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Old 02-23-2016, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Washington State
18,564 posts, read 9,599,486 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hefe View Post
This is very interesting to me because it is similar to the path I have been tracing the last few years. I finally have rejected Thailand & Malaysia primarily for the weather, too extreme in the heat/humidity department for my northern disposition to handle constantly.

As far as So. America I was impressed with my brief working visit to Santiago Chile & even more so by BA Argentina which is a very sophisticated city similar to European cities, if one is fluent in Spanish & inclined to SA & city life I would strongly suggest looking into it. (I know nothing about visas or the current political/financial stability there though)

My question to you is about Spain, I've been looking at it recently & would like to know your experience there so far. Specifically I've been looking at the coastal area north of Barcelona, primarily because I figure it may be more moderate temperature-wise, but I never see much info about it, all the press seem to be about Costa Brava or Costa del Sol. Also I think I would like being closer to Barcelona too but not too close.

But I am not committed to anywhere & completely naive about the region. Where are you, or where do you recommend. I do like having some expats nearby but I don't want to be surrounded by vast package tour group crowds or such.

Also I believe there is a pension tax of sorts levied on Yanks, how does that work out compared to say living in Portugal? Or does living as a renter just de facto exempt you from the tax?

I have been looking at Spain & Portugal for the last year, trying to figure out where to visit this year on my first foray. I have dual EU citizenship & recently found out that a cousin is coincidently spending large amounts of time in Barcelona now each year.
If you have EU citizenship, your path to retiring in Spain much easier than I would have as a US citizen and allows you to access their excellent public health care system, there are online articles on what you must do. We bought a vacation apartment in Marbella (Costa del Sol) and use it to spend some of our winter here. I'm not sure I would pick Marbella for year round living but the climate is fantastic as the winter is similar to San Diego and summer is slightly warmer. Marbella is a wealthy expat and touristy/party town with Ferraris, Maseratis, Bentleys everywhere but there is also significant middle class areas as well. If you like that party lifestyle, it's great with expats from everywhere, great restaurants and clubs (and not expensive compared to USA).

Barcelona sounds like it might work for you but keep in mind that it is probably the most expensive city in Spain (though not compared to US cities) but the climate is great and it has all of the city amenities. You might also want to look at Valencia which offers a city life, great climate, and is lower cost. Malaga offers low cost, a city, and great climate as well.

A city that I love with great architecture, history, great cafe street lifestyle is Sevilla. I personally like it probably the best of Spanish cities but it does get very hot in the summer as it's inland, low altitude, and doesn't get the moderating Med sea breezes. I would love to try a year in Sevilla to see how I would tolerate the 4 months of hot summers.

About the taxes, if you live over half the year in Spain, you are subject to their income tax which is much greater than USA taxes. For me, this would be the highest bar to cross in making a decision on retiring in Spain but depending on what you situation is, it might not be that big of a deal. For wife and I, considering the savings we would have on living in Spain including housing, food, really just about everything cheaper and the much cheaper medical, the higher taxes would eat up most of what we would save I think.

For our vacation home, our tax on the rental is 24% and it would be 19.5% if we were EU. We also cannot deduct the expenses on our Spanish taxes (you could as a EU citizen) so we deduct those off of our US taxes. Property taxes are cheap but if you don't live in your house, you pay an assumed tax that you should have gotten on the income....this tax isn't that much but it's one that we just don't have in the USA but with this tax and the property tax, it's still probably cheaper than most cities property tax in the USA.

I'm not as familiar with northern Spain but as you head north, the winters get colder and in general, everything is more expensive. Northwest Spain is also rainy which I don't want to deal with after living so many years in the Pacific Northwest.

I've heard very good things about Portugal as well but haven't made it there yet and keep in mind, they speak Portuguese and the Atlantic versus Med in Costal del Sol makes Portugal cooler and wetter in winter than Marbella or Barcelona. I loved Santiago, Chile and have heard BA, Argentina is excellent but Argentina has been a bit unstable though it seems to be improving now.

Yeah Thailand, Phils, and Malaysia are brutally hot year round and not sure I could deal with that.
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Old 02-24-2016, 09:11 AM
 
Location: NYC
2,916 posts, read 1,591,544 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tall Traveler View Post
... We bought a vacation apartment in Marbella (Costa del Sol) and use it to spend some of our winter here. ...

Barcelona sounds like it might work for you but keep in mind that it is probably the most expensive city in Spain (though not compared to US cities) ..

About the taxes, if you live over half the year in Spain, you are subject to their income tax which is much greater than USA taxes. For me, this would be the highest bar to cross ...

I'm not as familiar with northern Spain ...

I've heard very good things about Portugal as well but haven't made it there yet and keep in mind, they speak Portuguese and the Atlantic versus Med in Costal del Sol makes Portugal cooler and wetter in winter than Marbella or Barcelona....
Thanks for the detailed info, I only recently started considering Iberia & saw only one reference to the tax & it sounds substantial, definitely a major factor to number crunch if I get that far.

When I said north of Barcelona I was referring to the Mediterranean coast heading towards France, not northern Spain. I believe it's called the Costa del Maresme, which I never see any reference to in the tourist/expat guides, I just thought it might be milder climate. I'm not looking for an urban home, but I would like to be within an hour of a decent city anyway.

I'm not Marbella material, cost is an issue, Malaga & Valencia are on the list. I do want some expats around but not a Benidorm type atmosphere, but I have no illusions about going fully "native" at first anyway. The Portugese language as well as the sleepier smaller cities in the south give me pause, but it is less expensive financially & my relatives in Europe seem to prefer it over Spain for holidays anyway, but that's a different criteria.
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Old 02-24-2016, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,938,980 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
As usual, this thread gets commandeered by those who have no need / interest in immigrating.

Do listen to their legitimate points but not all of us(a) tax paying citizens (45 yrs of USA employment taxes paid by me) have the option to remain in USA. i do consider the USA as the preferred option, it is just not an available / affordable / sustainable option. (for my family, hopefully yours has the federal / State pensions, or the attorney earnings / wealth of the adamant negative posters here.

We are Far under age 65, Lacking healthcare, pension was absconded by CEO, don't like the history I have seen of 1 'medical event' creating spousal impovrishment, property taxes up by 1000%, longevity of middle class retirement in USA is limited, quickly drawing to a close.

Countries on my short list are in Asia ans South America. I am currently on a one yr RTW scouting trip. USA healthcare is termed 'barbaric' by my current international hosts.
I may have no interest in moving outside the US - but my husband and I have traveled and still do travel a lot. I am Mrs. Reservations - my husband is Mr. Language (he studies languages a lot before we travel to new places). He speaks better (or worse) Spanish - German - Italian - French - Japanese - Swedish and Hebrew best I can recall. My husband is much better when it comes to language skills/learning than I am. I wouldn't like to live in a place where I couldn't communicate in the local language (I only speak good English and Spanish). Note that even if a place has English as an official language (like Singapore - English is one of the 4 official languages) - the dominant spoken language is often not English. In Singapore - it was Mandarin Chinese.

There are few things as isolating as we get older as not being able to communicate with other people (for a variety of reasons).

Am I correct in thinking that you are not a senior - 65 or older - and not on Medicare? How old are you? Your mileage might well be very different from a real retirement senior who is 65+ on Medicare. I realize the Retirement Forum might cover (very) early retirement. But things might well be different for people of more normal retirement age than they are for you. Robyn
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:00 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,618 posts, read 39,986,663 times
Reputation: 23772
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tall Traveler View Post
If you have EU citizenship, your path to retiring in Spain much easier than I would have as a US citizen and allows you to access their excellent public health care system, there are online articles on what you must do. We bought a vacation apartment in Marbella (Costa del Sol) and use it to spend some of our winter here. ....., it's still probably cheaper than most cities property tax in the USA.

I'm not as familiar with northern Spain but as you head north, the winters get colder and in general, everything is more expensive. Northwest Spain is also rainy which I don't want to deal with after living so many years in the Pacific Northwest.

I've heard very good things about Portugal as well but haven't made it there yet and keep in mind, they speak Portuguese and the Atlantic versus Med in Costal del Sol makes Portugal cooler and wetter in winter than Marbella or Barcelona. I loved Santiago, Chile and have heard BA, Argentina is excellent but Argentina has been a bit unstable though it seems to be improving now.

Yeah Thailand, Phils, and Malaysia are brutally hot year round and not sure I could deal with that.
Yes, certainly ez to find lower property taxes than my WA taxes, up 1000% since retirement, were $14,400 in 2015, just got a 17% assessment increase. Previously they were $800/ yr.

How about these free villages in NW Spain?. In Spain, Entire Villages Are Up For Sale

Tho I lived near Barcelona in a delightful village, (It was grand, but VERY expensive, crowded, and some crime). I much preferred the people and terrain of Basque region. i hear France has easier immigration and HC. Area near Pau is pretty nice with some 'fixer' castles.

There are some great International retirement web sites and expat forums with cost and visa data.

Btw.... I am Finally a pretty 'normal' aged retiree in my circle..(I retired at age 16 when I escaped from Dairy Farm boarding school, subsequent life / 37 yr career was so easy).. (Nearly all my same age friends were 'downsized' from Fortune 50 companies at / before age 50.) There are no / few equivalent paying careers, and fewer gen 'X' bosses that can handle hiring someone who knows more than their own dismal college training. Most these friends are uninsured,and 3 had to die when they needed more treatments, but their homes and finances had already been attached due to HC for spouse / adult kids / grandkids / Pre existing conditions... NO available HC Is very common in USA retirees (Pre age 65). Not like we can qualify for a 'credit' A(?)CA subsidy on our zero tax obligation. Not that we want a stink'n gov handout (strings attached). Just accessible medical care would suffice (like much of the world has). So... The only option is to LEAVE the USA. Or pay $2000/ month for a $20,000 annual deductable policy..... It is a Clear choice if you don't have an extra $44,000 / yr expendable cash reserve.

Btw 2... Since when do you need to know mandarin in Singapore? Pre 1965? i will admit there were far more Singlish conversations when I lived there in 1980's, than last yr for SG50 celebration. 'Handphones' have renewed many countries to commonly use their native / common dialects.

So... Just GO!
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,938,980 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
...Btw 2... Since when do you need to know mandarin in Singapore? Pre 1965? i will admit there were far more Singlish conversations when I lived there in 1980's, than last yr for SG50 celebration. 'Handphones' have renewed many countries to commonly use their native / common dialects.

So... Just GO!
You don't need to know Mandarin in Singapore - especially if you're a tourist only doing "tourist things" - but it sure helps. When we were there in 2014 - everyday things - like cooking demos at major department stores - were conducted in Mandarin. Kind of surprised me. But - in retrospect - I shouldn't have been surprised - since Mandarin is apparently the most popular language when it comes what Singaporeans speak at home:

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/La...s_of_Singapore

OTOH - there is certainly much more English spoken in Singapore than - for example - a place like Japan. You wouldn't feel totally isolated if you lived in Singapore and only spoke English. But - it is definitely not a low cost place to live. Robyn
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,938,980 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Yes, certainly ez to find lower property taxes than my WA taxes, up 1000% since retirement, were $14,400 in 2015, just got a 17% assessment increase. Previously they were $800/ yr.

How about these free villages in NW Spain?. In Spain, Entire Villages Are Up For Sale

Tho I lived near Barcelona in a delightful village, (It was grand, but VERY expensive, crowded, and some crime). I much preferred the people and terrain of Basque region. i hear France has easier immigration and HC. Area near Pau is pretty nice with some 'fixer' castles.

There are some great International retirement web sites and expat forums with cost and visa data.

Btw.... I am Finally a pretty 'normal' aged retiree in my circle..(I retired at age 16 when I escaped from Dairy Farm boarding school, subsequent life / 37 yr career was so easy).. (Nearly all my same age friends were 'downsized' from Fortune 50 companies at / before age 50.) There are no / few equivalent paying careers, and fewer gen 'X' bosses that can handle hiring someone who knows more than their own dismal college training. Most these friends are uninsured,and 3 had to die when they needed more treatments, but their homes and finances had already been attached due to HC for spouse / adult kids / grandkids / Pre existing conditions... NO available HC Is very common in USA retirees (Pre age 65). Not like we can qualify for a 'credit' A(?)CA subsidy on our zero tax obligation. Not that we want a stink'n gov handout (strings attached). Just accessible medical care would suffice (like much of the world has). So... The only option is to LEAVE the USA. Or pay $2000/ month for a $20,000 annual deductable policy..... It is a Clear choice if you don't have an extra $44,000 / yr expendable cash reserve...
That's a lot of property tax! I'm sure there are many places in the US (not to mention outside the US) where taxes are (a lot) lower. Also - various states have various laws to protect residents from crazy increases in property taxes. We have the Save Our Homes amendment in Florida. California has prop 13. Etc. There are also laws that give seniors - especially low income seniors - various tax breaks.

Overall - I think the health care issue is the most serious one - and the most difficult one to solve (although visa issues are probably a serious problem in many countries). Especially when it comes to first world countries in places like Europe (for non-EU citizens):

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/22/yo...care.html?_r=0

As the article (which deals in part with a retired US couple in France) points out - even if there are options/solutions - they are often far from cheap. And - whatever options you have become increasingly expensive as you get older. We always buy a travel health policy when we leave the US (because our Medigap policy provides very limited coverage outside the US) - and found my husband's options became more expensive and a lot more limited when he hit 70. I doubt things are better for a full time resident than someone who's just "in town" for a couple of weeks.

I'm sure you and others know that there are various health care options for low income people in the US. If the only reason someone is thinking about moving outside the US is health care - I'd explore options in the US first (keeping in mind that options can vary considerably from one state to another).

Note that the flip side of getting coverage outside the US is - under various circumstances - you may still have to comply with US ACA requirements:

https://aaro.org/medical-insurance

And - of course - unless you renounce your citizenship - you will still be subject to US income taxes.

We've traveled through the Basque Country in Spain - and one of the problems there is the language. Which is Basque - not Spanish. Although we found that local people were willing to speak to us in Spanish (we don't speak Basque and they don't like speaking Spanish) - I doubt they would extend the same courtesy to someone who moved there. We found very little English spoken there. I've been in Pau - but a long time ago. Don't remember anything about it. Except that the food on that side of the France/Spain border was better than it was on the other side (at least it was back then). Robyn
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Washington State
18,564 posts, read 9,599,486 times
Reputation: 15811
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Yes, certainly ez to find lower property taxes than my WA taxes, up 1000% since retirement, were $14,400 in 2015, just got a 17% assessment increase. Previously they were $800/ yr.

How about these free villages in NW Spain?. In Spain, Entire Villages Are Up For Sale

Tho I lived near Barcelona in a delightful village, (It was grand, but VERY expensive, crowded, and some crime). I much preferred the people and terrain of Basque region. i hear France has easier immigration and HC. Area near Pau is pretty nice with some 'fixer' castles.

There are some great International retirement web sites and expat forums with cost and visa data.

Btw.... I am Finally a pretty 'normal' aged retiree in my circle..(I retired at age 16 when I escaped from Dairy Farm boarding school, subsequent life / 37 yr career was so easy).. (Nearly all my same age friends were 'downsized' from Fortune 50 companies at / before age 50.) There are no / few equivalent paying careers, and fewer gen 'X' bosses that can handle hiring someone who knows more than their own dismal college training. Most these friends are uninsured,and 3 had to die when they needed more treatments, but their homes and finances had already been attached due to HC for spouse / adult kids / grandkids / Pre existing conditions... NO available HC Is very common in USA retirees (Pre age 65). Not like we can qualify for a 'credit' A(?)CA subsidy on our zero tax obligation. Not that we want a stink'n gov handout (strings attached). Just accessible medical care would suffice (like much of the world has). So... The only option is to LEAVE the USA. Or pay $2000/ month for a $20,000 annual deductable policy..... It is a Clear choice if you don't have an extra $44,000 / yr expendable cash reserve.

Btw 2... Since when do you need to know mandarin in Singapore? Pre 1965? i will admit there were far more Singlish conversations when I lived there in 1980's, than last yr for SG50 celebration. 'Handphones' have renewed many countries to commonly use their native / common dialects.

So... Just GO!
jaja...my wife grew up on a dairy farm boarding school so I didn't have to offer much for her to consider it an upgrade

I probably would live overseas for a few years if not for my wife, she doesn't want to be away from family so much and I understand and neither do I but the cost of living in the USA currently, especially if you aren't old enough for Medicare or have company provided health coverage, is just unbelievably exorbitant. We can live comfortably here in Spain on company pension and investments but we are about $2K/short in the USA which we will have to supplement from 401K for 9-10 years until we hit SS and Medicare age. My company may offer me consulting jobs from time to time that will negate the need for any 401K withdrawals so that is also an option.

I haven't been to Basque region yet but where I am now (Marbella) has much better weather for my preference and is also cheaper. But I have heard excellent things about the Basque region otherwise. Spain doesn't exactly make it easy for Americans to live here but it can be done. France is also a viable option and maybe they do offer better visa/retirement options but I don't now hardly any French and it's definitely more expensive than southern Spain where I am currently.
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:17 AM
 
Location: SW US
2,220 posts, read 2,037,561 times
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Has anyone looked into old age care, assisted living or nursing home, options in Spain, France or Portugal?
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Old 02-25-2016, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,938,980 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windwalker2 View Post
Has anyone looked into old age care, assisted living or nursing home, options in Spain, France or Portugal?
I suspect not for the most part - at least not when it comes to people who are US but not dual citizens. But I'm just curious what kind of information you're looking for? Types of places - costs - quality?

I think things will vary area to area. Best I've seen traveling around - it is still not unusual for people living in smaller cities and towns in these countries to have extended family networks - where the emphasis is to get some paid help at home - with family pitching in. So one can age in place if possible. Of course - if one doesn't have local family - this option won't work. Robyn
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,938,980 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tall Traveler View Post
jaja...my wife grew up on a dairy farm boarding school so I didn't have to offer much for her to consider it an upgrade

I probably would live overseas for a few years if not for my wife, she doesn't want to be away from family so much and I understand and neither do I but the cost of living in the USA currently, especially if you aren't old enough for Medicare or have company provided health coverage, is just unbelievably exorbitant. We can live comfortably here in Spain on company pension and investments but we are about $2K/short in the USA which we will have to supplement from 401K for 9-10 years until we hit SS and Medicare age. My company may offer me consulting jobs from time to time that will negate the need for any 401K withdrawals so that is also an option.

I haven't been to Basque region yet but where I am now (Marbella) has much better weather for my preference and is also cheaper. But I have heard excellent things about the Basque region otherwise. Spain doesn't exactly make it easy for Americans to live here but it can be done. France is also a viable option and maybe they do offer better visa/retirement options but I don't now hardly any French and it's definitely more expensive than southern Spain where I am currently.
Is that $2k/month - or $2k/year? I suspect the former. But - even if that's the case - it really isn't hard for 2 reasonably able-bodied people in their mid-50s with IQs in 3 digits to earn $25k/year.

My husband and I once spent about 2 weeks traveling through the Basque country in northern Spain. It is an interesting and in parts charming area of Europe (with world class restaurants today ). But it is a very insular place. I suspect an outsider could - with a lot of work (especially in terms of language skills) - "fit in" - but it wouldn't be easy IMO. And this applies not only to "outsiders" from the US and other countries - it would apply to outsiders from other parts of Spain as well.

Marbella used to be pretty much like Miami Beach 30 years ago - in Spanish. Although it is cheaper these days as Miami real estate prices have gone up and Spanish real estate prices haven't. Also because the Euro has gone down versus the US $. Also - there is probably as much Spanish spoken in Dade County Florida today as in Marbella. So - what do you find attractive about Marbella (except for the weather)? Even when I was there decades ago - it was pretty much wall to wall condos and tourist stuff. Some of the more fun TV shows I see about the Costa Brava and Costa Del Sol are Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmare shows:

Ramsay's Costa del Nightmares - All 4

Robyn

P.S. At your age - it is possible that you and your wife still have 1-4 living parents. Very difficult to help them when they need help if you live far away.
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