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Old 06-18-2010, 09:38 PM
Location: Tucson AZ & Leipzig, Germany
2,375 posts, read 7,763,353 times
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Pollokeeper, welcome to CD, I noticed that your post from a few days ago was your first on CD. Your words of advice ring true and I can tell from the description of your home and your town that you that you have managed to adapt to the routine of a simple but pleasant lifestyle. Quite a contrast from the suburban megalopolis that I live in here in Orange County. Congratulations on making the move!
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:42 AM
1 posts, read 2,098 times
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But, with the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion ($91,400 this year), you probably won't have to pay any taxes. In other words, if your retirement income is below $91,400, there is no tax.

Unfortunately, retirement and social security income is not "earned" income and does not qualify for the exclusion
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:04 AM
Location: Phoenix, AZ
3,088 posts, read 4,679,753 times
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Originally Posted by Different Drummer View Post
I am currently house-sitting in San Miguel de Allende, and have recently returned from 3 weeks in Panama. Here are some of my thoughts about becoming an ex-pat:

I decided to make a list of thoughts that have been swirling around in my head for the past several months, as I travel to Panama and now Mexico. On good days I think that leaving the US is the only option, and on not so good days, I wonder...Here are just a few of my second thoughts on becoming an expat...in no particular order, just random thoughts.

Is it really cheaper to live in a third world country when the veggies and fruits you buy are far from organic and there are no organic veggies and fruits to buy anyway...

When the areas you are looking at are already bought and sold by expats so that the real estate prices are higher than what you would pay in the US....in other words, you're too late...

How about traveling thousands of miles away only to find the very people and life-style you were trying to get away from, have already arrived there and are now living in ugly McMansions behind gated communities, where everyone speaks English, and the real estate is very expensive....

How about burning the trash and plastics because there is no other way to get rid of it all....

How about all that trash along the highways and roads, rivers, streams, beaches, lakes and ponds, because thatís the way itís done there....

How about living with people who are not environmentally aware, who are behind the times by many years, and who couldn't afford to be otherwise even if they wanted to be....

How about the shortages of water and the lack of awareness due to the economic costs of conserving water...Simply ignorance due to lack of education and awareness....

How about being a foreigner who is perceived as being rich even when you arenít so that every business transaction is doomed to potential rip-offs....

How about driving and owning cars and finding parts and mechanics and the price of gas.....

How about cars and trucks and buses without emission controls because there arenít any....

How about seeing workers without any protections, eg hardhats,ear-plugs, safety glasses....

How about all the homeless stray cats and dogs who have no shots or are not spayed because no one does it, so dogs and cats roam around with out any laws to protect them or you or your pets if you have them....

How about living in a tourist trap so that everything you buy costs as much if not more than the same would cost in the US....

How about being far from your family and having to deal with customs, TSA, border patrols, etc every time you travel....

How about Uncle Sam screwing you tax-wise no matter where you live...

How about the uncertainty of US relations with the country you are living in....

How about waiting for things to get done, because it's just the culture...often the 'manana mentality' turns in to never...

How about the way the lighter skinned folks treat the darker skinned folks, and you thought it was just in America....

How about the sides of beef hanging in the market place without refrigeration, or stacks of chickens sitting on the counter the same way....

How about no building inspections, no zoning laws, no rules or regulations as to what you build, how you build, or where you build...

How about toilets that don't flush, toilet paper in the trash cans (if they have any), and no place to wash your hands, or if there is a sink, no soap, and no paper towels....

How about not being allowed to work, even part-time, so that you are completely dependent on income from outside sources....

How about being part of a 2-10% minority so that your options for making new friends are limited, unless that is, you are fluent in another language and want friends who are from a completely different culture than you are....

How about losing out an a possible opportunity to make positive changes in the US today...it might not be possible, but certainly it would be a lot more difficult if your new home was in a foreign country...
Hi DD, and one thing that you did not mention (hopefully it is a very rare occurance, but I know from sad experience that it did happen, recently in San Miguel de Allende).
My friend retired, found a place to rent, found a nice stable for his horse, had trouble, intitially buying a vehicle, but did eventually get a nice little VW, and died of a massive heart attack less than 6 months after his move to San Migel de Allende. The legal problems with "identification', autopsy, cremation, and sending the ashes back to the states was bad enough, but between the time that the body was removed and a family member could get there, his home was ransacked and all items of value were removed, including his computer, which was supposed to have all details of his will and other essential information on it. As you can imagine, this was both very distressing news for those of us who loved him, and a real nightmare for the person who was the last know executor of his will. . . .as well as the fact that all of those who were close to him knew that he had changed his will, and had NOT LEFT a paper copy with anyone. . . .he told us it was "all on his computer". . . .so. . .for those of you considering such a move, please have all of your "ducks in a row" and legalities specified, before you go.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:48 PM
3 posts, read 6,367 times
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Default Retirement Conundrum

I spent 5 years moving from one country to another checking out the livability and cost of living. What drove my decision was not so much what I would settle for, in America, but the life I wanted to live.

I have always lived on the ocean, and I wanted that to be part of my latter years. I didn't want to see everything, I had, wiped out by doctors visits and pharmaceuticals. When I looked at the cost of food, I saw it as a sliding scale. If I live on the ocean, I will eat fish and in a warm climate I will eat fresh tuna. If you live more like a local, food is very cheap. If you want imported foods, from America, it can cost more than America. Gas is more expensive but public transportation is easy to access.

So after 5 years I decided to go to the Philippines. They have the only social security office that is not on U.S. soil. Most of the people here speak English; they teach in English at the university level. Medical is very cheap and most doctors are trained in Europe, Australia or America. You can find whatever food you want and the Filipinos like Americans. The legal system is not twisted, to the point that almost everything is illegal, like America. With 7200 island you can find plenty of beach property. You can rent cheaper than a mortgage and move if the area is not what you want or changes. You can also buy a condo for as little as $40,000 with guard. You can get a maid for about $75 a month and a driver for your car is about the same.

I wrote a book about my travels and keep an active blog about daily life. Called 12 Things I Learned While Trying to Retiring in Asia. There are plenty of Expats here and even VFW posts. It is as close to what your used to without the junk mail.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:19 PM
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
3,160 posts, read 6,941,911 times
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Not many people in this thread have touched upon retiring to Europe. Most countries there are prohibitively expensive, but there are some exceptions. I seriously looked into Switzerland because it's the most beautiful country I've ever seen, it's safe, and it's economically sound (to put it mildly). To my horror, I found that in order to live in Switzerland, you must invest $100,000 immediately into the Canton ("state"), you wish to move to. Then you must demonstrate that you earn a retirement income of at least $100,000 per year. However, then your taxes are next to nothing. So Switzerland is basically a rich man's retirement option.

Italy and Spain both offer American retirees excellent value for their money. In either country, your tax rate is lower than in the States, your health care is taken care of and you can buy a very nice apartment or house for around $300,000 and oftentimes far less.

Not to mention the former eastern block countries like Poland, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia and Slovenia. I have some colleagues who have retiured to the last two countries and they live VERY well, though the culture shock they experienced was rather harrowing.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:21 PM
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
3,160 posts, read 6,941,911 times
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Do you realize the U.S. does not recoganize dual citizenship.

This is incorrect. My husband is a dual citizen of America and Germany. He holds two passports and has done so since he was a child. He was born in Germany to a German parent and American parent. Germany and the USA both recognize dual citizenship.
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:58 AM
Location: SW US
2,218 posts, read 2,035,670 times
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Originally Posted by Ulysses61 View Post

Italy and Spain both offer American retirees excellent value for their money. In either country, your tax rate is lower than in the States, your health care is taken care of and you can buy a very nice apartment or house for around $300,000 and oftentimes far less.
Could you elaborate on how to get into the national healthcare systems in Spain and Italy? What kind of visa is required? Do they have age limits?
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:12 PM
8,197 posts, read 11,913,206 times
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Originally Posted by Ulysses61 View Post
Italy and Spain both offer American retirees excellent value for their money. In either country, your tax rate is lower than in the States....
How did you come up with that?

Whereas the U.S. rates run from 10% to 35%, a cursory Internet search shows that Italy's tax rates start at 23% and go up to 43% (Italy Tax Laws Tax System Italy. - WorldWide-Tax.com) and Spain's goes from 24% to 43%. Spanish income tax rates 2010 (http://www.advoco.es/services/42-spanish-income-tax-rates-2010.html - broken link)

Moreover, you've completely overlookerd the VAT, which is 20% in Italy and 18% in Spain. That's much higher than state sales taxes.

Value added tax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:42 AM
3 posts, read 6,367 times
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I am out of the class of buying 300K retirement homes and all. I have a condo I paid 60K for in Manila. That is an expensive one bedroom in Makati. I can live on SS which is only 1500 a month and eat pretty good. The hospitals take Medicaid there is a U.S. SS office and veterans hospital in Manila.

There is an interesting article in Time, on line, I will try and link it here. It is pretty self explanatory Americans are turning in their passports world wide including Switzerland because of U.S. taxes. Enjoy!
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:30 AM
1,295 posts, read 1,998,184 times
Reputation: 677
Talking oh yeah?

Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda
Las Vegas is great, isn't it. As I've mentioned before, I bought a beautiful sfh with a resort-style pool in a guard-gated, country club community for the price of a one-bedroom condo in downtown D.C.
But what I wasn't prepared for - and what has been an unexpected surprise - are the unbelievably cheap grocery prices here!
Originally Posted by NewToCA View Post
Wait until you see your July electric bill...
We can talk about your heating bill in the northeast states in winter too. Anyone?

Last edited by Scott456; 01-22-2011 at 11:56 AM..
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