Author Topic: Moved Abroad  (Read 2382 times)

malacca

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Moved Abroad
« on: April 04, 2018, 07:38:05 AM »
Well, run was more like it. Decided time to leave the USA (again). We actually feel more comfortable and secure abroad than in the US.

Well, we spent a year in an RV (2 young kids and all) in Cali. That was great. Sold the RV and moved back into our home while we planned our exit.

Got a cheap ONE WAY ticket to Asia. We stopped in one country for a month to visit friends and relatives. Then on to Malaysia. We lived in Malaysia for many years and love the place. It is an MMM dream. Everything is pretty cheap.

We pay $600 for our fully furnished seaside condo with incredible facilities. Of course we could get something cheaper but since we are renting out our house back home $600 is chump change.

We went to a hotel buffet last night. Great food - roast lamb, chicken, seafood - too many dishes to list. Great fresh fruit and desert. Kids were free and bill came to $22 for us 2. Easy way to get fat.

We are FI so money isn't an issue. But our lifestyle is much better here and we live off what we rent our house for. Of course we could spend a lot less if we had to.

Honestly just got sick of US life. We lived in a great neighborhood with low crime. But even in our neighborhood the number of people within 20 miles that were not criminals that were shot by the police is astonishing (compared to any of the other countries we lived in). Of course that number is nothing compared to the number of people killed in general. I am used to living in cities where you feel safe walking around anytime of night  - drunk or sober - with cash in your pocket.

Then Trump happened. Quickly got sick of hearing about his daily shit storms. Along with a meth head threatening to kill our family and the police deciding it wasn't an issue. In fact, the police were too busy investigating another meth head that had killed his parents after a judge strongly advised his parents to have him move in with them. Didn't that low level of concern just happen in Parkland Florida? Shit is broken and no one is even attempting to fix it.

So off we went. So far so good. Cars are smaller. Far fewer libraries. Banks are slower. No relatives around. Eat out much more. Travel a lot more. Relax more.

I retired at 40. Have been having / raising kids since.

Padonak

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2018, 08:05:41 AM »
Nice. Following.

ducky19

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2018, 09:04:30 AM »
I'd agree, that's pretty badass! I can understand wanting to get away from the issues you described...

terran

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2018, 11:07:09 AM »
What can you tell us about visa's while living abroad? How did you pick Malaysia over other SE Asian countries? How did you go about finding your apartment? Any other practicalities of foreign living you can share with those of us hoping to do the same one day?

moonella

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2018, 12:50:13 PM »
Congratulations, Malacca. I hope you'll be able to keep the rest of us, mustachians, posted on how you enjoy your life as an expat. I totally share your sentiments concerning the safety and the much lower cost of living while living abroad. My husband and I are carefully planning our "exit" but we set our sights on Spain. What appeals to us is the amazing weather, the extremely low cost of living, and the close proximity to the rest of European countries - we can hop on a plane and in an hour or two, we could be in another country. More importantly, the cost of health care is peanuts compared to the cost here. We'll be able to enjoy a better lifestyle at a much lower cost there. In a few years, we might come back...maybe not. A lot depends on the political and economic situation here...will there be an entitlement reform and how would that affect us, etc? At the moment, I am pessimistic about the direction of the country...but thankfully, when one is FI, he/she can choose to live wherever they want and wherever they would feel secure and happy.

mtbbrown

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 01:28:10 PM »
Thanks Malacca for bringing this up. I haven't really been thinking about it, but being an expat could really reduce costs without having to sacrifice standard of living. It would almost certainly be more difficult to make money overseas as an American, but for somebody already FI, that doesn't really matter. I won't be making that leap yet since I'm far from FI, but I'm certainly interested in how you all do in your endavours. Best of luck to you all.

Holyoak

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2018, 05:42:09 PM »
Congratulations, Malacca. I hope you'll be able to keep the rest of us, mustachians, posted on how you enjoy your life as an expat. I totally share your sentiments concerning the safety and the much lower cost of living while living abroad. My husband and I are carefully planning our "exit" but we set our sights on Spain. What appeals to us is the amazing weather, the extremely low cost of living, and the close proximity to the rest of European countries - we can hop on a plane and in an hour or two, we could be in another country. More importantly, the cost of health care is peanuts compared to the cost here. We'll be able to enjoy a better lifestyle at a much lower cost there. In a few years, we might come back...maybe not. A lot depends on the political and economic situation here...will there be an entitlement reform and how would that affect us, etc? At the moment, I am pessimistic about the direction of the country...but thankfully, when one is FI, he/she can choose to live wherever they want and wherever they would feel secure and happy.

Moonella,

Could you please fill in some details about your situation, such as:

  • What are the costs you are paying for housing, med/dental insurance, other costs to maintain lifestyle and taxes
  • What location
  • What is your level of language proficiency
  • Do you own a vehicle
  • How have the natives treated you, were they welcoming
  • How long can you stay, what briefly was the process
I only have experience living in Germany for a few years, and have always thought Northern Spain looks like a beautiful place to retire.  Appreciate the help, thank you.


malacca

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2018, 07:21:39 AM »
I have lived outside of the US for most of my adult life after university - so I may not be the best person to fill in the gap as I probably take many things for granted.

Visas:
Many countries want to attract good people with money to spend. So they offer retirement visas or similar. In Malaysia's case they offer what is call MM2H Visa (google it). If you are over 50 you need to have about $100,000 in the bank (not your 401K) at the time of application. Once approved you will need to deposit about $40,000 in a Malaysian bank. It is in your name and a regular bank CD earning interest (3.5% currently). Visa is good for 10 years at a time. Easy to renew.

The visa is to filter out people who are just coming to Malaysia to work. `

You can visit anytime without a visa and stay for 90 days. If you are FIRE I suggest coming over for a few months to try it out. It is easy to rent a furnished condo for s few months at a time - as car as well ($400 a month).

Living abroad isn't for everyone - so I recommend trying it out first. On the other hand I have met people who came on holiday to Malaysia (or Thailand / Vietnam, etc.) and never left. They just sold everything and never looked back.

Spain / Portugal
Another great place is Spain (or Portugal). I have many friends that spend 1/2 year there and 1/2 year in Malaysia. COL is higher but still reasonable.

Health Care
Living in the USA fish bowl we have no idea what sane health care really is. And what we have is not sane in any way, shape or form.

I bought US style global health insurance for the family. With a $1000 deductible it is $2300 for a family of four. Years ago when I was visiting the US I was at a family gathering and said I paid $2100 (at that time) for my health insurance with a $1000 deductible. My cousin quipped he only pays $1300 with a $6000 deductible (which he thought was better deal statistically).

Well, there was a big difference. He was talking monthly and I was quoting my yearly cost!

This insurance is good almost anywhere in the world EXCEPT the USA. I wonder why.

COL
Well, COL is lower in many countries. But for me it is not about the COL as much is it about a better life. Period.

Working
You certainly can work overseas. Depending on your background you might do better. Or if you are FIRE and just want some extra pocket money / too bored you can do business or something online - or travel write. Just DO NOT open a restaurant or bar. It NEVER works out.

Numbers?
When we first moved to Malaysia I bought a condo and a car with cash. I certainly could have financed the condo with 20% down. So I had no mortgage or payments of any type. Kidless at the time we had a hard time spending USD1000 oer month. We ate out at fancy restaurant, had a cleaner come on twice a week, etc.

One reason I FIRED so young was because of this. I was still making a lot and spending less than 6% of my earnings. A 94% savings rate gets you to FIRE quickly.

Anyway, kids came along and spending increased a bit - about $300 a month. The total cost from first gyno visit to birth was about $1500 - with a private room and the best care imaginable.

Language Issues
One of the reasons we chose Malaysia is English is the primary language. It is a former British colony. Even the laws / courts are still in English. Several other languages are spoken widely but English is the main langiage in the bigger cities.

I heard Spain is not too bad. But Portugal's command of English is better than Spain.

Thailand
Absolutely a great place. But better for a visit than too live. It is just too wild and too much partying. And it is not a place to live if you are married.
I retired at 40. Have been having / raising kids since.

Hirondelle

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2018, 08:25:36 AM »
One way tickets are the best!

Considering your username I assume you live in Malacca which is a wonderful place. Glad you made the move and it's working out so well. I'm not sure I could live there long term, but for up to a year it sounds like a perfect spot to live and explore the surrounding areas (having KL airport near enough but living in a smaller and nicer city). And not to mention the amaaazing food.

terran

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2018, 11:10:43 AM »
Health Care
Living in the USA fish bowl we have no idea what sane health care really is. And what we have is not sane in any way, shape or form.

I bought US style global health insurance for the family. With a $1000 deductible it is $2300 for a family of four. Years ago when I was visiting the US I was at a family gathering and said I paid $2100 (at that time) for my health insurance with a $1000 deductible. My cousin quipped he only pays $1300 with a $6000 deductible (which he thought was better deal statistically).

Well, there was a big difference. He was talking monthly and I was quoting my yearly cost!

This insurance is good almost anywhere in the world EXCEPT the USA. I wonder why.

Oh yeah, I forgot to ask about health insurance. That's another one of those things I'm always curious about.

How did you go about finding your insurance? Is this travel insurance, or something else?

What do you do when/if you do visit the US? Can you get travel insurance that covers the US, or is that only available to people who aren't US citizens?

Thanks for all the rest of your thoughts too. All really good stuff.

maizeman

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2018, 11:19:09 AM »
Thanks for posting this!

Language Issues
One of the reasons we chose Malaysia is English is the primary language. It is a former British colony. Even the laws / courts are still in English. Several other languages are spoken widely but English is the main langiage in the bigger cities.

Do you find you're still managing day to day in english or do you find yourself picking up Malay or other local languages? I've often thought about the potential of moving abroad, but I am generally terrible at learning new languages.

Hirondelle

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2018, 12:28:38 PM »
Thanks for posting this!

Language Issues
One of the reasons we chose Malaysia is English is the primary language. It is a former British colony. Even the laws / courts are still in English. Several other languages are spoken widely but English is the main langiage in the bigger cities.

Do you find you're still managing day to day in english or do you find yourself picking up Malay or other local languages? I've often thought about the potential of moving abroad, but I am generally terrible at learning new languages.

I'm not the OP but I might be able to have some insights as I've lived in a country with a language I don't speak and that's terribly hard to learn (btw Malay is considered one of the easiest languages, many similarities with English as well).
As an obvious foreigner (westerner in Asia) people will usually approach you in English. In many cities people will at least master English to some degree and as a foreigner you might wanna hang our with expats a lot as well.

In my own case I did indeed end up making friends with expats mostly as with Vietnamese I struggled to get deep conversations (made a few Viet friends tho) plus I just ended up meeting mostly foreigners through work, housing situation etc. However I also picked up quite a bit of the local language, but mostly limited to simple things like ordering food. However upon a longer stay - I was there for 5 months only - I'd have put more effort in actively studying the language.

I'm not sure what countries you consider to move to tho. Eg within Europe language barrier will be much less of an issue.

moonella

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2018, 09:36:34 AM »
Holyoak,

We plan to move to either Spain or Portugal in the next 2 to 3 years, so while I cannot give you exact answers to your questions, I can pass along the information I found researching in preparation of our move.
The cost of living for your targeted location can be found at numbeo.
Generally speaking, a budget of $3500/mo will provide a good standard of living in Spain for a couple. That amount includes health insurance as well. Private health insurance for a couple will be no more than $3000/year.
Both Spain and Portugal have a relatively generous immigration policy for retirees - Spain has a so called non-lucrative visa - you first obtain a one  year visa, which can be renewed until you reach 5 years of residence in Spain. At that point, you become permanent resident. The process is long and requires a lot of documentation. Two of the most important things that you need to prove are: financial resources that will allow you to support yourself and your family for the duration of your stay (this should not be a problem for one who reached FI); and proof if medical insurance.
A car may not always be necessary - it depends which area you are targeting, how close you are to shops, etc, and more importantly, lifestyle. You have a lot of options - you can design your lifestyle based on your interests and more importantly, based on your budget.
I hope this answers some of your questions.

Letj

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2018, 07:45:06 PM »
Posting to follow.

imolina

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2018, 09:01:27 PM »
Holyoak,

We plan to move to either Spain or Portugal in the next 2 to 3 years, so while I cannot give you exact answers to your questions, I can pass along the information I found researching in preparation of our move.
The cost of living for your targeted location can be found at numbeo.
Generally speaking, a budget of $3500/mo will provide a good standard of living in Spain for a couple. That amount includes health insurance as well. Private health insurance for a couple will be no more than $3000/year.
Both Spain and Portugal have a relatively generous immigration policy for retirees - Spain has a so called non-lucrative visa - you first obtain a one  year visa, which can be renewed until you reach 5 years of residence in Spain. At that point, you become permanent resident. The process is long and requires a lot of documentation. Two of the most important things that you need to prove are: financial resources that will allow you to support yourself and your family for the duration of your stay (this should not be a problem for one who reached FI); and proof if medical insurance.
A car may not always be necessary - it depends which area you are targeting, how close you are to shops, etc, and more importantly, lifestyle. You have a lot of options - you can design your lifestyle based on your interests and more importantly, based on your budget.
I hope this answers some of your questions.

I was looking at Spain too, but if you live more than 180 days you have to pay taxes on your worldwide income and from I read the tax is higher than USA.

Kyle B

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2018, 09:39:21 PM »
Thanks so much for your awesome post. Malaysia had not occurred to me. That English is so widely spoken moves it to the top of the list for me.

Thailand
Absolutely a great place. But better for a visit than too live. It is just too wild and too much partying. And it is not a place to live if you are married.

I'm not married, but the craziness of Bangkok/Pattaya won't work for me.

Did you get to visit Chiang Mai? I get the impression it's less nutty there.

Thanks again...following with great interest.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2018, 03:47:08 AM »
Holyoak,

We plan to move to either Spain or Portugal in the next 2 to 3 years, so while I cannot give you exact answers to your questions, I can pass along the information I found researching in preparation of our move.
The cost of living for your targeted location can be found at numbeo.
Generally speaking, a budget of $3500/mo will provide a good standard of living in Spain for a couple. That amount includes health insurance as well. Private health insurance for a couple will be no more than $3000/year.
Both Spain and Portugal have a relatively generous immigration policy for retirees - Spain has a so called non-lucrative visa - you first obtain a one  year visa, which can be renewed until you reach 5 years of residence in Spain. At that point, you become permanent resident. The process is long and requires a lot of documentation. Two of the most important things that you need to prove are: financial resources that will allow you to support yourself and your family for the duration of your stay (this should not be a problem for one who reached FI); and proof if medical insurance.
A car may not always be necessary - it depends which area you are targeting, how close you are to shops, etc, and more importantly, lifestyle. You have a lot of options - you can design your lifestyle based on your interests and more importantly, based on your budget.
I hope this answers some of your questions.

I was looking at Spain too, but if you live more than 180 days you have to pay taxes on your worldwide income and from I read the tax is higher than USA.

This is my concern, the taxes. You have to stay 180 days for the visa.  They want your tax money!

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2018, 03:48:50 AM »
This is great OP! Give us more survival tips!

moonella

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2018, 05:01:55 AM »
Wine you won't have any earned income, there won't be any taxes to pay. Spain also distinguishes between a resident for tax purposes = you have to spend at least 6 months in Spain, and a resident in general. The 3 months is the amount of time Americans can spend in Spain without a visa. In theory one can spend 5 and a half months in Spain and the rest traveling and thus not be subject to Spanish taxes. After all, isn't that one of the reasons one would want to move to Spain, so they can travel more cheaply throughout Europe?

texxan1

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2018, 09:56:36 AM »
Definitely following this one.

I moved to Chiang Mai , Thailand at the beginning of 2018 and loving it so far..

My bills are
$350 apartment
$25 electric
20 phone

food is whatever you want, being single I don't spend much unless I'm on a date with a nice thai lady.. I may spend 20 bucks on a nice meal for two at a western restruant.

We on a few days trip to central Thailand to do some fishing, and then to the beach for a few days in Phuket.... What you spend is up to you

I have a motorbike for transport, so its really cheap.

I am still learning the language, but everyone is nice and friendly....

its interesting and I will keep after it for atleast another year.. I basically moved there as I am 3 years from Fire ( at 50yo) so I could see if its a place I would like to think about retiring.... I have a plan to spend 5 months in asia a year, and the rest in the states for summer fishing season.

A lot of easy possibilities in Asia and ive met many foreigners who do the same and love it

Tex

texxan1

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2018, 09:58:21 AM »
Kyle,

Chiang Mai is pretty chill..... some busy parts of town and lots of things to do, and the bars close at midnight, so no staying out partying all night unless you fit in to a certain crowd that has the late night secret places scoped out.

Thanks so much for your awesome post. Malaysia had not occurred to me. That English is so widely spoken moves it to the top of the list for me.

Thailand
Absolutely a great place. But better for a visit than too live. It is just too wild and too much partying. And it is not a place to live if you are married.

I'm not married, but the craziness of Bangkok/Pattaya won't work for me.

Did you get to visit Chiang Mai? I get the impression it's less nutty there.

Thanks again...following with great interest.

Kyle B

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2018, 11:28:00 AM »
Kyle,

Chiang Mai is pretty chill..... some busy parts of town and lots of things to do, and the bars close at midnight, so no staying out partying all night unless you fit in to a certain crowd that has the late night secret places scoped out.


That's great to know. It's heartening that you're loving it.  Some of the youtubes about Chiang Mai make it look like it's all about millenials trying to become Instagram micro-celebs (while the Pattaya channels make the place look like Disneyland for perverted 70-something alcoholics.)

Is it hard to make (non-sexual) friends in places like Chiang Mai? I have a theory that expat Americans might almost be friendlier to other Americans when abroad than they are when they're back home in America...true or false?

(Maybe Malacca could weigh in on how hard it is to meet people abroad? Though since he's travelling with family that's probably a lower priority.)


its interesting and I will keep after it for atleast another year.. I basically moved there as I am 3 years from Fire ( at 50yo) so I could see if its a place I would like to think about retiring.... I have a plan to spend 5 months in asia a year, and the rest in the states for summer fishing season.

A lot of easy possibilities in Asia and ive met many foreigners who do the same and love it

This is a big part of my interest -- I want to start 'auditioning' places in the U.S. and overseas and see which ones I like. And the idea of combining global snowbirding with slow travel makes huge sense to me. Especially as it could easily combine slashed expenses with an improved standard of living.

Another big pull is cheap health insurance in countries with great medical care. I picture the U.S. health system as a giant monster that our elected officials are willingly feeding us to.

(It seems like 50% of MMM case studies have a paragraph like "I'm rich, unless the ACA changes. Then I'll go back to part-time.")

I take it you own or rent in the U.S. and are planning on keeping that place indefinitely?  I've rented for years in a HCOL area, which is making less sense at this point in my life.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 11:34:35 AM by Kyle B »

aspiringnomad

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2018, 09:32:24 PM »
Posting mostly to follow. We're carefully planning an exit to Portugal. Looks like she'll move there late next year and I'll follow in early 2020.

freedomislife

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2018, 07:30:26 AM »
Definitely following this one.

I moved to Chiang Mai , Thailand at the beginning of 2018 and loving it so far..

My bills are
$350 apartment
$25 electric
20 phone

food is whatever you want, being single I don't spend much unless I'm on a date with a nice thai lady.. I may spend 20 bucks on a nice meal for two at a western restruant.

We on a few days trip to central Thailand to do some fishing, and then to the beach for a few days in Phuket.... What you spend is up to you

I have a motorbike for transport, so its really cheap.

I am still learning the language, but everyone is nice and friendly....

its interesting and I will keep after it for atleast another year.. I basically moved there as I am 3 years from Fire ( at 50yo) so I could see if its a place I would like to think about retiring.... I have a plan to spend 5 months in asia a year, and the rest in the states for summer fishing season.

A lot of easy possibilities in Asia and ive met many foreigners who do the same and love it

Tex

What NW do you reckon is enough to retire comfortably in Thailand (Chiang Mai) in late 20s/early 30s?

Assuming Single + no kids.

cap396

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2018, 04:34:57 PM »
Great post Malacca.   My wife and I are going to FIRE this summer and travel the world for awhile. 

If you don't mind sharing, what company do you use for your international health insurance policy?

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2018, 06:35:53 PM »
Posting mostly to follow. We're carefully planning an exit to Portugal. Looks like she'll move there late next year and I'll follow in early 2020.

How will you handle the tax situation?

aspiringnomad

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2018, 08:48:31 PM »
Posting mostly to follow. We're carefully planning an exit to Portugal. Looks like she'll move there late next year and I'll follow in early 2020.

How will you handle the tax situation?

In what sense? Portugal has a one-time 10-year "non-habitual resident" scheme that we plan to apply for if it's still around. Assuming no earned income in Portugal, we'd pay tax in the US on Roth ladder conversions (living off freed up home equity when we sell our place). Even if we had to pay Portuguese taxes, we'd apply any amount paid as a credit to US taxes, so the net effect should be zero. If the taxation situation changes between now and then so that it's really unfavorable to us, we'll plan to spend less than 183 days in any one country, and just pay taxes in the US as we would had we stayed there.

aspiringnomad

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2018, 08:51:30 PM »
Sorry, I should add that the 10-year scheme is plenty of time for us since we plan to land elsewhere longer-term. Actually, our initial plan was to move every six months, but then decided we really love Portugal and so are now planning to make that our home base during this period of slow travel. The tax scheme helped a bit with that decision.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 08:56:16 PM by aspiringnomad »

moonella

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2018, 04:43:24 AM »
Aspiringnomad, this is exactly our strategy, including utilizing the 10 year of favorable tax treatment in Portugal to convert IRA's into ROTH IRA's. Great minds think alike!

aspiringnomad

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2018, 11:02:30 AM »
Of potential interest to folks on this thread, I just discovered that France changed its wealth tax so that it applies only to global property in excess of 1.3M euros, rather than any net worth in excess of that amount as it did previously. This took effect at the beginning of this year. This is good news for us, as living for a while in southern France is also a possibility.

limeandpepper

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2018, 12:44:56 PM »
Hey OP, glad you're enjoying my country. I had an inkling from your username. ;)

Do you find you're still managing day to day in english or do you find yourself picking up Malay or other local languages? I've often thought about the potential of moving abroad, but I am generally terrible at learning new languages.

Not the OP but when I lived in Malaysia, I didn't use Malay that much in daily life. With Malays, Chinese and Indians in Malaysia, a knowledge of an additional language such as Malay, Mandarin, or Tamil will deepen and broaden your experience, but if you don't - you should be fine, though it could get tricky sometimes if you get off the beaten track I guess, but possibly a translation app can help with that.

Thailand
Absolutely a great place. But better for a visit than too live. It is just too wild and too much partying. And it is not a place to live if you are married.

My boyfriend and I are not wild partying types at all and loved Thailand. I think it is pretty easy to avoid the sordid side if that's not your scene. We were in Bangkok for about a month and only had one or two alcoholic drinks each the entire time. And Northern Thailand is pretty chilled, was also there for a month and same story. We basically just eat, explore, sleep. No partying... well, unless you count the time we had a cocktail with our dinner while listening to live music and patting cats... ;)

malacca

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2018, 10:52:16 AM »
If anyone wants global health insurance just PM me. Trust me, health care outside the US is not a big issue!

Looks like this topic has some interest.

Expat Culture:
Expat culture is somewhat like RV culture. I spent a year living in an RV with wife and 2 kids. We found the RV culture to be fantastic. Basically you meet people and make friends with people you may never had associated with in your "regular" life. And you end up being closer and make friends quicker.

Keep in mind our social structure is heavily defined by where we work, live and possibly church.

Expat culture is similar. You end up meeting other expats - from around the world - because you share a similar experience. Even the fellow Americans I have befriended abroad are probably not the ones I would have stateside. Most of my expat friends are Europeans or other colonials but also include Japanese and Koreans because of my background and language skills.

Of course I have great local friends in the countries I have lived in. But as Americans you will find we are higher on the outgoing / friendly list than the rest of the world. Our major sperm donor, the Brits, are high on the list of outgoing and friendly also as well as Aussies and Kiwis. But most expats come out of their shells when they move abroad sooner or later.

Taxes:
Well, Americans are screwed. We are the only major nation that taxes their citizens abroad. But we do have an exclusion - about $110,000 per year for FOREIGN earned income. The two key words here are FOREIGN and EARNED. Many tax advisors have failed in this aspect. It means your foreign investments are NOT excluded from taxation - only earned income.

But any income within the US is not excluded. But for most FIREs our tax bill will be minimal. Once you stop working that property income comes in at a very low tax rate with all of the exclusions.

But some countries will tax you on your worldwide income - as Spain does. I don't know the details but most people I know are not effected by this too much as you can exclude what you paid in another country (no double taxation). OK, if you are very wealthy then you should only spend 179 days in Spain. Or if you about to inherent some dough then get out of Spain for 1/2 of the year.

Malaysia does not tax you on non-Malaysian income. I know some non-Americans who live in Malaysia and work out of Hong Kong and pay zero tax anywhere. Sweet dreams but not for Americans.

Visas:
Many countries have retirement or similar visa schemes. In general you have to show that you have money to support yourself and you are not a bad person. Always get a criminal background check from your local police or state before you leave as it is usually needed.

Where?
Gosh, that is a hard one. There are many great places on earth - all of them ice cream - just different flavors. Spain and Portugal are time tested. Malaysia also. Thailand is a fantastic place but harder over the long term for most. Sri Lanka is up and coming. There are some Eastern European countries that are attracting people as well. South America is wide open. Some people end up in the Philippines (usually ex-military that spent time there). Great place if all you have to live on is Social Security. Heck, they even have an SS office there.

What I recommend is picking three places and spending one year in each place. Then you will know what you actually want and the best place for you (may not be one of the three!).

Meeting People:
Some people asked about this. There are social organizations like Internations. And there are American or European expat groups everywhere. I meet a lot of people through golf. As I have young kids I meet people through them and their school. Some people met at language classes. I meet a lot of people at our pool. Every week there are book exchanges, restaurant outings, exercise fad of the week meetings, etc.

The hardest thing about being American and living abroad is: Trump.





I retired at 40. Have been having / raising kids since.

aspiringnomad

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #32 on: April 21, 2018, 03:26:17 PM »
@malacca I'd definitely be interested in hearing more about global health insurance. Happy to discuss over PM if you're not comfortable discussing here, but I imagine it'll be of interest to a lot of people.

Our situation might be a little different than most American expats in that my wife is a citizen of multiple countries that have universal healthcare and I'm a permanent resident of one. We're thinking of supplementing that with travel insurance, but are open to other ideas and opinions.

malacca

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2018, 07:24:33 PM »
@aspiringnomad

We also have universal coverage in one country. Good to fall back on but I find coverage kind of weak in some areas.

There are two types of internal insurance: Global health Insurance and Travel Health Insurance.

Global Health Insurance:
This is a typical health insurance policy. Covers pretty much anything and is renewable yearly. It excludes most preexisting conditions at time of purchase but once anything that happens after you have the policy is covered. And when you renew the policy those conditions are covered.

Mine has a $1000 deductible with $5 million coverage. We paid $2300 for a family of 4.

Travel Health Insurance:
The difference is that this is not guaranteed renewal and any illness you have for the year will not be covered when you renew (it will be a preexisting condition). Overall policy and coverage is not as robust as Global health Insurance. Usually a bit cheaper.

Travel Insurance:
Typically to cover trip cancellation and repatriation is seriously ill or dead. Some will have some limited health coverage. These are not health coverage even if they are marketed at such.

If I was actually living in a country with universal I would purchase a local policy that provides for the gaps in coverage. They are pretty cheap.

But we are not and we travel and move around a lot. So I just bought the global policy.

I looked at the Travel Health Insurance but found the price difference to be minimal. It wasn't worth the financial risk of going into health care bankruptcy.

Also, depending on your state and current income levels you could qualify for ACA. Seems like ACA will be around for a while as all of the morons who wanted to kill it are quitting congress.

You can use ACA as a fallback if you get seriously ill.



I retired at 40. Have been having / raising kids since.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #34 on: April 22, 2018, 06:46:18 AM »
What NW do you reckon is enough to retire comfortably in Thailand (Chiang Mai) in late 20s/early 30s?

Assuming Single + no kids.

You can do it on $300k as long as you don't eat a lot of western food and drink alcohol.

$1k/month you will be able to live comfortably and still save enough money for a flight or two back home annually if you need to.

auntie_betty

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2018, 07:24:09 AM »

Quote
I only have experience living in Germany for a few years, and have always thought Northern Spain looks like a beautiful place to retire. 

Northern Spain is indeed beautiful - we had two weeks there last summer and are having three weeks there this summer. However, winters in Northern Spain can be brutal - check out the climate for any chosen areas. Especially inland, we were amazed by the number of snow poles making the sides of roads, but having researched it they are needed. A lot of rain on the coast.

We're in Almeria, South East Spain, absolutely beautiful and a lovely 72 degrees today. But we have brutal summers - weeks of over 100 degrees and not much cooler at night, with tortuously high humidity. Heading east to Sevilla and Cordoba, they regularly reach 120 degrees.

But I wouldn't want to live anywhere else :)

aspiringnomad

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #36 on: April 23, 2018, 06:39:27 PM »
@aspiringnomad

We also have universal coverage in one country. Good to fall back on but I find coverage kind of weak in some areas.

There are two types of internal insurance: Global health Insurance and Travel Health Insurance.

Global Health Insurance:
This is a typical health insurance policy. Covers pretty much anything and is renewable yearly. It excludes most preexisting conditions at time of purchase but once anything that happens after you have the policy is covered. And when you renew the policy those conditions are covered.

Mine has a $1000 deductible with $5 million coverage. We paid $2300 for a family of 4.

Travel Health Insurance:
The difference is that this is not guaranteed renewal and any illness you have for the year will not be covered when you renew (it will be a preexisting condition). Overall policy and coverage is not as robust as Global health Insurance. Usually a bit cheaper.

Travel Insurance:
Typically to cover trip cancellation and repatriation is seriously ill or dead. Some will have some limited health coverage. These are not health coverage even if they are marketed at such.

If I was actually living in a country with universal I would purchase a local policy that provides for the gaps in coverage. They are pretty cheap.

But we are not and we travel and move around a lot. So I just bought the global policy.

I looked at the Travel Health Insurance but found the price difference to be minimal. It wasn't worth the financial risk of going into health care bankruptcy.

Also, depending on your state and current income levels you could qualify for ACA. Seems like ACA will be around for a while as all of the morons who wanted to kill it are quitting congress.

You can use ACA as a fallback if you get seriously ill.

Thanks for that info! I'll look into quotes for Global Health Insurance. Yours seems quite reasonable for a family of 4.

expatartist

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2018, 07:17:56 PM »
Good breakdown of the various insurance options, OP. My current employer offers lifetime worldwide coverage at a reasonable rate even after we leave the company, but the amounts aren't terribly high. Need to look into this more.

JLE1990

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #38 on: April 24, 2018, 05:17:35 PM »
@malacca What about teaching children abroad? Do they have online schooling? How have you worked that out?

This sounds so amazing. ... sigh...
Can't wait to do it.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #39 on: April 24, 2018, 08:52:09 PM »
Malacca, can someone who is younger <35 easily get visa's to stay in some of these places for a year?

I'm finding Europe to be the tough one to crack, sounds like Thailand 60 days + 30 day extension is the easiest, and Philippines let you stay for 90 days sans visa, Malaysia is also 90 days.

Hirondelle

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Re: Moved Abroad
« Reply #40 on: Today at 12:28:08 AM »
Malacca, can someone who is younger <35 easily get visa's to stay in some of these places for a year?

I'm finding Europe to be the tough one to crack, sounds like Thailand 60 days + 30 day extension is the easiest, and Philippines let you stay for 90 days sans visa, Malaysia is also 90 days.

For US-citizens Vietnam is also great. They let you get a 1 year visa. Only downside is you have to leave every 3 months, but a 10 min trip to Cambodia will do (or just use it as an excuse to explore one of the neighbouring countries). Plus from whole of SE-Asia I found it the lowest COL. And no religious constraints like in many places in Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand. Also very easy to pick up a little side gig teaching English there :)