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General Discussion => Post-FIRE => Topic started by: Captain Cactus on July 09, 2016, 03:08:05 PM

Title: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Captain Cactus on July 09, 2016, 03:08:05 PM
If so, where?

How much does it cost per month, and what do you "get for your money"?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Lake161 on July 09, 2016, 06:40:30 PM
Boquete, Panama

$1900 month budget includes: international health care plan, a very nice 1BR casita with jungle views in a town with many expats, a generous grocery budget, and one restaurant meal or so per week. We do not have a car, and our internet access is limited. We have a separate travel budget that I've not included.

You can get better internet by living closer to town, but that comes with more noise and less scenery.

There are people here managing on $1400 a month by living in local-style houses and/or by not buying health insurance.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: retiringearly on July 09, 2016, 08:07:14 PM
We are not American but spent much of our working lives here and will retire in Hong Kong. Our basic budget is $3000 per month which covers a 1BR apartment in a nice building with facilities (pool, gym, sauna, library etc.), food for a family, Internet, bills and public transport. The public health system is pretty good.

Lifestyle can be great. Lots of hiking, sailing and an exciting atmosphere, but it can also be pretty crowded. This can be mitigated by living a bit out of the city center.

Depending on your family situation Thailand might be worth a look.

How do you qualify for the public health system?  What does it cover?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Dexterous on July 09, 2016, 10:31:46 PM
http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp might be a good source for you to see cost of living comparisons.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: okonumiyaki on July 10, 2016, 01:49:46 AM
We are not American but spent much of our working lives here and will retire in Hong Kong. Our basic budget is $3000 per month which covers a 1BR apartment in a nice building with facilities (pool, gym, sauna, library etc.), food for a family, Internet, bills and public transport. The public health system is pretty good.

Lifestyle can be great. Lots of hiking, sailing and an exciting atmosphere, but it can also be pretty crowded. This can be mitigated by living a bit out of the city center.

Depending on your family situation Thailand might be worth a look.

How do you qualify for the public health system?  What does it cover?

Thanks!

Be a HK ID card holder, essentially.  To get that, you need either a job that will give you a work permit, or have lived here 7 years (gives you permanent residency).  Covers pretty much everything.  I.e a friend fell badly while hiking on an island breaking a leg.  Helicopter evacuation, leg fixed, physio etc all together cost about 100 USD. 

Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Eric on July 10, 2016, 05:55:05 PM
Boquete, Panama

$1900 month budget includes: international health care plan,
*snip*
There are people here managing on $1400 a month by living in local-style houses and/or by not buying health insurance.

Does that mean that you pay $500/mo for health insurance, or is that mostly the housing difference?  And how many people?
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Lake161 on July 10, 2016, 06:35:03 PM
Boquete, Panama

$1900 month budget includes: international health care plan,
*snip*
There are people here managing on $1400 a month by living in local-style houses and/or by not buying health insurance.

Does that mean that you pay $500/mo for health insurance, or is that mostly the housing difference?  And how many people?

We pay $270/mo for high deductible health insurance. That covers the two of us (50 and 54 years old). The rest of the difference is housing. You can rent for $450 or so if you aren't picky. We pay $700 for rent and all utilities.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Eric on July 11, 2016, 10:21:41 AM
Boquete, Panama

$1900 month budget includes: international health care plan,
*snip*
There are people here managing on $1400 a month by living in local-style houses and/or by not buying health insurance.

Does that mean that you pay $500/mo for health insurance, or is that mostly the housing difference?  And how many people?

We pay $270/mo for high deductible health insurance. That covers the two of us (50 and 54 years old). The rest of the difference is housing. You can rent for $450 or so if you aren't picky. We pay $700 for rent and all utilities.

That's closer to what I've been planning for.  My current projected budget is $2k/yr for health insurance, but we'll be early 40s.  Although I might have to up that bit, considering it will increase with age.  Thanks for the info!
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Slee_stack on July 11, 2016, 10:33:57 AM
Boquete, Panama

$1900 month budget includes: international health care plan, a very nice 1BR casita with jungle views in a town with many expats, a generous grocery budget, and one restaurant meal or so per week. We do not have a car, and our internet access is limited. We have a separate travel budget that I've not included.

You can get better internet by living closer to town, but that comes with more noise and less scenery.

There are people here managing on $1400 a month by living in local-style houses and/or by not buying health insurance.
How do you like Panama thus far?  Do you speak Spanish fluently?  How does it compare to Costa Rica (climate/activitiess/'feel')?

We may visit Panama within the next year and it is a possibility for a retirement destination.  Thanks for your input!
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: dougules on July 11, 2016, 11:08:15 AM
We're thinking about Latin America once we hit FIRE (US-level so we can come back if we want).  I'm curious to see what people who have already done it have to say. 
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: mcampbell on July 11, 2016, 12:21:42 PM
Thailand. I still work remotely tho, I could FIRE. Rent is $1900 for 1500 sqft condo in downtown bangkok, you can get down to $300-500 if you live in the suburbs or a smaller town. If you still have children its far cheaper living abroad, we have a fulltime nanny and a maid.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Lake161 on July 11, 2016, 03:26:07 PM
Boquete, Panama

$1900 month budget includes: international health care plan, a very nice 1BR casita with jungle views in a town with many expats, a generous grocery budget, and one restaurant meal or so per week. We do not have a car, and our internet access is limited. We have a separate travel budget that I've not included.

You can get better internet by living closer to town, but that comes with more noise and less scenery.

There are people here managing on $1400 a month by living in local-style houses and/or by not buying health insurance.
How do you like Panama thus far?  Do you speak Spanish fluently?  How does it compare to Costa Rica (climate/activitiess/'feel')?

We may visit Panama within the next year and it is a possibility for a retirement destination.  Thanks for your input!

I speak basic Spanish, but my husband gets by with nearly no Spanish. In towns with lots of expats, you can manage with a few basic phrases, but you will enjoy things more if you can chat with the locals.

I've only been to Costa Rica once, and I found it very similar to Panama except about 20% more expensive. Rents were a little higher in CR, but food was a LOT higher.

We enjoy the expat community in Boquete. Living in a town with fewer expats would mean fewer organized activities and clubs. One issue that will be true wherever you FIRE is that we are younger than most of the other retiree expats. It's nice when vacationers and backpackers closer to our age come through, but our closest friends tend to be 10-20 years older than us.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: retiringearly on July 11, 2016, 03:39:16 PM
Lake161 - how long have you been in Panama?  Do either of you work or have side hustles?  Do you strictly rent?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Lake161 on July 11, 2016, 03:55:15 PM
Lake161 - how long have you been in Panama?  Do either of you work or have side hustles?  Do you strictly rent?

Thanks!

We have been in Panama just over a year. We are living off investment income and do not have any side hustles. We never had plans to buy property here, and after hearing some horror stories from expats about the risks/challenges of buying property, that seems to be a good call.

The original plan was to do two years here and then move on to another country (Spain, Cambodia, Guatemala were contenders). The long-term plan was to move back to the US in 8-10 years once our investments had a chance to grow. We've stepped up the timetable and are going back to the US later this year due to some positive financial developments plus getting more comfortable with a more Mustachian budget. We still plan to do extended visits in many other countries, but will do so from a US base.

Our advice would be to do an extended visit in your country of choice, then rent for at least a year to be sure what you want. If you do buy, make sure you get a very good lawyer with lots of strong references from expats.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Letj on July 11, 2016, 07:03:45 PM
We are not American but spent much of our working lives here and will retire in Hong Kong. Our basic budget is $3000 per month which covers a 1BR apartment in a nice building with facilities (pool, gym, sauna, library etc.), food for a family, Internet, bills and public transport. The public health system is pretty good.

Lifestyle can be great. Lots of hiking, sailing and an exciting atmosphere, but it can also be pretty crowded. This can be mitigated by living a bit out of the city center.

Depending on your family situation Thailand might be worth a look.

How is that even possible? I thought Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: retiringearly on July 11, 2016, 07:28:52 PM
Lake161 - how long have you been in Panama?  Do either of you work or have side hustles?  Do you strictly rent?

Thanks!

We have been in Panama just over a year. We are living off investment income and do not have any side hustles. We never had plans to buy property here, and after hearing some horror stories from expats about the risks/challenges of buying property, that seems to be a good call.

The original plan was to do two years here and then move on to another country (Spain, Cambodia, Guatemala were contenders). The long-term plan was to move back to the US in 8-10 years once our investments had a chance to grow. We've stepped up the timetable and are going back to the US later this year due to some positive financial developments plus getting more comfortable with a more Mustachian budget. We still plan to do extended visits in many other countries, but will do so from a US base.

Our advice would be to do an extended visit in your country of choice, then rent for at least a year to be sure what you want. If you do buy, make sure you get a very good lawyer with lots of strong references from expats.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Brahmaniac on July 14, 2016, 09:56:18 PM
I'm in Saigon, Vietnam, where my monthly expenses are about $1,600. $700 of that is rent. I rent a 4-story house a few minutes from the downtown. That $1,600 includes a few out-of-pocket medical expenses (I had a root canal a few months ago) and travel (a weekend at a luxury villa in Dalat). My "barebones" expenses are probably around $1,000 to $1,200 a month.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: frugaldevil on July 15, 2016, 07:48:49 PM
I've really enjoyed the Retire Abroad series at Frugal Vagabond. They review places you could live on a small budget. The idea is that as you're stash grows, you're passive income ticks up and opens up new places in the world you could afford.

http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/ (http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/)
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Brahmaniac on July 16, 2016, 11:17:14 PM
I've really enjoyed the Retire Abroad series at Frugal Vagabond. They review places you could live on a small budget. The idea is that as you're stash grows, you're passive income ticks up and opens up new places in the world you could afford.

http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/ (http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/)

I only know about where I live, Saigon, but the numbers are pretty wrong for Saigon.

$265 does not get you a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center. $300 in the city center gets you a room (i.e. tiny studio apartment with no kitchen).

Basic utilities are mostly okay, though it is funny to see "heating" listed :). How much you run the air conditioner (and how new/efficient it is) will dramatically affect this. Electricity makes up >90% of my monthly utilities. Most people are likely to get a maid, which will run you another $50 right there to have her come twice a week.

Internet is okay. A bit low. $10 a month gets you ADSL at home. If you want fiber, it is $10-25. And if you want data on your mobile phone, that's another $5-10 per phone.

Meal for two, mid-range restaurant, three-course (twice a month) of $27 is wildly off. Last night I paid $22 at a mid-range restaurant without dessert. This should be double.

There is no public transport pass that I've ever heard of. But no one would ever take public transportation in Saigon. If you buy a scooter and drive that, you're looking at around $10 a month for petrol. If you take a taxi then it'll be $2 to $5 each way per trip.

Any gym membership that is $21 a person is going to be for a very basic local-style gym. No air conditioning, quite old equipment, and no one there will speak English. I've been in a few of those but I don't see many retirees picking them. You're more likely going to pick California Fitness which is more like $30-50 a person, depending on the contract you sign and specials at the time.

Monthly grocery cost feels low. I just spent $120 last weekend and that didn't include any meat or vegetables. If you eat "local-style" then $120 is do-able. If you want cheese, dairy, and beef I think it is going to be too low.

$1,200 a person for insurance sounds reasonable. I pay $800 through IMG but I'm only 40. I have no idea how much they'd charge someone who is 70 but I guess a 50% markup might be plausible.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: iamlindoro on July 17, 2016, 09:39:55 AM
I only know about where I live, Saigon, but the numbers are pretty wrong for Saigon.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I am not surprised that the numbers for Saigon are off. There are a couple of reasons for this:

* I was not very good at researching the first couple of editions of this series.  The budgeting methodology I use to try to come up with plausible budgets has changed a lot since the first post in this series, I think for the better (and it certainly produces higher budgets).  When I wrote the first edition of this series, the budget methodology was pretty bad. With the second, it got a little better, but the grocery budget still wasn't reasonable and I didn't do the kind of checking and re-checking against third party blogs and sources that I now do with the latter three editions in the series. I often think about deleting the first two in the series, or at least rewriting them, but I haven't had an opportunity to do so yet.

* Time passes, and costs of living change. I wrote the first two posts in this series between 9 months and a year ago, and prices have changed somewhat. That's why I always leave a link to the Numbeo listing for a location so that people can get the most up to date numbers. I have some ideas for how to keep numbers current and account for differing tastes, and am working on some projects to that end, but I'd rather keep quiet about those until I have something to show for it.

* Differing tastes. Everyone (!) is going to have different tolerances and tastes. I try to include a caution in each article (another thing that has improved over time) that the budgets represent a very lean, but reasonable, existence. Most people will want more money and I acknowledge that things like creature comforts, visits home, and major medical emergencies are not covered in these budgets.  Person A might spend under this budget, person B might find it impossible.  Case in point, several of your critiques of the budget are less "this is impossible to find" and more "but you'd really want more than that."  For example, you list the prices for fiber internet, and mention having a maid-- I definitely am not aiming to provide budgets that include those kinds of luxuries. 

$265 does not get you a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center. $300 in the city center gets you a room (i.e. tiny studio apartment with no kitchen).

Just for the record, the apartment cost listed was for the outside of the city center, and from back in November or so.  I see that Numbeo now lists that closer to $315 as of today.  In the newest articles in the series (anything after the first two), I actually spend a few hours perusing real estate listings to determine price accuracy on housing. I often adjust housing prices in the articles up or down from the Numbeo numbers based on what I find.

Monthly grocery cost feels low. I just spent $120 last weekend and that didn't include any meat or vegetables. If you eat "local-style" then $120 is do-able. If you want cheese, dairy, and beef I think it is going to be too low.

Yeah, as mentioned above, the grocery methodology would produce a different budget on posts I write today-- probably closer to $220 or so.  There's no beef in the budget, but there are a lot of eggs and chicken.

Anyway, time passes and these articles will skew further and further from reality.  I'm doing my best to make the ones I write reasonable as of when I write them, and am working on a new way of doing things so that the numbers you look at are closer to real-time accurate.

In the end, it's impossible to produce a static article that represents the needs and preferences of everyone who reads it-- the biggest goals of the series are to get people who worry about the possibility of retirement at all thinking outside the box, and for those on the FIRE path, to take stock of just how early on in their journey they might realistically be able to FIRE if their lifestyle is flexible enough to consider an expat retirement.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: iamlindoro on July 17, 2016, 11:11:38 AM
So am I to take it that frugaldevil is a puppet account you created to promote your own blog? Shady.

I've been here long enough and participated enough that having my blog in my signature shows up in enough places to promote my blog fine.  I also wouldn't need a puppet account to do it- if I felt like my blog was relevant to a discussion, I'd just humbly offer a link.  I saw some visitors with a referral URL of this thread, which brought me to it.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: SimplyMarvie on July 17, 2016, 11:36:56 AM
Thailand. I still work remotely tho, I could FIRE. Rent is $1900 for 1500 sqft condo in downtown bangkok, you can get down to $300-500 if you live in the suburbs or a smaller town. If you still have children its far cheaper living abroad, we have a fulltime nanny and a maid.

This is true, but if you want those kids to have the ability to come back to the US for education at some point, the international school fees will KILL you. I'm shocked and appalled at how much international-level schooling costs abroad and I'm not paying for it (work does). The fee structure pretty much assumes that you've got a government or a corporation footing the bill for those USD $3000 enrollment fees, plus the capital upkeep fee, plus the mandatory laptop, plus the $20k per year tuition. It's one of the reasons staying abroad without my job wasn't an option for us, so we decided to plan to retire early instead. :)
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: electriceagle on July 17, 2016, 03:16:57 PM
To me, the big challenge of retiring in a developing country is dealing with inflation.

Developing countries tend to have higher inflation than the US or other developed economies. The 4% rule was tested with US investments and US inflation. It would probably fail with US investments and developing country inflation.

This means that you need some sort of cash-flowing investment in the country that keeps up with inflation, if you want your retirement there to last. The most obvious option is rental real estate, but not all countries allow foreigners to own land and not all retirees want to become property owners.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: bobechs on July 17, 2016, 05:12:24 PM
To me, the big challenge of retiring in a developing country is dealing with inflation.

Developing countries tend to have higher inflation than the US or other developed economies. The 4% rule was tested with US investments and US inflation. It would probably fail with US investments and developing country inflation.

This means that you need some sort of cash-flowing investment in the country that keeps up with inflation, if you want your retirement there to last. The most obvious option is rental real estate, but not all countries allow foreigners to own land and not all retirees want to become property owners.

Won't foreign exchange rates change to match any differential in monetary inflation between one national economy and another?

If not, I've got a great great simple way to get rich, rich, rich...
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Lake161 on July 17, 2016, 06:29:31 PM
 
To me, the big challenge of retiring in a developing country is dealing with inflation.

Developing countries tend to have higher inflation than the US or other developed economies. The 4% rule was tested with US investments and US inflation. It would probably fail with US investments and developing country inflation.

This means that you need some sort of cash-flowing investment in the country that keeps up with inflation, if you want your retirement there to last. The most obvious option is rental real estate, but not all countries allow foreigners to own land and not all retirees want to become property owners.

We live in Panama, which uses the USD, and mostly avoid this issue. Inflation has been a bit higher than in the US, but the prices started out lower, and certain items (food basics and cooking gas) are price controlled.

Ecuador is another affordable option where the currency is pegged to the USD.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: arebelspy on July 18, 2016, 04:35:46 AM
@lindoro: I've very much enjoyed your series.   If your methodology has somewhat changed, it'd be neat if you did rework the first two ones, simply for completeness.  It's cool to have an idea of what cities are in what "range" of income/spending.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: iamlindoro on July 18, 2016, 08:55:37 AM
@lindoro: I've very much enjoyed your series.   If your methodology has somewhat changed, it'd be neat if you did rework the first two ones, simply for completeness.  It's cool to have an idea of what cities are in what "range" of income/spending.

Thanks!  Yeah, I'll rework the first two in the next few months.  Stay tuned...
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: jim555 on July 19, 2016, 08:01:22 AM
Quote
I had always planned to live as an expat in Europe (expensive but just need a small apt) once my pets were gone or to very slow travel with long stays of a year or so in different countries. I was born in Europe with  European born and raised Mom, and grandparents on both sides too,  so thought I might be able to take advantage of some residency or dual citizenship options.
I was thinking the same thing about slow stays.  My mom was British so I am British by descent.  Then they voted to leave the EU so a lot of that plan went out the window.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: dougules on July 19, 2016, 10:24:19 AM
Quote
I had always planned to live as an expat in Europe (expensive but just need a small apt) once my pets were gone or to very slow travel with long stays of a year or so in different countries. I was born in Europe with  European born and raised Mom, and grandparents on both sides too,  so thought I might be able to take advantage of some residency or dual citizenship options.
I was thinking the same thing about slow stays.  My mom was British so I am British by descent.  Then they voted to leave the EU so a lot of that plan went out the window.

Any Italian blood on your father's side?  Italy recognizes citizenship back for as many generations as you can document (with some caveats). 
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: KCM5 on July 19, 2016, 10:47:30 AM
Quote
I had always planned to live as an expat in Europe (expensive but just need a small apt) once my pets were gone or to very slow travel with long stays of a year or so in different countries. I was born in Europe with  European born and raised Mom, and grandparents on both sides too,  so thought I might be able to take advantage of some residency or dual citizenship options.
I was thinking the same thing about slow stays.  My mom was British so I am British by descent.  Then they voted to leave the EU so a lot of that plan went out the window.

My spouse is also British by descent and we live in the US. The Brexit thing probably won't be a problem - if they end up anything like the other countries that have access to the single market like they want, free movement will probably be included.

We have a similar plan, except it involves a houseboat.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: iamlindoro on July 19, 2016, 10:51:25 AM
My mom is French, but I missed my opportunity to get citizenship by not getting the process done before I turned 18. It's one of my big regrets. 

In the absence of the ability to get EU citizenship quickly or easily, consider one of the countries like Spain or Portugal, where a very modest FIRE passive income can qualify you for an annually-renewed "non-lucrative" residency visa, and you can generally apply for permanent residency (and ultimately citizenship) after five or so years.  It's a slower path, but it's pretty straightforward.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: jim555 on July 19, 2016, 11:05:41 AM
Quote
I had always planned to live as an expat in Europe (expensive but just need a small apt) once my pets were gone or to very slow travel with long stays of a year or so in different countries. I was born in Europe with  European born and raised Mom, and grandparents on both sides too,  so thought I might be able to take advantage of some residency or dual citizenship options.
I was thinking the same thing about slow stays.  My mom was British so I am British by descent.  Then they voted to leave the EU so a lot of that plan went out the window.

My spouse is also British by descent and we live in the US. The Brexit thing probably won't be a problem - if they end up anything like the other countries that have access to the single market like they want, free movement will probably be included.

We have a similar plan, except it involves a houseboat.
If they leave free movement will be curtailed.  That is the main reason for them leaving, IMHO.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: KCM5 on July 19, 2016, 11:15:27 AM
Quote
I had always planned to live as an expat in Europe (expensive but just need a small apt) once my pets were gone or to very slow travel with long stays of a year or so in different countries. I was born in Europe with  European born and raised Mom, and grandparents on both sides too,  so thought I might be able to take advantage of some residency or dual citizenship options.
I was thinking the same thing about slow stays.  My mom was British so I am British by descent.  Then they voted to leave the EU so a lot of that plan went out the window.

My spouse is also British by descent and we live in the US. The Brexit thing probably won't be a problem - if they end up anything like the other countries that have access to the single market like they want, free movement will probably be included.

We have a similar plan, except it involves a houseboat.
If they leave free movement will be curtailed.  That is the main reason for them leaving, IMHO.

If you pay attention to the rhetoric, while before the vote they were discussing free movement and immigration. Now that the vote is over they are trying to frame it as a question of sovereignty rather than an immigration issue. This is because the EU will most likely not let them be a part of the single market without allowing for the free movement of people (see Norway and Switzerland).

Now, we'll see how it all shakes out, but an agreement like that of other countries that are a part of the single market but not a part of the EU is the most likely, most favorable scenario for the UK. The alternative being that they are excluded from the single market, which from what I understand, would be economically challenging for the country.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Rubic on July 19, 2016, 11:43:39 AM
My mom is French, but I missed my opportunity to get citizenship by not getting the process done before I turned 18. It's one of my big regrets. 

Ouch!  That would have been so cool, and opened the entire Eurozone for you to live in!
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: retiringearly on July 19, 2016, 01:19:12 PM
My mom is French, but I missed my opportunity to get citizenship by not getting the process done before I turned 18. It's one of my big regrets. 

Ouch!  That would have been so cool, and opened the entire Eurozone for you to live in!

I got dual citizenship in the US and Ireland via my grandparents.  The only thing it has done for me was get me through immigration at London Heathrow in about 10 seconds - the line for non-EU citizens was several hundred people.  The IRish passport is nice to have.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: KCM5 on July 19, 2016, 03:15:52 PM
Quote
I had always planned to live as an expat in Europe (expensive but just need a small apt) once my pets were gone or to very slow travel with long stays of a year or so in different countries. I was born in Europe with  European born and raised Mom, and grandparents on both sides too,  so thought I might be able to take advantage of some residency or dual citizenship options.
I was thinking the same thing about slow stays.  My mom was British so I am British by descent.  Then they voted to leave the EU so a lot of that plan went out the window.
I was born in England to an American Dad and Naturalized (German born) American Mom. But since Britain doesn't recognize citizenship by birth and only by descent, I can't claim citizenship in Britain. Apparently at least one parent has to have British citizenship or be born there or have the unrestricted abikity to reside there long term. Not sure how it works in Germany (Mom and maternal Grandparents) or Sweden (paternal Grandparents) but may be able to get dual citizenship or residency in those countries.

ETA assuming no dual citizenship how long can you stay in each European/EU country (or non-EU in the case of Britain) just as a tourist?  Do you have to return to the USA after a certain period of time or can you just hop over to another country, get your passport stamped and then return to the country you are living in? Pre-EU you could do that.

Britain allows US passport holders 180 days. The Schengen countries limit people to 90 days out of 180 days, so you can't just do a visa run, you have to be out for 90 days.

Example: Britain for 6 months, Schengen countries (almost all of Europe) for 3 months, non-Schengen country for 3 months (eg Ukraine or back to Britain), back to Schengen, etc. 

Although I do know of people that would live in Britain and do a visa run every 6 months, I'm not really sure how they got away with it? Apparently it all hinged on the lax customs and immigration at the Edinburgh airport.  And a different friend, who lives a rather location independent lifestyle, did start getting hassled for going to Britain so much even though he really wasn't living there and never overstayed. So as usual, YMMV
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: dougules on July 19, 2016, 03:55:13 PM
Quote
I had always planned to live as an expat in Europe (expensive but just need a small apt) once my pets were gone or to very slow travel with long stays of a year or so in different countries. I was born in Europe with  European born and raised Mom, and grandparents on both sides too,  so thought I might be able to take advantage of some residency or dual citizenship options.
I was thinking the same thing about slow stays.  My mom was British so I am British by descent.  Then they voted to leave the EU so a lot of that plan went out the window.
I was born in England to an American Dad and Naturalized (German born) American Mom. But since Britain doesn't recognize citizenship by birth and only by descent, I can't claim citizenship in Britain. Apparently at least one parent has to have British citizenship or be born there or have the unrestricted abikity to reside there long term. Not sure how it works in Germany (Mom and maternal Grandparents) or Sweden (paternal Grandparents) but may be able to get dual citizenship or residency in those countries.

ETA assuming no dual citizenship how long can you stay in each European/EU country (or non-EU in the case of Britain) just as a tourist?  Do you have to return to the USA after a certain period of time or can you just hop over to another country, get your passport stamped and then return to the country you are living in? Pre-EU you could do that.

This is why Latin America is nice.  There aren't many hassles staying for a while.  Residency visas aren't that difficult.  Jus soli citizenship usually applies.  And in Mexico you can even stay for 180 days and just make a visa run (Guatemala sounds much better than Texas) twice a year.  Plus no winter. 
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: dougules on July 20, 2016, 10:24:56 AM
Too hot for me in most of Latin America (I live in SoCal currently).

It's a misnomer that all of Latin America is hot.  A whole lot of Latin America is at really high altitude.  Some places have climates that even the biggest weather wuss in SoCal would like.  Big chunks of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru all have perfect climates.  Some places are even high enough to even be a bit cold despite being tropical. 

And South America goes way on down into the Southern Hemsisphere.  If you go south down the west coast of South America, you get the same climate zones as going north up the west coast of North America.  There's a point in Chile that has the same climate as SoCal (and right on the beach, too).  If you go far enough south you'll eventually hit the equivalents of Oregon then the west coast of Canada.   

Plus as a single female I found I felt more restricted due to some social/cultural diiference (which are OK when travelling hut would be hard if it was my permanent home) and occasionally harrassed travelling between areas or wandering around many places on my own - especially at night in cities.

I could see Latin machismo being a big annoyance for women.  Latin America covers a whole lot of territory, though, so you can't really make sweeping generalizations on that.  Look at the differences in how women are treated in different parts of the US.  Plus things are changing south of the Rio Grande as fast as north of it, too. 
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Spitfire on July 20, 2016, 01:21:08 PM
@lindoro: I've very much enjoyed your series.   If your methodology has somewhat changed, it'd be neat if you did rework the first two ones, simply for completeness.  It's cool to have an idea of what cities are in what "range" of income/spending.

+1 just read some of your site for the first time and there is a lot of great info. Ecuador looks like it will be high on my list if I go this route.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Northwestie on August 01, 2016, 02:25:32 PM
Here's an interesting blog of a Seattle couple travelling the world via Air B&B

http://seniornomads.blogspot.com/

Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Metric Mouse on August 04, 2016, 09:20:12 AM
Here's an interesting blog of a Seattle couple travelling the world via Air B&B

http://seniornomads.blogspot.com/

Awesome! Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: KCM5 on August 05, 2016, 12:20:46 PM
We just got back from a vacation near Cuenca, Ecuador.

It was beautiful. Easy to get around. One of us knows a bit of Spanish, but I don't think it was really even that necessary. Weather is mild year round. And by mild I mean highs in the 60s or 70s. Not a single moment of street harassment, for those of you worried about the stereotype about latin men.

I don't think I want to retire to a low income country permanently, but I could definitely spend 6 months there and enjoy every minute of it.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: physdude on August 13, 2016, 10:00:28 AM
We are not American but spent much of our working lives here and will retire in Hong Kong. Our basic budget is $3000 per month which covers a 1BR apartment in a nice building with facilities (pool, gym, sauna, library etc.), food for a family, Internet, bills and public transport. The public health system is pretty good.

Lifestyle can be great. Lots of hiking, sailing and an exciting atmosphere, but it can also be pretty crowded. This can be mitigated by living a bit out of the city center.

Depending on your family situation Thailand might be worth a look.

Yes, HK would my ideal FIRE spot if I had a bit more money. There is so much nature and spectacular scenery (at least for a city) as well as things to do but the housing is way too expensive for me. As it is, I am settling for the much cheaper alternative of Malaysia which does have a lot of good things too but one has to travel around a bit more to get to them.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: physdude on August 13, 2016, 10:16:07 AM
We are not American but spent much of our working lives here and will retire in Hong Kong. Our basic budget is $3000 per month which covers a 1BR apartment in a nice building with facilities (pool, gym, sauna, library etc.), food for a family, Internet, bills and public transport. The public health system is pretty good.

Lifestyle can be great. Lots of hiking, sailing and an exciting atmosphere, but it can also be pretty crowded. This can be mitigated by living a bit out of the city center.

Depending on your family situation Thailand might be worth a look.

How do you qualify for the public health system?  What does it cover?

Thanks!

Being a resident, either temporary or permanent. So for example a tourist would not be eligible, but someone on a temporary working visa would be. In my case I'm married to a Hong Kong resident so I'll be on a dependent visa. After 7 years in Hong Kong you get permanent residence.

I haven't looked into the details for becoming a resident without either a job or resident spouse by I do remember some kind of investment visa where if you invest a million dollars you get residency.

Unfortunately, they scrapped the investment visa which was a very good deal.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: iris lily on August 19, 2016, 03:11:07 PM
I've really enjoyed the Retire Abroad series at Frugal Vagabond. They review places you could live on a small budget. The idea is that as you're stash grows, you're passive income ticks up and opens up new places in the world you could afford.

http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/ (http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/)

I only know about where I live, Saigon, but the numbers are pretty wrong for Saigon.

$265 does not get you a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center. $300 in the city center gets you a room (i.e. tiny studio apartment with no kitchen).

Basic utilities are mostly okay, though it is funny to see "heating" listed :). How much you run the air conditioner (and how new/efficient it is) will dramatically affect this. Electricity makes up >90% of my monthly utilities. Most people are likely to get a maid, which will run you another $50 right there to have her come twice a week.

Internet is okay. A bit low. $10 a month gets you ADSL at home. If you want fiber, it is $10-25. And if you want data on your mobile phone, that's another $5-10 per phone.

Meal for two, mid-range restaurant, three-course (twice a month) of $27 is wildly off. Last night I paid $22 at a mid-range restaurant without dessert. This should be double.

There is no public transport pass that I've ever heard of. But no one would ever take public transportation in Saigon. If you buy a scooter and drive that, you're looking at around $10 a month for petrol. If you take a taxi then it'll be $2 to $5 each way per trip.

Any gym membership that is $21 a person is going to be for a very basic local-style gym. No air conditioning, quite old equipment, and no one there will speak English. I've been in a few of those but I don't see many retirees picking them. You're more likely going to pick California Fitness which is more like $30-50 a person, depending on the contract you sign and specials at the time.

Monthly grocery cost feels low. I just spent $120 last weekend and that didn't include any meat or vegetables. If you eat "local-style" then $120 is do-able. If you want cheese, dairy, and beef I think it is going to be too low.

$1,200 a person for insurance sounds reasonable. I pay $800 through IMG but I'm only 40. I have no idea how much they'd charge someone who is 70 but I guess a 50% markup might be plausible.
What does your maid do 2x weekly?

I would lve to have a cook.maybe thats whatbwill motivate me to move to SE Asia.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: KCM5 on August 19, 2016, 08:15:33 PM
We just got back from a vacation near Cuenca, Ecuador.

It was beautiful. Easy to get around. One of us knows a bit of Spanish, but I don't think it was really even that necessary. Weather is mild year round. And by mild I mean highs in the 60s or 70s. Not a single moment of street harassment, for those of you worried about the stereotype about latin men.

I don't think I want to retire to a low income country permanently, but I could definitely spend 6 months there and enjoy every minute of it.
I notice that you said "we" above. I'm not trying to stereotype just talking about my own experiences travelling solo, but I think its much less common when travelling with a guy or even another woman to get approached or harassed by men.  Not a big deal but there can be some cultural and social differences for a single woman living alone in many places than for couples or men. And I wasn't just talking about harassment but also gender equality issues. Important if living somewhere permanently for me.

That's true and I agree. I did spend quite a bit of time alone as well, particularly in the rural area. But you're right that being with others does make a difference. Clearly if you were going to consider moving there, please don't just take some strangers opinion on the Internet ;)
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Kris on August 28, 2016, 04:08:03 PM
Commenting to follow. Husband and I are looking into many of the places mentioned here.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: electriceagle on September 01, 2016, 11:57:12 PM
I've really enjoyed the Retire Abroad series at Frugal Vagabond. They review places you could live on a small budget. The idea is that as you're stash grows, you're passive income ticks up and opens up new places in the world you could afford.

http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/ (http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/)

I only know about where I live, Saigon, but the numbers are pretty wrong for Saigon.


One thing that I've noticed about "lower income" countries is that costs for expats vary wildly according to how you are perceived and your ability to speak the language / make friends. The prices charged are disconnected from supply costs and reflect the seller's perception of the buyer.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Lake161 on September 02, 2016, 09:26:57 PM
I've really enjoyed the Retire Abroad series at Frugal Vagabond. They review places you could live on a small budget. The idea is that as you're stash grows, you're passive income ticks up and opens up new places in the world you could afford.

http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/ (http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/)

I only know about where I live, Saigon, but the numbers are pretty wrong for Saigon.


One thing that I've noticed about "lower income" countries is that costs for expats vary wildly according to how you are perceived and your ability to speak the language / make friends. The prices charged are disconnected from supply costs and reflect the seller's perception of the buyer.

+1 on price variation. If you don't know the true local price, and/or if you come across as arrogant, you will get charged a very inflated price.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Reader on September 05, 2016, 08:12:01 AM
To me, the big challenge of retiring in a developing country is dealing with inflation.

Developing countries tend to have higher inflation than the US or other developed economies. The 4% rule was tested with US investments and US inflation. It would probably fail with US investments and developing country inflation.
The inflation is usually in the local currency so if your source of income is in USD, that should still be fine. You'll probably have to optimise the amount of local currency held to reduce the impact of inflation.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: deadlymonkey on September 06, 2016, 11:19:19 AM
I've really enjoyed the Retire Abroad series at Frugal Vagabond. They review places you could live on a small budget. The idea is that as you're stash grows, you're passive income ticks up and opens up new places in the world you could afford.

http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/ (http://frugalvagabond.com/retire-abroad/)

I only know about where I live, Saigon, but the numbers are pretty wrong for Saigon.


One thing that I've noticed about "lower income" countries is that costs for expats vary wildly according to how you are perceived and your ability to speak the language / make friends. The prices charged are disconnected from supply costs and reflect the seller's perception of the buyer.

This isn't limited to lower income countries.  Hawaii for example has a very clear price difference between Kama'aina (locals) and everyone else.  Unless you look or sound Kama'aina you get the higher price.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: iamlindoro on September 07, 2016, 04:37:48 PM
I wanted to follow back up with the tool I've been building over the past few months. I alluded to it upthread and wanted to follow up.

https://www.theearthawaits.com/

It's called the Earth Awaits, and it can be used to build custom budgets, generated on the fly and just for you, for over 500 cities around the world.  Based on your lifestyle choices, budget, family size, housing needs, and some other inputs, you'll get up-to-date budgets for the cities that suit your needs. Check it out and please feel free to share with friends and family.  You can read a little more about it here if you're so inclined:

http://frugalvagabond.com/2016/09/07/earth-awaits/
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: GreenEggs on September 07, 2016, 05:02:40 PM

Any Italian blood on your father's side?  Italy recognizes citizenship back for as many generations as you can document (with some caveats).
[/quote]


That's good to know. 

We're planning to travel a good bit.  My wife lived in Italy for a couple of years while in high school, and wants to show our daughter and me around.  I've also read a bit on other sites about traveling & living in Latin America and am looking forward to visiting.

Are Air B&B and Craigslist good ways to find rentals?
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: jim555 on September 07, 2016, 07:16:51 PM
I am wondering if the UK can be a frugal destination?  I have heard it is very expensive. 
One good thing is no worry about health insurance costs.  One of my backup plans in case the ACA goes away.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Eurotexan on September 08, 2016, 03:50:10 PM
Interesting thread! I was born in the UK and also have US citizenship. I hope to FIRE in 2022 (so long away) and spend about 6 months in Europe whilst keeping a base in Dallas. It will be interesting how Brexit plays out but the panic of losing the right to live in other European countries as a Brit seems to have calmed down and I agree that there will be some kind of free movement in place which should keep things status quo.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: frugaldevil on September 08, 2016, 07:03:23 PM
Love the new The Earth Awaits site. One quick question -- I didn't see a link to a map out of the city details. Might be a good addition to the results. Looks great though! I've already tried a run on my current 4% budget.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: iamlindoro on September 08, 2016, 09:14:08 PM
Love the new The Earth Awaits site. One quick question -- I didn't see a link to a map out of the city details. Might be a good addition to the results. Looks great though! I've already tried a run on my current 4% budget.

Thanks! It's definitely on the roadmap.  Right this second I'm working on tags (so you can filter on amenities like Skiing, Mountains, Good Free Wifi, Hostels, etc. being nearby, or abstract concepts like LGBT friendly, etc.) and after that I'll likely move to currency conversion.

The map interface might coincide with actually placing points of interest on said map, so it's sort of an idea that's still in progress.  I also need to buckle down and add user accounts so that people can save favorites and store budgets, which is probably the most important task at the moment, but also the hardest/most daunting for me.

Needless to say, lots to do :)  Please keep sharing with friends so that I can try to develop enough of a following that the site is sustainable.  Thanks again :)
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: GreenEggs on September 09, 2016, 06:47:55 AM
iamlindoro,

What other forums do you promote your travel info sites on?  I am on ADVrider.com which has 300K+ members, many that travel the world via motorcycle.  I think there would be a lot of interest about your site there. 

Horizons Unlimited is a big motorcycle travel forum too. 
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: Irishtache on September 09, 2016, 08:02:32 AM
)  Please keep sharing with friends so that I can try to develop enough of a following that the site is sustainable.  Thanks again :)
Hi. Just looked at Earth awaits site. Very interesting, good work.
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: iamlindoro on September 09, 2016, 08:52:30 AM
iamlindoro,

What other forums do you promote your travel info sites on?  I am on ADVrider.com which has 300K+ members, many that travel the world via motorcycle.  I think there would be a lot of interest about your site there. 

Horizons Unlimited is a big motorcycle travel forum too.

Thanks, Greeneggs!  I am trying to be cautious about sharing the site, so I've limited it to places where I am an active participant. Since most sites have strict rules about self-promotion, especially when you're not already a member of the community, I don't want to poison my potential audience by spamming everyone about it.  I've been relying on organic sharing for the most part so far.

I'd love it if you shared a link with those sites, if you're active on them, though! I'd be extremely grateful if that was something you wanted to do.  Really, anywhere that might be interested in it is fair game!
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: GreenEggs on September 09, 2016, 06:38:50 PM
iamlindoro,


 
Thanks, Greeneggs!  I am trying to be cautious about sharing the site, so I've limited it to places where I am an active participant. Since most sites have strict rules about self-promotion, especially when you're not already a member of the community, I don't want to poison my potential audience by spamming everyone about it.  I've been relying on organic sharing for the most part so far.

I'd love it if you shared a link with those sites, if you're active on them, though! I'd be extremely grateful if that was something you wanted to do.  Really, anywhere that might be interested in it is fair game!

I'm only active on ADVrider.  I'll look over your site & then start a thread there about it.  I'll send you a link to it, so you can answer questions & say "hello". 

Horizons Unlimited is a very large site too, but I don't spend any time there.  You may want to look it over, may be okay to post about your site if done correctly (in the right place & in a manner that is okay with their TOU rules)  Your site seems like it would be a valuable resource to them. 
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/) 
Title: Re: Any Americans retire abroad?
Post by: iamlindoro on September 09, 2016, 07:54:21 PM
I'm only active on ADVrider.  I'll look over your site & then start a thread there about it.  I'll send you a link to it, so you can answer questions & say "hello". 

Horizons Unlimited is a very large site too, but I don't spend any time there.  You may want to look it over, may be okay to post about your site if done correctly (in the right place & in a manner that is okay with their TOU rules)  Your site seems like it would be a valuable resource to them. 
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/)

Thanks, that would be awesome!  I'll check out Horizons Unlimited later on this evening. I'm debugging a few small issues with the site that I've got to get nailed down before Google gets angry with me :)