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Old 08-31-2010, 04:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kerouac2 View Post
Malaysia could be good as well, but there is always the possibility that it will take the turn towards a more hard line Islam, which would not appeal to me.
Not likely.

(I have to support the party line, eh?)
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Old 08-31-2010, 05:25 AM
 
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Ex: you couldn't pay me to live in Costa Rica these days...you know?

Can you explain what you mean ? I have plans to maybe retire there in later years, will visit next winter? what are the downturns?




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Old 09-04-2010, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
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I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to my thread. I've been in Hawaii for the past two and a half weeks and haven't had Internet access, so I'm just now seeing some of these responses. Given that the Big Island is my wife's home, our plan is to move there if we're able to do it financially. House prices are down now, and are pretty close to those in Portland. We hope they remain comparable in three or four years, when we might be able to make the move. However, there's a good chance my career will take me to SE Asia, at least part time, so it's still on our radar. We have a good friend who has one house in Hilo and one in Saigon, where he's currently working, and he plans to keep both so he can go back and forth. We met another guy who works for Hawaiian Airlines and has one house in Hilo and one in Phuket. I have at least 15 years of work ahead of me before I can retire, so who knows what will happen. It's nice to know what the different possibilities are.
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
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Originally Posted by lrmsd View Post
Having read thru this entire thread, just thought I'd add my two cents...
Alot can change in 10 years (including retirement programs and visas, etc), and I agree w/you to watch Vietnam. And also watch that current 'hot spots' are not the antithesis of what you are looking for, by the time another decade rolls by.
Ex: you couldn't pay me to live in Costa Rica these days...you know?
Things become so trendy, esp. with the internet available, and become past their prime.

Also, suggestion:
Rent your home out for a year, once your wife retires, and travel around, spend 6 months somewhere, for example, or even just 3 months, and see what it feels like as a 'non tourist'. B/C even visiting a place and staying w/friends for a month, really is different than living there full time. Then you can come back, sell your place, and move with confidence.

Another suggestion:
Consider downsizing-sell your current home, buy a smaller place in pdx or the surrounds, and have it available as a rental, OR, spend part of the year there [ie, summers] and sublease it for the school year. Then, you have options.

there's no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and I have seen SO many people do this. But places don't always resonate forever-read the articles and stories of the phases of an expat-honeymoon stage, etc.
Sometimes, having the best of both worlds IS possible. And oftentimes, people find they miss their home country [in this case, first world amenities and 'western way of thinking'], although they could not conceive of this prior to moving. And while you are right, it takes a leap in consciousness to understand that neither eastern nor western culture is better nor worse for the most part, it also takes a leap of consciousness to realize which culture is your own personal dominant one, and therefore the one that your psyche is at home in.

Just to add: I've seen people do this even in the USA. Ex: tired of NYC or SFO, make a move to a small town in CO, buy a HUGE house that dwarfs their previous tiny apt....and a few years later, have some regrets about the drasticness of their move. It's easy for the pendelum to swing dramatically in making big life changes and decisions...it's also more exciting to think it big terms. But sometimes the middle path is the wisest choice. [as the Buddha would say (:]

Of course, it's not like anything is permanent; if you move full time to Thailand or Malaysia, and decided in a few years that you missed Oregon or would just rent in Hawaii b/c it's worth the tradeoff for you, then you could do that. Or, you might love SE Asia and then decide to sell that Pdx home an d move for good. So many choices!!!

Anyway, good luck to you---and I hear there's quite a bit of japanese influence in peru and brasil. in fact, my brasilian friend here in so cal is japanese brasilian. so you may be able to find some influences to satisfy both, in LA???? And, have you considered Bali? I know, i'ts very touristed, but is still very unique. I would consider it as a parttime destination, along with CM. Bali does have charm, something the more industrial places like much of Malaysia, lacks. And it has a nice set of resources for expats, while still having i'ts own strong culture. (same for chiang mai; I agree with others on that locale for you). And you would have to be out of the main beach tourist areas of Bali for this. (I'm always amazed when people complain about how the beach areas of bali were not great-Balinese are not really seafaring people, and their culture reflects this. Australian surfers are seafaring people in Bali-LOL) Ubud and surrounds are still some of the most unique cultural attractions in SE Asia-even with the tourism impact. And, you are much more likely to be able to live in inner Bali without a gated compound, than pretty much anywhere else in the region, as an American expat. Again, if you do a parttime gig, you could rent a beach hut for cheap in SO MANY places in the region. But if you are talking about renting or buying a permanent, year round place, and you don't want to be in an 'expat ghetto' as you called it, well, your choices are limited. You might want to browse the internet for images of modern architecture in much of the region, too. It's not that pretty; it's very sterile but designed to withstand either storms or for safety. Honestly, if you don't want to live 'off the grid' in Hawaii, you may not like the alternative in SE Asia. (though I know there are old colonial neighborhoods (ie, charming houses, not cinder block or cement) in some places, such as Laos and in vietnam...but be cautious about how sound they are now, about mold, infestations, etc.) It sounds like you would like Japan, though.



Myself? I've lived in africa, asia, the caribbean, and travelled to SE Asia and Israel,etc....At this point, I don't think i'd do fulltime in Asia anywhere. I kinda got burnt on third world lifestyle. Tahiti-that would be nice!!! (: Ciao-
Thanks, Irmsd -- this is great information. I've spent time browsing various expat forums, and I hear what you're saying regarding the honeymoon phase etc. I've been in Oregon for over 12 years, and objectively, this is a wonderful place. I go through alternate phases of not believing how lucky I am to live here, and being bored because I've lived here for so long. In truth, I'd be content to spend the rest of my life here, if that's what fate has in store. However, I've dreamed of living in the tropics near the ocean since I was a kid, and my Hawaiian wife is very homesick, so Hawaii is our logical retirement choice, finances permitting. But we're both interested in SE Asia, and there might be opportunities for me to do management consulting and coaching there (as I've mentioned, I still have a decade of work ahead of me after my wife retires), so the area could well be part of our future. As for Bali, it's always intrigued me, and I definitely want to visit. Ideally, we'd like to make Hawaii our home base and travel to SE Asia.
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
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Originally Posted by melbern View Post
I've lived in Thailand and Cambodia for several years (not near retirement age though ), and I think both could be ok places to retire, depending on your level of adventure. I personally love Thailand, and if you don't want to live on the coast CM is lovely. It has all the amenities, good healthcare, good transport links, and an easy journey to get out in the countryside. I will echo others and say "NO!" to Pattaya. It is not a place I would ever dream of living. Way too seedy.

Cambodia is a different kettle of fish but also has advantages. You can buy an annual business visa with very little admin hassle (even if you're not doing business) and live there on that. And you can still work, you can easily register your own business, etc. I would not consider owning property there because of the sketchy legal climate. Like Thailand you're not allowed to own land anyway, but you can buy a condo. I do know expats who have purchased land and built homes through various schemes, but none of it is outright legal and you could get screwed in the end.

Cambodia does not have the healthcare that Thailand does, but from either Siem Reap or Phnom Penh you have direct flights to Bangkok. However, there are good doctors there (both local and expat) for non-serious illness. There are also medevac services for emergencies, and you can buy insurance for this. If I were to move back to Cambodia I would live in Kampot or Siem Reap. Kampot is a coastal province, really laid back and beautiful, about 2.5 hours from PP by road. Siem Reap is *the* tourist hub, because of Angkor Wat. It has all the amenities. In recent years PP has become too built up and busy for me, but it also is a livable city if you like the hustle and bustle.

Infrastructure in Cambodia is improving, but it is nothing like Thailand. However, it's still not hard to get around, and simply because it is a smaller country you can see more of it. Learn some language and a whole world will open up to you. Cambodia has a very different vibe than Thailand, not sure how to explain it, but personally I prefer it (though like I said I love Thailand too). I think though that a lot of people find the poverty overwhelming at times.

If you are going to visit the region definitely give Cambodia a visit, you should know fairly quickly if it is somewhere you could consider living.
Thanks, Melbern. To be honest, I know very little about Cambodia. We have one friend from there, but she escaped the Khmer Rouge, so her memories are painful. Ironically, we learned about medevac during our recent trip to Hawaii. Due to the high cost of malpractice insurance, doctors have been leaving the outer islands in droves, so we were very worried about healthcare on the Big Island. However, our friends there said that medevac to Honolulu for emergencies works just fine. Neither my wife nor I have any serious health issues, so medevac should be sufficient for us.
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
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Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
Ex: you couldn't pay me to live in Costa Rica these days...you know?

Can you explain what you mean ? I have plans to maybe retire there in later years, will visit next winter? what are the downturns?




We have a friend who goes there on business, and she told us that kidnappings of rich expats have become a problem (and if you're an expat, you're automatically perceived to be rich). Most of the homes have bars on the windows, and spiked fences around the yards. I was a bit skeptical, until I saw an episode of House Hunters International. The American couple looking for a house there asked the realtor, "What's with all the fences and the bars on the windows?" The realtor brushed it off, saying, "Oh, that's just the style here." On top of that, I've heard that prices there have risen considerably in the past few years. So I'd definitely look into that when you visit. For what it's worth, Panama is supposed to be "the new Costa Rica." And Nicaragua is already being touted as "the next Panama." Quien sabe?
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
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Originally Posted by melbern View Post
It is not legal to own land in Thailand, but it is legal to own a condo, as long as the building has below a certain percentage of foreigners owning a unit (can't remember the percentage off-hand). But a house? Nope. Never.
The more I read, the more I question owning vs. renting. In the US, we're brought up to believe in home ownership as an absolute value -- both as an investment, and as something permanent, that you can pass down through the generations. But now my wife and I are thinking that, if we do live overseas -- either temporarily or permanently -- renting might make more sense than buying. If the political situation regarding expats in a country turned sour, we wouldn't be stuck with a property that would be difficult to unload.
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Old 09-05-2010, 10:25 PM
 
693 posts, read 878,912 times
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Originally Posted by HonuMan View Post
The more I read, the more I question owning vs. renting. In the US, we're brought up to believe in home ownership as an absolute value -- both as an investment, and as something permanent, that you can pass down through the generations. But now my wife and I are thinking that, if we do live overseas -- either temporarily or permanently -- renting might make more sense than buying. If the political situation regarding expats in a country turned sour, we wouldn't be stuck with a property that would be difficult to unload.
I think that is a very wise idea. Also, rent can be so affordable in these places vs. the cost of purchasing property, that you never have the feeling of throwing your money away on rent (whereas in the US you can have a mortgage for the same cost as rent - or cheaper). And no maintenance hassles, which you may appreciate can be much more of a headache in lots of these countries. Also, many landlords love to have long term tenants (and will cut deals on the rent accordingly). I know some people in Thailand who have been renting the same place for 15 - 20 years. And, you can at least rent a house (with more space, garden, privacy), as opposed to just a flat.

If you feel the need to have property as an investment, I think in most cases it makes sense to have it in the US, and to utilize it as a rental property. For myself I would also consider buying a flat in Bangkok because I think it also has investment potential and for myself it would be convenient considering how often I am there.

One other place you many want to look at if you are willing to expand outside of SE Asia is Sri Lanka. Although there are corruption issues there they do have a stable legal system in terms of property ownership, it is legal for foreigners to own land outright (although you do pay 100% tax on the property!), and there is quite a bit of business opportunity if you are entrepreneurial. And it's beautiful with a wide-range of climate and topography. Don't let the recent conflict scare you off, security is not an issue. A couple of years ago I was considering buying an old tea plantation near Kandy. Even with foreigner tax it was only $80k! (that was a rare find though ) People are super friendly throughout the country and I found it a really livable place when I was working there.
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
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Originally Posted by melbern View Post
I think that is a very wise idea. Also, rent can be so affordable in these places vs. the cost of purchasing property, that you never have the feeling of throwing your money away on rent (whereas in the US you can have a mortgage for the same cost as rent - or cheaper). And no maintenance hassles, which you may appreciate can be much more of a headache in lots of these countries. Also, many landlords love to have long term tenants (and will cut deals on the rent accordingly). I know some people in Thailand who have been renting the same place for 15 - 20 years. And, you can at least rent a house (with more space, garden, privacy), as opposed to just a flat.

If you feel the need to have property as an investment, I think in most cases it makes sense to have it in the US, and to utilize it as a rental property. For myself I would also consider buying a flat in Bangkok because I think it also has investment potential and for myself it would be convenient considering how often I am there.

One other place you many want to look at if you are willing to expand outside of SE Asia is Sri Lanka. Although there are corruption issues there they do have a stable legal system in terms of property ownership, it is legal for foreigners to own land outright (although you do pay 100% tax on the property!), and there is quite a bit of business opportunity if you are entrepreneurial. And it's beautiful with a wide-range of climate and topography. Don't let the recent conflict scare you off, security is not an issue. A couple of years ago I was considering buying an old tea plantation near Kandy. Even with foreigner tax it was only $80k! (that was a rare find though ) People are super friendly throughout the country and I found it a really livable place when I was working there.
Thanks, Melbern. Arthur C. Clarke certainly found Sri Lanka to his liking!
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by califantastic View Post
I would choose Laos, Cambodia, or Thailand over Malaysia. Sure Laos and Cambodia probably don't have great healthcare but if you live in a city with an airport you can get to Bangkok, Singapore, or KL quickly if you need to. In Malaysia you will be paying more money to live in a place that is less desirable IMO. I would not choose Vietnam, too crazy and I got sick from the food a couple times. Hong Kong makes the US look dirt cheap, even Manhattan.
Like Laos as well. Vientiane,the capital was really coming along nicely when last there. LP good to.
Cambodia, sort of like but a heaver scene there. Lot more attitude towards foreigners in places and wouldn't pick it myself as a place to retire.Although liked it more ten or so years back.
Not so taken these days by Thailand myself,but have yet to get to Chang Mai.
Malaysia,a more expensive option,but always found the people easy to get on with there. Lived in Melaka for a time a long time back. Nice but very hot. Penang has gone right of the boil,as far as i am concerned. Was a great place twenty years or so back.
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