Living abroad?

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Topic Author
coffeeblack
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:20 am

Living abroad?

Post by coffeeblack »

There are some advantage to living abroad. Such as easy travel to different countries in Europe etc.

But is there really a cost savings to live in countries such as Italy or Spain or Portugal?

There are many places that talk about cost savings. But they are very general. Cost saving is very dependent on the individuals spending.

Keeping that in mind, do those living abroad save money moving there compared to where they lived in the US.

Please include taxes, travel, general living costs from US to when you lived abroad.
anonsdca
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by anonsdca »

coffeeblack wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:26 am There are some advantage to living abroad. Such as easy travel to different countries in Europe etc.

But is there really a cost savings to live in countries such as Italy or Spain or Portugal?

There are many places that talk about cost savings. But they are very general. Cost saving is very dependent on the individuals spending.

Keeping that in mind, do those living abroad save money moving there compared to where they lived in the US.

Please include taxes, travel, general living costs from US to when you lived abroad.

I am not quite there yet, but have been planning to live abroad for the past 10 years.

I would say that living abroad--or the desire to live abroad-- doesn't have much to do with money for most people. They are seeking a different lifestyle, different culture and a more pleasurable experience. The fact that for most places you can live more affordably is a bonus.

I know where I will live, it will be 20-40% cheaper than the US.
Topic Author
coffeeblack
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Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:20 am

Re: Living abroad?

Post by coffeeblack »

anonsdca wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:47 am
coffeeblack wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:26 am There are some advantage to living abroad. Such as easy travel to different countries in Europe etc.

But is there really a cost savings to live in countries such as Italy or Spain or Portugal?

There are many places that talk about cost savings. But they are very general. Cost saving is very dependent on the individuals spending.

Keeping that in mind, do those living abroad save money moving there compared to where they lived in the US.

Please include taxes, travel, general living costs from US to when you lived abroad.

I am not quite there yet, but have been planning to live abroad for the past 10 years.

I would say that living abroad--or the desire to live abroad-- doesn't have much to do with money for most people. They are seeking a different lifestyle, different culture and a more pleasurable experience. The fact that for most places you can live more affordably is a bonus.

I know where I will live, it will be 20-40% cheaper than the US.
I agree. It is mostly about experiences living abroad. Exploring new cultures etc. I think the cost is very individual but is there an overall savings in general?
Thesaints
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by Thesaints »

I think the OP has his eyes set on Europe. Whether that is cheaper, or more expensive than in the US depends on where in the US and where in Europe.

Even limited to Italy, Spain, Portugal, it is not possible to say. Living in Rome, for instance, is substantially more expensive than living in Albuquerque.
halfnine
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by halfnine »

We've lived in countries across four continents. Oddly enough among the developed countries we tend to spend around the same no matter where we live. We just tend to spend where there is value or opportunities that don't exist elsewhere. For instance, in Country A we may live in a large place but rarely eat out but in Country B we live in a small place but eat out frequently.
cheerfulcharlie
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by cheerfulcharlie »

This is highly dependent on the country chosen (assuming that one will change residency to that country) and the annual amount spend as that will determine how much you get screwed on taxes. Many countries in Europe (though not all) have a steep tax structure that will really stick it to you unless you annual income is relatively low.

If you are considering one of these high-tax jurisdiction countries, than you are far better first establishing residency in a no income state in the US (assuming you are an American), and then moving from country to country in Europe on short tourist stays, not staying in any country more than 3 months at a time. You can stay in Europe pretty much all year as long as you vary your stays between Schengen and non-Schengen EU countries to skirt the 90/180 day rule. Of course, this strategy assures you don't become subject to undesirable high European taxes, but is a hassle because it requires that you keep moving (either every month or every 3 months, however you divide up your time in each jurisdiction).

There are other ways to accomplish staying in Europe such as taking advantage of certain countries non-habitual tax regimes but then you become a resident and pay the fees incident to those programs etc.

Everything depends on which country you want to stay, how long you want to stay there, and your annual draw. Without being more specific, your question is way too broad to give any meaningful advice other than "it depends."
Topic Author
coffeeblack
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by coffeeblack »

It seems that the saving (if any) is highly individual. For example one can save on cost of living but be in a higher tax area and end up using that savings to pay taxes.

With that said food, ease of travel (example of europe and trains) can be less expensive. But it depends. Paris is far more expensive that Lisbon but if you base is in Lisbon your overall cost will go down.
Topic Author
coffeeblack
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by coffeeblack »

cheerfulcharlie wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 12:24 pm This is highly dependent on the country chosen (assuming that one will change residency to that country) and the annual amount spend as that will determine how much you get screwed on taxes. Many countries in Europe (though not all) have a steep tax structure that will really stick it to you unless you annual income is relatively low.

If you are considering one of these high-tax jurisdiction countries, than you are far better first establishing residency in a no income state in the US (assuming you are an American), and then moving from country to country in Europe on short tourist stays, not staying in any country more than 3 months at a time. You can stay in Europe pretty much all year as long as you vary your stays between Schengen and non-Schengen EU countries to skirt the 90/180 day rule. Of course, this strategy assures you don't become subject to undesirable high European taxes, but is a hassle because it requires that you keep moving (either every month or every 3 months, however you divide up your time in each jurisdiction).

There are other ways to accomplish staying in Europe such as taking advantage of certain countries non-habitual tax regimes but then you become a resident and pay the fees incident to those programs etc.

Everything depends on which country you want to stay, how long you want to stay there, and your annual draw. Without being more specific, your question is way too broad to give any meaningful advice other than "it depends."
Moving from country to country is not ideal for the long term. It will possibly increase our WR because we would still have to pay expenses in the US such as home taxes etc. So it would work in the short term but not a great long term option. We would consider Spain or Portugal. We would most likely be non habitual resident visas. Portugal has tax breaks from investment income in these situations. The idea for us is to live someplace we would enjoy on a day to day basis and do lots of travel from there.
sailaway
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by sailaway »

coffeeblack wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:26 am Cost saving is very dependent on the individuals spending.
Shocking that.

Some of it depends on how you move abroad. The type of visa you are eligible for can affect taxes and healthcare, for example. However, overall, just like with moving within the US, you can research COL differences and what different choices you will have to make. Some people go abroad and complain about the standard kitchens - if you are going to a European city and insist on a full sized (by US standards) fridge and stove, arranged in a convenient work triangle, you might have to move to an upper class neighborhood, which may wipe out the potential savings.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by adamthesmythe »

The real cost savings are in less prosperous countries (Mexico, Thailand, etc.).

I think it will be hard to live more cheaply in western Europe unless you just...live less well. Not saying there is no attraction to the simple life, or the experience of being somewhere else, just that it's not equivalent.

There may be bargains in the former east bloc.
Topic Author
coffeeblack
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by coffeeblack »

adamthesmythe wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 1:06 pm The real cost savings are in less prosperous countries (Mexico, Thailand, etc.).

I think it will be hard to live more cheaply in western Europe unless you just...live less well. Not saying there is no attraction to the simple life, or the experience of being somewhere else, just that it's not equivalent.

There may be bargains in the former east bloc.
Agreed. Certain Asian Nations will cost significantly less. Mexico is less expensive even in the nicer areas however it is still isolated from other Europe or Asia. So there would be no major advantage other than cost of living.
khram
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by khram »

People tend to romanticize living in Europe. Taxes are way higher (of course this means you have better access to affordable healthcare there), the cities can still be expensive. There are places like Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, etc. that are quite cheap. They also have less infrastructure than some more western countries.

If you vacation to Europe every month, obviously it's way cheaper to get on a train than a plane from the US.

But if you're still working, pay is way lower in EU. If you're high-income, you're far better off living in the US. The US does have a culture of "every man for himself."

At my job, I'd be making maybe 50% of what I make in the EU, even less after taxes.

And the apartments/roads/hotels/houses/food are way bigger in the US. Some of this can be nice, some can lead to real problems (like the obesity epidemic). There is a different culture.
Naismith
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by Naismith »

And then there is health care.....I've lived in Brasil, Indonesia, and Germany (and had my appendix out on a ski trip to Austria).

Indonesia was tough because the healthcare was so substandard. I was fortunate to bring a year of prescriptions with me, but had to go to Singapore to get a renewal on one of them, because it simply was not available in Indonesia. And when I developed urinary tract infections, the fancy expat-oriented hospital that boasted a CT scan machine didn't have the capacity to do a urine culture.

I think western Europe would be fine, but if you are planning on giving birth or have a chronic illness or are older, it is something to consider.
Freefun
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Re: Living abroad?

Post by Freefun »

For me it depends on location. When I lived in Belgium it was more expensive. When in Malaysia it was cheaper (and the medical care was great).

In my retirement, if I lived in Malaysia (KLCC) it would be much cheaper. Further out, one can live quite well even compared to U.S. LCOL standards.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?
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