Retire Internationally for FIRE

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Roberts111
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:54 pm

Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by Roberts111 » Sun May 06, 2018 12:53 am

I am wondering if anyone here has managed to retire early by moving overseas? I've heard that some destinations in Central America and Asia offer a comfortable retirement for around $2-3k per month per couple.
I am 44 yo and my idea is to move to a LCOL country in 12 years or so. If I rent out my primary home + one rental, I could net $3k per month after PM fees+expenses. This will allow me to keep my retirement account untouched until I am ready to move back to states or need extra income.
My main concern would be the quality of health care and not being able to re-enter the job market if things don't work out.

I am curious if anyone as gone this route and how it worked.

anonsdca
Posts: 186
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:47 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by anonsdca » Sun May 06, 2018 1:32 am

Roberts111 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 12:53 am
I am wondering if anyone here has managed to retire early by moving overseas? I've heard that some destinations in Central America and Asia offer a comfortable retirement for around $2-3k per month per couple.
I am 44 yo and my idea is to move to a LCOL country in 12 years or so. If I rent out my primary home + one rental, I could net $3k per month after PM fees+expenses. This will allow me to keep my retirement account untouched until I am ready to move back to states or need extra income.
My main concern would be the quality of health care and not being able to re-enter the job market if things don't work out.

I am curious if anyone as gone this route and how it worked.
Lots of people have done it. They have blogs/vlogs that you should check out. Just do some Google searches for the areas that interest you. However, if you aren't planning to go for 12 years, I wouldn't even worry about it. So much will have changed by that time, including your interests and desires. I'd concentrate the next 8 years on building your wealth, then at four years out, do your research and visit the places.

Also, I think it would be hard to manage properties from that kind of distance. You would really need someone you trust. I am two years away from SE Asia.
Last edited by anonsdca on Sun May 06, 2018 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

HongKonger
Posts: 1069
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:35 am
Location: Deep in the Balkans

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by HongKonger » Sun May 06, 2018 1:36 am

Yes. Done it. 5 years in. Life is still good.

FireProof
Posts: 545
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:15 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by FireProof » Sun May 06, 2018 3:05 am

Did it about about 5 years ago too, definitely no complaints. For retiring young, it's often the only practical option, given health insurance costs in the US.

Don't overlook Spain - renting or buying ix very cheap outside of Madrid/Barcelona/Basque Country (sales prices along the coasts are a joke, since these zones were so overbuilt before the crisis), and flights to even the West Coast of the US are down to about 100 Euros (one-way) with Level, Norwegian or Wow Airlines. You're better connected to the US than probably even Mexico, and a short and cheap hop to many more interesting places. Likely to be less of a culture shock and easier integration than in Latin America, and obviously no comparison in that regard with Asia, which I would only recommend for the adventurous. Nicer weather than pretty much anywhere in Asia, too, unless you truly love humid heat!

cap396
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:05 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by cap396 » Sun May 06, 2018 6:01 am

We have decided to do this, ages 43 and 45, leaving to go overseas this summer. We plan to travel and volunteer in South and Central America, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe. We are expecting our expenses to be in the $2300 - $2500 per month range for everything (including international health insurance policy), although we could certainly do this cheaper if we decided to stay in one place. We have just sold our current townhouse (and are selling or getting rid of everything else we own) and then invest that money instead of trying to rent out our townhouse. I think trying to landlord and maintain a house from a distance could be challenging. As anonsdca mentioned, there is a large community of people who are doing this.

rich126
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by rich126 » Sun May 06, 2018 1:38 pm

I think it depends on your expectations. My amusing story on this was a guy I casually knew at a bar said he was going to retire in Costa Rica. I saw him a month later after he had returned from a visit to explore the area and said "Geez, its like a 3rd world country" :oops:

So this should be obvious but make sure you visit locations several times before picking a destination. Also a great week long vacation isn't the same as living somewhere permanently. You have to deal with daily hassles of ownership or rental (food, utilities, internet, car ownership, medicine, religious differences, language, etc.). The living standards are not the same as the US, in some cases it may be better for you, but in others not as good. The only true thing is that it will be different.

I'm planning to look for a new job in 2019 and will check on international opportunities as well and I'm trying to force myself to realize vacation does not equal long term commitment.

User avatar
Rick Ferri
Posts: 8483
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:40 am
Location: Georgetown, TX. Twitter: @Rick_Ferri
Contact:

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by Rick Ferri » Sun May 06, 2018 1:43 pm

Why go overseas? You can buy a used RV and travel extensively in the US, Canada and Mexico for the same money.
The Education of an Index Investor: flounders in darkness, finds enlightenment, overcomplicates strategy, embraces simplicity.

lynneny
Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:23 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by lynneny » Sun May 06, 2018 10:05 pm

It's never too soon to start taking vacations to countries you might want to consider retiring to!

Although it's very true that a one-week vacation in a foreign country isn't the same as living there, and things will change a lot in the next 12 years, you can still get an idea about whether you like the climate, how expensive/affordable the country is, would you be willing to learn the local language. Vacation in Asia, and maybe you'll decide it's further from the U.S. than you want to live (that's partly why I ruled out Asia, but YMMV).

My hobby for years was visiting places, either on vacation or as an extension to a business trip, that I thought I might want to retire to. By the time I was laid off a few months ago at 61, I had narrowed it down to two cities, one in Mexico and one in Portugal. I had Airbnbd several times in each place, made a few local friends, and looked into the healthcare systems. I checked out various silly things that are nevertheless important to me (can I get a live Christmas tree/my cat's prescription medication/good yoga classes). I plan to move at the end of the year.

Re medical care: many countries have excellent healthcare and it costs much less than in the U.S. I'm reading a book now on healthcare for expats in Mexico, written by an American who lives there, and am learning a lot. I'm even considering postponing some dental work one of my cats needs until we move to Mexico. Feline medical tourism.

Finally, it's nice to save money, but that shouldn't be the only reason for moving abroad. You need a sense of adventure and a genuine interest in other cultures to be happy in a very different country, no matter how affordable it is.

halfnine
Posts: 856
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:48 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by halfnine » Mon May 07, 2018 3:14 pm

Rick Ferri wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:43 pm
Why go overseas? You can buy a used RV and travel extensively in the US, Canada and Mexico for the same money.
Why do that now? OP can do that when they're old.

GCD
Posts: 526
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:11 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by GCD » Mon May 07, 2018 3:59 pm

FireProof wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 3:05 am
Don't overlook Spain - renting or buying ix very cheap outside of Madrid/Barcelona/Basque Country (sales prices along the coasts are a joke, since these zones were so overbuilt before the crisis),
Are you dual citizenship or can US citizens own property in Spain?

rich126 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:38 pm
Also a great week long vacation isn't the same as living somewhere permanently.
Good point even in the US.

FireProof
Posts: 545
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:15 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by FireProof » Mon May 07, 2018 4:29 pm

GCD wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 3:59 pm
FireProof wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 3:05 am
Don't overlook Spain - renting or buying ix very cheap outside of Madrid/Barcelona/Basque Country (sales prices along the coasts are a joke, since these zones were so overbuilt before the crisis),
Are you dual citizenship or can US citizens own property in Spain?

There are no special requirements for foreigners to buy property in Spain. However, if you are a non-RESIDENT, tax treatment of any rental income you earn from it may be less favorable.

WhiteMaxima
Posts: 1206
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:04 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by WhiteMaxima » Mon May 07, 2018 4:30 pm

Unless you have EU resident permission, you can't stay in EU countries for more than 180 days total per year.

FireProof
Posts: 545
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:15 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by FireProof » Mon May 07, 2018 4:30 pm

GCD wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 3:59 pm
FireProof wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 3:05 am
Don't overlook Spain - renting or buying ix very cheap outside of Madrid/Barcelona/Basque Country (sales prices along the coasts are a joke, since these zones were so overbuilt before the crisis),
Are you dual citizenship or can US citizens own property in Spain?
There are no special requirements for foreigners to buy property in Spain. However, if you are a non-RESIDENT, tax treatment of any rental income you earn from it may be less favorable.

It's true that right to residency is a different thing for Americans, but I don't believe it's insurmountable - there are non-work residency visas which just require demonstration of income or assets.

User avatar
Cycle
Posts: 564
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: Minneapolis, USA

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by Cycle » Mon May 07, 2018 4:44 pm

Rick Ferri wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:43 pm
Why go overseas? You can buy a used RV and travel extensively in the US, Canada and Mexico for the same money.
US Health insurance would blow the budget

flyingaway
Posts: 1736
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by flyingaway » Mon May 07, 2018 5:12 pm

I think the real health care problem is the catastrophic health problems much as cancers. Do the international health insurances cover that?

User avatar
kramer
Posts: 1615
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:28 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by kramer » Mon May 07, 2018 11:12 pm

FireProof wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 4:30 pm
GCD wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 3:59 pm
FireProof wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 3:05 am
Don't overlook Spain - renting or buying ix very cheap outside of Madrid/Barcelona/Basque Country (sales prices along the coasts are a joke, since these zones were so overbuilt before the crisis),
Are you dual citizenship or can US citizens own property in Spain?
There are no special requirements for foreigners to buy property in Spain. However, if you are a non-RESIDENT, tax treatment of any rental income you earn from it may be less favorable.

It's true that right to residency is a different thing for Americans, but I don't believe it's insurmountable - there are non-work residency visas which just require demonstration of income or assets.
The Spain residency application forms are quite involved (I have read through them). But at least you can qualify on assets and dividend income ... you don't necessarily have to have a pension like many old style residency requirements that many countries still require (which is a non-starter for most early retirees). Also, your international assets and income will become subject to tax by Spain after you gain residency, something to carefully consider. Finally, you have to get zero-deductible health insurance coverage in Spain before you even apply for residency, something even their instructions for their residency forms say may be difficult.

AlohaJoe
Posts: 3544
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:00 pm
Location: Saigon, Vietnam

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon May 07, 2018 11:45 pm

Roberts111 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 12:53 am
I am wondering if anyone here has managed to retire early by moving overseas? I've heard that some destinations in Central America and Asia offer a comfortable retirement for around $2-3k per month per couple.
I live in SE Asia.

Have you ever lived in another country? If you are just picking "a LCOL country" then there is a pretty high chance you will end up disappointed and unhappy. Not a 100% chance. But a high chance.

Moving to a new city -- inside the US -- where you have no friends, no social network, no family, no nothing is not easy. Doing it when you are over 50 is harder. Doing it when the main reason you picked the place is "because it is cheap" -- not because of any other attachment -- makes it even harder.

I mean, sure, you can end up Huahin or Vung Tau. Find a group of aging expats who have done the same thing. It isn't impossible.

But for a lot of people the inability to speak the language, the inability to form local friendships, difficulties navigating daily life, distance from family, needing to make changes to daily habits -- all of that makes living overseas hard for a lot of people.

Here's a simple example: if you live in SE Asia then you might never watch any American sport again. The Superbowl starts at 5:30am in Bangkok. You **might** wake up that early once a year to see it. But it won't be a regular thing every Sunday.

Unless you've lived overseas for a few years and know that you like it/can tolerate it...there's a pretty high chance you'll find out it isn't for you. I've seen **dozens** (maybe 100+) people move here for a few years and then move back home after the novelty wears off.

I'm not saying don't do it. Just go into it with open eyes and you really, really, really need to do a "dry run". Visit the place before hand. Stay for as long as you possibly can. Can you convince your boss to give you 4 weeks off of work? (Some of it unpaid? Work remotely for 2 weeks?) Then spend 4 weeks in Thailand, Portugal, or Belize. Maybe you discover you hate the traffic in Bangkok. Hate the burning season in Chiang Mai. Hate the humidity in Central America. Miss the snow in Portugal. Or whatever.

I knew an Irish guy who lived here in SE Asia for a while. He told me really missed how the sun stayed up later in the summer in Ireland. In the tropics, the sun rises & sets at more or the same time year round. But he really loved the whole "summertime means it is daylight until 8pm or even later and we can go to the park, go drinking, whatever" feeling and desperately missed it living in Asia. I doubt he even considered that as a factor when he moved to Asia.

Roberts111
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:54 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by Roberts111 » Tue May 08, 2018 12:01 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 11:45 pm
Roberts111 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 12:53 am
I am wondering if anyone here has managed to retire early by moving overseas? I've heard that some destinations in Central America and Asia offer a comfortable retirement for around $2-3k per month per couple.
I live in SE Asia.

Have you ever lived in another country? If you are just picking "a LCOL country" then there is a pretty high chance you will end up disappointed and unhappy. Not a 100% chance. But a high chance.

Moving to a new city -- inside the US -- where you have no friends, no social network, no family, no nothing is not easy. Doing it when you are over 50 is harder. Doing it when the main reason you picked the place is "because it is cheap" -- not because of any other attachment -- makes it even harder.

I mean, sure, you can end up Huahin or Vung Tau. Find a group of aging expats who have done the same thing. It isn't impossible.

But for a lot of people the inability to speak the language, the inability to form local friendships, difficulties navigating daily life, distance from family, needing to make changes to daily habits -- all of that makes living overseas hard for a lot of people.

Here's a simple example: if you live in SE Asia then you might never watch any American sport again. The Superbowl starts at 5:30am in Bangkok. You **might** wake up that early once a year to see it. But it won't be a regular thing every Sunday.

Unless you've lived overseas for a few years and know that you like it/can tolerate it...there's a pretty high chance you'll find out it isn't for you. I've seen **dozens** (maybe 100+) people move here for a few years and then move back home after the novelty wears off.

I'm not saying don't do it. Just go into it with open eyes and you really, really, really need to do a "dry run". Visit the place before hand. Stay for as long as you possibly can. Can you convince your boss to give you 4 weeks off of work? (Some of it unpaid? Work remotely for 2 weeks?) Then spend 4 weeks in Thailand, Portugal, or Belize. Maybe you discover you hate the traffic in Bangkok. Hate the burning season in Chiang Mai. Hate the humidity in Central America. Miss the snow in Portugal. Or whatever.

I knew an Irish guy who lived here in SE Asia for a while. He told me really missed how the sun stayed up later in the summer in Ireland. In the tropics, the sun rises & sets at more or the same time year round. But he really loved the whole "summertime means it is daylight until 8pm or even later and we can go to the park, go drinking, whatever" feeling and desperately missed it living in Asia. I doubt he even considered that as a factor when he moved to Asia.
Thanks for the perspective. I have connections to SE Asia and have visited several times but have not actually stayed for more than 3 weeks at a time. Like your friend from Ireland, I am sure there is little things like the weather that I know I will miss but haven't realized it yet.

randomguy
Posts: 5975
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by randomguy » Tue May 08, 2018 12:07 am

:?:
Cycle wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 4:44 pm
Rick Ferri wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:43 pm
Why go overseas? You can buy a used RV and travel extensively in the US, Canada and Mexico for the same money.
US Health insurance would blow the budget

1-4k/year isn't exactly budget busting. Granted things can change radically if Obamacare gets reworked.

There are tons of 3-4k places in the US. Up to you if they are better or worse than someboverseas places.

Roberts111
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:54 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by Roberts111 » Tue May 08, 2018 12:14 am

Thanks everyone for your input. I am aware of bloggers / v-loggers, but I wanted to talk to real world people since travel blogs can be biased. I am glad to hear from a few fellow bogleheads that are successfully living overseas.
A couple of you mentioned how hard it is to relocate to a strange area. Perhaps this is something I underestimated. Since I have connections to SE Asia, that would probably be a likely choice even though Central America looks good on paper.
When I re-read my post, I realized that 12 years sounds like a long way off and I am wondering if I will really be up to this when I am 55+.
I have two children so my initial thought was to wait until they were adults, but I can see where I can get in the loop of the time never being right.
I am rethinking of maybe within 5 years and have talked to my wife about it. She has reservations, but since she is from SE Asia and has family there, it would be an easier transition.

I love to travel, but what really appeals to me is to end the rat race sooner than the expected retirement date. My concern would be the expenses involved in returning if it didn't work out. I work in IT and currently do well, so a few years out of marketable skills + pushing 50 would make me less desirable to employers.

TravelGeek
Posts: 2113
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by TravelGeek » Tue May 08, 2018 12:31 am

randomguy wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 12:07 am
:?:
Cycle wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 4:44 pm
Rick Ferri wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:43 pm
Why go overseas? You can buy a used RV and travel extensively in the US, Canada and Mexico for the same money.
US Health insurance would blow the budget

1-4k/year isn't exactly budget busting. Granted things can change radically if Obamacare gets reworked.
OP would be 56 in 12 years. Where does a 56 year old today get health insurance in the US for $1K-$4K per year?

User avatar
Cycle
Posts: 564
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: Minneapolis, USA

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by Cycle » Tue May 08, 2018 6:33 am

randomguy wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 12:07 am
:?:
Cycle wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 4:44 pm
Rick Ferri wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:43 pm
Why go overseas? You can buy a used RV and travel extensively in the US, Canada and Mexico for the same money.
US Health insurance would blow the budget

1-4k/year isn't exactly budget busting. Granted things can change radically if Obamacare gets reworked.

There are tons of 3-4k places in the US. Up to you if they are better or worse than someboverseas places.
That would be dirt cheap, I was under the impression it would be 25k per year

flyingaway
Posts: 1736
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by flyingaway » Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 am

Living in a low-cost country like the locals can be cheap. Living in a low-cost country like Americans can be more expensive than living in the U.S.
In many SE Asia countries, most people do not have big houses, no cars, and no air-conditionings. High quality food can be expensive. High quality health care may be difficult to get. If you are known to be rich, you may attract some unwanted attentions.

randomguy
Posts: 5975
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by randomguy » Tue May 08, 2018 7:22 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 12:31 am
randomguy wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 12:07 am
:?:
Cycle wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 4:44 pm
Rick Ferri wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:43 pm
Why go overseas? You can buy a used RV and travel extensively in the US, Canada and Mexico for the same money.
US Health insurance would blow the budget

1-4k/year isn't exactly budget busting. Granted things can change radically if Obamacare gets reworked.
OP would be 56 in 12 years. Where does a 56 year old today get health insurance in the US for $1K-$4K per year?
On the ACA marketplace of course. At the income levels we are talking about, you will pay about 8% of your income towards health insurance. Without knowing the OP situation, I can't say if their income would be 20k/year or 50k.

Health insurance is a much bigger deal for upper middle class and rich retirees.

wrongfunds
Posts: 1728
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by wrongfunds » Tue May 08, 2018 2:32 pm

Have you even thought about the case where LCOL place today might NOT be LCOL in 12 years?

heyyou
Posts: 3064
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:58 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by heyyou » Tue May 08, 2018 3:18 pm

Consider going for a decade or longer, delaying SS, then returning at age 70 or slightly later, to move to some large town in a fly over state. Your overseas time will just be a less expensive bridge from early retirement to the slower years.

User avatar
David Jay
Posts: 5262
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:54 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by David Jay » Tue May 08, 2018 3:44 pm

Rick Ferri wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:43 pm
Why go overseas? You can buy a used RV and travel extensively in the US, Canada and Mexico for the same money.
Yes YOU can. :happy
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 13458
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by Watty » Wed May 09, 2018 8:37 am

Two things I have not seen mentioned.

1) Some countries have two teir health systems. A public system that everyone can go to and a private system that people that are upper middle class pay for. These can vary a lot so when when you are looking at prices be sure to look at the private system, which can still be relatively affordable, which has the quality that you might want.

2) If you move overseas you should get a will and basic estate planning information for the country your are living in. Even if you plan on returning to the US when you are 65 you could still die in an accident or unexpected illness. Your US will may not be valid and the estate laws may be VERY different even in developed countries like France and may override what your will says. If your heirs have to go through probate in both the US and a foreign country because there are assets in both countries that can be very expensive and time consuming. This should not be a big deal to get the will set up but if you don't plan ahead it could be a mess.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 3319
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by lthenderson » Wed May 09, 2018 8:57 am

I have many friends who live in SE Asia, most of whom are retired from the U.S. military and live there simply because they can live much better in S.E. Asia on their pensions than they can in the U.S. The others have spouses that are native from S.E. Asia. There has been a lot of great advice and I too would recommend giving it a try for a summer or a couple months before committing to it. Living in a foreign country is certainly not for everyone. Almost all of the people I have seen do it, come back to the U.S. at some point. Lots come for access to better healthcare when they are older. Many just miss extended family or being able to easily understand the language, not have to deal with bribes and corrupt officials (common in many S.E. Asian countries), etc. Also, Americans in S.E. Asian are often looked on as a sort of cash cow thanks to tourism. Be prepared to constantly be asked for money.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned, it that many S.E. Asian countries have limits on how long you can stay continuously under a visa. Many cater to these people by offering very cheap flights for a day in a nearby country to satisfy the visa requirements so you can re-enter the country again for another period of time. It isn't much of a financial burden but something one has to consider.

bloom2708
Posts: 4441
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by bloom2708 » Wed May 09, 2018 11:06 am

Read this blog:

http://www.mrfreeat33.com/

He is living in Thailand. A recent post was about a health scare and his visit to the doctor. Interesting read and informative site.

Yes you can do it. Many paths.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

hoops777
Posts: 2298
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:23 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by hoops777 » Wed May 09, 2018 1:44 pm

You only have one life.The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
I think it is easy to find things wrong here and fantasize that all will be wonderful somewhere else.There are reasons that places are cheap or expensive,most of the time very good reasons.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

HongKonger
Posts: 1069
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:35 am
Location: Deep in the Balkans

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by HongKonger » Wed May 09, 2018 2:13 pm

On the subject of healthcare costs, I can give a current example from this past week.
Ultrasound - USS$20
Consultation with cardiologist, ECG/EKG etc, full blood and urine tests - US$2.50
3 appointments with my Dr - US$0
Prescription meds for fluid retention - US$0.75

Am back at the Dr tomorrow for one week check up and restesting before deciding next course of action. I pay US$10 per month for state healthcare. The ultrasound was expensive because I just walked in and asked for it rather than going to see my Dr first.

Whilst all this was going on, 2 days ago a crown dropped out. I walked into a state of the art dental clinic today had a consult, an xray, received treatment, a temporary fix, and a treatment schedule that starts in 5 days - total cost US$25

wrongfunds
Posts: 1728
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by wrongfunds » Wed May 09, 2018 2:18 pm

Is this in HongKong or "Deep in the Balkans" ?

HongKonger
Posts: 1069
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:35 am
Location: Deep in the Balkans

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by HongKonger » Wed May 09, 2018 2:34 pm

Deep in the Balkans :D

Freefun
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:55 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by Freefun » Wed May 09, 2018 3:07 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 am
Living in a low-cost country like the locals can be cheap. Living in a low-cost country like Americans can be more expensive than living in the U.S.
In many SE Asia countries, most people do not have big houses, no cars, and no air-conditionings. High quality food can be expensive. High quality health care may be difficult to get. If you are known to be rich, you may attract some unwanted attentions.
I don't understand this. Ok, people may not have big houses or have cars, but air-con? I lived in KL & Bangkok and don't recall local friends w/o air-con.

Re "high quality health care may be difficult to get" is, IMHO, overly broad and highly dependent on location. Remote location- maybe. Major city e.g. KL, Bangkok, is completely different.

I was hospitalized for 2 days when living in KL - but this involved a private room, regular visits from the doctor and nurses, meds, etc. Total bill was around $500 for everything - at a highly regarded hospital and the medical care was fantastic. I got there the way most do - taxi. In the U.S. I would've spent that before signing my name on the paperwork.

I had a car in SE asia but was more inclined to take taxis unless I wanted to go long distances... so again, your actual location including availability of alternate transportation matters. Some locations are far more walkable than some U.S cities - whether you actually like walking in some foreign places is another matter... my point is some areas have basically everything you may need close to you, or reachable w/ taxis etc.

Actual location matters and, having lived on 4 continents, I'd summarize that anyone considering living overseas should (1) try it first, and (2) do research.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

User avatar
MP123
Posts: 668
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:32 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by MP123 » Wed May 09, 2018 3:41 pm

HongKonger wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:34 pm
Deep in the Balkans :D
Just how deep does one need to go to get those prices? :happy

You could multiply those by at least 100 for prices in the US...

flyingaway
Posts: 1736
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by flyingaway » Wed May 09, 2018 3:57 pm

Freefun wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 3:07 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 am
Living in a low-cost country like the locals can be cheap. Living in a low-cost country like Americans can be more expensive than living in the U.S.
In many SE Asia countries, most people do not have big houses, no cars, and no air-conditionings. High quality food can be expensive. High quality health care may be difficult to get. If you are known to be rich, you may attract some unwanted attentions.
I don't understand this. Ok, people may not have big houses or have cars, but air-con? I lived in KL & Bangkok and don't recall local friends w/o air-con.

Re "high quality health care may be difficult to get" is, IMHO, overly broad and highly dependent on location. Remote location- maybe. Major city e.g. KL, Bangkok, is completely different.

I was hospitalized for 2 days when living in KL - but this involved a private room, regular visits from the doctor and nurses, meds, etc. Total bill was around $500 for everything - at a highly regarded hospital and the medical care was fantastic. I got there the way most do - taxi. In the U.S. I would've spent that before signing my name on the paperwork.

I had a car in SE asia but was more inclined to take taxis unless I wanted to go long distances... so again, your actual location including availability of alternate transportation matters. Some locations are far more walkable than some U.S cities - whether you actually like walking in some foreign places is another matter... my point is some areas have basically everything you may need close to you, or reachable w/ taxis etc.

Actual location matters and, having lived on 4 continents, I'd summarize that anyone considering living overseas should (1) try it first, and (2) do research.
I guess your local friends are of similar status as yours.

flyingaway
Posts: 1736
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by flyingaway » Wed May 09, 2018 4:00 pm

HongKonger wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:13 pm
On the subject of healthcare costs, I can give a current example from this past week.
Ultrasound - USS$20
Consultation with cardiologist, ECG/EKG etc, full blood and urine tests - US$2.50
3 appointments with my Dr - US$0
Prescription meds for fluid retention - US$0.75

Am back at the Dr tomorrow for one week check up and restesting before deciding next course of action. I pay US$10 per month for state healthcare. The ultrasound was expensive because I just walked in and asked for it rather than going to see my Dr first.

Whilst all this was going on, 2 days ago a crown dropped out. I walked into a state of the art dental clinic today had a consult, an xray, received treatment, a temporary fix, and a treatment schedule that starts in 5 days - total cost US$25
These things are not a big problem for someone who has FIRED . The real problems are cancer and some chronic disease treatments.

HongKonger
Posts: 1069
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:35 am
Location: Deep in the Balkans

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by HongKonger » Thu May 10, 2018 6:52 am

flyingaway wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 4:00 pm
HongKonger wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:13 pm
On the subject of healthcare costs, I can give a current example from this past week.
Ultrasound - USS$20
Consultation with cardiologist, ECG/EKG etc, full blood and urine tests - US$2.50
3 appointments with my Dr - US$0
Prescription meds for fluid retention - US$0.75

Am back at the Dr tomorrow for one week check up and restesting before deciding next course of action. I pay US$10 per month for state healthcare. The ultrasound was expensive because I just walked in and asked for it rather than going to see my Dr first.

Whilst all this was going on, 2 days ago a crown dropped out. I walked into a state of the art dental clinic today had a consult, an xray, received treatment, a temporary fix, and a treatment schedule that starts in 5 days - total cost US$25
These things are not a big problem for someone who has FIRED . The real problems are cancer and some chronic disease treatments.
Yes - I am fortunate that my very enlarged liver turned out not to be heart failure or liver disease thank you. Cancer treatment and any other significant disease treatment is free/nominal cost because I pay into the state healthcare fund. Same as if I need an operation or have an accident.
Last edited by HongKonger on Thu May 10, 2018 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

HongKonger
Posts: 1069
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:35 am
Location: Deep in the Balkans

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by HongKonger » Thu May 10, 2018 6:56 am

MP123 wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 3:41 pm
HongKonger wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:34 pm
Deep in the Balkans :D
Just how deep does one need to go to get those prices? :happy

You could multiply those by at least 100 for prices in the US...
Not that deep - the poorest in the EU though ;)

flyingaway
Posts: 1736
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by flyingaway » Thu May 10, 2018 7:12 am

HongKonger wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 6:52 am
flyingaway wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 4:00 pm
HongKonger wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:13 pm
On the subject of healthcare costs, I can give a current example from this past week.
Ultrasound - USS$20
Consultation with cardiologist, ECG/EKG etc, full blood and urine tests - US$2.50
3 appointments with my Dr - US$0
Prescription meds for fluid retention - US$0.75

Am back at the Dr tomorrow for one week check up and restesting before deciding next course of action. I pay US$10 per month for state healthcare. The ultrasound was expensive because I just walked in and asked for it rather than going to see my Dr first.

Whilst all this was going on, 2 days ago a crown dropped out. I walked into a state of the art dental clinic today had a consult, an xray, received treatment, a temporary fix, and a treatment schedule that starts in 5 days - total cost US$25
These things are not a big problem for someone who has FIRED . The real problems are cancer and some chronic disease treatments.
Yes - I am fortunate that my very enlarged liver turned out not to be heart failure or liver disease thank you. Cancer treatment and any other significant disease treatment is free/nominal cost because I pay into the state healthcare fund. Same as if I need an operation or have an accident.
Do you have some kind of resident privileges to buy the healthcare insurance?

alfaspider
Posts: 1430
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by alfaspider » Thu May 10, 2018 8:24 am

I think the biggest problem with retiring internationally would be abandoning your social network and family in the U.S. That sort of social dislocation can be very hard on people. You also have to consider what you do if you ever need nursing care- even if you have the funds, arranging for such things can be very tough without family to help and act as an advocate. Different story if you already have friends and family abroad and are moving to that location.

GAAP
Posts: 549
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:41 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by GAAP » Thu May 10, 2018 11:49 am

I suggest that anyone contemplating doing this or actively arguing against it read The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget: How to Live Well on $25,000 a Year

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss ... 000+a+Year.

Yes, it's biased since it's published by a magazine that pushes the concept. However, it does contain a lot of good information and suggestions for further research.

Lynette
Posts: 1744
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:47 am

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by Lynette » Thu May 10, 2018 12:59 pm

I grew up overseas and spent half of my life there. Frankly I would strongly advise against it unless you are really adventurous and your spouse is in agreement. If she has family contacts there it could make a big difference. The Americans (and Brits) I knew overseas tended to live in their own ghetto and complain endlessly about the locals and compare life negatively to their great life "back home" - especially the Brits. I have lived in the US for close to 40 years but the initial transition was not easy for me even though my home language is English. Even after this period of time, the financial and legal complications continue to haunt me and waste my time - different legal and financial systems, inheritance laws etc. etc. etc.

HongKonger
Posts: 1069
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:35 am
Location: Deep in the Balkans

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by HongKonger » Thu May 10, 2018 2:28 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:12 am
HongKonger wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 6:52 am
flyingaway wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 4:00 pm
HongKonger wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:13 pm
On the subject of healthcare costs, I can give a current example from this past week.
Ultrasound - USS$20
Consultation with cardiologist, ECG/EKG etc, full blood and urine tests - US$2.50
3 appointments with my Dr - US$0
Prescription meds for fluid retention - US$0.75

Am back at the Dr tomorrow for one week check up and restesting before deciding next course of action. I pay US$10 per month for state healthcare. The ultrasound was expensive because I just walked in and asked for it rather than going to see my Dr first.

Whilst all this was going on, 2 days ago a crown dropped out. I walked into a state of the art dental clinic today had a consult, an xray, received treatment, a temporary fix, and a treatment schedule that starts in 5 days - total cost US$25
These things are not a big problem for someone who has FIRED . The real problems are cancer and some chronic disease treatments.
Yes - I am fortunate that my very enlarged liver turned out not to be heart failure or liver disease thank you. Cancer treatment and any other significant disease treatment is free/nominal cost because I pay into the state healthcare fund. Same as if I need an operation or have an accident.
Do you have some kind of resident privileges to buy the healthcare insurance?
No, it is not a privilege - it is a mandatory part of being granted residency that you have healthcare cover. Some people choose to take out private insurance, old retirees on state pensions are generally covered by reciprocal arrangements with their home country, but as I retired here very early I choose to pay in to the state healthcare scheme because I believe in nationalised healthcare.

anonsdca
Posts: 186
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:47 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by anonsdca » Sat May 12, 2018 3:37 am

GAAP wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 11:49 am
I suggest that anyone contemplating doing this or actively arguing against it read The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget: How to Live Well on $25,000 a Year

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss ... 000+a+Year.

Yes, it's biased since it's published by a magazine that pushes the concept. However, it does contain a lot of good information and suggestions for further research.
There isn't any reason to buy a book like this. Plenty of free info out there. Just do some Google and YouTube searches. A wealth of info is out there for free.

FireProof
Posts: 545
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:15 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by FireProof » Sat May 12, 2018 5:26 am

flyingaway wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 am
Living in a low-cost country like the locals can be cheap. Living in a low-cost country like Americans can be more expensive than living in the U.S.
In many SE Asia countries, most people do not have big houses, no cars, and no air-conditionings. High quality food can be expensive. High quality health care may be difficult to get. If you are known to be rich, you may attract some unwanted attentions.
Except for a very literal insistence on all American products, not true at all, from my experience. In Penang, Malaysia, I paid $360/month for a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom luxury condo in a building with multiple swimming pools, tennis courts, gym, sauna etc. Utilities in total were about $15/month. Western products at the Tesco are similar prices to in the West, sure, and some things like cheese are more expensive, but staples like fruits and vegetables, meat, etc are much cheaper. Eating out is ridiculously cheap. Of course there are poor people, some even without air conditioning, perhaps, but precisely because of that, things are cheaper at every level for a foreigner.

User avatar
Flymore
Posts: 195
Joined: Tue May 31, 2016 1:31 pm

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by Flymore » Sat May 12, 2018 7:48 am

anonsdca wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 3:37 am
GAAP wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 11:49 am
I suggest that anyone contemplating doing this or actively arguing against it read The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget: How to Live Well on $25,000 a Year

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss ... 000+a+Year.

Yes, it's biased since it's published by a magazine that pushes the concept. However, it does contain a lot of good information and suggestions for further research.
There isn't any reason to buy a book like this. Plenty of free info out there. Just do some Google and YouTube searches. A wealth of info is out there for free.
Just requested that book from the local library. :D

My health insurance @62 is 6000 a year with 3000 deductable, total out of pocket about 5000. :|
I know people older than me who work in jobs they hate only for healthcare. :(
I could offset some of that cost by moving to a lower tax state like Texas, even Florida for me.

flyingaway
Posts: 1736
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by flyingaway » Sat May 12, 2018 8:16 am

alfaspider wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:24 am
I think the biggest problem with retiring internationally would be abandoning your social network and family in the U.S. That sort of social dislocation can be very hard on people. You also have to consider what you do if you ever need nursing care- even if you have the funds, arranging for such things can be very tough without family to help and act as an advocate. Different story if you already have friends and family abroad and are moving to that location.
I agree.

flyingaway
Posts: 1736
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Retire Internationally for FIRE

Post by flyingaway » Sat May 12, 2018 8:23 am

FireProof wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 5:26 am
flyingaway wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:19 am
Living in a low-cost country like the locals can be cheap. Living in a low-cost country like Americans can be more expensive than living in the U.S.
In many SE Asia countries, most people do not have big houses, no cars, and no air-conditionings. High quality food can be expensive. High quality health care may be difficult to get. If you are known to be rich, you may attract some unwanted attentions.
Except for a very literal insistence on all American products, not true at all, from my experience. In Penang, Malaysia, I paid $360/month for a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom luxury condo in a building with multiple swimming pools, tennis courts, gym, sauna etc. Utilities in total were about $15/month. Western products at the Tesco are similar prices to in the West, sure, and some things like cheese are more expensive, but staples like fruits and vegetables, meat, etc are much cheaper. Eating out is ridiculously cheap. Of course there are poor people, some even without air conditioning, perhaps, but precisely because of that, things are cheaper at every level for a foreigner.
Do you have a car? Do you go to U.S. standard restaurants with air-conditioning often? Do you keep your air-conditioning running everyday? Do you see doctors without other patients around?

Post Reply