirBnb/hotels to slow travel. For example, if you like Columbia, you could fly from DFW or Miami to Bogota and rent an airbnb for a month in Bogota, a month in Medellin, a month in Cartagena, and spend another month in the mix traveling in more remote areas. Same for Europe. Same for Southeast Asia.

Factor into the budget international flights (preferably business class). Travel once on the ground at your destination is inexpensive especially if you are slow traveling. You could then be in the USA for the holidays or other times you deem desirable and absent at other times to beat the weather or see cultural events in the other countries.

The advice to use Charles Schwab is very good for international travel. Free debit card withdrawals alone can save a lot of money. For mail, use Traveling Mailbox - they give you a physical address for mail, open and scan your mail to PDF so you can view it, and give the options to hold mail and or ship mail/packages to a different address. We have used it for years. Not cheap but very good service and solves the mail issue.

Slow travel while retaining US address also allows you to stay ahead of visa/passport issues, the rigamarole of local international banking, and all of the legal/tax issues of international living.

I suggest multiple credit cards from multiple companies and at least two MC/VISA cards from different companies. All cards should be good travel cards and you should learn to maximize the value of credit card points. This will greatly enhance your flying/hotel/travel experience. For example, get AMEX Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa and Citi Prestige Mastercard. In the eventual scenario of losing a card or having a card locked for suspicious activity, you will have redundancy. Also realizing that AMEX is not very useful for inexpensive day to day expenses, having both a Visa and a Mastercard is helpful. Set up PINS on each card before you travel so that you can get cash advances. Not a cheap way to get cash but it can save the day at times. Also, for the debit card with Schwab, open a second checking account so that you have two debit cards. When you accidentally leave one in an ATM and have to lock the account you will be happy you have a second account!

With a taste for adventure and a comfort level with COVID, you could slow travel the world. That is what we are doing although COVID has grounded us for the time being.

There is no reason to worry about language. International travel, even to remote places like Bhutan or Laos, is incredibly easy nowadays. Occasional confusion about a menu is inconsequential. Just order twice or eat the mistake! English is as ubiquitous as the US dollar.
Chicken Little
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by Chicken Little »

retired recently wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:46 amI never had any major problems in any of these countries. Typically you can find someone that speaks English
psy1 wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:18 amThere is no reason to worry about language.
+1

I topped out in language proficiency because that was my primary interest, but that had zero correlation to getting work done.

Live abroad long enough, and your non-verbal communication will reach levels you never thought possible.

Plus, let’s be honest, how many 50-60+ retirees who don’t already speak a second language will develop any kind of real proficiency? How many retirees without a local spouse will wind up living primarily outside of the expat community?
sailaway
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by sailaway »

Living abroad is what you make of it.

I know one person who claimed to have moved to Bali, but came back to the US as soon as things started shutting down.

And, I know a couple that went on their Bali honeymoon despite things starting to shut down and are still there. Rather enjoying themselves for the most part, and happy to be someplace with a low infection rate.
sd323232
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by sd323232 »

Chicken Little wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:42 am
retired recently wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:46 amI never had any major problems in any of these countries. Typically you can find someone that speaks English
psy1 wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:18 amThere is no reason to worry about language.
+1

I topped out in language proficiency because that was my primary interest, but that had zero correlation to getting work done.

Live abroad long enough, and your non-verbal communication will reach levels you never thought possible.

Plus, let’s be honest, how many 50-60+ retirees who don’t already speak a second language will develop any kind of real proficiency? How many retirees without a local spouse will wind up living primarily outside of the expat community?
If moving to spanish speaking country, most people from us will pick up Spanish quick. if move to southeast asia, it will be harder, not impossible, but harder to learn language over there.
Topic Author
houseofnine
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:40 pm

Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

truenorth418 wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 6:29 am
houseofnine wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 1:49 pm

Thanks. We are in the early stages, but I’m thinking Europe would be our first choice (Portugal, Spain, Italy), followed by South America (Columbia).
ColOmbia.
It was autocorrect, I swear. 😊
Topic Author
houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

cinghiale wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 5:53 am Not that much to add to the excellent responses on this thread. I live in one of the countries identified by the OP as a country under consideration.

Note well the language issue. In none of the four countries you identified will you be able to manage without at bare minimum an intermediate to high-intermediate level of the language coupled with large doses of courage and patience. Colombian Spanish will be the easiest to learn, followed by Castilian Spanish. I realize that different people have different skills, but by and large Portuguese and Italian will be harder. Also note that much depends on where you choose to live in Italy. In many provinces, most people speak dialect first (Siciliano, Napolitano, Pugliese, etc.) and Italian second. That adds a layer of challenge. You could live in one of the English speaking enclaves (populated almost entirely by British pensioners) in the south areas of Spain or Portugal, but then what’s the point? It’s all imported and transported activities, culture, and social relations, with some local food tossed in. Why retire to cultural purgatory? The British pensioners have an excellent reason for their decisions, as their home country simply doesn’t feature the abundant sunshine of the Iberian coast. Americans have Florida, California, South Carolina if the weather is a big motivator. I would suggest a language course for all who are making this move while still Stateside. Get a feel for the rhythm and music of the target language. Spanish shares nearly 2000 cognate or near-cognate words with English. Make them your friends (if you go with Spanish).

In terms of geography, I would avoid the big expensive cities. In Spain that means Madrid and Barcelona. In Portugal, Lisbon. In Italy, Rome and Milan. In Colombia, Bogota. (Medellin and Cali are smaller by comparison, but you are still talking about cities with over 3 million inhabitants.). Look for smaller cities that offer lots of cultural amenities, but where you can become comfortable with the size and the particular sub-culture of the region. And where you can make friends among both American expats and locals. I would contend that both groups are important ones with which to become involved and cultivate friendships.

Agree with what one poster mentioned about money. The cost of living in smaller European cities can be quite favorable, but you do not want to be living in a foreign country and having money worries. The last few years have been good for Americans exchanging USD for Euros. That could change rapidly. Fifteen years ago the exchange was close to 1.60 USD to the Euro. Now swinging back and forth around 1.10 USD to the Euro, its been much easier to manage. When it comes to foreign exchange, “never assume the permanence of the present arrangement.” Ask, “would we still be OK with all our expenses jumping by 50%?”

Good luck to you with your investigations and with whatever decisions you make.
Thanks for the detailed response. I feel like a comfort level with the local language would be good whether it is needed or not. Seems like most people appreciate the effort (except maybe the French!). I hear you loud and clear about the financial concerns. I’m not comfortable being strapped for cash at home, so certainly wouldn’t consider the same abroad. Although my post might suggest a naive approach to this topic, I’ll be spending a lot of time poking holes in my own assumptions before moving forward with anything,
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houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

I have to say I didn’t expect this many replies in this subject. Thanks to all for your input.

One of the options we are considering is woofing (https://wwoofinternational.org/) whereby you work on a farm for (typically) room and board. This would allow us to scratch our farming itch and have some interesting experiences at the same time. Insurance, language and visa issues would still apply I expect.
go_mets
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by go_mets »

houseofnine wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 1:49 pm Thanks. We are in the early stages, but I’m thinking Europe would be our first choice (Portugal, Spain, Italy), followed by South America (Columbia).

You may want to look at the Youtube Channel @OurRichJourney
They are a young family that FIREd to Lisbon Portugal in August 2019.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChObmE ... XJGc2ePP3Q

.
Last edited by go_mets on Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sd323232
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by sd323232 »

houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:17 am I have to say I didn’t expect this many replies in this subject. Thanks to all for your input.

One of the options we are considering is woofing (https://wwoofinternational.org/) whereby you work on a farm for (typically) room and board. This would allow us to scratch our farming itch and have some interesting experiences at the same time. Insurance, language and visa issues would still apply I expect.
not sure if this counts are "retired abroad", if i was gonna do any kind of work, i might as well work here in usa and add more to my money pile lol
sean.mcgrath
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by sean.mcgrath »

houseofnine wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 9:30 am Thanks to everyone for the informative responses. Not really looking to save money, but more interested in the adventure and of the experience of immersion into another culture, etc. Moving to another country only to immediate start searching for the nearest McDonalds is not the experience we’re looking for.
House, I second the comment about speaking the local language. It is the difference between being a tourist and being integrated. I am not retired, but I have lived in six countries and worked in four languages. I've spoken Dutch in the office for twenty years now: hired, fired, performance evaluations, weekly meetings, speeches, the lot -- all in Dutch. Nonetheless, language is still a limiting factor in social interactions. English is still just easier!

My advice: if you can't speak the language and want to immerse as an adventure, make it a long vacation. Rent an apartment and live there for three to six months. You will have a fantastic experience.
Last edited by sean.mcgrath on Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sean.mcgrath
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by sean.mcgrath »

houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:11 am Thanks for the detailed response. I feel like a comfort level with the local language would be good whether it is needed or not. Seems like most people appreciate the effort (except maybe the French!).
The French absolutely appreciate the effort (probably because they are proud of their language)! I've lived there twice, the first time with absolutely miserable French, but I was stubborn and refused to ever speak English. Without a single exception they were patient, even appreciative, and had a great style for improving my French.
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whodidntante
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by whodidntante »

Not retired, but have traveled extensively and my future likely involves life as a nomad. I think health care would be something you want to look at. In general, costs will be lower than in the USA, but consider if you want to buy local insurance and in general what the expectations are.

You also want to understand tax rules at your destination. While the US has an onerous system of taxing global income, after a certain length of residency or after buying property, you may be required to pay taxes to a foreign government. Maybe this isn't so bad but you'll want to know what you are getting into. For example, if you live in Italy for six months and sell stock, or you collect rental income somewhere, do you owe Italy taxes? If so, how much? I would not recommend tax evasion, instead, understand what you owe and pay what is legally required. Likewise, understand the rules around temporary and permanent imports of vehicles and other items subject to duties.
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houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

sean.mcgrath wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:34 pm
houseofnine wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 9:30 am Thanks to everyone for the informative responses. Not really looking to save money, but more interested in the adventure and of the experience of immersion into another culture, etc. Moving to another country only to immediate start searching for the nearest McDonalds is not the experience we’re looking for.
House, I second the comment about speaking the local language. It is the difference between being a tourist and being integrated. I am not retired, but I have lived in six countries and worked in four languages. I've spoken Dutch in the office for twenty years now: hired, fired, performance evaluations, weekly meetings, speeches, the lot -- all in Dutch. Nonetheless, language is still a limiting factor in social interactions. English is still just easier!

My advice: if you can't speak the language and want to immerse as an adventure, make it a long vacation. Rent an apartment and live there for three to six months. You will have a fantastic experience.
I have to say, that’s impressive. My exposure to Dutch as a language leads me to believe that it would be difficult to learn. Long stay might be a good call. Thanks!
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houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

sean.mcgrath wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:42 pm
houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:11 am Thanks for the detailed response. I feel like a comfort level with the local language would be good whether it is needed or not. Seems like most people appreciate the effort (except maybe the French!).
The French absolutely appreciate the effort (probably because they are proud of their language)! I've lived there twice, the first time with absolutely miserable French, but I was stubborn and refused to ever speak English. Without a single exception they were patient, even appreciative, and had a great style for improving my French.
Point taken. I was probably thinking of the Québécois!
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houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

sd323232 wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:18 pm
houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:17 am I have to say I didn’t expect this many replies in this subject. Thanks to all for your input.

One of the options we are considering is woofing (https://wwoofinternational.org/) whereby you work on a farm for (typically) room and board. This would allow us to scratch our farming itch and have some interesting experiences at the same time. Insurance, language and visa issues would still apply I expect.
not sure if this counts are "retired abroad", if i was gonna do any kind of work, i might as well work here in usa and add more to my money pile lol
Sadly, we are the type that can never go without some form of “work” for an extended period. An afternoon on the beach and I’m set for a month. Same with museums. You can only visit so many.
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houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

go_mets wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:12 pm
houseofnine wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 1:49 pm Thanks. We are in the early stages, but I’m thinking Europe would be our first choice (Portugal, Spain, Italy), followed by South America (Columbia).

You may want to look at the Youtube Channel @OurRichJourney
They are a young family that FIREd to Lisbon Portugal in August 2019.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChObmE ... XJGc2ePP3Q

.
Will do. Thanks!
EddyB
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by EddyB »

MichDad wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 11:35 am In “normal” (non-Covid-19) times, my wife and I split our years between our home in a HCOL area in the USA and a medium COL city in Europe. We own a home in the USA and rent an apartment in Europe. We use our European apartment as our hub for travel throughout Europe. I’d estimate that our non-travel-related expenses in Europe are about 25 percent less than our USA expenses.

MichDad
MichDad, do you do currency conversions as needed, or do you keep a portion of investments/savings in euros?
TheDDC
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by TheDDC »

One big practical one for me would be: Make sure to open a Google Voice account stateside or have some way to receive texts on a US-based phone number. I don't know that I would trust a cell phone for this. There are many verification services for US-based financial services that will not communicate with a foreign number when it comes to text verification. Being able to make free phone calls to the US would be helpful there, too.

-TheDDC
Rules to wealth building: 75-80% VTSAX piled high and deep, 20-25% VTIAX, 0% given away to banks, minimize amount given to medical-industrial complex
ScubaHogg
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by ScubaHogg »

houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:17 am I have to say I didn’t expect this many replies in this subject. Thanks to all for your input.

One of the options we are considering is woofing (https://wwoofinternational.org/) whereby you work on a farm for (typically) room and board. This would allow us to scratch our farming itch and have some interesting experiences at the same time. Insurance, language and visa issues would still apply I expect.
You want to retire to...farming? Have you done this before? I don’t know anything about “wwoof”, but for room and board I imagine it’s not gentlemanly gardening you are doing, but hard physical farming. Personally I wouldn’t even kinda consider that retiring, any more than I would consider working on an oil rig or a steel factory retiring.
“Unexpected Returns dominate the Expected Returns” - Ken French
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houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

ScubaHogg wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:57 pm
houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:17 am I have to say I didn’t expect this many replies in this subject. Thanks to all for your input.

One of the options we are considering is woofing (https://wwoofinternational.org/) whereby you work on a farm for (typically) room and board. This would allow us to scratch our farming itch and have some interesting experiences at the same time. Insurance, language and visa issues would still apply I expect.
You want to retire to...farming? Have you done this before? I don’t know anything about “wwoof”, but for room and board I imagine it’s not gentlemanly gardening you are doing, but hard physical farming. Personally I wouldn’t even kinda consider that retiring, any more than I would consider working on an oil rig or a steel factory retiring.
I understand your questions. Actually we are used to this kind of work. We have been involved with urban agriculture for many years and intensively farm 5 acres currently. For example, this weekend was 65-70 and sunny. Best possible weather. We got up at 5:30am and worked pretty much straight through until 7:00pm, with short breaks for Bogleheads postings.😉 This will be typical until November. We have no machinery aside from a rototiller, chipper, etc.

Tentative plan is to sell/rent this residence and live elsewhere after retiring from my “regular” non-physical job.
cowbman
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by cowbman »

MichDad wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 11:35 am In “normal” (non-Covid-19) times, my wife and I split our years between our home in a HCOL area in the USA and a medium COL city in Europe. We own a home in the USA and rent an apartment in Europe. We use our European apartment as our hub for travel throughout Europe. I’d estimate that our non-travel-related expenses in Europe are about 25 percent less than our USA expenses.

We speak the local language. We have many friends in that country. We have my federal government retiree health plan with worldwide coverage. Medicare does not cover participants outside the USA. We purchase annual evacuation insurance policies which we’ve never had to use.

I’ve found that banking with Charles Schwab is the most convenient way to manage our finances while outside the USA. Our Schwab Visa debit card provides reimbursement of all ATM fees throughout the world. We also have an account with a bank in our European city. Don’t forget to file FBARs each year for those foreign bank accounts.

We use our Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa card for most purchases. It has no foreign transaction fee.

We’re retired so we have no earned income. I received a formal opinion from a highly-qualified local tax attorney in the European country we live in that we’re not obligated to file tax returns there or pay taxes there.

I successfully completed all the paperwork so I’m a permanent resident of the European country. This allows me to stay and travel within the European Union for as long as I want. Otherwise, the limit would be no more than 90 days out of each 180-day period.

We have local SIM cards for our mobile phones.

We rent out our home in the USA and have a property manager handle it for us. Because of our extensive travels, we’ve hired a CPA to handle our taxes.

As senior citizens, we enjoy reduced fares on public transit, discounted museum admissions, and other benefits in this European country.

One thing we do while in Europe is visit a local travel agency to see what last minute deals they have for travel in Europe and nearby regions. We’ve had some amazing and very inexpensive trips using that method. We once booked an all-inclusive ten-day trip to a five-star resort in Italy on a Friday afternoon that left the next morning. I had my wife finish that booking and pay for the trip with our credit card while I went to a nearby sporting goods store to purchase a swimsuit. The price and the trip were both terrific.

This year has shown a downside of this lifestyle. Due to Covid-19, our flight to Europe was canceled. We’ve pretty much decided to not make the trip this year, although we still could go. That country has been handling the Covid-19 pandemic far better than the USA. We’re paying for our apartment there. Even with this, we’re very happy with our decision and would do it all over again. We’re looking forward to restarting our adventure in 2021.

MichDad
MichDad,

I'd look into getting the Schwab American Express Platinum Card. It has medical evacuation just for having the card. Also, Schwab credits you some towards the annual fee depending on how much in assets you have. It also has $200/yr Uber credit, $200/yr Airline expense credit, $100/yr Saks credit, and status with numerous hotels/car rentals. You seem like the person to get outsized value from this.
ScubaHogg
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by ScubaHogg »

houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:48 pm
ScubaHogg wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:57 pm
houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:17 am I have to say I didn’t expect this many replies in this subject. Thanks to all for your input.

One of the options we are considering is woofing (https://wwoofinternational.org/) whereby you work on a farm for (typically) room and board. This would allow us to scratch our farming itch and have some interesting experiences at the same time. Insurance, language and visa issues would still apply I expect.
You want to retire to...farming? Have you done this before? I don’t know anything about “wwoof”, but for room and board I imagine it’s not gentlemanly gardening you are doing, but hard physical farming. Personally I wouldn’t even kinda consider that retiring, any more than I would consider working on an oil rig or a steel factory retiring.
I understand your questions. Actually we are used to this kind of work. We have been involved with urban agriculture for many years and intensively farm 5 acres currently. For example, this weekend was 65-70 and sunny. Best possible weather. We got up at 5:30am and worked pretty much straight through until 7:00pm, with short breaks for Bogleheads postings.😉 This will be typical until November. We have no machinery aside from a rototiller, chipper, etc.

Tentative plan is to sell/rent this residence and live elsewhere after retiring from my “regular” non-physical job.
Excellent, best of luck to ya!
“Unexpected Returns dominate the Expected Returns” - Ken French
Starfish
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by Starfish »

While I agree that English is enough in most countries at least as a tourist, It would never cross my mind to live in a place for a year or more without making my goal to learn very well the language. All Indo-European languages are manageable given the time, with more or less effort. Without learning the language one can forget about understanding the local culture and mixing in. Not learning the local language will be also frown upon by locals. It almost look like one has to make an effort not to learn the language if you live somewhere for years.
ivk5
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by ivk5 »

houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:11 am Seems like most people appreciate the effort (except maybe the French!).
Living in other countries and getting more exposure to other cultures may make you less inclined to traffic in such hackneyed stereotypes or paint other humans with such a broad brush.
hunoraut
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by hunoraut »

language isn't an impediment in most of europe. i've worked across this continent for a decade and in this era, english is so much the lingua franca it still astonishes me. everyday in every place -- parks, grocery stores, coffee houses, away from tourist destinations and transport hubs -- i hear english conversations tinged with accents of french, latin, slavic origins.

its a homogenizing phenomena. probably not for the better. if you live in some far off rural part of the country and want to barbecue with the entire village every night in the summer, yes knowing the language would be great. but the idea that knowing the language is prerequisite for living there, or that it significantly changes the experience and quality of life, i say is an outdated notion.

spain and portugal are great places to retire to. theyre my top choices as well, if the wife (european, not native to our current residence) agrees :sharebeer
typical.investor
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by typical.investor »

ivk5 wrote: Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:00 am
houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:11 am Seems like most people appreciate the effort (except maybe the French!).
Living in other countries and getting more exposure to other cultures may make you less inclined to traffic in such hackneyed stereotypes or paint other humans with such a broad brush.
My sister who speaks multiple languages and has lived abroad in multiple places made the exact same comment. French people in Paris had little appreciation for her years of studying French.

She’ll be the first to tell you that individuals can’t be generalized about, but in general there seemed to be more individuals like that in France than Russia and Mexico.
ivk5
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by ivk5 »

typical.investor wrote: Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:13 am
ivk5 wrote: Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:00 am
houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:11 am Seems like most people appreciate the effort (except maybe the French!).
Living in other countries and getting more exposure to other cultures may make you less inclined to traffic in such hackneyed stereotypes or paint other humans with such a broad brush.
My sister who speaks multiple languages and has lived abroad in multiple places made the exact same comment. French people in Paris had little appreciation for her years of studying French.

She’ll be the first to tell you that individuals can’t be generalized about, but in general there seemed to be more individuals like that in France than Russia and Mexico.
I understand and am not challenging you or the OP on that. I was talking about generalizations, not French people. Why live in a new place and meet new people if you assume you already know what they’re like?
typical.investor
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by typical.investor »

ivk5 wrote: Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:42 am
typical.investor wrote: Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:13 am
ivk5 wrote: Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:00 am
houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:11 am Seems like most people appreciate the effort (except maybe the French!).
Living in other countries and getting more exposure to other cultures may make you less inclined to traffic in such hackneyed stereotypes or paint other humans with such a broad brush.
My sister who speaks multiple languages and has lived abroad in multiple places made the exact same comment. French people in Paris had little appreciation for her years of studying French.

She’ll be the first to tell you that individuals can’t be generalized about, but in general there seemed to be more individuals like that in France than Russia and Mexico.
I understand and am not challenging you or the OP on that. I was talking about generalizations, not French people. Why live in a new place and meet new people if you assume you already know what they’re like?
Yeah, don't get discouraged is my point. I live overseas and can definitely tell you that the desire (and ability) to speak to non-natives (me) varies greatly among the natives.
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houseofnine
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by houseofnine »

ivk5 wrote: Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:00 am
houseofnine wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:11 am Seems like most people appreciate the effort (except maybe the French!).
Living in other countries and getting more exposure to other cultures may make you less inclined to traffic in such hackneyed stereotypes or paint other humans with such a broad brush.
FWIW my comment was based on both hackneyed stereotypes AND personal experience. However, you are absolutely correct to object to such a comment and I apologize for any offense. I promise to give everyone a chance to be helpful, or not.
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SailingAway
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by SailingAway »

A few different thoughts from a different perspective. We live on our boat, usually 8-10 months a year (pre-covid) We sold our business and retired in 2009 and haven't looked back. It allows us to see the world and see where and what we want to see. So far, around 50+ countries, many of them small. We like warm wx, me being born in Key West and a lifetime Floridian. We have stayed mostly on/near the equator with the exception of a year and a half in New Zealand (which we really enjoyed) There is a worldwide cruisers community anywhere you go on the equatorial circumnavigation route in the world. As I said we left the east coast in Nov 2009 and spend a couple years in the Caribbean, Netherland Antilles, Columbia, then through the Panama Canal, Galapagos, French Polynesia for 3 1/2 years, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, New Zealand and currently Fiji. We think we have the best of all worlds. We have our house with us wherever we go and view off the back porch is really spectacular... and if you don't like the view, pull the anchor and find another one. It is a nomadic lifestyle but we like the adventure and chance to see the world and meet and get to know all the different cultures from an up close and personal perspective vs the ugly American tourist perspective.

It is a somewhat unusual lifestyle that many people seem to be very jealous of, but afraid to sample for themselves. People always think it is much harder and expensive than it is. We have cruising buds who retired bank execs, oil guys and school teachers and anything else you can think of. We have friends all over the world and it is amazing how many times we cross paths with people we have spent time with somewhere along the path.

A couple of thoughts on the expat, sort of, lifestyle. You have to always remember you are in someone else's country. Don't worry about why they do things the way they do, just roll with it. A lot of things have already been mentioned, but usually best if you keep your politics to yourself. Many will ask what you think about current events and many times it will surprise you as to their perspective. In our cruising lifestyle there are a couple of sayings that are worth learning early. First your plans for the future are written in the sand at low tide. Second, cruising= learning to fix your boat in exotic places. Third, don't try to explain to them that the way they do it doesn't make sense and finally, don't be the ugly American. The two biggest reasons people abandon the cruising lifestyle are skin cancer and grandkids, so take the necessary precautions. :happy :happy

You can get by anywhere if you make an effort. When we were in Colombia for a year and my wife learned her 4 years of Spanish in high school were basically worthless. In French Polynesia i found my 3 years of French pretty worthless as well. If you are going to embed yourself, find an immersion course along the way. Where you stay for a couple months and no english will be spoken. My wife took some Spanish classes in Santa Marta, CO and found that they speak 2 different Spanish dialects and the people inland call the coastal Spanish, gutter Spanish. We have always managed to get by whatever the language. We have also found that locals really do appreciate your effort no matter how ugly it may be.

We got stranded this year, back visiting family in the states during cyclone season in Fiji and are presently stranded at our home Florida. We had tickets to return on May 11th. Fiji airways has cancelled all flights until the end of August presently, but will probably end up extending that until Dec. Our boat is hauled out and strapped down in a cyclone pit and being checked by a local we made arrangements with back in November. Fiji had a total of 18 Covid cases and are basically locked down for the near future. Don't know when we'll get back to our home.

We maintain our finances in the US. All things are possible you just have to figure it out wherever you are. Medical expenses most places will be so cheap you won't even give it much thought. Use local sim cards with a generic phone that isn't too new. If we are going to be somewhere for more than a few months we set up a local bank account and use OFX for transfers to local bank. Capital One CC has no international transaction fees and ATM's work better all the time, especially since the US caught up and starting chipping their Visa/MC. Everywhere we've been there has always been a way to get things you need, you just have to ask another cruiser who got there ahead of you.

We hope to make it Australia via Vanuatu and French Caledonia next year. Then we'll be Indonesia bound. At our current rate of progress we should be back in the US in 10 years or so. That will depend largely on how we take to Europe. But things like Covid will clearly have an impact on when that actually happens.

Obviously gone on much longer than I planned, but I'm something of an ambassador for lifestyle I guess...and no, you don't have to be an experienced sailor to do this. We've met many who just learned to sail along the way.

Any questions and I'd be happy to answer.
protagonist
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by protagonist »

cinghiale wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 5:53 am When it comes to foreign exchange, “never assume the permanence of the present arrangement.”
I would go further and eliminate the first phrase. Never assume the permanence of the present arrangement, period.

First hand experience....when I bought my condo on a beautiful island and windsurfing paradise in Venezuela in 1991 (pre-Chavez), Venezuela was the wealthiest and most stable "democracy" in Latin America. There were frequent nonstop 4 1/2 hr. flights from NYC (~$300 RT) to an airport 5-10 minutes from my condo....I could leave in the AM and be windsurfing the same afternoon.

Fast forward to 2020.....need I say more?


I'm not suggesting not to retire abroad....it can be a wonderful experience. But you have to be flexible, and willing to expect the unexpected.
Starfish
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Re: Retiring Abroad

Post by Starfish »

This is valid for US as well.
When I came in US in 2000 the political landscape looked pretty different. Who knows what will be in 15 more years.
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